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The Final Solution by Manik Bandhyapadhya

The Final Solution

Manik Bandhyapadhya
The Final Solution by Manik Bandhyapadhya

How does Manik Bandhyapadhya story, The Final Solution show women’s response to the cataclysmic episode of Partition? Give you answer with the light of Mollika’s Character.

Answer: The story is remarkable for the articulation of female subjectivity and for rejecting male protection/desecration upon women’s body. Mallika’s chooses prostitution to feed her little son compromising on her self-respect and integrity. Mallika’s husband is a minuscule figure, turns out to be an abject failure, a feminization of her counterpart, incapacitated and unable to sustain his family. 

Mallika’s resolution to take prostitution as a means to feed her little son comes as a last resort to be able to fend for her son and family when all the doors to finding suitable occupation get closed and she finds her family standing on the verge of death owing to starvation. Her choosing for prostitution as a way to save her family from sinking and perishing accentuates her maternal instincts in defiance of her constant humiliation by Pramatha.

She is a figure of courage as she thwarts Pramatha’s plan to exploit her and other women in their state of helplessness and daringly impedes Pramatha’s advances towards her by strangling him to death. The final revenge brings an apt closure to the tale of misfortunes heaped on innocent, gullible female victims by spiteful, stony-hearted racketeer. Mallika’s bravery in the face of difficulties wins the hearts of readers as she stays undaunted by the final catastrophe and reaches the final solution through her strong will and presence of mind.

In the opinion of Sukanya Choudhury, Mallika’s revolutionary stance symbolizes an anti-hegemonic body-scape to territorialize her identity. In her vengeful action lies her courage to question the dominant forces of the society, she blurts out in rage:

“...I’ve found an excellent way out. That gangster! …….. What did he take me for? Am I physically weak because I’m a woman? (p.46)”

Mallika has a strong sense of self personality and bravely subverts the gender centric norms by deciding to earn for her family. In her case of being a mother, she results in ‘slow forgetting of the self.’ Yet, she never gives up even when she is overwhelmed by anxiety and anguish. In the end, she makes full control over the inner struggle and the outer struggle.

The story shows women’s response to the cataclysmic episode of Partition:  sometimes with their wilful amnesia of the violation, the appropriation of male roles as breadwinners, as anchors to the family in the state of helplessness, transgression to sustain their family from the state of abject poverty and adopting changing gender roles and attributes as they flaunt courage, practicality and patience in the extremely intolerant times.

Mallika, who doesn't give up in the face of misfortunes, turns out to be a heroic figure in the end though she was faced with violence by devilish capitalist forces hell bent to dispossess and degrade her identity.

The final act of revenge should be seen as the possible alternative to the disorder in the absence of the normal moral/social order. The ending evokes a sense of shock and bewilderment but has a plausible justification despite its unnaturalness and unexpectedness. In the end, her peaceful and calm reply puts to rest all misgivings about the appropriateness of her conduct. “Have you all eaten? We’ll never be hungry again, Thakurjhi never, ever... My son will have milk four times a day. .. I’ll go to the railway station every evening in my frayed sari, the sharks will come to pick me up for sure...’...But this time I’ll be carrying a sharp knife with me, you understand Thakurjhi (p.46)”

However, practically, the story stands as an image of microcosm in a macrocosm. “Partition was surely just a political divide or a division of properties, of assets and liabilities. It was also, to use a phrase that survivors use repeatedly, a “division of hearts.” (Urvashi Butalia)    


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  1. Can you please upload the character sketch of pramatha?


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