Title of Mahesh Dattani Bravely Fought the Queen

Mir Hassan

 Title of Mahesh Dattani Bravely Fought the Queen

Title of Mahesh Dattani Bravely Fought the Queen

Significance of Title of Dattani’s Bravely Fought the Queen |Bravely Fought the Queen: Title: Dattani| Bravely Fought the Queen –A Critical Overview of title | Comment on Title of  Bravely Fought the Queen by Mahesh Dattani.

Title: Mahesh Dattani Bravely Fought the Queen

  Mahesh Dattani is one of the exponents of modern Indo-Anglo drama. He is a renowned playwright and an active person in the theater. Like Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen, Dattani, being a true feminist, writes for the improvement and upliftment of women. In 1986, Dattani wrote his first play, "Where There is a Will". His plays cover a wide range of subjects and focus on taboo subjects such as gender identity, gender discrimination, etc. The play "Tara" deals with discrimination based on sex, "‘30 Days in September" addresses the problem of child abuse.

        The play "Bravely Fought the Queen" is a thought-provoking domestic tragedy. Like "Tara, “Bravely Fought the Queen "is based on gender discrimination and the exploitation of women. The play gives a grim picture of a state of society that is mainly male-dominated. In the play, the women Dolly, Alka, Baa, and the old beggar, are victims of the patriarchal society.

The title, therefore, not only exalts the most significant theme but also introduces the feminist angle to the Play. A predominant image that is repeated incessantly in the work is that of a warrior woman. The "Queen" mentioned in the title refers to the legend of Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmibai, who fought like a male soldier during the First Indian War of Independence in 1857. She has been glorified in Subhadra Kumari Chauhan's Hindi poem, 

'Jhansi ki Rani '-

“Khub ladi mardani

Woh to Jhansiwali Rani thi”

    Although the Rani, is only mentioned directly in the play once in reference to the masked ball,  it is this assertion of a form of stoic and non-ostentatious heroism on the part of a woman in crisis that works as a subtext in Bravely Fought of what in.. The two female protagonists of the play, namely Dolly and Alka as "Queen", show incredible courage to endure the miserable fate of being confined to the house, caring for a sick mother-in-law and sipping the insult to stay home, or in silence tolerant of her husband's lust.

      Dolly, the eldest of the two sisters, is the wife of Jiten, the more tyrannical and oppressive of the two Trivedi brothers. In fact, it is through Dolly that Dattani exposes the exploitation of bourgeois housewives by the patriarchy. In the end, Dolly confronts her husband Jiten, remembering all of his abuses.

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    However, it is Dolly's sister Alka, who truly assumes the role of the “Queen” that the title refers to. In fact, it is through this younger Trivedi wife that Dattani exposes the fact of homosexuality and the play adopted by traditional Indian families to conceal it. She has been married to Jiten's

 The fact that she is the real “Queen” who fights her way through victimization and exploitation comes out through an extremely in compromising and defiant demeanor of Alka. Not only does she enter Dolly's house drunk, but her unsympathetic attack on Dolly's fantasies about Kanhaiya also reveals her dissatisfaction with her life and an urge to gain individuality. This becomes even more clear when at the suggestion of being dressed as Queen of Jhansi at the “masked ball”, Alka immediately accepts the offer. This essentially signifies her desire to assert an individual identity and transcend her groveling and unfulfilled conjugal life.

        ‘Bravely Fought the Queen’ therefore, is perfectly attuned with some of the other plays of Dattani like ‘Where There is a Will’ and ‘On a Muggy Night in Mumbai’  in terms of its portrayal of a world where the man-woman relationship has been totally ruptured. However, unlike the heroine in Tara, who literally acquires a superior status by dint of her actions, the two female protagonists in this play regain agency merely by asserting adherence to their own ideals and engaging in preoccupations like the mellifluous thumris of Naina Devi or sexual fantasies involving Kanhaiya. In spite of being subjugated by their respective husbands, Alka and Dolly indeed align themselves with the “Queen” of Jhansi in exhibiting a challenging, fearless, and rebellious spirit.

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 Explanation of some important Quotation 

1. "Oh, I keep myself occupied. I do a bit of writing. Freelance. I write an occasional women's column for the Times. Sometimes I review cultural events. I am into meditation. And, oh yes, I grow bonsai plants- You know poetry and stuff like that. Nothing great but..." I have been growing them for years. I do a bit of creative writing as well.

Ans. The above-mentioned lines are taken from Mahesh Dattani's play, Bravely Fought The Queen. Actually, the speaker is Lalitha, Sridhar's (An employee in the Advertising agency of the two Trivedi brothers, Jiten and Nitin) wife. She told these in her conversation with Alka Trivedi, in the house of Dolly Trivedi, in Act I of the present play.

However, the thing is that to avoid the boredom and monotony of her marital life with a very professional-minded husband like Sridhar, Lalitha starts doing stuff like creative writing, freelancing, events managing, meditation, and above all making bonsai plants. Even Sridhar supports all these because, on one hand, these give Lalitha something to do in the absence of Sridhar, and on the other hand, if we follow the conversation of Lalitha and Alka, then we can see that, both Lalitha and Sridhar are trying to save money for a flat of their own and her numerous works in such several fields can fetch quite a good amount of money as well. Besides, it is the reason, why they are still childless. This, however, put an impression of the middle-class mentality, rather than middle-class anxiety, as they always remain anxious to see them in between the aristocratic class and in order to acquire that prestigious position in society, these middle-class people like Lalitha and Sridhar seem to be haunted by a competitive mood of rat- race. And that is why they use to keep them busy in their vocation and try their hands in several other sects for monetary solvency. As we know, the social structure solely depends on the economy, so it is quite obvious that, to raise into the position of a social aristocrat, one needs, money first, a good house in a posh suburb, the second, and practicing superficial manners, the third.

Besides this, the symbolical representation of 'Bonsai' is of utter importance as it signifies the stunted growth of families and businesses, both at the same time . Bonsai is a kind of tree, whose growth has been stunted manually. Thus, in the Trivedi family, because of the tyrannical oppression and excessive physical torture of both Baa, the mother of the Trivedi brothers, and Jiten, her elder son, Daksha, the daughter of Jiten and Dolly born prematurely as crippled. Whereas, Alka suffers from an isolated marital relationship with a homo-sexual husband, who instead of giving her time, spends nights with his homosexual friends, like, Praful, his brother-in-law, and an auto-driver. Thus, Alka is still issueless and it is almost certain that her situation is not going to change. Likewise, Lalitha and Sridhar are still childless as, they are saving money for their new flat in a good area, which reflects middle-class anxiety, as per our discussion in the previous paragraph. And, besides this, the dwarfed condition of the advertising agency of the Trivedis can be described through the stunted growth of the 'Bonsai', as for the business marketing and advertisement of Re Va Tee, the new brand of the color co-ordinated nightwear and underwear for the women, the Trivedi brothers cannot afford the interest of the loan from the Nichani's (business investors) because of their financial degradation.


2. "All right. I'll give you a choice. Either we talk about Daksha...or Kanhaiya. Which one it will be?"

Ans. The mentioned quotation is taken from the Act I of Dattani's play, Bravely Fought The Queen. The speaker is Alka Trivedi, the sister of Dolly Trivedi, and the wife of Nitin Trivedi.

During the conversation between Dolly, Alka, and Lalitha, several issues are being discussed, like, the launching ceremony of the new brand, Re Va Tee, the Masked-ball during the party, Lalitha's preferences, etc. Besides these, there come the issues regarding Daksha, the daughter of Dolly and Jiten, and Kanhaiya, the substitute cook of just nineteen. It is Alka, who pretty significantly remarked about Daksha and Kanhaiya, which becomes the cause of humiliation for Dolly, as both these topics are related to her personal trauma and individual secrecy. However, Alka tries to depict Daksha as a would-be 'famous dancer' in a very satirical tone because she is well aware of her physical condition. If we go through the play, then we come to know the fact that, Daksha is a crippled child both physically and mentally, who is just under a certain kind of training which is only meant for the handicapped and mentally-disordered children, in order to teach them some general lessons to carry on simplest daily- events on their own by the physiotherapists. Daksha is an example of a torturous truth regarding her father and her grandmother's violence. During the advanced stage of her pregnancy, Dolly was tremendously beaten and humiliated in the hand of her husband, Jiten, the aggressive of, who was insisted by his mother at that time. Thus, Daksha was born "...two months premature." Moreover, the name of Kanhaiya is also related to some personal secrecy of Dolly. This Kanhaiya Lal is the substitute cook in the houses of the two Trivedi brothers and he is just of nineteen years. And the thing is that Dolly grows tired and disgusted with her conjugal life with an unsympathetic husband. And as a consequence of this, a sensible, patient, responsible house-wife and loving mother, Dolly, takes refuge in the world of romance and sex with a nineteen years old cook Kanhaiya, who stays in the servants' quarters outside their house and comes for a secret meeting every day in the kitchen.

That is the reason why, Dolly becomes upset and a bit restless while Alka is teasing her with these matters in front of a stranger, Lalitha. She hardly wants to talk about these two matters to let others know about Daksha and the past related to her birth and the incidents regarding Kanhaiya, because, she is a woman, who has fought a battle against male chauvinism throughout her life. On one hand, there is the violent husband and on the other hand, there is the tyrannical mother-in-law, who rules over her sons and daughters-in-law with the weapon of wealth even from her paralytic bed.

3. "Yes! Men would want to buy it for their women!... Men would want their women dressed up like that. And they have the buying power. Yes! So there's no point in asking a group of screwed-up women what they think of it..."


Ans. The above quotation is mentioned by Jiten Trivedi in the Act II of the present play, Bravely Fought The Queen, written by Mahesh Dattani, when both the two Trivedi brothers and their employee Re Va Tee Sridhar are discussing over the market survey of the advertisement of the new brand of the color-co-ordinated nightwear and underwear for the women, which they are going to launch very soon.

The thing is that, while discussing the market survey with his employers, Jiten and Nitin in their office, Sridhar tells them that, most of the women from "the upper-middle class, upper-class and the striking rich" describe the advertisement as "highly offensive" because of its excessive use of sexual undertones, which is against the social norms. As in the storyline for the video commercial, there is a model looking out of the window and she sees that her husband or her lover has come home. She q rushes opens a box and removes the new Re Va Tee bra, panties, and he. Cut to her dress in them. She lets her hair loose, pirouettes, and down on the bed, just as the door opens, the scene freezes and nature comes on the screen "Tight his fire with Re va Tee."


But for Jiten, it is pointless to ask a group of screwed-up women, what they think of the advertisement because one should have tasted it out on the men as they have the monitory power and they would want their women dressed up like that. It is true that society always represents men as transcendental, active, dynamic, celestial, boundless, superior, all acquiring, and powerful, whereas women are always considered to be imminent, passive, static, inferior, fleshy, weak and to be enjoyed. Moreover, it is taken for granted that, women are one of the most precious commodities, which must be presented with the utter richness of sensuality and passion, in order to satisfy the male desire. And, quite obviously, this male chauvinism is the part and parcel of Jiten's being, as he is the representative of the male patriarch, who was first taught how to dominate de female members of his own family by his violent father and thus he starts practicing it on his wife during her pregnancy to prove his masculine strength and he shows off his boundless superiority by ordering Sridhar to o bring a prostitute for him in the office. Thus, in a society like ours, where men use to enjoy the most privileged position to do anything and everything that they want, there, Jiten is just revealing what he thinks of the women, because as a man, he himself knows it better,, what a man wants from a woman. And the model in the advertisement is the epitome of that male desire.


4." She married into royalty. Imagine. She could have lived life comfortably in royal grace and become a rajmata. But she wanted to sing! She wanted to sing songs of love. Thumris-sung in her days only by tawails"

Ans. These lines are taken from the third Act of Mahesh Dattani's play Bravely Fought The Queen, entitled 'Free For All' and the speaker is Dolly Trivedi in her conversation with Alka and Lalitha.

During their discussion over the matter of Naina Devi's thumri, Dolly expresses her reverence to this stalwart Thumri singer Naina Devi, How- ever, Thumri is a common genre of Semi-classical Indian Music. The text is romantic or devotional in nature and usually revolves around a girl's love. It is characterized by its sensuality, and by a greater flexibility with the Raga. And the most  outstanding singer of thumri was Naina Devi, who a moral family but later devoted her life to the singing of the tawa the prostitutes. But, for a member of the royal family to www in those days of the early twentieth century and in a country want fighting countless social stigmas that had enough power were someone from the society, but she had the support of her husband


 In spite of Dolly's preference, Naina Devi's 'Thumri' is the symbol of My after-sexual pleasure by Dolly coming in contact with Kanhaiya, see The thumri, which is related to some holy song, is used by Dolly Kasha Besides, the 'Thumri' symbolizes bravery, the heroism and the so serve her purpose of satisfying the sexual passion with the young cook combating attitude of Naina Devi against the social orthodoxy. And by constantly listening to the songs of Naina Devi, both the two sisters Dolly and Alka try to ignore the repression, oppression, and humiliation of the conservative male-dominated society. Through the Thumries, they can ventilate their desire and their anger to the dogmatic notion of a patriarchal society which considers the women to be the 'other', (the female, the weak, and the subordinate), to the binary opposition of the 'self', (the male, the powerful and the privileged).


5. "So bravely fought the Rani of Jhansi So bravely fought the manly Queen..."

Ans. The above-mentioned lines are taken from a famous poem written by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, which is entitled as Jhansi Ki Rani (The Queen of Jhansi). Here in the present play, Bravely Fought The Queen, Lalitha recites these lines in the third Act in front of Dolly and Alka. While they are busy in their discussion over the matter of the Masked ball, which is arranged by the men to launch the new brand of color-coordinated nightwear and underwear for the women, Lalitha suggests Dolly wear the costume of the Queen of Jhansi.

 Moreover, the Queen of Jhansi, Rani Laxmi Bai, is the symbol of the famous Sepoy mutiny of 1857 in India, but at the same time assumed the leading role in that war against the British regime. Thus, in their conversation, Alka pays her due respect to this great, warrior Queen by saying t she (Rani Laxmi Bai) was "brave enough to qualify as a man". Later on, we go through the play, then we come to know that, at the very end, it is Dolly who will assume the strength and will come out to be the strongest character  by supporting drunken Alka and revealing the torturous truth anding the birth of Daksha, her daughter. By her true revelation, the word of women and the world of men will converge violently in the final where all the characters will stand exposed and the past and the e will collapse into the present. Alike, the Queen of Jhansi, Dolly does at hesitate to stand against the social prejudices regarding women and her thoughts and feelings, first, by announcing her physical relationship with de young cook Kanhaiya and second, by exposing Jiten's cruelty during the advanced stage of pregnancy which had its effect on Daksha.

Finally, as per the title of this play is concerned, it is related to the pom which is recited by Lalitha as 'Bravely fought the [manly] queen'. The title distinctly indicates that a woman who is supposed to be the chief male character fights against male domination and tyranny, just like Queen of Jhansi, who gave up her life manly on the battlefield like a naive soldier.

6. "I didn't mean to... you know I didn't. It was Baa! Blame her but at me! She is my daughter!"

Aus. The speaker is none but, the aggressive oaf Jiten Trivedi, Dolly's husband and the elder brother of Nitin. He has revealed it while confessing the truth regarding the birth of Daksha, his daughter, in the last Act of Dalland's most successful play, Bravely Fought The Queen.

In the play, Jiten is portrayed as an unsympathetic violent lecher, who not only practices debauchery outside but at the same time once in a drunken rage and insisted by the provocation of his mother, he brutally tortured his wife Dolly when she was pregnant and thus, his character stands exposed in the final Act, where Dolly emerges as the strongest character and reveals his cruelty by saying "And you hit me! Jitu, you Nat me up! I was carrying Daksha and you beat me up!... At the hospital, you told them I fell down the stairs! Daksha was born two months prematurely. With the cord around her neck?" At this point, Jiten tries to dead him as he charges his mother who had insisted him at that time to A her. As because Praful, the brother of Dolly and Alka deceives Baa and her sons by making them think that his father and the two sisters Ather is only one person. The two sisters are the children of his mother's second marriage while he is the child of her first marriage.  Alka are in the thought that Baa completely knows about their parentage. Baa realizes this truth at a time when Dolly was pregnant with Daksha and that Dolly's mother married for the second time to a person who was already married. So, society including Baa takes her as a whore and Dolly is the daughter of that whore and Baa doubts Dolly being like her mother. Therefore, she induces Jiten to beat her up in the advanced stage of pregnancy of seven months in the thought that the child is not of her son for she too, is being taken as a whore. But, here, Dolly gets furious and bursts out on Jiten by saying-"...I will not let you get away so easily! They were your hands hitting me! Your feet kicking me! It's in your blood! It's in your blood to do bad!"

Finally, Jiten the aggressive oaf is driven to feel guilty for his misdeeds. It is the situation when patriarchy falls apart. All the social prejudices regarding women are shattered like mere glasses. The tabooed notion of 'Man' being the superior and the powerful is just ridiculed in the hand of a 'Woman'; at last, the social structure is altered with the bottom up.



7. "Those times when I used to spend the night at your place, I used to sleep on his cot. And he would sleep on a mattress on the floor, beside me..."

Ans. This confession is made by Nitin Trivedi, Alka's husband, and Jiten's younger brother, in Act III of Dattani's play Bravely Fought The Queen.

However, Nitin is portrayed as an unfaithful friend, a careless homo- sexual husband, and a greedy fellow, who wants to covet the whole wealth of his mother by saying-" Will you give me the house, if I sent her (Alka) back for good this time?" And thus, it is Alka, who becomes first, the victim of a frustrated conjugal life with a homosexual husband, who has a relationship with her own brother Praful and an auto-driver, and second, she was deceived by Praful who by trickery became able to get them, Nitin and Alka, married and besides he kept them in dark about each other's sexual orientation. Still, Nitin is tolerably good, but, his character is exposed at the very end when he himself conceals his homosexuality in front of the huddled figure of Alka, who is fast asleep. Nitin confesses that they (He and Praful) know each other for many years and even before his marriage to Alka. Nitin used to go at his (Praful) place very often and spend nights with him without letting anyone know. But, at last, when the two worlds, the world of the women and the world of the men converge violently in the final Act, all the characters stand exposed, and the past and future collapse into the present, which unleashes all those that are kept hidden.



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