NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 6 the Tale of Melon City written by Vikram Seth for CBSE session 2023-24. Get extra important practice questions of Class 11 English Supplementary Reader Chapter 6 for the preparation of exams.
Class 11 English Chapter 6 the Tale of Melon City Question Answers
Narrate “The tale of Melon City” in your own words.
This poem is of a king who was famous for his liberalism and justice. One day the king announced his intention to build an arch over the main thoroughfare to increase the morale and mental wellbeing of the viewers. Construction work starts and ends on time. When the work is over, the king goes to inspect the arch. And at that time the king’s crown collides with that arch and falls down. King feels insulted at this and gets very angry. He then calls the contractor to his palace that has been given the contract and arranges to hang him.
The contractor begs to king not to punish him and says that laborers who constructed this arch are responsible for this. The king calls the laborers to be punished and the workers hold the bricks maker responsible for this mistake. The masons, for their part, defended themselves and blamed the architect. The architect blames the king because the latter had made some changes in the design. The king sought for the most intelligent person of the state to take exemplary decision to hang someone when he was in great fix.
Being too old, the wise old man could not walk or see. But he held arch responsible and demanded it to be hanged as it hit the crown. Now the preparations for hanging the arch in the king’s palace begin and the noose is being built. Meanwhile, a counselor pointed out that hanging the arch that touched the king’s crown would be a very dishonorable deed. The king feels that the audience gathered to witness the hanging got agitated so he declared that someone must be executed which proves that the king is still as much a justice loving person.
The noose was a little high; everyone from public was assessed but only king fit better as per size. The king was ultimately hanged. The ministers heaved a sigh of relief that they managed to hang someone and then started the exercise of putting the next king in power.
The ministers sent out the herald to announce that the next person to walk through the City gate would choose a king. Interestingly, the next person who passed the gate was an idiot. When he was asked about the next king, he said the king would be from Melon. This is because he enjoyed melons and it was his catchphrase on any question. And thus the foolish ministers of the foolish king installed their Melon king on the throne. Poet says that the citizens were also happy with decision and they did not mind having such a king because he did not interfere in their life.
What impression would you form of a state where the King was ‘just and placid’?
That state was running only on God’s trust and the destruction of such a state is very easy and natural where the king would be like this. That mindless king was incapable of taking decisions in any complicated situation. It was only in a normal situation as we see in this poem where the king finds himself helpless when it comes to finding the guilty and punishing the person who constructed wrong arch. There can be long term failures in a state with such a king being in power and it may take a long time for things to become normal.
How, according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?
The government should ensure to maintain law and order at all times. It is the duty of the government to prevent, detect, register and investigate crime and prosecute the criminals. In modern times, there is a great role of the government machinery which includes the administrative and the executive. Every individual must raise morality levels in each one of them so that they don’t commit any wrong and then peace would prevail automatically. By helping the police, the citizens help to preserve the rights and freedom of other members of society. The responsibility for the maintenance of law and order rests on the citizens.
Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humor and irony.
This Vikram Seth’s poem is full of humor and irony. It makes us think about the fate of the state if such thing happens with any state at any given time. In the king’s court, from contractor to labor and labor to bricks manufacturer and engineer to blame each other and then create a situation in which the king is guilty and this was no less than a humor. There were many interesting elements in it, which makes the readers to think every moment what will happen next.
It is an irony that the most intelligent man of the state declares to hang the arch for wrong construction and striking with the crown and the ministers there come up with an absurd idea for the selection of successor and citizens living there too were happy in the state with Melon as their King because it had zero interference in their lives.