Final Solutions Summary by Mahesh Dattani

Act 1

The play Final Solutions opens with Daksha (or Hardika), a newly married girl, writing her diary (on March 31, 1948). In the diary, she writes about her experience in her new house.

She is not of good opinions regarding her in-laws. Though India had gained independence, yet she is imprisoned within the four walls of the house.

She has a good taste for the songs of Shamshad Begum, Noor Jahan etc. She even wanted to become a singer like them but due to the family restrictions, her desires remain unfulfilled.

She got a chance to visit a Muslim girl Zarine, who also had a great taste for the songs of Noor Jahan and Shamshad Begum. In a course of time, they became best friends.

The scene now shifts to the present (in a town of Gujarat) and she is an old woman now. An idol of Hindu God is broken down. There are rumours that it is broken down purposely by Muslims and thus due to the tension between Hindus and Muslims, Slogans by mobs of both the communities are heard alternatively.

Smita (granddaughter of Hardika) is talking on the phone to the family of her friend Tasneem as Tasneem has just called and told her (Smita) and probably her own family as well that some bomb has blasted in her hostel.

Smita’s father Ramanik (son of Hardika) takes the phone from her daughter and assures the safety of Tasneem to her family and ends the call.

As there is quite a tension outside, Hardika advises her daughter-in-law, Aruna (Smita’s mother) to properly check doors and windows as the dogs have been let loose.  

Meanwhile, Javed and Bobby, two Muslim boys are in some argument on the side of the road in a nearby area. Suddenly some Hindu men come and start asking them questions and also search them.

Finding a scull-cap in the pocket of Bobby, they at once recognise them as Muslims. As they try to kill them, Javed and Bobby run away and the mob chases them.

They reach the door of Ramanik’s house and start knocking at it. Ramanik, at last, opens the door. They at once rush in and lock the door. They plead Ramanik to save their life.

Mob arrives at the door of Ramanik. They warn Ramanik to either handover Javed and Bobby to them or they will break the door and come in. However, Ramanik refuses to do so.

The mob starts throwing stones and sticks on the house and also abuses Ramanik. Aruna does not like Muslims in her house and forces her husband to throw them out of it. Ramanik bitterly refuses.

Ramanik starts talking to Bobby and Javed. Bobby is polite while Javed is quite harsh in the conversation. Ramanik asks them about their studies and upon learning that Javed is a school drop-out start talking bad about him. Smita comes and recognises both of them.

Act 2

Aruna asks Smita how she knows both of them. Smita tells that Javed is the brother of Tasneem and Bobby is her fiancée. When Ramanik and Aruna start insulting Smita for knowing them Smita defends herself boldly by saying, there’s no harm in that. 

It is also revealed that Javed does not live with his parents. Ramanik then asks how he can meet his sister. Javed says that unlike them (the Hindus) he loves the people of his community. Aruna gets outraged and Javed apologises.

Mob throws stones at the house of Ramanik. Javed scolds Ramanik saying, “Those are your people.” Ramanik tries to defend himself. He also tells how his grandfather was killed by Muslim mob soon after the partition.

Ramanik offers them milk. Javed being in thoughts exclaims, “It must feel good being majority, they have full liberty to do whatever they like with them (Javed and Bobby).

Ramanik still sympathetic explains how the conflict started. There were rumours that during the Rath Yatra of Hindus, some Muslims threw stones on the chariots that made the idols of God to fall and break into pieces and even Pujari was stabbed to death.

The event led to the imposition of curfew in their town. Smita comes with pillows for Bobby and Javed. When she asks them to sleep on the floor (as they have no extra space for them) Javed answers, “I’m used to it.” At this Smita starts asking him his real motive behind his coming to Amargaon. Bobby says that he came in search of a job.

Ramanik offers him a job at his cloth-shop but Smita warns her father from doing so. When Ramanik inquires about the matter, she reveals that Javed was hired by a terrorist organisation and was thus expelled from his house.

She also tells that she came to know about this from Tasneem. Javed condemns her for betraying her friend (as she promised Tasneem that she will not expose the reality of Javed). Smita acknowledges her mistake and being speechless runs away.

Act 3

Ramanik starts asking Javed about his involvement in terrorism in a teasing manner. Javed becomes furious and yells hot words. Ramanik angrily slaps Javed and Bobby rushes to calm them down.

Bobby then tells when they were young, Javed happened to touch a letter of his Hindu neighbour who abused the former badly.

Javed got angry and after some days threw pieces of beef meat in his house. That person came to Javed’s house and abused him harshly.

Telling the story, Bobby adds that Ramanik’s community is partially responsible for makes him so because prior to that incident, Javed was the hero of his locality. Bobby and Javed decide to leave.

Ramanik desiring to make Javed accept his job at any cost threatens them by saying that he will call the police. Javed first burst into the laugh and then tells that he was ordered to kill the Pujari in the name of Jihad. He reached the chariot and tried to stab Pujari but the latter begged for mercy and thus he became still.

All his passions died and he threw away the knife but someone else took it and stabbed the Pujari to death. Ramanik is moved and calls Javed brave.

Smita comes and apologises for exposing him. After a while, Aruna also comes and after ensuring that it is safe to go outside thinks of bringing water. Smita suggests taking the help of Bobby.

Aruna being strict in her religious matters condemns Smita for such a suggestion and thus both mother and daughter fall into an argument. Smita exposes Aruna’s blind-faiths and challenges them.

Aruna being astonished for the queer behaviour of her daughter is quite shocked. While in chaos, she goes to take bath. Smita, Bobby and Javed go out to bring water.

Through their discussion, it is revealed that Smita and Bobby loved each other but due to the communal problems they had to separate.

Later Bobby became the fiancée of Javed’s sister Tasneem. All the three friends become frank and start cracking jokes and even throw water on each other.

Meanwhile, Hardika (Daksha) who was memorising how she was beaten by her husband for visiting Zarine’s house (as there arose some conflict between the two families), scolds Javed and wishes that like her father (who was killed by Muslims) his sister should also suffer. Ramanik requests her mother not to blame them.

When Aruna comes out after taking bath, Bobby unexpectedly goes in the small temple and in spite of denial by Aruna he respectfully takes the idol in his hands and talks about communal harmony and keeps back in its place.

Both of them then go away. A little later Ramanik tells Hardika how he, his father and his grandfather burnt the shop of Zarine’s father to buy it at a reduced price (in the name of communal hatred) and now he repents over his past deeds.

He desires not to visit his shop again. Thus the play Final Solutions ends without any solutions to these communal issues that have remained in the society since ages.

Further Reading

  1. Play Quiz on Final Solutions
  2. Discussion on Final Solutions