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Q.1. Write a brief character sketch of Santosh Yadav.
Ans. Santosh Yadav was born in a traditional family. She was born in the small village of Joniyawas in Haryana. The girl was given the name Santosh, which means ‘contentment.’ But Santos was not always content with her place in a traditional way of life. She began living life on her own terms from the start. Where ever other girls wore traditional Indian dresses. Santosh preferred short. Santosh did not yield to the traditions. In opposition to her family, she enrolled herself in a school in Delhi. When her parents refused to pay for her education, she politely informed them of her plans to earn money by working part-time to pay her school fees. This shows that she was a determined child. She developed a love for mountaineering. She saved money and enrolled herself in a course of mountaineering. She scaled Mt. Everest twice. This is the achievement of her heroic character.
Q.2. How did Santosh carve her own destiny?
“If I chose a correct and a rational path, the others around me had to change, not me”, said Santosh Yaday. How does her life justify her words?
Ans. Born to conservative parents in a patriarchal, gender-biased and rigidly conventional society, Santosh did not want to let norms dictate her life. She never wanted to adhere to the irrational, hackneyed customs and wanted to live life on her own terms. In fact, she believed that if she chose a correct and a rational path, others would have to change and align themselves to her choices. Averse to gender discrimination, she resisted the pressure to get married at the young age of sixteen. She declared that she would not marry at all if denied proper education.
Defying tradition, she enrolled in a school in Delhi. When her parents refused to pay for her schooling, she informed them that she would work part-time to manage her school fees. Realising their daughter’s determination, they had to submit.
Taking up mountaineering as her career was also an independent decision. However, she tried her best not to hurt her parents and wrote a letter of apology to her father for not having sought his permission before joining the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi. Thus, in spite of all the odds, Santosh chose for herself a path which was absolutely unthinkable and unheard of for girls in orthodox society. She, thus, managed to carve her own destiny.
Q.3. Santosh decided to fight the system in her own “quiet way”, says the author. How did Santosh rebel but quietly?
Ans. Santosh was a very rational, progressive, and sensible girl, who wished to shape her life herself. Though it was. not easy for a girl to fight the rigid system of those times, Santosh was confident that if she chose a correct and rational path, she would be able to change things around her. She waited patiently for the right moment to take up the issues with the orthodox, irrational and hackneyed traditions that obstructed her aspirations and her goals. For example, she opposed her parents’ decision to marry her off at the early age of sixteen and got herself enrolled in a school in Delhi. When her parents refused to pay for her education in the city, she told them politely that she would earn money for her fees by working part-time. She quietly made it clear that she was determined to overcome all obstacles. Finally, her parents had to surrender. Her decision to take up mountaineering as a career was also handled very boldly and fearlessly by her. She took admission in Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering without seeking the permission of her parents. Her parents had no choice but to accept her decision. Thus, Santosh rebelled against the orthodox, conservative system in a quiet but sure way.
Q.4. Santosh had all the qualities of a good mountaineer. Comment.
Ans. Mountaineering is a challenging career which demands great physical and mental strength. It requires boldness, fearlessness, sturdiness and faith in one’s abilities. Santosh Yadav was, in fact, made for mountaineering as she was endowed with all the qualities that are pre-requisites for this career. Just within a span of four years of her training in climbing, Santosh successfully scaled Mt. Everest. Again she repeated this feat in less than a year’s time and became the only woman in the world to have scaled the Everest twice. All this was made possible with her climbing skills, physical fitness and mental strength. Her iron will, physical endurance and mental toughness infused her with immense confidence. Her resistance to cold and altitude proved to be added advantages. All these qualities, coupled with her team-spirit and her concern for her fellow climbers made her not only a good mountaineer but also a very popular one among her superiors and her fellow climbers.
Q.5. Santosh is not only a good mountaineer but also a genuinely good human being. Discuss.
Ans. Santosh Yadav proved her mountaineering skills quite early in her career. She displayed an unflinching will and a fearless mind that fought a rigid, orthodox society to rise to the top. But the stern will and bold decisions did not smother her qualifies of co-operation and concern for others.
That Santosh is endowed with a caring heart is obvious from the fact that she took great care of a climber at the South Col. Though, the climber could not be saved, Santosh’s concern for him was really commendable. In another incident, she saved the life of a fellow climber, Mohan Singh by sharing her own oxygen with him. This sense of sacrifice and team-spirit won for her the esteem of her team-mates. Moreover, Santosh’s heart overflowed with patriotism when she unfurled the national flag on the top of Mt. Everest. Her concern for the purity of the environment also proves that she is a good human being. Such is her love for nature that she brought down five hundred kilograms of rubbish from the Everest. Thus, Santosh is blessed with the human qualities of both head and heart.
Q.6. Imagine you are Santosh Yaday. You are feeling uncomfortable about enrolling yourself for climbing without seeking your father’s permission. Write a letter of apology to your father politely explaining your situation.
Ans. Kasturba Hostel
17th May 1988
Both Mom and you must be looking forward to my visit during the holidays after the college semester. However, Pm afraid we all shall have to forego the pleasure of each other’s company this summer. I’m very sorry about it but let me explain the situation.
I have got myself enrolled for training at Uttarkashi’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. Dad, my passion for climbing has got the better of me and I couldn’t resist this opportunity to get trained as a mountaineer. Pm sure you’ll understand and forgive me. I assure you both, that I’ll prove myself in this field and make you all proud. I need your and Mama’s blessings.
As for the holiday, my semester has ended today and I have to join the Institute on the twenty-first. So, I do not have enough g time to come home. I hope you’ll bear and forgive your dear daughter who loves you and respects you from the core of her heart.