Q. 1. In India, we believe in prayers. Whenever we are faced with a problem, we pray to God. A son of a priest at Udipi, while going to school, prayed at the temple for a pair of shoes. Thirty years later we find his son well dressed in a school uniform. What has brought about this change—the father’s prayer or the father having gone to school or both? Give a reasonable answer. [Comptt., Outside Delhi Set-I, 2013]
Ans. It was indeed the fact that the father had gone to school and received education because of which his son was wearing a school uniform. Education gave him opportunities to improve the quality of not only his life but also of his family and children. Prayers alone cannot help us. We have to put in our efforts to make things better. The father while going to school not only prayed for school shoes but must have also made efforts to get himself educated. The result was that he was able to get for his son whatever he could not have for himself.
Q. 2. What does Anees Jung tell us about life at Mukesh’s home in Firozabad.
Ans. Mukesh is a boy whose family is engaged in manufacturing of bangles in Firozabad. But, heaspires to be a motor mechanic. Mukesh volunteers to take the author to his home. He proudly says that it is being rebuilt. The author along with Mukesh, walks down the stinking lanes which are blocked up with garbage. They walk past homes that remain sort of out – houses with walls falling into pieces. The doors are shaky and there are no windows. Mukesh stops at one such house and opens the unsteady iron door with his foot and pushes it open. They enter a half-built shack or a rough hut. In one part of it, the roof is covered with dead grass. It contains a firewood stove. A weak and young woman is cooking the evening meal for the whole family. With eyes filled with smoke, she smiles. She is the wife of Mukesh’s elder brother. When her father-in-law enters, she gently withdraws behind the broken wall and brings her veil closer to her face, Mukesh’s father is a poor bangle maker. Despite long years of hard labour, first as a tailor then as a bangle maker, he had failed to renovate the house and send his two sons to school. He could just teach them the art of making bangles. Looking at Mukesh’s present conditions, his dreams seem next to impossible.
Q. 3. “It is his Karam, his destiny” that made Mukesh’s grandfather go blind. How did Mukesh disapprove this belief by choosing a new vocation and making his own destiny? [Comptt., Delhi Set I, 2015]
Ans. Mukesh belonged to a poor family of bangle makers. The bangle makers face many problems in the glass industry. They have to work in the dingy cells without air and light, in the high temperature of the furnace. The dust from polishing the bangles is injurious to eyes. They often lose their eyesight before they become adults. Their eyes are more adjusted to darkness than to the light outside. The unfavourable social and legal systems, the deceptive middlemen and their own sad destinies keep the workers in the bangle industry of Firozabad in perpetual poverty. The people of Firozabad have accepted this as their ‘Karam’ or destiny. They have lost all initiative and hope to get out of their situation. But Mukesh was different. His attitude was very different from his family. He wanted to break the family tradition of bangle making. He was daring and determined. He had hopes and dreams. He wanted to be a motor mechanic and that is how he disapproved the established beliefs by choosing a new vocation, and making his own destiny.
Q. 4. Describe the difficulties that the bangle makers of Firozabad face in their lives. [Delhi Set I, 2015]
The life of bangle makers of Firozabad was full of obstacles which forced them to lead a life of poverty and deprivation. Discuss with reference to ‘Lost Spring’. [CBSE, SQP II, 2012, CBSE SQP II, 2011]
Ans. In the lesson ‘Lost Spring’, Anees Jung provides us an insight into how the lives of these bangle makers are caught in the vicious circle of poverty and how they have fallen victims to society. Bangle makers are born in poverty, live in poverty and die in poverty. For generations, people have been in this trade but they have not been able to improve their living conditions. They have to work under inhuman conditions. They have to work under flickering oil lamps. Their eyes get used to darkness and they lose their eyesight even before they are adults. They work hard all day before furnaces with high temperature. In spite of the hard work they get a meagre profit. Their houses have crumbling walls, wobbly doors and no windows. They are over-crowded with humans and animals. They find themselves in the clutches of middlemen and moneylenders. The police and the administration do not help them. Instead, they prey upon them and exploit them. The police, the bureaucrats and the politicians conspire with the middlemen and moneylenders to keep the bangle makers in poverty. Because of these reasons, they cannot form themselves into a co-operative. Their condition has not changed over the generations because they are illiterate and fatalists.
Q. 5. ‘Garbage to them is gold.’ How do ragpickers of Seemapuri survive? [Delhi Set-I/II/III 2017, Delhi 2015]
“For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.” What kind of life do the rag-pickers of Seemapuri lead? [Outside Delhi Set-I/II/III, 2017]
Ans. Value Points: Life of misery and perpetual poverty /live in structures of mud with roofs of tin & tarpaulin/lack of opportunities like education/ devoid of sewage, drainage or running water/ ration cards that get their names on voters’ list and enables them to buy grain./food is more important than identity/rag-picking is prime occupation/their daily bread/one rupee note or coin in garbage sustains hopes/happiness/thrill. ( Any other relevant point)
Detailed Answer: The rag-pickers of Seemapuri immigrated to Delhi from Bangladesh, in 1971 hoping for a bright and promising future. However, their situation in the city is not as comfortable as they expected. The rag-pickers of Seemapuri live in structures of mud, with roofs of tin and tarpaulin. The locality lacks proper sewage, drainage system and running water. All these years, they have lived without an identity and they are still living like that. In spite of having no proper identity and permits, they are surviving. They don’t have ration cards which put them on the Voter’s list and enable them to buy grains. Survival is all that matters to them. This is why they pitch their tents wherever there is food. Garbage and rag-picking are means of survival for the people in Seemapuri, it earns them their daily bread and puts a roof over their heads. Sometimes, while scrounging the garbage, finding money, whether one rupee or ten, is the highlight of their day, especially for the children; as it gives them hope. For children, the garbage is wrapped in wonder, whereas for elders, it is a means for survival. Therefore, the writer is right when she says, “garbage to them is gold.”
Q. 6. What change do you find in Saheb’s life when he stops rag-picking and starts working at a tea-stall? [Foreign Set-I/II/III 2017]
Ans. Value Points: changes in Saheb’s life - no longer his own master - lost his carefree look - found the steel canister heavier than the Plastic bag - lost his freedom
Detailed Answer: Saheb’s full name is ‘Saheb-e- Alam’ which means ‘Lord of the Universe’, but he is unaware of it and roams around with his friends doing rag-picking. One morning, the writer finds out that Saheb has got a job at a tea-stall. He got eight hundred rupees and all his meals, but he was not happy. He was carrying a steel canister which was heavier than the plastic bag he used to carry earlier. Saheb felt burdened, as he was no longer his own master. The canister belonged to the teastall owner, whereas the plastic bags were his own. His face had lost his earlier carefree look, for he had lost his freedom.
Q.7. Mukesh is not like the others. His “dreams loom like a mirage amidst the dust of streets that fill his town Firozabad”. Justify the statement in the light of contrast in the mindsets of Mukesh and the people of Firozabad. [CBSE, SQP 2018-19]
Ans. Suggested Value points: — Firozabad- dominated by bangle industry, most families engaged in making bangles, work around furnaces, physically and mentally hazardous but no one dares to do anything else. — Mukesh - aspires to be a mechanic, unlike his peers, dares to dream, determined to walk to a garage and learn to drive, his passion would help him break away from tradition and achieve his goal.
Detailed Answer: Mukesh is not like others. He is different from the other bangle makers of Firozabad because unlike others he wants to break the chains of age old family lineage and aspires to become a motor mechanic. He wants to come out of the vicious circle of poverty. He dares to dream, unlike his peers, who have accepted bangle making as their profession. Mukesh is a rebel and to fulfill his dream, he is determined to walk to a garage and learn to drive in a city where most families are engaged in making bangles. No one dares to do anything else but work sitting around furnace, which is physically and mentally hazardous. Mukesh’s passion to be a mechanic would help him break away from the tradition of bangle making and achieve his goal.
Q. 8. Why should child labour be eliminated and how?
Ans. Child labour is a curse on our society and it must be eliminated. Childhood is a period of mental and spiritual development. This development is only possible if children lead a carefree life and interact with other children, play with them and learn with them. But a child labourer is deprived of these. He has to work for long hours which is not good for him. Child labourers are exploited and abused. Their innocent minds do not understand the perils of their working conditions. Eliminating child labour is a tremendous task. Most child labourers come from poor homes, some of them have lost their parents and have to support their families. Unless the poverty of the family is removed and children get education, training and financial support, child labour cannot be banned or removed. I agree, that promises made to the poor children are seldom kept. In the text, the author promised to Saheb that she would start a school and he would be able to read there. But she did not mean to build a school. So in the very first place, the promise was not meant to be kept. It was an insincere promise. The government has made laws that no child will work in the glass-bangle industry. But still there are 20,000 poor children working there. They are still there in spite of the law. It is because the Government is unable to provide basic necessities to them like employment, free education etc. So, the laws are not enforced properly, that is the problem. Moreover, there is no political will. Poor children are helpless, so to say.