Previous Year Short Answer Questions
Q.10. Describe how the works of Munshi Premchand reflect the social conditions of the Indian society in the early 20th Century. (2010)
State the significance of the novels of Premchand. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Works of Premchand lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. His novel Sevasadan deals mainly with conditions of women, child marriage and dowry. His novel Godan tells the story of a poor peasant Hori, how he was exploited by the zamindar, moneylender and officials.
Q.11. Read the following passage and answer the questions given below it : (2010)
‘Dear children, don’t read these novels, don’t even touch them. Your life will be ruined. You will suffer disease and ailments. Why did the good Lord make you – to wither away at a tender age? To suffer in disease? To be despised by your brothers, relatives and those around you. No. No. You must become mothers; you must lead happy lives; this is the divine purpose, You, who were born to fulfill this sublime goal, should you ruin your life by going crazy after despicable novels?’
(a) Analyse the message given by the writer to children.
(b) Name the writer when was this published.
(i) The writer advises children (girls) not to read novels, not even touch them. Their life would be ruined and they would suffer diseases and ailments.
(ii) The writer advises children (girls) to fulfill the divine purpose of becoming good mothers and leading a happy life. They should not read novels and be despised by one and all. Women should not ruin their lives by going crazy after novels.
(iii) The writer is Thiru V. Vi. Ka. The essay was published in 1927.
Q.12. “Colonial administrators found vernacular novels a valuable source of information on native life and customs.” Support the statement with suitable examples. (2010)
“Novels were useful for both the colonial administrators and Indians in colonial India.” Support the statement with examples. (2010)
Ans. Colonisers : Colonial administration found the vernacular novels a valuable source of information on native life and customs. This information was useful for them in governing Indian society which had various communities and castes. The British knew little about the life inside Indian households. The new novels in Indian languages described how people lived, dressed, worshipped, and their beliefs and practices. Some of these novels were translated into English.
Indian Nationalists used the novel as a powerful medium to criticise the defects in society, to suggest remedies. Novels also helped in creating a pride in the nation’s past. Through glorified accounts of India’s past these novels helped in creating a national pride among the readers. The novels also created a sense of collective belonging on the basis of one’s language – the novels made the readers share a common language. The novels brought people together by making the readers familiar with the ways in which people in other parts of land spoke, wrote and lived. Many historical novels like Bankim Chandra’s Anandamath, Bhudeb Mukherjee’s Anguriyo Binimoy described people’s fight against oppressive rulers and encouraged nationalism. Novels brought together people from varied backgrounds and produced a sense of shared community – the most notable form of this community is the nation. This helped the progress of nationalism.
Q.13. Explain any three reasons for the popularity of the novel in the 18th century. (2009)
Ans. Novels became popular from the 18th century in Europe.
(i) The number of readership increased as new groups of lower middle-class people such as shopkeepers and clerks, along with the traditional aristocratic and gentlemanly classes in England formed the new readership for novels.
(ii) As readership grew, markets for books expanded, the earnings of authors increased. They now had the freedom to experiment with different literary styles. They were no longer dependent on the patronage of the aristocrats. The novel allowed flexibility in form of writing. Samuel Richardson’s Pamela was an epistolary novel; Walter Scott wrote historical novels and Henry Fielding wrote Tom Jones and called himself a founder of new province of writing. The different styles and experiments added to the popularity of the novel.
(iii) Third and most important was that technological improvements brought down the price of books. The novel became the first mass produced item to be sold. The world created by novels was absorbing, believable and seemingly real. People could read them in private or in public and have a group discussion.
Q.14. Describe any three features of Bengali novels of the 19th century. (2009)
Ans. Early 19th century, Bengali novels portrayed two worlds :
(i) Love stories based on historical events, and
(ii) The inner world of domestic life, social problems and man-woman relationship in marriage.
The old rich elite of Calcutta liked and patronised early forms of entertainment such as Kabir Larai and musical soirees and dance performances.
The new ‘Bhadralok’ preferred reading novels in their own private world. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was the first to arrange a reading of his novel Durgeshnandini (1865) in his own room, before a small group of friends. Bankim’s novel used a colloquial style, used meyeli associated with women’s speech. The style was the vernacular style. It was appreciated as much as the plot with its twists and turns; Bankim made best of both the worlds. He used to hold jatras in the courtyard before family members and private reading of his novel in his private room.
Q.15. Describe in brief the role of novels in popularising the sense of belongingness to a common nation. (2009)
(i) Imagining a heroic past was one way in which the novel helped in popularising the sense of beloging to a common nation.
(ii) Another was to include various classes in the novel so that they could be seen to belong to a shared world. Premchand’s novels, for example, were filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society.
(iii) The novels promoted an understanding of different people, different values and different communities. Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s – Anguriyo Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengali. It glorifies Shivaji and his many battles against the clever and treacherous Aurangzeb, the Mughal ruler. It describes how Shivaji escaped from the clutches of Aurangzeb. It helped the reader in imagining a nation full of adventure, heroism, romance and sacrifice. Shivaji became a nationalist figure fighting for the freedom of the Hindus.
Q.16. How was the involvement of women, the most important event of the novel in the 18th century? (2009)
Ans. The 18th century saw the middle-classes become more prosperous. Women got more leisure to read as well as write novels. They began exploring the world of women – their emotions and identities, their experiences and problems. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme about which they could speak with authority. Women did not simply write about the domestic role of women, they wrote about women who broke the established norms of society.
Example : Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre published in 1874. The heroine is shown as independent and assertive. George Eliot (pen-name of Mary Ann Evans) thought novels gave special opportunity to women to express herself freely. In India also, women started writing freely.
Q.17. How did novels explore and depict the world of women? Explain it by giving examples. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Many novels were written about domestic life and novels began exploring the world of women– their emotions and identifies, their experiences and problems. Women got more leisure to read as well as write roods. The novels of Jane austen give as a glimps of the world of women in genteel rural society in the early 19th century. They made as think about society which encouraged women to look for good marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands. Women novelists also dealt with women who broke established norms of society before adjusting to them.
Q.18. Name the first modern Hindi novel which became a best seller? Who was its writer? Why was it so popular? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. The first Indian novel in Hindu become a best seller was Chandrakanta. A romance with dazzing elements of familary, it is believed to have contributed immensely in popularising the Hindu language and the Nagari script among the educated classes of those times. Although it was writter poorly for the pleasure of reading. This novel also gives some interesting in sights into the fears and delights of its reading public.
Q.19. What did G.A. Henty write about in his novel? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. G.A. Henry wrote historical advenly novels for boys. They aroused the excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were set in exotic locales like Mexico, Alexandria, Siberia and many other countries. They were always about young boys who witness grand historical events get involved in some military action and show what they called ‘English’ courage Henry was widely popular during the height of the British empire.
Q.20. What were the issues raised by the novel Indulekha written in Malayalam? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. The issues raised in by the novel Indulekha written in Malayalam were :
(i) How could the Indians face, under colonial rule, the trouble of safe guarding their cultural identity and traditions. How could they accept modern colinial culture without setting aside their own cultural could they accept modern colonial heritage. The heroine and how of the novel had received westen education and were antistic and highly cultural. Besides English, they both knew Sanskrit also. Though he were western dress, the hero, Madhavan, kept a long lift of hair as was the tradition of his clan, the Nayars.
(ii) It also was about on issue, hotly debated at that time, the marriage practices of copper caste Hindus in Kerala, specially the Nambuthiri Brahmins and the Nayars. Nambuthiri’s were the landlords in Kerala and Nayars’ their tenants. In late 19th century Kerala, the younger generations of Nayars, with English education, objected strongly against marriages between Nambuthiris and Nayars. They wanted new laws regarding marriages and properly. The Nayars had acquired property and wealth on their own. Chandu Menon clearly wnated his readers to appreciate new values of hero and heroine and criticise the ingorance of the Nambuthiris and challenge old traditions.
Q.21. Describe the two kinds of novels that came to be written in Bengali in the 19th century? Name any two famous novelists of Bengal. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
In what ways did the characters of the novel Indulekha show that Indian and foreign ‘lifestyles could be brought together in an ideal combination? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Two kinds of novels in Bengali, popular in 19th century Bengal were :
(i) Love stories based on historical events, located in the past, as well as their characters and events.
(ii) The second group of novels depicted the inner world of domestic life in contemporary settings. Domestic novels dealt with the social problems and romantic relations between men and women.
Two famous Bengali writer were Bankim Chandra Chattopadhayay (1876-7930). Bankim Chandra chattopadhayay (1876-1930) . Bankim Chandra wrote Durgeshnandini, Anandmath which belonged to first kind of Bengali novels. Sarat Chandra wrote Sreekanta, Biraj Bahu, novels that were about domestic and social problems.
Q.22. How did novels promote colonialism? Explain with an example of a novel. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
How were novels in colonial India useful for colonizers. [2011 (T-1)]
With the help of an example show how the early novel in Europe contributed to colonialism. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Novels contributed to colonialism by making the readers feel they were part of a superior community of fellow colonists. For example, the new of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is an adventurer and a slave trader. Shipwrecked on an island, he hates coloured people as inferior creatures, not human beings equal to him.
The colonisers were always depicted as heroic and honourable – confronting ‘native’ peoples, stranges surroundings, adapting to native life, changing it. They coloured territories only to develop them. R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, G.A. Henry’s adventure novels, all glorified colonialism.
Q.23. Explain the themes and issues of the novels of Charles Dickens with examples. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Charles Dickens wrote about terrible, effects of industirasation on people’s lives and characters. His novel Hard Times described Lake Town, a fictitius industrial town, as a grim place of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and building that all looked the same. His workers were known as ‘hands’, as if they had no other identity them as operations of machines. He criticised the greed for profits and ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production.
Dickens also focussed on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial Capitalism Oliver Twist tells the tale of a poor orphan who lived in the world of criminals and beggars. Though Oliver Twist had a happy ending, but not all novels about the poor ended happily.
Q.24 Name one famous woman novelist in 19th century England. Describe the different ways in which women novelists portrayed women. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Famous 19th century woman novelist – Jana Austen. She wrote about the world of women in gentcel rural society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages and find wealthy or propertied husbands. As the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice says, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Other women novelists did not simply popularise the domestic role of women. Their novels dealt with women who broke established norms of society before adjusting to them. Such novels allowed women readers to sympathise with rebellions actions. Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre young Jane as independent and assertive. At the often gave protests against the hypoon of her elders with startling bluntness. He tells her aunt, “People think you are a good woman but you are bad – You are deceitful I will never call you aunt as long as I live.”
Q.25. Name the first novel written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya. Describe his condtibution to the Bengali novel. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. First Novel written by Bankim Chandra was Durgesh Nandini 91865). He wrote love stories based on historical events. To popularise novels he hosted a Jatra in the courtyard where members of the family would be gathered, to read, discuss and judge literary works. The gathering, when it first heard Bankim readout Durgesh Nandini were stunned to realise that Bengali Novel had achieved excellence so quickly. Bankim prose was Sanskritised but also contained a more Vernacular style. He replaced Meyeli (the language associated with women’s speech). His Anandmath inspired many kinds of freedom fighters.
Q.26. What were the various uses of novels from the Indian point of view? [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Explain any three uses of novels in the colonial world. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Indians used the novel as a powerful medium to criticise what they considered as defects in them and to suggest remedies writers like Viresalingnam used the novel mainly to propogate their ideas about society among a wider readership. Novels also helped in establishing a relationship with the past. Many of them told thrilling stories of adventures and intrigues set in the past. Glorifying the past created a sense of national pride among their readers.
People from all walls of life could read novels so they shared a common language. It created a sense of collective belonging on the basis of one’s language. The ways the characters spoke in a novel began to indicate their region, class or caste. Thus novels made their readers familiar with the ways in which people in other parts of their lands spoke their language.
Q.27. “The novels brings together many cultures.” Explain. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The Novel brings together many cultures, like the nations. First the use of Vernacular, the language spoken by the common people. By coming closer to the different spoken languages of the people, the novel produces the sense of shared world between diverse people in a nation. Novels also draws from different styles of language. A language may take a classical language and combine it with the language of the streets and make them all a part of the Vernacular that it uses.
Q.28. Assess the contribution of Munshi Premchand in Hindi novels. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. With Munshi Premchand the Hindu novel achieved excellence. He drew on the traditional art of kissa-goi (story telling). He lifted the Hindu novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. Sevasadan dealt with the poor condition of women in society. Issues like child marriage and dowry are women into the story of the novel. In his novel Gidan be wrote a moving story of Hari and his wife Dhania, or peasant couple and their struggle against landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats.
Q.29. How did the novels of Munshi Premchand promote the feeling of nationalism? Explain. [2010 (T-1)]
Characters of Premchand’s novels were drawn from various strata of society. Explain from any two of his novels. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Premchand drew characters from various strata of society in his novels. His characters gave the image of a world shared by all, a world based on democratic values. In his novel one meets landlords, aristocrats, middle level peasants landless laboures, middle class professionals and people from margins of society. The central characters of his novel Rangabhoomi, Surdas is from an untouchable class and blind. Choosing him as a hero is significant. The story of Surdas is inspired by Gandhiji’s personality and ideas. His novels revealed the problems of thinking about the nation : was India to be a nation of only a single religious community? Who had natural claims to belong to the nation?
Q.30. Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel from starting to excellence. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Bharatendu Harishchandra was the pioneer of modern Hindu literature. He encouraged writers to recreate and translate novels from other languages.
First proper modern Hindu novel was Pariksha Guru written by Srinivas Das of Delhi in 1882. The novel trees to teach the young readers the right way to live and expects all ‘sensible men’ to remain wordly wise and practical and to remain rooted in the valves of their own tradition and culture. It was too moralising in its style and did not become popular. Devakinandan khatri created a novel reading public. His Chandrakanta was a bestseller romance mixed with dazzling fantasy. It made Hindu language and script popular. This novel though written purely for ‘pleasure of reading’, gave some interesting insight into the fears and desires of its reading public.
It was Premchand who made Hindi novel achieve excellence. He took away Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. His novels Sevasadan, Godan, and Rangabhoomi had powerful characters drawn from all strata of society. His women characters were powerfully drawn. He chose poor and downtrodden as his heroes, discussed every kind of oppression, modelled his characters on Gandhiji and made us think of India as one nation.
Q.31. “Leading Indian novelists of the 19th century wrote for a national cause.” Do you agree with the statement? Justify your answer. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Many historical novels were about India’s glorious past. Many historical novels were written about Marathas and Rajputs which produced a sense of pan-Indian belonging. They imagined the nation to be full of adventure, heroism, romance and sacrifice – qualities that could not be found in the offices and sheets of 19th centuries. Bhudev Mukhopadhay’s Anguriya Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengal. Its hero Shivaji fought many battles against a clever and treacherons belief that he was a nationalist fighting for the freedom of Hindus.
Bankimchandra’s Anandmath was about a Hindu militia that fought Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters. Writers like Premchand wrote novels which included various classes in the novels. He created characters who believed in a community based on democratic values. He made us think of social issues like caste oppression. All the above wrote for a national cause.
Q.32. How did novels inspire the freedom fighters? Explain with two examples. [2010, 2011 (T-1)]
How did the novels in India encourage nationatism explain any three points.
Ans. Novels like Anandmath written by Bankimchandrachattopadhyay and Bhudev Mukhopadhyay’s, Anguriya Binimoy inspired many kinds of freedom fighters this forical novels were about Marathas and Rajputs and they inspired adventure heroism, romance and sacrifice. Both the novels portrayed a fight against Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. Anandmath with its song “Bandematram” inspired the nationalists to fight against the British. Bhuddeb’s book described how Shivaji fought against Aurangzeb. They were written to show that Indians could be independent minded and had been so in the past. Indians were not weak, divided and dependent on are British. It made them think of India as a nation.
Q.33. How were the stories in prose not new in India? [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. Stories in prose were not new to India. Banbhatta’s Kadambiri, written in Sanskrit in the 7th century, is an example. Panctantra is another example, Tales of adventures had been written in Persian and Urdu called “Dastan”.
Q.34. Why were many people worried about the effects of the novels on readers? Mention any three reasons. [2010 (T-1)]
Ans. The three reasons for worry about the effects of the novel on readers were :
(i) The critics were worried about the immoral influence of the novels. They took people away from real surroundings to an imaginary world where anything happen.
(ii) Women and children were considered as soft targets who could be corrupted easily. They were singled out for advice. They were warned against ailments and diseases which would ruin their lives if they wasted their time in reading novels.
(iii) Men were suspicious of women reading or writing novels. This suspician cut across communities. Many thought women would became rebellious and refuse to conform to traditions.
Q.35. Why did Chandu Menon decide to write a novel in Malayalam instead of translating the English novel? [2010 (T-1)]
What led Chandu Menon to write Indulekha?
Ans. Chandu Menon tries to translate an English novel Henrielta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli into Malayalam. But he quickly realised that readers in Kerala will not understand how the characters in English novels lived : their clothes, ways of speaking, manners were unknown to them. They would find a direct translation from English boring. So he gave up the idea of translation and wrote a story in Malayalam in the “manner of English Novels”. This was his delightful first novel called Indulekha, published in 1889.
Q.36. How did novels depict the lives of peasants and low castes? Explain with examples from India. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Novels in all vernacular languages including Hindi threw light on the lives of peasants and low castes. Godan written by Premchand, is an epic of Indian peasantry. The novel tells the story of a peasant couple who are exploited and robbed of their land by landlords and moneylenders. They turn into landless labourers and Hori dies. The central character of Prem Chand’s novel Rangbhoomi is Surdas a blind beggar from an untouchable caste. The very act of choosing such a person as the ‘hew’ of the novel is significant. Potheri Kunjambu, a ‘lower-caste’ writer from Kerala wrote the novel Saraswativijayam in 1892 mounting a strong attack on caste oppression.
Q.37. ‘Novels created a sense of social awareness in India.’ Explain. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. Most of the novels in India described class and caste struggle. They depicted societal changes within colonial society. Almost all novels of Premchand, Bankim Chandra and Sharat Chandra created a sense of social awareness amongst their readers. The awareness was about caste, class, oppression, colonial rule.
Q.38. What actions of Robinson Crusoe made him as a typical coloniser? Explain. [2011 (T-1)]
Ans. The novel originated in Europe at a time when it was colonising the rest of the world. The hero of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is an adventurer and slave trader. Ship-wrecked on an island, Crusoe treats coloured people not as human beings equal to him, but as inferior creatures. He rescues a native and makes him his slave. He does not ask for his name but arrogantly gives him the name Friday. But during that time, Crusoe’s behaviour was seen as acceptable and normal. This is because colonised people were seen as primitive, barbaric, less than human and colonial rule was considered necessary to civilise them, to make them fully human.
Previous Year Long Answer Questions
Q.9. Name the first modern novel of Hindi. Who wrote this novel? State four characteristics of this novel. (2008)
Ans. The first modern novel in Hindi was ‘Pariksha Guru’ written by Srinivas Das of Delhi. It was published in 1882.
(i) The novel depicted the conflict between the ideas of new society emerging under colonial rule and the old cultural values.
(ii) The characters find the new world fascinating, yet frightening. They take to new methods of cultivation, try to be modern in their practices, try to make their language capable of teaching western sciences. The young develop healthy habits of reading newspapers.
(iii) The moral pointed out by the writer to choose the right to live with dignity and honour. Stick to your roots but be wise and practical.
(iv) It was too preachy and did not become too popular.
Q.10. Describe how the works of Munshi Premchand reflect the social conditions of the Indian society in the early 20th century? (2008)
Ans. The central theme of Munshi Premchand’s novels was life in the villages as it then existed. His works have a social purpose. They are intended to awaken the reader to the harsh realities of life in rural India. His characters are not imaginary but lifted from real-life situations. His themes cover the curse of untouchability as practiced, specially in rural India. In addition, the problems of tenant farmers, the oppressive culture of the zamindars and the struggles of ordinary people have been highlighted in his works. He was in this sense asocial reformer a also a great novelist.
Q.11. Describe any two popular themes on which women writers in England wrote in the 19th century. (2008)
Ans. Women novelists like Jane Austin, George Eliot and Charlotte Bronte projected a new species of women who were strong in their determination and had a personality of their own. Thei novels dealt with the women who broke established norms of society before adjusting to them. Such stories allowed women readers to sympathise with rebellious actions. Yet another set of special magazines popularised articles on housekeeping. Many novels were written on domestic life. Thus, women were allowed to speak with the authority. They drew upon their experiences, wrote about family life and earned public recognition.
Q.12. “Premchand’s novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all strata of society.” Support the statement by giving suitable examples. (2009)
Ans. Premchand has created very powerful characters in his novels and they cover the whole spectrum of society. In his novels, we meet with aristocrats and landlords, middle-level peasants and landless labourers, middle-class professionals and people from margins of society. The women characters are very strong individuals, especially those who come from the lowerclasses of rural society. His characters create a community based on democratic values. The central character of his novel Rangbhoomi, Surdas is a blind beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste. Premchand’s choice of such a character as his ‘hero’ is very significant. We see Surdas\ struggling against the forcible takeover of his land for establishing a tobacco factory. The story of Surdas, inspired by Gandhiji’s personality and ideas, makes us think about industrialisation and its impact on society.
In his novel, Godan, published in 1936, Premchand writes an epic, a moving story of Hori and his wife Dhania, a peasant couple and their struggle against landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats – all symbols of power and oppression in society. Hori and Dhania retain their dignity till the end though they were robbed of their land and turned into landless labourers.
His novel Sewasadan, published in 1916, lifted Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy to serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. It mainly dealt with the poor condition of women in India, with issues like dowry, child marriage woven into the story of the novel.
|1. What is the importance of studying novels in understanding society and history?|
|2. How does the study of novels contribute to the development of critical thinking skills?|
|3. What are some examples of novels that provide insights into society and history?|
|4. How can the study of novels help us understand the perspectives of marginalized communities?|
|5. Can the study of novels be used to challenge dominant narratives in society?|