Additional Very Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. What should we remember about men?
Ans: We should remember that no men are strange.
Q2. What should we remember about countries?
Ans: We should remember that no countries are foreign.
Q3. Where do we all walk upon?
Ans: We all walk on the same earth.
Q4. Where shall we all lie in the end
Ans: In the end, we all shall lie in the earth.
Q5. What are all men fed by?
Ans: All men are fed by peaceful harvests.
Q6. What do you mean by peaceful harvest?
Ans: By peaceful harvests, we mean the crops grown during the period of peace.
Q7. What do you mean ‘wars’ long winter?
Ans: It means the painful days of the war when we are kept indoors.
Q8. What are we doing to the human earth?
Ans: We are polluting the human earth.
Q9. Why should we not hate others?
Ans: We should not hate others because they all are our brothers.
Q10. What do you mean by ‘hells of fire and dust’?
Ans: ‘Hells of fire and dust’ means the wars that cause a lot of destruction.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1.”Beneath all uniforms…” What uniforms do you think the poet is speaking about?
Ans: The poet is speaking about the dresses or uniforms that armies of different countries wear. Though these ‘uniforms’ are absolutely different in appearance the bodies under them are the same. The poet tries to convey that the differences among the people of different countries are superficial. Essentially, all human beings are the same.
Q2. Whom does the poet refer to as ‘our brothers’ and why?
Ans: The poet refers to the people living in other countries as ‘our brothers’. He says so because the superficial dissimilarities of complexion, language, dress, culture and nationality do not, and must not, segregate us as human beings. Human wants, human needs, human hopes, human emotions are the same anywhere in the world.
Q3. How does the poet suggest (in the first stanza) that all people on earth are the same?
Ans: In the first stanza, the poet suggests that no human being is strange or different. Beneath the superficial surface of our bodies, we all have similar hearts, minds and souls. We all breathe and live in a similar manner. The earth is our common asset and one day we all shall die and be buried in the same way.
Q4. What does the poet mean when he says, ‘in which we all shall lie’?
Ans: The poet means that we all shall lie under the same earth. Here ‘lie’ means to be buried after death. This is to highlight that all of us have to meet the same fate, sooner or later, hence there is no point in hating each other.
Q5. In stanza 1, find five ways in which we are alike. Pick out the words phrases suggesting these similarities.
Ans: Following are the five phrases that suggest that we are all alike.
(1) No men are strange
(2) No countries foreign
(3) a single body breathes like ours
(4) the land our brothers walk upon is earth like this
(5) in which we all shall lie
Q6. Why does the poet call harvests ‘peaceful’ and war as ‘winter’?
Ans: Harvests are called ‘peaceful’ because they bring abundance and prosperity and they thrive in peaceful times only. War, on to the other hand, is like the severe and harsh ‘winter’ that ruins the crops and starves people. It is only the peaceful times that bring harmony and contentment. War destroys everything and forces people to face hunger, poverty, disease and death.
Q7. How many common features can you find in stanza 2? Pick out the words.
Ans: The common features listed in stanza 2 are:
Like us, the people in other countries too enjoy
(iv) peaceful harvests
Like us, they too hate starvation caused by long drawn wars
Like us, they too work hard for their livelihood by using their hands.
Q8. ‘They have eyes like ours’. What similarity does the poet find in the eyes of people all over the world?
Ans: The poet finds that eyes of men all over the world have similar sights and scenes to see, and experience the phenomena of waking up and sleeping in a similar way. Hence, the so-called strange and foreign people to have eyes just like us. Even though the colour and shape of their eyes are different from ours, they bring us identical experiences and perform a similar function.
Q9.”…whenever we are told to hate our brothers….” When do you think this happens and why?
Ans: Whenever their own importance or existence is in danger, politicians and religious leaders make us believe that our existence and our interests are in danger and, provoke us to hate our fellow human beings. This happens when we allow our reason to be swayed by our fears and hatred.
Q10. In one of the stanzas, the poet finds similarity in human hands. What is it?
Ans: The poet feels that people of all countries have to work hard in a similar fashion to earn their livelihood. This is done by them with the help of their hands. It is the hands that do all the work in the world and it is the hands that are a source of all creativity.
Q11. Who tells us ‘to hate our brothers’? Should we do as we are told at such times? What does the poet say?
Ans: The politically motivated and power-hungry people tell us to hate our brothers during wartime. The poet says that we should not get swayed by such provocation. If we do so, it would result in our own dispossession, betrayal and condemnation.
Q12. How does man pollute this earth by going to war?
Ans: Man pollutes the earth by causing death and destruction and by spreading hatred and enmity through wars. The war also causes irreparable damage to the earth’s environment by polluting it with dust, debris and smoke caused by war weapons.
Q13. What does the poet say about ‘hating our brothers’?
Ans: The poet strongly condemns ‘hating our brothers’. He feels that when we indulge in such negativity, we actually harm ourselves. We deprive ourselves of the love of our brothers and earn condemnation for such depravity.
Q14. Why does the poet say that people of the world should live in peace and not go to war?
Ans: The poet advocates living in peace because peace brings progress, prosperity and cheer in this world. He advises mankind to shun wars because wars bring death, exploitation, want, poverty and starvation. They also defile the earth and pollute the very air we all breathe.
Q15. How does the poet propose to win over other countries?
Ans: The poet proposes to win over other countries through the divine force of love. It is a universal fact that this world responds positively to love and kindness. So the poet plans to use it to end all hatred and war and create peaceful heaven on earth.
Q16. Who, according to you, is the speaker in this poem?
Ans: The speaker in this poem is the poet himself who stands for the goodness of the human heart that propagates love, peace and universal brotherhood. He is a champion of love, peace and joy.
Q17. In four stanzas out of five, the poet uses the word “Remember”. Why do you think he has repeated this word so many times?
Ans: By repeating the word ‘remember’, the poet wishes us never to forget that our ideas, emotions and experiences are similar to that of the people we conventionally think of as ‘strange’ or ‘foreign’. He wants to emphasise that all human beings are identical in nature and phases of human life are the same anywhere in the world.
Q18. Mention any two ways in which people living in other countries are similar to us.
Ans: All people of the world have eyes similar to ours. They too experience the phenomena of sleeping and waking up like us. The emotion of love too is experienced and responded to in a similar manner by all the people. Everyone’s physical strength can be countered with the power of love.
Q19. What is the central idea of the poem?
Ans: The central idea of the poem is that all human beings are similar and equal. Hence, we should love one another and live in peace and harmony. Universal brotherhood and harmonious co-existence will not only unite us but will also save our mother earth from getting polluted and damaged.
Q20. Why do countries engage in wars and to what effect?
Ans: Vested interests of the power-hungry people instigate the common man to hate fellow-beings living in different parts of the world. This narrow approach leads to wars and results in bloodshed and irreparable loss of innocent lives.
Q21. How does the title sum up the theme of the poem “No Men are Foreign”
Ans: Right through the poem, the poet talks about the concept of universal brotherhood and peaceful co-existence, without any place for any kind of prejudice. He emphasises the fact that all human beings are inherently the same and divisions based on nation, caste, colour, creed or religion are baseless. James Kirkup, the poet, has beautifully conveyed these ideas through the title of the poem “No Men Are Foreign”.
Q22. “No Men are Foreign” is an anti-war poem. Comment.
Ans: “No Men Are Foreign” is a peace poem which propagates the idea of human brotherhood and peaceful co-existence by annihilating all war and hatred. War harms both the suppressed and the suppressor. It brings about death, destruction, deprivation’ starvation and pollution. Hence, wars should be shunned forever.
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. How does the poem justify that people in all countries of the world are essentially the same?
Ans: The poet justifies the statement that people living in different countries are essentially the same by asserting that ‘no men are strange’. Every single body breathes and functions in the same way as ours. Each one of us equally needs the sun, air and water. Human hands too are used for the similar purpose of toiling for livelihood. Eyes too perform the similar function of sleeping and waking up. Love wins us all and we all recognise its power. In peace times, we all flourish and wars starve us. Hatred leads us astray and when we take up arms against each other, the entire earth is defiled and destroyed. Therefore, we all like peace which showers abundance and prosperity on us. Therefore, essentially we all are the same.
Q2. ‘Wars have always brought total ruin in this world, yet they are fought repeatedly.’ Discuss.
Ans: Wars are the result of over-ambition and greed of irresponsible rulers of the world. They bring ruin both to the victor and the vanquished by shattering the economy of the warring countries. In the past, wars were localised but now they are global and hence more dangerous and destructive. The memories of the First and the Second World Wars are still fresh in our minds. The horrific after-effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 can still be seen. Still, it is appalling to note that people of the world do not learn from history. The danger of yet another war lurks all the time. The divisive forces are even stronger in the present times and the mad race for armaments too is scary. Hope lies in the strength of the common people who should refuse to be fooled by vested and unscrupulous leaders. Instead, people of the world should look at the world as a global village that offers innumerable opportunities and reasons for peaceful coexistence.
Q3. How does the poet James Kirkup prove that no men are foreign? How far is he able to convince his reader about it?
Ans: The poet, James Kirkup, cites various examples to prove that no men are foreign. The very title of the poem is thought-provoking and compels the reader to think about the issue of people living in other countries as foreigners and strangers. As the poem progresses, the poet repeatedly emphasises that all human beings are identical in their nature and approach. All live on the same earth; enjoy air, sun and water; love peace and are averse to war. They all have common experiences and toil in a similar manner to earn the livelihood. The logical reasoning put forth by the poet and the frequent reminders fully convince the reader that no men are foreign. He gets the message that alienation from fellow brethren is equally damaging to himself. He also understands that by treating other men as foreign, the world stands exposed to the risk of war which can lead to irreversible destruction and pollution of mother earth. Q4. In what way do we dispossess, betray and condemn ourselves by hating our brothers and taking up arms against them? By hating our brothers and taking up arms against them, we ‘dispossess’ ourselves as we deprive ourselves of their love. When we hate them, they too retaliate negatively and cease to love us. Mutually, we deprive each other of the noble emotion of love. We betray ourselves as our hatred leads to wars, and wars cause widespread death and destruction. This leads to the piling up of trash that pollutes our own mother earth. The dust and smoke from war choke the air that we breathe. So, hatred of fellow beings, in fact, leads to betrayal of our own selves. Further, this earns us condemnation as we violate the purity of the elements of nature. We threaten our own existence by ruining the systems that sustain us. Hence, hating our brothers and taking up arms against them does more damage to us.
Q4. How, according, to the poet, the human earth is ‘defiled’ and the innocence of air ‘outraged’?
Ans: The weapons of war make the earth dirty and spoil its atmosphere. The deadly ammunition destroys the fertility of the earth and makes it barren. Explosives cause destructive fires sending ashes all over. This pollutes the land as well as the air and the water. It leads to the spread of hunger and innumerable diseases. Both earth and air lose their purity. Thus, the victor, as well as the vanquished, find the Earth and its environment hostile and unfriendly. The kind mother Nature becomes absolutely helpless and is unable to shower her gifts on human beings. It is tarnished and robbed of its bounties. The innocence of air is signified by its purity. But wars strip the air of this innocence and fill it with smoke and dirt. The air then becomes unsuitable for human survival. Thus ‘human earth’ is ‘defiled’ and ‘innocence of air’ is ‘outraged’ by wars.