Summary of Abhiley
Abhiley is a wonderful short story penned down by ‘Abdul Gani Sheikh’. In this story, the author has wonderfully depicted some principal logical contradictions, i.e. simplicity and ignorance versus modernity, and the issues of the generation gap between the general population of various ages.
Abhiley was a common woman. She didn’t react to present-day innovation in a positive way. When she heard about the earthquake in Turkey, her face turned pale and she prayed to God to have to feel sorry for on her granddaughter to be specific Rukshsana who was in Srinagar for the quest of education. She implied that Turkey and Srinagar were similar spots. This episode demonstrates that she didn’t know anything about the outside world. When she was educated about the breakdown of the bus in which Rukhsana was voyaging she contended that every one of the travellers may have died. Further, when she came to think about the gun that had been kept in the kitchen, she didn’t rest for two days guarding the kitchen. One day when she saw a plane out of the blue, she welcomed it with grass in her crate. Additionally, when she was informed that there were floods in Srinagar, Abhiley waved her hands in tumult. Every one of these examples demonstrates that Abhiley responses to present-day innovation depended on simplicity and innocence. All the elderly individuals particularly unskilled ladies have a similar response to present-day innovation. The reason behind such a state of mind and conduct is straightforward. A lady who has led her life in sheer numbness and simplicity is all of a sudden presented to the muddled and complex universe of advancement. Her response clearly would be some of the time silly and once in a while disgraceful.
The short story Abhiley also acquaints with the lack of interest of others towards Abhiley. The present generation people for the most part neglect to comprehend seniors love for them and when they understand it is as of now past the point of no return. While other relatives relax, Abhiley isn’t prepared to acknowledge the detachment from her friends and family. She generally misses Ruksana; her granddaughter and continues getting some information about her.
Textbook Questions of Abhiley
1. Do you think that Abhiley represents the simplicity of Ladakhi women? Cite two examples of her innocence and ignorance of the text.
Answers. Abhiley is a simple Ladakhi woman. Yes, she represents the simplicity of Ladakhi women. Two examples of her innocence and ignorance are cited as follows:
i) When she heard about the earthquake in Turkey, her face turned pale and she prayed to God to have pity on her granddaughter namely Rukshsana. Rukhsana was in Srinagar for the pursuit of education and Abhiley thought that Turkey and Srinagar were the same places. This incident shows that she knew nothing about modern technology and the outside world.
ii) When she came to know that the bus in which Rukhsana was travelling had broken down near Kargil. Abhiley argued that her granddaughter might have survived. She had the understanding that the breakdown of the bus the meant that it had an accident. This also shows that she was too much innocent and ignorant.
2. Why didn‘t Abhiley recognize Dolma and called her a memsahib?
Answer. Abhiley had not seen Dolma for a long time. That is why she did not recognize her. She called Dolma a memsahib because she did not look like a traditional village girl. She looked like a modern woman. She had put on the dress in the way that looked entirely different than Abhiley usually found women in their dresses. As Dolma was in the modern fashionable dress, therefore she appeared to be something different and unusual to Abhiley.
3. How would you estimate Abhiley’s response to modern technology?
Answer: Abhiley was a simple woman. She did not response to modern technology in a positive manner but in a humorous and pathetic way. When she heard about the breakdown of the bus in which Rukhsana was travelling, she understood all the passengers might have died. When she heard about the gun that had been kept in the kitchen, she did not sleep for two days guarding the kitchen. When she saw an aeroplane for the first time she greeted it with a grass in her basket. Also, when she was told that there were floods in Srinagar, Abhiley waved her hands in agitation. Almost all the old people especially illiterate women have the same reaction to modern technology. But now time is changing. The young girls along with the boys are receiving education and making the difference. This has superbly eliminated the ignorance to a large extent.
However, it is also worth to mention here that the younger generations mostly fail to understand elders love for them and when they realize it is already too late. In the story, while other family members took it easy, Abhiley was not ready to accept the separation from her loved ones. She missed Ruksana and was always worried about her.
Above all, the young generations are unable to understand that it is not easy to come out from the simplicity and ignorance if a person who has spent all his or her life in ignorance and simplicity is suddenly exposed to the complicated and abstruse world of modernity.
4. What are the major themes of the short story Abhiley?
Answer: The major themes of the story Abhiley are generation gap, simplicity, and modernity especially in rural life, confinement to the home, exploitation of simple behaviour by others and orthodox nature.
Some of the themes are elaborated as here
Generation gap means the difference in behaviour and attitude towards something between the people of two or more generations that often causes a lack of understanding between them. The story Abhiley also highlights the problem of the generation gap. In the short story, there is a huge difference in attitude and thinking between Abhiley who is confined to her home and her children or grandchildren who are exposed to the modern world.
The story introduces to the indifference of others towards Abhiley. The story shows that the younger generations mostly fail to understand elders love for them and when they realize it is already too late. While other family members take it easy, Abhiley is not ready to accept the separation from her loved ones. She always misses Ruksana her granddaughter and keeps asking ever loved about her whereabouts.
The generation gap was always present but in modern society, it has reached its peak. Everybody wants to live in his own way and refuses to listen or behave as they are instructed. The adults sometimes are on the wrong track. To remove this barrier, the parents have to be careful in listening to the stories of their children and in helping them in various ways like giving them sound advice, sharing their views, accepting their suggestion etc. The parents should not neglect the children but should spend time with them and understand them. They should listen keenly to their thoughts, understand their problems and attempt to solve them. Parents must also appreciate their children for what they are and not for what they want to be. Parents should enter into an open discussion with their children regarding various issues- lifestyle, religious, ethical, political, social etc. What is needed is friendship, not animosity; sympathy, not criticism; understanding, not judgment; to abridge the Generation Gap.
Simplicity and Modernity
Abhiley is the woman who represents simplicity in the short story while as Dolma and others showcase modernity. Abhiley has primitive thinking. When she hears about the breakdown of the bus she understands all the passengers may have died. When she comes to know about the gun that has been kept in the kitchen, she does not sleep for two days guarding the kitchen. When she sees an aeroplane for the first time, she greets it with a grass in her basket. Almost all the old people especially illiterate women have the same reaction to modern technology. While on the other hand Dolma and other people in Abhiley’s home are modern and have a scientific attitude towards the things. This is because the people are now receiving an education which has eliminated the ignorance tremendously.
Exploitation of Simple Behavior
In this short story, we find the narrator takes advantage of Abhiley’s simplicity. In his home, the children often tear the narrator’s notebooks to make kites and boats. Once he puts on a tearful face before Abhiley and tells her that these papers are official. If they are torn, he will be penalized. These words worked magic on her and she preserves the papers with such care that no children dare to even look at them. This highlights how simplicity is being exploited. In our routine life, we find numerous such examples.
5. Abhiley was always worried about Rukhsana but why did she not opt to stay at Srinagar with her?
Answer: Abhiley was a loving grandmother. She was always worried about her granddaughter Rukhsana who was studying at Srinagar. She was taken to Srinagar to see her but she did not opt to stay there with her granddaughter. She poured out that she would return home as she was missing the other children at her home, that is, her daughter, her granddaughter and her grandson. This shows that she equally loved and missed all of her other family members.
Character Sketch of Abhiley
Abhiley is a simple traditional woman. She knows nothing about modernity and the outside world. Her reactions to modern technology are humorous and sometimes pathetic. When she hears about the earthquake in Turkey, her face turns pale and she prays to God to have pity on her granddaughter namely Rukshsana. Rukhsana has gone to Srinagar for the pursuit of education and Abhiley thinks that Turkey and Srinagar are the same places. This incident shows clearly that she knows nothing about modern technology and the outside world.
When she comes to know about the breakdown of the bus she understands all the passengers may have died. When she hears about the gun that had been kept in the kitchen, she does not sleep for two days guarding the kitchen. When she sees an aeroplane for the first time, she greets it with a grass in her basket. Also, when she is told that there are floods in Srinagar, Abhiley waves her hands in agitation. All these examples show that Abhiley is really a very primitive type of woman. But at the same time, these instances also teach us that Abhiley loves her granddaughter and other children to an unbelievable extent. She misses Rukhsana too much and is always worried about her.
She is a talkative lady and loves to chatter with her friends about familiar matters. She loves to gossip. Once she went to see a movie. The movie bored her. It was a horrible experience to see moving images on the screen. Someone told her that it was about a mother-in-law and their bad treatment of their daughter-in-law. The next day she sat on the rooftop with other lady and spewed poison on all mothers-in-law. Such was her innocence that she failed to understand that she herself was someone’s mother-in-
The Abhiley also suffers from agoraphobia, that is, she suffers from the fear of crowds. Once she had gone to the annual dormice festival. The hustle and bustle squeezed the breath out of her and she decided never to go there again.
Thus, it can be concluded that Abhiley was a traditional, ignorant and innocent woman but above all, she was an embodiment of limitless love for her children and grandchildren.
HOW WILL YOU RELATE BACKWARDNESS TO ILLITERACY
In many societies, some people are unable to receive the proper education because of poverty, deprivation, gender discrimination or for some other reasons. Education is such a beautiful thing helps in unfolding the mind. It opens all the shackles of ignorance and superstition. Educated people
do not simply know a few facts, they know themselves and their place in society. They always remain equipped with the latest knowledge and therefore can easily improve the standard of their lives. They know the ways of how to overcome poverty or any other deprivation. They can easily tackle any problematic situation and the obstacles that come in their way. They can take decisions based on knowledge. Contrary to this, the illiterate know nothing about their status in society. They fail to understand the realities that envelop them. They can’t differentiate between good and bad and stay away from their responsibilities. The illiterate fellows lack the qualities of the refinement of perception, depth of insight and sureness of decision. Their illiteracy plugs them into the dark wells of superstition and blind beliefs. An illiterate is more gullible and gets easily cheated.
Slavery, untouchability, dowry system, and other such social evils are prevalent only in literate societies. An illiterate farmer knows nothing of latest technologies and fails to improve the yield of crops. An illiterate businessman is not aware of the latest market trends and fails to boost it resulting in huge losses. Be it a farmer, a businessman, or any other person, illiteracy halts their progress and thus keeps them backwards Thus, illiteracy itself is the root cause of the backwardness of a person, a society or a nation. If we want to progress and curb backwardness, we need to be confident, responsible, and full of knowledge which can be attained only through proper education.
Language Work | Word Bank
1.sunken cheeks ( the cheeks that have fallen inwards): His sunken cheeks made his bulbous grey eyes seem even more fish-like.
2. broken down ( stopped working): His car broke down and we had to push it off the road.
3. pursed her mouth(shut her mouth for not to say ): She pursed her mouth in anger.
4. spewing venom (using bad and vulgar words against someone): He spewed venom against his rival.
5. hale and hearty (healthy and strong): He was Hale and hearty though more than eighty years of age.