This story is about a simple young girl named Bholi. Bholi is an Urdu word which means simpleton. Her real name was Sulekha. However, destiny cheated her and when she was ten months old, she tumbled off the bed harming some part of her brain. Subsequently, she could speak only after she was five years of age, however, she stammered badly. Later on, when she was two years old, she had an assault of smallpox that attacked her with clear spots on the entire body. The other kids frequently ridiculed her and imitated her. In this manner, she talked about practically nothing.
Ramlal had seven kids in all – three children and four little girls. Bholi was the youngest. All others were healthy and strong with the exception of Bholi.
Bholi was seven years of age when a primary school opened in their village. The tehsildar came to play out the opening service of the school. He revealed to Ramlal that as a revenue official and as a representative of the village, he ought to send his little girl to the school and set an example before the villagers. When he counselled his wife about the issue, his wife did not concur with him. However, she chooses to send Bholi to the school.
The following day, Bholi was given a bath, and another dress to wear. Her mother mated her hair and after that, she was sent to the school. At the point when her dad left her in the school, she set in a corner in the class. At the point when her teacher asked her name, she stammered and the kids began laughing. At this Bholi begun sobbing. But the teacher’s voice was delicate and mitigating. It empowered her to a considerable measure. Lastly, she could speak to her full name. At that point, the teacher disclosed to her that on the off chance that she would come day by day to class, she would talk without a stammer and one day she would turn into the most educated young lady in the town. Then nobody will set out to snicker at her. At that point, they will hear her out deliberately.
A long time passed and the village presently transformed into a residential town. One night Ramlal consulted his wife about the proposal made by Bishamber, a food merchant in the neighbouring town. His wife promptly consents to it. Bholi was also listening to this conversational. The day of her marriage came. At the point when the bridegroom was going to festoon her, some woman pulled her veil down demonstrating her face to him. The groom had a speedy look at her face and saw pockmarks all over on her face. At this, he demanded that Ramlal give him five thousand rupees as share with the end goal to wed that ugly young lady. After a few contentions, Ramlal gave over the cash to Bishambar. But, Bholi requested his father to take cash back from him as she would not like to wed that old faltering and covetous man. Everyone was shocked in light of the fact that Bholi was not stammering by any stretch of the imagination. The husband returned with his baraat. Ramlal couldn’t lift he make a beeline for disgrace and anguish. He asked Bholi as who will wed her now. In any case, Bholi said to him that she would serve his parents in their maturity and teach in a similar school where she had learned to such an extent.
Questions and Answers of Bholi
- For what unusual reasons is Bholi sent to school?
Bholi is sent to school because there is little chance of her getting married, with her ugly face and lack of sense. She has also pockmarks all over the body.
- How does Bholi find her teacher different from other people?
Bholi finds her teacher different from other people at home as the teacher was very kind and loving with her. The teacher also talked with her in a soothing voice. This touched her heart.
- Why do Bholi’s parents accept Bishamber’s marriage proposal?
Bholi’s parents accept Bishamber’s marriage proposal because they believe if they don’t accept it, she would not be married for the rest of her life because she had pockmarks all over the body which made her ugly.
- The ending of the story is very dramatic. Do you think her decision not to marry Bishamber makes her an outcast rebellious or is it an assertion of her being an individual and a woman of substance?
Bholi firstly agreed to an unequal match because she thought herself fortunate to get a well-to-do bridegroom who owned a big shop, had a big house of his own and had several thousand bank balance. Moreover, he was not demanding any dowry. Bholi also overheard her mother saying that he did not know about her pockmarks and her lack of sense. If the proposal was not accepted she might remain unmarried all her life. However, She later rejected the marriage because the bridegroom demanded five thousand rupees as dowry. On witnessing her father pleading and humiliated she decided not to marry him.
This shows us that she has self-respect and knows what is right or wrong and is able to take a wise decision. Thus she was a woman of substance.
- Bholi’s real name is Sulekha. We are told this right at the beginning. But only in the last but one paragraph of the story is Bholi called Sulekha again. Why do you think she is called Sulekha at that point in the story?
The word Bholi is an Urdu word which means a “simpleton”.Throughout the story, she had been a simpleton hardly expressing her opinion. On the contrary, the word Sulekha means the person with a beautiful sense of letters. In this story, this word has a larger meaning of being a literate, intelligent and mature individual. After her education, Bholi has really changed to Sulekha and her assertion during the marriage is her announcement to the world that she is no more a Bholi but Sulekha.
Additional questions of Bholi
- Why is Bholi’s father worried about her?
Bholi’s father is worried about her because she looks not only ugly but also less intelligent. He does not know how he can find a suitable groom for her.
- Does Bholi enjoy her first day at school?
Yes, Bholi enjoys her first day at school as she was happy to find so many girls almost of her own age present there. She yearns that one of these girls might become her intimate friend.
- Bholi had many apprehensions about going to school. What made her feel that she was going to a better place than her home?
Bholi had many apprehensions about going to school. She thought about how their old cow, Lakshmi, had been taken out of the house and sold. When she got a clean dress, bathed and oil was rubbed into her dry hair, only that time she felt that she was going to a better place than her home.
- How did Bholi’s teacher play an important role in changing the course of her life?
Bholi’s teacher played a constructive role in changing the course of her life. She was polite and friendly which touched her heart. She motivated her every time and was affectionate towards her. The teacher transformed her into a confident person who could read, write and speak clearly.
Character Sketch Of Bholi:
Bholi is the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. Her actual name is Sulekha. At the age of ten months, she falls off the cot a damage some part of her brain. This renders her backward for the rest of her life. At the age of two, Bholi faces smallpox which disfigures her body with deep pockmarks. Her mental retardedness and stammer make the people call the girl as ‘ Bholi’ which means simpleton. At the age of Seven Bholi is sent to a primary school. This is not an honour to Bholi, but the indifference of the parents, for girl education in the village is taken as an ill omen.
At school, Bholi struggles with her voice and found other girls laughing at her stammer. The great teacher at a school, however, pats Bholi saying she will one day speak fluently and will surprise others. She gives her many books to read. She boasts her morale.
Years pass and Bholi completes her schooling. The parents now settle her marriage with an elderly lame person, Bishamber Nath. The dumb –cow, as Bholi is called, is at receiving end.
At the marriage ceremony, While extending garland towards the bride’s neck, Bishamber discovered the pockmarks and drew his hand back. He takes Ramlal aback by demanding five thousand rupees in dowry. Ramlal, having no money, falls to his feet but Bishamber does change his decision. Thus the poor father arranges the money somehow.
Bishamber is now all set to put garland around the bride’s neck, but to the surprise of all, Bholi Cries out saying that she will not marry the greedy old man. Bholi has now discovered his eloquence and intelligence. Sulekha is now back to the scene. She speaks and others listen to her. Bholi declares that she will not marry, but will serve her parents in their old age. She adds that she will teach the girls of the village in the village high school. Her first-day teacher is listening to this and is all in tears with joy.
Character sketch of Bishamber Nath:
Bishamber Nath was an aged man. He was nearly about fifty years old when he proposed to marry Bholi. He had limped in his legs. His first wife had died, and his children were also grown up.
When Bishamber Nath expressed his wish to marry Bholi, Ramlal and his wife felt happy to find a groom for their simpleton daughter. They were least bothered about Bholi’s interests.
Ramlal would talk very high of Bishamber Nath. He, along with his wife started talking very high of his riches and estates.
At the marriage party, Bishamber kept much pump and show. His intentions were, however, brought to the fore when he discovered pockmarks on Bholi’s face. He took Ramlal aback by denying to marry Bholi but with the dowry of five thousand rupees. In this way, his greed for money was unveiled. Ramlal, being a poor man had no ready cash. He fell on his knees, but this was of no avail. The public humiliation of Ramlal fell very heavy on Bholi. Ramlal, however, managed to get the money from somewhere. This made Bishamber approach Bholi with garland but Bholi turned the table at the right time. She rejected Bishamber to his utter disgrace.
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