NCERT Solutions For Class 12th English


Professor Gaitonde, who is a historian, is on his way to lecturing in The Third Battle of Panipat on the implications of catastrophe theory when his car collides with a truck and he goes into a coma where he is now experiencing a completely changed history that is different from the real world. The Marathas were defeated in the real world in the Third Battle of Panipat Afghans and their leader Vishwas Ra was killed. But as Vishwas Rao narrowly escapes the bullet and survives, the parallel world in which the Professor now sees things for him Marathas won the war. According to him, this victory brought significant changes and reforms to the country.

When he regains his consciousness back, his friend Rajendra Deshpande tries to rationalize his experience based on two theories that are Catastrophe Theory and Quantum Theory’s lack of determinism. The narrator, meanwhile, is still talking about the parallel world in which Professor Gaitonde is on his way from Pune to Bombay. It’s a pre-independent India where he finds Anglo, Indians and Jack from Union.

The professor goes to the library where he reads four volumes of history books from the Asoka period up to Panipat’s Third Battle. Bhausahebanchi Bakhar’s fifth volume that he read tells a different story where Marathas won Panipat’s Third Battle. Absent as a proof, Professor tucks a copy of the book into his pocket and reaches Azad Maidan where a lecture is taking place. Without the chairman, the meeting is taking place and he decides to go on stage and snatch the mike he begins to speak. He wasn’t welcomed by the crowd and he was finally thrown out with eggs and tomatoes showered on him and then he gets lost in the crowd. After this strange experience, we find the Professor talking to his friend Rajendra in the real world.

Rajendra describes the two scientific theories responsible for Professor’s strange behaviour. According to the theory of Catastrophe, a small change can bring about a sudden shift in behaviour, and if the same is implied in the battle of Panipat, it can be seen that the Marathas went through a crucial time when their two leaders Vishwas Rao and Bhausaheb died, leading to a loss of morality. So, another way that the crucial event has gone may change the course of history. So, the copy of the book he’s supposed to keep in the pocket is nothing but the notes he’d prepared for his lecture where he’d imagined the battle’s fate would be different. The bullet hitting Viswas Rao was a catastrophic event and the present has been reached because of such a catastrophic incident in the battle.

According to the Lack of determinism in Quantum theory the behaviour of electrons orbiting the nucleus in an atom cannot be predicted. They are in higher and lower state and can jump from high to low energy level and send out a pulse of radiation that can knock it out from state number 2 to state number 1 and these can apply to the world too and therefore Professor Gaitonde made a transition from the world we live into a parallel world. He neither travelled to the past nor to the future in the fact he was experiencing a different world in present itself. At the time of the collision with the truck, he was thinking about the catastrophe theory and its implications in war. He was probably wondering about the battle of Panipat. Perhaps the neurons in his brain acted as a trigger and he made a jump from this world to the parallel world.


1. In which language do you think Gangadharpant and Khan Sahib talked to each other? Which language did Gangadharpant use to talk to the English receptionist?
Ans. Gangadharpant and Khan Sahib talked to each other in Urdu or Persian. Gangadharpant used English while talking to the English receptionist.

2. In which language do you think ‘Bhausahebanchi Bakhar’ was written?
Ans. ‘Bhansahebanchi Bakhar’ was written in Marathi.

3. There is mention of three communities in the story, the Marathas, the Mughals, the Anglo-Indians. What language do you think they used within their communities and while speaking to the other groups?
Ans. Within their communities, the Marathas used Marathi, the Mughals used Urdu and the Anglo-Indians used English. While speaking to the other groups they used the language which was intelligible to the listener and helped them to express their thoughts. Sometimes it could be a mixture of two languages.

4. Do you think that the ruled always adopt the language of the rulers?
Ans. The masses do not always adopt the language of the rulers, but the classes always do so. It is because in courts, offices, banks, educational institutions, etc. the language of the rulers gets the place of pride. So, that section of the ruled who want to get any benefit from the rulers do adopt the language of the rulers.


I. Tick the item that is closest in meaning to the given phrases:
1. to take issue with (i) to accept (ii) to discuss (iii) to disagree (iv) to add
2. to give vent to (i) to express (ii) to emphasise (iii) to suppress (iv) to dismiss
3. to stand on one’s feet
(i) to be physically strong (ii) to be independent (iii) to stand erect (iv) to be successful
4. to be wound up (i) to become active (ii) to stop operating (iii) to be transformed (iv) to be destroyed
5. to meet one’s match (i) to meet a partner who has similar tastes (ii) to meet an opponent (iii) to meet someone who is equally able as oneself (iv) to meet defeat.

Answers 1. (iii) to disagree, 2. (i) to express, 3. (ii) to be independent, 4. (ii) to stop operating, 5. (iii) to meet someone who is equally able as oneself.

II. Distinguish between the following pairs of sentences:
1. (i) He was visibly moved.
Ans. He was moved in a way that was easily noticeable.
(ii) He was visually impaired.
Ans. His sight was impaired.
2. (i) Green and black stripes were used alternately.
Ans. Green and black stripes were used one after the other.
(ii) Green stripes could be used to alternatively black ones.
Ans. Either green stripes or black ones could be used.
3. (i) The team played the two matches successfully.
Ans. The team achieved success in the two matches it played.
(ii) The team played two matches successively.
Ans. The team played two matches one after the other.
4. (i) The librarian spoke respectfully to the learned scholar.
Ans. The librarian spoke with respect to the learned scholar.
(ii) You will find the historian and the scientist in the archaeology and natural science sections of the museum respectively.
Ans. You will find the historian and the scientist in the archaeology and natural science sections of the museum in the same order as the people or thing already mentioned.

READ ALSO:  The Rattrap - NCERT Solutions (Summary and Questions Answers)  Class 12 Flamingo English JK BOSE

III. Notice these expressions in the text. Guess the meaning from the context:
 blow by blow account
 de facto
 morale booster
 astute
 relegated to
 doctored accounts
 political acumen
 gave vent to
Ans.  blow by blow account: a description of an event which gives you all the details in the order in which they happen
 morale booster: encouraging/increasing confidence
 relegated to: ignored/pushed to lower position
 political acumen: political sharpness
de facto: real, actual, in fact
astute: shrewd, crafty
doctored accounts: manipulated (false) descriptions
gave vent to: expressed.


The story deals with unreal condition and hypothetical situations. Some of the sentences used to express this notion are given below:
1. If I fire a bullet from a gun in a given direction at a given speed, I know where it will be at a later time.
2. If I knew the answer I would solve a great problem.
3. If he himself were dead in this world, what guarantee had he that his son would be alive.
4. What course would history have taken if the battle had gone the other way? Notice that in an unreal condition, it is clearly expected that the condition will not be fulfilled.


I. Read the following passage on the Catastrophe Theory downloaded from the Internet.

Originated by the French mathematician, Rene Thom, in the 1960s, catastrophe theory is a special branch of dynamical systems theory. It studies and classifies phenomena characterized by sudden shifts in behaviour arising from small changes in circumstances. Catastrophes are bifurcations between different equilibria, or fixed point attractors. Due to their restricted nature, catastrophes can be classified based on the basis of how many control parameters are being simultaneously varied. For example, if there are two controls, then one finds the most common type, called a ‘‘cusp’’ catastrophe. If, however, there are more than five controls, there is no classification.Catastrophe theory has been applied to a number of different phenomena, such as the stability of ships at sea and their capsizing, bridge collapse, and, with some less convincing success, the fight-or-flight behaviour of animals and prison riots.
II. Look up the internet or an encyclopedia for information on the following theories: (i) Quantum theory (ii) Theory of relativity (iii) Big Bang theory (iv) Theory of evolution.

Answers (i) Quantum Theory. Quantum means a very small quantity of electromagnetic energy. Quantum theory is based on the idea that energy exists in units that can’t be divided.

The Adventure Questions

(ii) Theory of relativity. Einstein’s 1905 paper ‘‘On the Electro dynamics of Moving Bodies’’ introduced the special theory of relativity. Special relativity considers that observers in inertial reference frames, which are in uniform motion relative to one another, cannot perform any experiment to determine which one of them is stationary. This is known as the principle of relativity. Einstein’s theory of relativity is his theory of universe which states that all motion is relative and treats time as a fourth dimension related to space.

(iii) Big Bang theory. The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment. After its initial appearance, it (the ‘‘Big Bang’’), apparently inflated, expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown. This is the Big Bang theory.

(iv) Theory of Evolution. Biological evolution ia s genetic change in a population from one generation to another. The speed and direction of changareis variable with different species lines and at different times. Continuous evolution over many generations can result in thdevelopmentnt of new varieties and species. Likewise, failure to evolve in response to environmental changes can, and often does, lead to extinction. Charles Darwin modified his religious beliefs, as a result of the discovery of convincing proof of evolution. In his famous book, ‘On the Origin of Species’, Darwin states his theory of evolution. Simply put evolution is the process of gradual development of plants, animals features over many years from simple to more complex forms.


A SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS (Word limit: 40 words)

1. What plan of action had Professor Gaitonde arrived at?
Ans. Professor Gaitonde had decided to go to a big library at Bombay and browse through history books. Then he would find out how the present state of affairs was reached. On his return to Pune, he would have a long talk with Rajendra Deshpande. He hoped that Rajendra would help him understand what had happened.

2. Gangadhar Pant had not been to ‘this Bomabay before’. How was ‘the Bombay’ different?
Ans. This Bombay was under the British Raj. An Anglo-Indian in uniform checked permits. Each of the blue carriages of GBMR had the tiny Union Jack painted on it. The Victoria Terminus station looked very neat and clean. The staff was mostly of Anglo-Indians and Parsis along with a handful of British officers.

3. What led Professor Gaitonde to believe that ‘history has taken a different turn, perhaps before 1857?
Ans. Professor Gaitonde noticed an imposing building facing Bombay V.T. It was called East India House, Headquarters of the East India Company. He knew that the East India Company had been wound up shortly after the events of 1857. Yet here it was not only alive but also flourishing. So he concluded that history had taken a different turn.

4. How did the shops and office buildings along Hornby Road differ from those he knew well?
Ans. The Bombay he knew had a tower of OCS building. It peeped above the shorter victorian buildings. There was Handloom House also. There were no such buildings along the Road. Instead there were Boots and Woolworth department stores and offices of Lloyds, Barclays and other British banks.

READ ALSO:  Summary and Questions of When Autumn Came

5. ‘‘This was a blow, not totally unexpected.’’ What was the blow and how was it not totally unexpected?

Ans. At Forbes building, Professor Gaitonde made enquiries about his son Vinay Gaitonde. The English receptionist searched through the telephone list, the staff list and directory of employees of all the branches. She told him that she could not find his name there. This was a blow, but not totally unexpected one. If he himself were dead in this world, his son might not be alive or he might not even have been born.

6. Which according to Gangadharpant was the precise moment where history had taken a different turn?
Ans. The victory of the Marathas in the Battle of Panipat was very important. Abdali was defeated completely and pursued back to Kabul by the triumphant Maratha army led by Sadashivrao Bhau and his nephew, the young Vishwasrao.

7. ‘‘Gangdharpant read through the account avidly.’’ Which account is referred to here? Why did he read it avidly?
Ans. It was not blow by blow account of the battle itself, but its consequences for the power struggle in India. The style of writing was unmistakably Gangadharpant’s own, yet he was reading this account for the first time. So he read it eagerly.

8. How did the Victory in the Battle of Panipat affect the balance of power?

Ans. It was a great morale booster to the Marathas. It established their supremacy in northern India. The influence of Bhausaheb and Vishwasrao increased. The East India Company postponed its expansionist programme. Vishwasrao and his brother Madhavrao had political sharpness and bravery. The Company’s influence was reduced to small areas near Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

9. How was the balance of power maintained in the nineteenth century?
Ans. The Peshwas kept the puppet regime alive in Delhi. There were political reasons for it. The Peshwas were the real rulers from Pune. They recognised the importance of the technological age beginning in Europe. They set up their centres for science and technology. East India Company saw an opportunity to increase its influence. It offered aid and experts. These were accepted only to make the local centres self-sufficient.

10. What was the state of India Gangadharpant had seen during the twentieth century?
Ans. India moved towards a democracy. The Peshwas lost their enterprise. They were gradually replaced by democratically elected bodies. The Sultanate at Delhi survived even this change because it exercised no real influence. The Shahenshah of Delhi held a high position but no real power. He simply gave official approval to the ‘recommendations’ made by the central parliament.

11. Why do you think Gangadharpant appreciated the India he had seen recently?
Ans. It was an independent and self-respecting country. It had never been enslaved by the white men. It was self-sufficient. It has allowed the British to retain Bombay as their sole outpost. This was due to purely commercial reasons. The treaty was signed in 1908. That lease was to expire in the year 2001.

12. Where from did Gangadhar Pant get the clue for the question. ‘‘How did the Marathas win the battle?’’ and what did he think about it?

Ans. He got the clue from a book called Bhausahebanchi Bakhar. He found the Bakhars interesting to read, but he seldom relied on them for historical evidence. The detailed but falsified accounts were quite vivid but truth lay hidden somewhere.

13. Which lines revealed that Vishwasrao had come quite close to being killed?

Ans. The lines read: Then Vishwasrao guided his horse to the melee. Elite troops were fighting there. He attacked them. God was merciful. A shot passed by his ear touching it lightly. Even the difference of a til (sesame) would have led to his death.

14. Why was Professor Gaitonde staring at the platform in Azad Maidan as if mesmerized?

Ans. He found a lecture in progress there. He saw a table and a chair on the platform, but the presidential chair was unoccupied. The sight stirred him to the depths. He could not approve of the public lecture without a presiding dignitary. For him it was a sacrilege.

15. How did the audience react to Professor Gaitonde’s remarks: ‘‘an unchaired lecture is like Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ without the Prince of Denmark’’?

Ans. The audience reacted sharply. They were sick of remarks from the chair, of vote of thanks and of long introductions. They had abolished the old customs long ago. Hence that lecture series had no chairperson. The chair was symbolic. They only wanted to listen to the speaker. They asked him to vacate the chair and keep the platform empty.

16. What happened as Professor Gaitonde kept on trying valiantly to correct the sacrilege?
Ans. Professor Gaitonde kept on talking and reminding the audience of the importance of presiding dignitary. The hostile audience reacted sharply. First they showered tomatoes, eggs and other objects on him. Then they rushed to the stage to eject him bodily. He was lost in the crowd.

17. Why do you think Rajendra’s ‘smile’ was replaced by a ‘grave expression’?

Ans. Rajendra had smiled on hearing Professor Gaitonde’s strange narrative. Perhaps he thought that Gaitonde’s mind was playing tricks and his imagination was over excited. He became serious as he read a page torn out of a book. This page from Bakhar contained vital evidence about the different turn history had taken.

18. What do you think made Rajendra realize that ‘‘facts can be stranger than fantasies’’?

Ans. Professor Gaitonde presented two totally different written accounts of the Battle of Panipat as contained in Bhausahebanchi Bakhar. The one he had come across in the other world described how Vishwasrao narrowly missed the bullet. The other account which he had in the familiar world, described that Vishwasrao was hit by the bullet.

19. How does Rajendra explain the disparity in the two accounts of the same crucial event in the Battle of Panipat?

Ans. Rajendra applies catastrophe theory to the Battle of Panipat. The outcome of the battle depended on the leadership and the morale of the troops at the critical juncture. In one of them, the troops lost their morale and fighting spirit at the loss of their leaders. In the other, the bullet missed Vishwasrao and this boosted the morale of troops and they won.

20. ‘‘We live in a unique world which has a unique history,’’ says Professor Gaitonde. What prompts him to make this remark?

READ ALSO:  The Gumdrop Affair: Summary and Questions

Ans. Rajendra tries to explain the outcome of the Battle of Panipat with the help of catastrophe theory. The Marathas might have won it, but actually they lost it. Napoleon could also have won the Battle of Waterloo, but he was defeated. The idea of ‘it might have been’ is all right for the sake of speculation but not for reality.

21. What do you know about ‘reality’ on the basis of your study of Jayant Narlikar’s ‘The Advanture’?

Ans. We can experience reality directly with our senses and indirectly via instruments. Reality is not limited to what we see. It may have other forms. Reality may not be unique. This has been found from experiments on very small systems such as atoms and their smallest parts.

22. What do you understand by, ‘‘The lack of determinism in quantum theory’’?

Ans. Quantum theory is based on the idea that energy exists in units that can’t be divided. Determinism is the doctrine that all events and actions are determined by external forces acting on the will. The phrase thus means that the energy contained in electrons is not determined by the external forces that fire it.

23. How, according to Rajendra, was Gangadharpant able to experience two worlds?

Ans. According to Rajendra, Gangadharpant made a transition from one world to another and back again. By doing so, he was able to experience two worlds, although one at a time. One has the history we know, the other a different history. The separation or bifurcation took place in the Battle of Panipat.

24. ‘‘But why did I make the transition?’’ asks Gangadharpant. How does Rajendra try to convince him with guess work?

Ans. Rajendra has no readymade answer or explanation for this query. He makes a guess. Some interaction is needed to cause a transition. Perhaps Gangadharpant was then thinking about the catastrophe theroy and its role in war. Or he may be wondering about the Battle of Panipat. The neurons in his brain triggered the transition.

25. What had Professor Gaitonde been thinking at the time of collision?

Ans. At the time of his collision with the truck, Professor Gaitonde was thinking about the Battle of Panipat. He was wondering what course history would have taken if the result of the battle had gone the other way, i.e. if the Marathas had won the battle.

26. What do you learn about Professor Gaitonde’s thousandth presidential address?

Ans. His thousandth presidential address was made on the Azad Maidan. He was then rudely interrupted. He wanted to tell the audience what might had happened if Marathas had won the Battle of Panipat. Since people had misbehaved, he could not deliver this address.

B. LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS (Answer in 100-125 words)

1. ‘‘Gangadharpant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.’’ Elucidate.

Ans. Gangadharpant was an eminent historian of Pune. He had written the History of India in five volumes. During his train journey he was wondering what course history would have taken if the result of the Battle of Panipat had gone the other way. This helped him to make a transition to the other world. India was altogether different country in this world. Unlike the India he knew so well, the India he was witnessing around him was self-sufficient and self-respecting. It was independent. It had never been enslaved by thwhite menmen. It had allowed the British to retain Bombay as their sole outpost. This was done for purely commercial reasons. The buildings and offices in this British Bombay were the same as in typical high street of a town in England. East India House, thheadquartersrs of the East India Company was housed in an imposing building outside Bombay’s VT. The station itself looked remarkably neat and clean. The staff mostly comprised of Anglo-Indians and Parsees along with a handful of British officers. The Bombay he knew was altogether different. The tower of OCS building peeped above the shorter Victorian buildings. There was Handloom House as well22. What, according to Gangadharpant, would have been the consequences if the Marathas had won the Battle of Panipat?

Ans. The consequences of Maratha victory in the Battle of Panipat would have beefafar-reaching. It would have boosted their morale and established their supremacy in northern India. The expansionist programme of the East India Company would have been shelved. The political cleverness and bravery of Maratha rulers would have helped them to expand their influence all over India. The East India Company would have been reduced to pockets of influence near Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, just like its European rivals, the Portuguese and the French. The Peshwas would have been real rulers of India. They would have kept the puppet Mughal government in office for political reasons. Recognising the importance of technological age in Europe, they would have set up their own centres for science and technology. The twentieth century would have moved India towards democracy. The Peshwas would have been replaced by democratically elected bodies. The Shahenshah of Delhi would then merely approve the recommendations made by the central parliament.

3. How does Rajendra Deshpande try to rationalize the experience of Professor Gaitonde about his transition to another world and back?

Ans. According to Rajendra, Professor Gaitonde had passed through a fantastic experience, or more correctly, a catastrophic experience. He tried to rationalize it on the basis of two scientific theories that were current then. One was the catastrophe theory. The result of the battle would have been determined by the acts of the leaders and the morale of troops at the critical juncture. The blow of losing the leaders would have led the o loss of morale and fighting spirit. An utter rout would have followed. If the crucial event had gone the other way, its effect on the troops would also have been the opposite. Their morale would have been boosted and they might have won. The course of history would have been different. The other explanation is through the lack of determinism in quantum theory. Catastrophic situations offer radically different alternatives for the world to proceed. All alternatives are viable so far as reality is concerned. However, the observer can experience only one of them at a time. Professor Gaitonde made a transition from one world to the other as he had been thinking about the catastrophe theory and Battle of Panipat. The neurons in his brain acted aa s trigger.

Read Also: The Adventure by Jayanti Kirlokar

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

One comment

Have something to say

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.