In Passion’s Shadow By Mohan Rakesh


The story In Passion’s Shadow By Mohan Rakesh takes place in Jullundur. Pushpa and her father have come from village to Jullundur. They are staying at the house of Dr Gurbux Sing Mudan. Pushpa’s father is very arrogant with her. But Pushpa consoles herself saying, “A father’s curses do not affect a doctor”.

The narrator is under impression that Pushpa and her father are in the town to find a match for Pushpa. One evening Pushpa’s father meets the narrator. In a casual talk, the narrator tells everything about himself hoping that Pushpa’s father will think of him suitable husband for Pushpa.

The narrator tells very insignificant things to the father about himself such as his love for cauliflower and mango. He also tells him about his Gadhwalis cook. He is 40 years old and has a daughter. The cook’s daughter is 20 years old and she is widowed. That means her husband is dead.

The moment the narrator tells Pushpa’s father ( the Jat) about the windowed daughter, the Jat shows much interest in the windowed daughter.

The narrator comes to know that the Jat is to the town in search of a wife for himself. The Jat is there to Jullundur not to find the match for Pushpa but he is there to find a wife for himself. He tells the Jat that there are no hopes from the Gadhwal cook because Gadhwalis do not marry Punjabis.

The Jat is disappointed listening to the narrator. The Jat tells to the narrator that there was one proposal from Dr Gurbux Sing. However, that proposal even was denied by the girl.

The Jat tells the narrator that he is desperate about a wife. He needs a wife, not for himself but to look after his property. The narrator asks him to think of a servant instead of a wife. The Jat denies. The narrator realises that the Jat is selfish.

Finally, disappointed informs the narrator that he is returning to his village the next morning. The narrator is surprised. He wonders what he would do in the village. The narrator is shocked when the Jat tells him about the ‘exchange’ in the village. The Jat will marry Pushpa in someone’s house and in her exchange he will bring a woman from that house. The heartfelt narrator thinks, ” A father’s curse is going to fall on her daughter soon”.

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In this way, the story is a comment on a male-dominated society. Old man needs a woman for the sake of his prestige. There is no voice for a woman in this society. Pushpa will pay the price for the sake of her old father.

Skimming and Scanning Questions

A. Write answers of the following questions in one word / one phrase/one sentence.

1. When and where did the narrator see Pushpa for the first time?

Ans. The narrator saw Pushpa for the first time drawing water at the hand pump.

2. What age did the narrator guess Pushpa to be?

Ans. Thirteen or at the most fourteen.

3. Why did Pushpa offer her turn to fill the bucket to the narrator?

Ans. Because she thought that he wanted to go to office.

4. What made the narrator happy when Pushpa first spoke to him?

Ans. When Pushpa first spoke to the narrator, he felt happy that she knew about his existence.

5. In which class did Pushpa study?

Ans. Pushpa did not go to school.

6. Why does the narrator not enter into conversation with girls?

Ans. Because they are in the habit of attaching importance even to casual conversation.

7. Whose bucket was already full and the water was overflowing?

Ans. The narrator’s bucket was full and the water was overflowing.

8. Who lies several times during the day?

Ans. The narrator lies several times during the day.

Multiple Answers Questions

B. Complete the following statements by choosing the best alternatives:

  1. Pushpa ……………. her bucket and started to clean her bucket.

a) Filled
b) emptied
c) patted
d) touched

  1. The narrator saw the old Jat tying his turban in the standing in ………….. of the house nearby.

a) balcony
b) verandah
c) corridor
d) door

  1. The Jat had such a sharp, pointed beard that the narrator thought it could be used for slaughtering ……………..

a) pigeons
b) goats
c) chickens
d) lions

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  1. The narrator had started associating Pushpa with …………….. flowers.

a) red
b) yellow
c) orange
d) velvety

  1. The narrator associated the Jat, Pushpa’s father with birds’ …………….. that
    start trickling down tin roofs.

a) feathers
b) nests
c) droppings
d) clipped tails

  1. When the narrator went from the Nakobar bus stand he saw the …………
    was walking by his side.

a) young girl
b) old lady
c) village priest
d) old man

  1. The narrator replied that he was going to ……………..

a) Model Town
b) Jullundur
c) Gadhwal
d) Chandigarh

  1. The narrator told him that he was in the town since last …………….. months.

a) ten
b) five
c) two
d) three

Comprehension Questions

C. Answer the following questions in 3 to 4 sentences each:

1. How was the first meeting of the narrator and Pushpa?

Ans: The first meeting of the narrator and Pushpa was very much interesting. While the narrator was going to draw water at the hand pump, Pushpa looked at the narrator twice or thrice and the narrator felt that either his hair had grown greyer than usual or he was looking four or five years younger. As if she was calling the narrator for playing the game of hide and seek.

2. Why did the narrator’s bucket start to overflow?

Ans: The narrator’s bucket started to overflow because he was involved in conversation with Pushpa regarding her education and place. When she told him that she did not go to school, the narrator imagined about her enjoying life with the yellow ‘Sarson’ flowers and her listening of the song Heer and her involvement with Arithmetic and Geography. In fact, the narrator thought that wherever she would go she would give birth to poetry. As a result, the narrator’s bucket started to overflow.

3. Why was the narrator surprised when Pushpa told him that she didn’t go to school?

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Ans: When Pushpa told him that she didn’t go to school, the narrator was surprised because a girl with such beautiful eyes did not go to school. It was the idea of the narrator that such a beautiful girl might be going to school.

4. Why had Pushpa come to Jullundur?

Ans: Pushpa had come to Jullundur form her village because her father, a widower was in search of a wife for himself. While her father’s search was going on for a suitable wife, Pushpa was looking after him during his stay at Jullundur.

5. What did the narrator imagine about Pushpa’s life in the village?

Ans: The narrator imagined about Pushpa’s life in the village that she might be enjoying her life with the yellow ‘Sarson’ flowers and her listening of the song Heer and her involvement with Arithmetic and Geography. In fact, the narrator thought that wherever she would go she would give birth to poetry.

6. How did Pushpa clean her bucket?

Ans: When the narrator filled Pushpa’s bucket, she shocked a little and emptied her bucket and started cleaning it by picking up some earth from the ground. It is not considered having been the bucket is properly cleaned without cleaning it with some ash and earth.

7. Who is more dangerous than who according to the narrator as far as telling lies is concerned?

Ans: According to the narrator the person who does not tell a lie openly tells it all the time inwardly. And anyone who tells a lie in his mind and he claims to speak the truth all the time and is, therefore, a bigger lier and more dangerous as far as telling lies is concerned.

8. How did the Jat treat Pushpa when she took some to return home?

Ans: When Pushpa took some to return home from the water hand pump, her
father, the Jat, treated her very badly by scolding her and giving bad words and also threatening to beat her before the narrator.


B. Complete the following statements by choosing the best alternatives:

  1. b) emptied

  2. b) verandah

  3. c) chickens

  4. d) velvety

  5. c) droppings

  6. d) old man

  7. a) Model Town

  8. c) two

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