Fair Play by Munshi Premchand
Summary of Fair Play
Jumman and Algu were Friends
Jumman Shaikh and Algu Choudhry were close friends. Both were highly regarded in their village. Jumman’s aunt gave him her property because she thought he would take care of her. This was good for a few years, but then things started to change. Jumman’s family stopped caring about her. His aunt put up with this insult for a while. She asked for a monthly allowance so that she could buy her own kitchen.
Aunt Jumman went to the Panchayat
Jumman refused to do what she asked, which made his aunt very mad. She decided to go to the village panchayat with her case. The old woman asked other villagers for advice. Some people felt sorry for her, others laughed at her, and a few told her to talk to her nephew and his wife and make things right.
The woman went to Algu Choudhry to ask for help. He said he would not go against his best friend. The woman asked him to come to the meeting.
Jumman and his aunt told their story
The meeting took place under an old banyan tree. The old woman chose Algu to be the head Panch to decide the case. The old woman told what had happened. Algu asked Jumman to explain what happened in the case.
Jumman said his aunt gave her property 3 years ago. I told her I’d help her as long as she lived. His wife and his aunt have gotten into a few fights. He can’t give her a small allowance every month.
Algu and others questioned Jumman from the other side. Algu later said that Jumman must give his aunt a monthly allowance or else the property will go to her. Jumman turned against Algu and wanted to hurt him.
Algu went through a bad time in his life
One of the bullocks in his good pair died, and he sold the other to Samjhu Sahu. He drove a cart around the village. In a month, Sahu was supposed to pay the price for the bullock. But within a month, the bullock died.
Algu wanted Sahu to give him his money, but Sahu got very upset and angry. Sahu wouldn’t give him his money, so he told Algu to use his bullock for a month and then give it back. Algu decided to tell the panchayat about the case. Algu went to the village council.
Algu went to the panchayat to talk
Sahu was told to choose the head Panch at the panchayat. Jumman was suggested by Sahu. Algu turned pallid. When Jumman became the head Panch, he understood his role as a judge and how important his job was. He decided not to let his own feelings get in the way of doing what was right.
Algu and Sahu both told their versions of what happened. They answered questions from both sides. Jumman said that Sahu should pay Algu the price for the bullock, which was healthy when it was sold. Algu is not to blame for why the bullock died. Algu was happy with the decision.
Jumman went up to Algu and gave him a hug. Jumman said he now knows how important it is to be a Panch. A Panch does not have any friends or enemies. He only knows what is fair. The path of justice and truth should not be left.
Fair Play – NCERT Solutions
Q. Match the sentences under I with those under II.
✒️ Jumman and Algu were the best of friends.
✒️ Jumman’s aunt transferred her property to him.
✒️ The aunt decided to appeal to the panchayat.
✒️ Algu was unwilling to support the aunt.
✒️ Jumman was very happy to hear Algu’s name as head Panch.
✒️ He believed that his friend would never go against him.
✒️ She wanted justice.
✒️ In the absence of one, the other took care of his family.
✒️ The condition was that he would be responsible for her welfare.
✒️ The bond of friendship between him and Jumman was very strong.
B. Who says this to whom and why?
Q. “My wife knows best how to run the house.”
Ans. Jumman speaks these words to his aunt. He wanted to get rid of his aunt. He did not want to give her any allowance.
Q. “But is it right, my son, to keep mum and not say what you consider just and fair?”
Ans. The old aunt says these words to Algu Chowdhry. Algu was unwilling to give his judgement against his best friend.
Q. “What have you to say in your defence?”
Ans. Algu said these words to Jumman when he occupied the seat of the head panch. He was keen to do justice.
Q. “I can’t pay you a penny for the wretched beast you sold me.”
Ans. Sahu said this to Algu Chowdhry. Algu had sold his bullock to Samjhu Sahu. The bullock died because Sahu overworked and underfed the animal. When Algu demanded his money, Algu dishonestly refused to pay him a penny.
Q. “Victory to the panchayat. This is justice.”
Ans. Jumman was the head panch. He could easily give his verdict against Algu. But the seat of panch made him fair and just. He asked Sahu to pay the money to Algu. At this Algu shouted with joy and welcomed the fair judgement.
Q. “Then the situation changed.” What is being referred to?
Ans. The situation changed after the transfer of property. Jumman forgot his promise to look after his old aunt. He as well as his wife began to ill-treat her.
Q. When Jumman’s aunt realised that she was not welcome in his house, what arrangement did she suggest?
Ans. Jumman’s aunt could not bear insults any more. She wanted to cook her food separately. She demanded monthly allowance from her nephew.
Q. What was the villagers’ reaction when the aunt explained her case to them?
Ans. The old woman went to several villagers to explain her case and get their support. But some showed sympathy, and some laughed at her. A few advised her to make peace with Jumman.
Q. Why was Jumman happy over Algu’s nomination as head Panch?
Ans. Algu and Jumman were fast friends. So Jumman hoped to get the verdict in his favour. Naturally he felt happy when the aunt named Algu to act as head Panch.
Q. “God lives in the heart of the Panch”, the aunt said. What did she mean?
Ans. The aunt meant that a person in the seat of a judge becomes fair and just like God. He is not guided by his personal likes and dislikes. He can not do any injustice. He is God’s representative.
Q. What was Algu’s verdict as head Panch? How did Jumman take it?
Ans. Algu heard the case and gave a fair judgement. He asked Jumman either to pay a monthly allowance to his aunt or transfer the property in her name. Jumman was stunned. He became Algu’s enemy. He decided to take revenge on Algu.
Q. Algu found himself in a tight spot. What was his problem?
Ans. Algu sold his bullock to Samjhu Sahu, a cartman. Sahu promised to pay the price within a month. But during this period he took so much work from the animal that it died. Sahu became dishonest. He refused to pay the money.
Q. Why was Algu upset over Jumman’s nomination as head Panch?
Ans. Algu was upset because Jumman was already annoyed with him. So he thought Jumman would take his revenge.
Q. What was Jumman’s verdict as head Panch? How did Algu take it?
Ans. Jumman’s verdict was that Sahu had to pay the price of bullock to Algu. Because when Sahu purchased the bullock from Algu it was hale and hearty. This was a genuine decision. Algu took it happily and said it was victory of panchayat.
Q. Which of the following sums up the story best?
“I also know that you will not kill your conscience for the sake of friendship.”
“Let no one deviate from the path of justice and truth for friendship or enmity.”
“The voice of the Panch is the voice of God.” Give a reason for your choice.
Ans. I think the second statement sums up the story best. The person in the seat of a judge becomes fair and just.
Q. Replace the italicised portion of each sentence below with a suitable phrase from the box. Make necessary changes, wherever required.
look after, swallow, make it up, keep mum, go into, ease one’s conscience, as ill luck would have it, a tight spot, take chances, my heart sank
The best way to avoid an unnecessary argument is to remain silent.
Unfortunately, the train I was trying to catch was cancelled.
He has been told not to take risks while driving a car through a crowded street.
The patient needs to be properly taken care of.
Why don’t the two of you end your quarrel by shaking hands?
I was in a difficult situation till my friends came to my rescue.
When I saw a pile of dirty dishes, I felt very disappointed.
I will examine the matter carefully before commenting on it.
They criticised him in the meeting but he accepted without protest all the criticism.
It will free me from worry to know that I had done nothing wrong.
The best way to avoid an unnecessary argument is to keep mum.
As ill luck would have it; the train I was trying to catch was cancelled.
He has been told not to take chances while driving a car through a crowded street.
The patient needs to be properly looked after.
Why don’t the two of you make it up by shaking hands?
I was in a tight spot till my friends came to my rescue.
When I saw a pile of dirty dishes, my heart sank.
I will go into the matter carefully before commenting on it.
They criticised him in the meeting but he swallowed all the criticism.
It will ease my conscience to know that I had done nothing wrong.
Q. Look at the following phrases and their meanings. Use the phrases to fill in the blanks in the sentences given below.
set up — put in place or start
set aside — save or keep for a particular purpose
set down — write or record
set out — start on a journey
set in — begin and seem likely to continue
i. Why don’t you set down your ideas on paper?
ii. A fund has been set up for the soldiers’ families.
iii. We should set aside a little money every month.
iv. You should buy some woollens before winter sets in.
v. They set out on the last stage of their journey.
Q. Your teacher will speak the words listed below. Write against each a word of opposite meaning.
old = new
wet = dry
open = closed
blunt = sharp
forget = remember