Silk Road Summary and Solved Questions


ABOUT SILK ROAD: The Silk Road was not a single road, and it was not made of silk. It was a series of trade routes across Asia that stretched over four thousand miles, connecting the Western civilizations, such as the Greeks and Persians, with the Eastern civilizations of the Chinese. Trade started during the subsequent century, or maybe much prior, and proceeded for many years until transportation by ship turned into a more secure choice around the 1400s.
Numerous products were transported over the Silk Road. It was silk that initially filled the advancement of this trade, however. The Romans were exceptionally inspired by this wonderful, soft fabric, which was altogether different from the wools and clothes they were utilized to. Eventually, silk clothes counted for a small portion of the goods traded. Merchants took coral, glass, gems, gold, ivory, precious metals, and textiles eastward to China. They also brought rare plants and animals such as falcons, gazelles, hunting dogs, leopards, lions, ostriches, parrots, and peacocks. Traveling westward were traders with bronze, ceramics, cinnamon and other spices, furs, iron, jade, lacquer, tea, and even rhubarb.

Traveling this route was very dangerous for the caravans. Parts of the Great Wall of China were built to help protect the travelers on what would later become the Silk Road. Harsh weather conditions are found along much of the Silk Road, from scorching deserts to freezing mountains passes. Travelers also had to worry about having enough water in this arid part of the world. Blinding sandstorms could strand caravans for days. Crossing high mountains could lead to altitude sickness.

Probably the greatest danger faced by those traveling the Silk Road was bandits. The wealth of merchandise being carried across uninhabited lands was very tempting to those who chose to rob these traveling merchants. A single camel could convey as much as five hundred pounds of trade merchandise. To maintain a strategic distance from thieves, caravans joined together and hired outfitted watchmen. As many as one a thousand camels might be grouped together for the journey. Chances were good, however, that not all the members of the caravan would survive the trip. For this reason, many who traded on the Silk Road began using boats and waterways to carry goods. These routes were also known as the Silk Road.

Silk Road

‘Silk Road’ is a detailed account of the author’s visit to Mount Kailash. He visited the place to do the ‘Kora’ (‘Parikarma’ around the holy mountain) with other pilgrims. The Kora was seasonal and he was perhaps the first pilgrim in the season to reach Hor town from where he was to start his pilgrimage. He had to encounter several obstacles on the way to reach Hor.

The writer uses picturesque phrases to describe the scenic beauty of the mountains. The whole description is quite interesting as it reveals many unknown facts about a journey up the most difficult terrain in the world.


This article gives a record of a adventure from tenderly rolling hills of Ravu to Mount Kailash. The motivation behind this journey
was religious. The storyteller wanted to finish the kora at Mount Kailash. Lhamo gave him a long-sleeved sheepskin coat to keep him warmer. The narrator and Tsetan took a short cut to get off the Changtang. This route would take them south-west, almost directly towards Mount Kailash. It involved crossing fairly high mountain passes. Tsetan said that there would be no issue if there was no snow. This alternate route took them crosswise over tremendous fields having parched fields. They saw a few gazelles and a great herd of wild asses. They noticed clouds of dust rising in the sky.
As the hills arrived again, they passed shepherds tending their flocks. These men or wonen were well-wrapped. They would pause and look at the vehicle. Sometimes they would wave as the vehicle passed by them. When snow-cappedok the car close to the sheep, the animals would try to avoid the speeding vehicle by dodging to one side track that, the narrator and Tsetan passed the dark tents of the nomads in lonely places. A huge black dog, a Tibetan mastiff would stand to guard outside. These dogs raised their enormous heads erect and viewed the narrator’s vehicle. As the vehicle came nearer they would begin yapping and kept running towards their vehicle. The dogs were totally fearless of their vehicle. Tsetan had to apply the brake and turn aside.

The dogs would quit barking simply in the wake of pursuing them off the property. Then, they entered a valley. The snow-topped mountains were visible on the hrizon. The river in this valley was wide and for the most part obstructed with ice. The track held near the river bank and wound with the curved banks.
Gradually they gained height and the valley-sides closed in. They were climbing up the hill. The turns became sharper and the ride bumpier. Tsetan drove in third gear. The narrator felt the pressure building up in his ears. He held his nose, snorted and cleaned them. They struggled round another tight bend. Tsetan stopped. He opened his door and jumped. Daniel too left the vehicle. There was snow on the track. It stretched for about fifteen metres. Then it became smaller and the dirt trail reappeared. There was no way around the snow patch as there was snow on either side. Moreover, the bank was too steep for their vehicle to scale. They were at 5,210 metres above sea level. Tsetan grabbed handfuls of dirt. He flung them across the icy top layer. The narrator and Daniel joined him and threw dirt. Then Tsetan drove the car slowly and carefully on the icy surface. Daniel and the narrator stayed out of the vehicle to lighten Tsetan’s load. Ten minutes later, they stopped at another blockage. This time Tsetan decided to try and drive around the snow. The slope was steep and full of big rocks. Somehow Tsetan got past over the difficult route. Once he cut a very sharp bend. They continued to climb in the bright sunshine. They crept past 5,400 metres. The narrator’s head began to beat horribly. He took gulps from a water bottle. Finally, they reached the top of the pass at 5,515 metres. There was a large cairn of rocks. It was decorated with white silk scarves and ragged prayer flags. They took a turn round the cairn in a clockwise direction. The lower atmospheric pressure was allowing the fuel to expand. It could be dangerous. So, Tsetan advised them not to smoke. As they moved down the other side of the pass, the narrator’s headache soon cleared. It was at two o’clock. They stopped for lunch. They ate hot noodles inside a long canvas tent. The plateau was pockmarked with salt flats and brackish lakes. By late afternoon, they had reached the small town of Hor. They were back on the main east-west highway. It followed the old trade route from Lhasa to Kashmir. Daniel found a ride in a truck to return to Lhasa. Tsetan got the punctured tyres repaired. The narrator found Hor a grim, miserable place with no vegetation. They had tea in Hor’s only cafe. They left Hor after half an hour. They drove past rocks and rubbish westwards towards Mount Kailash.


1. The article has been titled ‘Silk Road’. Justify it.

Answer: The Silk Road refers to a network of overland routes linking Europe with Asia. This has been the trade route followed by the Europeans since ancient times, who had a passion for silk, horses and exotic fauna and fauna of the East. Travellers along the route would buy and sell various items, including silk and spice from China. The author Nick Middleton in his travelogue follows the Silk Road to reach Mount Kailash to do the Kora. Hence, it is titled as ‘Silk Road’. There is a long and vivid account of the whole route and of the difficulties people often encounter.

2. What do you know about the Tibetan mastiffs?

Answer: Tibetan mastiffs, huge and ferocious dogs, were quite popular in China’s imperial Courts because they were good hunting dogs and also good guards. These Tibetan mastiffs guarded the dark tents of the nomads pitched in isolation. These huge black dogs would raise their big heads when they became aware of people approaching and stared at them. As they drew closer, they would explode into action like bullets and rush towards them and chase them for about a hundred meters. These hairy dogs usually wore bright red collars and barked angrily with enormous jaws. They were absolutely fearless of their vehicle and would run straight onto their way.

3. The author’s experience at Hor was in stark contrast to earlier accounts of the place. How?

Answer: According to the earlier accounts, the place abounds in natural beauty. Hor was situated on the sacred Lake Manasarovar. The narrator had heard how various pilgrims had been moved to tears by the sanctity of the place. But his experience of Hor was in direct contrast with theirs. He felt very bad about the place. He found Hor a dismal, wretched place. There was no vegetation there. The whole place was just dust and rocks scattered with a lot of refuse gathered over the years.

4. Why was the author disappointed with Darchen?

Answer: Darchen was dusty, partially derelict and punctuated by heaps of rubble and refuse. The slow-moving and sleepy town had a couple of simple general stores selling Chinese Cigarettes, soap and other basic necessities, as well as the usual strings of prayer flags. The high altitude was giving him health problems. He had a bad cold and was not able to sleep at night. Since he was one of the early arrivals, there weren’t any pilgrims coming to the place. Thus he was disappointed with Darchen.

5. Why did the author think that his positive thinking strategy worked well after all?

Answer: The author had expected Darchen to be full of life with visitors but it was almost deserted. He had arrived too early. Tsetan had left for Lhasa. He was feeling rather lonely with no pilgrims around. It was then he met Norbu, an English speaking Tibetan who too wanted to visit Kailash. Norbu had been writing academic papers about the Kailash Kora and its importance in various works of Buddhist literature for many years. The writer felt that they could team up well as academicians. He realized that his optimism had not vanished after all, even though he had to face a lot of problems and difficulties.

6. What was the purpose of the author’s journey to Mount Kailash?

Answer: The author went on a journey to Mount Kailash to do the Kora as is the tradition. The Kora signifies a rite of circumambulating the holy mountain., that is taking a full circle around it. For this, the author adopted the Silk route to reach Mount Kailash and faced heavy odds to reach there.

7. Describe the author’s physical condition in Darchen.

Answer: It was a disturbed night. The author had a bad cold and his nostril got blocked. He had to breathe through the mouth. He was tired and hungry as well. When he had barely slept, he woke up abruptly. He felt heaviness in his chest. He sat up and cleared his nasal passage. He felt relieved though he felt he was not well. He was unable to sleep. He feared he might die in sleep. So, he kept awake. The next day, Tsetan took him to Darchen Medical College and the doctor there gave him some medicine that gave him some relief.

8. Comment on Tsetan’s support to the author during the journey.

Answer: Tsetan was a good and efficient driver. He drove the car very carefully. During the journey, he spoke to the author giving information about the places they were visiting. He was caring. At Darchen, when he found that the author was not well, he took him to the medical college and got medicine for him. He was a good Buddhist.

9. As a good Buddhist, he knew that it didn’t really matter if I passed away, but he thought it would be bad for business. Substantiate.

Answer: Tsetan was a good Buddhist who believed that death was the final ‘Nirvana’. Moreover, Kailash was a holy place. However, he felt that his death would demotivate the tourists from coming and hence be bad for their business. It would be bad for his business as his credibility would be at stake in looking after the tourists.

Answer the following questions in 30 – 40 words.

1. Who was Lhamo and what did she gift?

2. What were the difficulties on the short cut taken by Tsetan?

3. How did the people in Darchen live?

4. While crossing the rocky wilderness, who did they see and what was their reaction?

5. How did the author feel when they were at about 5400 metres up the sea level?

6. Why is that on the top of the mountain there is a plateau pockmarked with salt flats?

7. How did Darchen Medical College appear?

8. What activity was going on in the area where there were flats of salt?

Answer the following questions in 120-150 words.

1. The narrator realized that the snow was both dangerous as well as beautiful. Justify.

Answer: Silk Road by Nick Middleton is a detailed account of the author’s visit to Mount Kailash. Tsetan on his way surveyed the snow on the path by stamping on it. It was not deep. But in case they slipped, the car could turn over. Hence to cover the risk, they flung a handful of dirt and flung them across the frozen surface. When the snow was spread with soil, they drove without difficulty. Ten minutes later, they stopped at another blockage. This time they decided to drive around the snow.

However, the risks did not undermine the scenic beauty of the place. In the valley, they saw snowcapped mountains and the river was wide but mostly blocked with ice that was sparkling in the sunshine. As they moved ahead, on their upward track, the turns became sharper and the ride bumpier. The rocks around were covered with patches of bright orange lichen. Under the rocks around, seemed unending shade.

2. Narrate the narrator’s meeting with the Tibetan doctor.

Clues: (Introduction – uncomfortable and breathless night -Tsetan took the narrator -Darchen Medical College – was new and looked like a monastery from the outside – very solid door that led into a large courtyard- consulting room dark and cold – occupied by a Tibetan doctor – did not have any kit – wore a thick pullover and a woolly hat- narrator explained the symptoms and the doctor shot him a few questions -felt the veins in his wrist- Finally said- cold and the effects of altitude- would be well enough to do the kora- gave him a brown envelope stuffed with fifteen screws of paper – Each package – brown powder – had to be taken with hot water- tasted like cinnamon- contents of the lunchtime and bedtime packages – less obviously identifiable -both contained small, spherical brown pellets- medicine looked like sheep dung- helped him recover quickly)

3. The narrator on his way to Mount Kailash came across a lot of topographic variation. Comment.

Clues: (introduction -. narrator and his companions – took short cut to get off the Changtang -Tsetan knew route that would take them southwest – almost directly towards Mount Kailash- involved crossing several fairly high mountain passes- the gently rising and falling hills of Ravu- short cut took them across vast open plains with nothing in them – except a few gazelles – grazing in the arid pastures- Further ahead the plains -stonier than grassy- great herd of wild ass came into view.- ahead hills became steeper -solitary drokbas were tending their flocks- snowcapped mountains – valley- river was wide and by and large clogged with ice-height of 5515 metres -piles of stones marked the landscape- plateau covered with salty desert area and salty lakes – remnants of the Tethys Ocean-Hora place with no vegetation- just dust and rocks- liberally scattered with years of accumulated refuse)

Youth and the Tasks Ahead by Karan Singh | Brief Summary and Solved Questions

Youth and the Tasks Ahead by Karan Singh

KARAN SINGH: Karan Singh was born in Cannes, France on 9th March 1931. His father Hari Singh was the last ruler of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu. His mother”s name was Tara Devi. He had his schooling at the Doon School, Dehra Dun. He completed his graduation in Arts Faculty from Sri Pratap College, Srinagar. He did his M.A and Ph.D. in Political Science from Delhi University.

Karan Singh was appointed as the regent of Jammu and Kashmir State in 1949. He was then the youngest regent of the State. He worked as the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir State from 1965 to 1967. He served as a member of the Lok Sabha for a span of 17 years from 1967 to 1984. He lost the Lok Sabha election in 1984. He was the Indian Ambassador to the US in 1989–1990. The book “Brief Sojourn” is the outcome of his enriching experience as the Ambassador.

He worked as a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1996 onwards. Thus Singh has a vast political experience. Along with his political career, he was a great academician too. He worked as Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University, Jammu and Kashmir University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and NIIT University. He is the recipient of Padma Vibhushan (2005). Towards A New India (1974), Autobiography (1989), Hymn to Shiva and Other Poems (1991), The Transition to a Global Society (1991) are some of his books.

Youth and the task ahead

List of Difficult Words:

Onerous: involving much effort and difficulty.

Great vanguard: considerably above average in size, intensity, ability.

Juncture: a point in time, a join.
Reservoir: a lake used as a source of water supply, a container for a supply of fluid.

Canalized: directed

Pulsating: v.- expand and contract.

Predatory: killing others for food.

Dogged: follow or affect persistently.

Mediocrity: of average or fairly low quality.

Forge: make or shape a metal object by heating and hammering.

Futile: pointless.

Disruptive: interrupt the normal operation of an activity or process.

Reiteration: say again or repeatedly.

Transcends: be or go beyond the range or limits of

Nepotism: favoritism shown to relatives or friends esp. by giving them jobs.

Galvanise: shock or excite into action.

Impetus: the force or energy with which something moves.

Myriad: a very great number

Denominational: a recognized branch of a church or religion, the face value of banknote.

Cradled: a baby”s bed on rockers, a supporting framework.

Divinity: the state of being divine, a god or goddess.

Inherent in: existing in something as a permanent or essential.

Cynicism: a person who believes that people”s motives are always selfish.

Defeatism: a person who accepts failure too readily.
Ingenuity: clever and inventive.

Momentous: very important.

Turbulent: involving much conflict, disorder or confusion, moving unsteadily.

Brief Summary

“Youth and the Tasks Ahead” is a speech given by Karan Singh. Karan Singh tells the youth to become responsible citizens of India. He appeals the post-independence generation to realize their responsibilities towards the nation. Freedom should not be taken for granted. The youth should maintain and strengthen freedom. The youth should serve the nation, accelerate the process of economic development, demolish poverty and strengthen the fabric of democracy.

They should make India a secular and democratic nation based on the principles of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Karan Singh states that the immense strength of the youth should be properly canalized. The youth should safeguard the nation which has two ideals of secularism and democracy. They should have a commitment to safeguarding the nation. Mere desire to serve the nation is not sufficient. It should be accompanied by the ability to do so effectively. In order to serve the society effectively, it is important for youth to develop their physical, intellectual, patriotic and spiritual dimensions. Karan Singh states that it is a continuing process. The youth should give their whole-hearted participation in nation-building. The youth can serve the nation by transcending political, communal, regional and linguistic diversities.

Thus Karan Singh appeals the youth to undertake the noble tasks of defending and developing a free India.

Youth and Task Ahead Questions

Q1. Why does the author say that people who belong to his post-independence generation should not take independence for granted?

Ans. We won our freedom following years of servitude and all this required incredible battle and sacrifice. The author asks the post-independence people to take care to abstain from being easy and complacent. They should not underestimate autonomous on the grounds that its upkeep is a more grave assignment than its accomplishment.

Q2. The writer feels that the youth can be a great source of power to the nation. Why? Do you agree with him? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. The author feels that the youth can be an extraordinary source of capacity to the country. If this power be appropriately channelized and they are pursued to follow optimism and vitality without being aggressive they can extraordinarily fortify their country. They would then be able to protect secularism and idealism on which a powerful country is established. I completely concur with the author.
In fact, youth can be an incredible source of capacity to the nation. They have to provide leadership in all fields of life. However, they have to prepare and train themselves to achieve the objective of country building.

Q3. “………. A mere desire to be a service is not enough, it must be ………….” What are the abilities the writer feels the youth should be equipped with to be able to serve the nation?
Ans. To the writer, the youth should equip themselves with physical, mental, moral and spiritual abilities. Discipline and teamsmanship are required for every one of those expecting to join the defence forces. Then, they should go for and endeavor to get scholarly capacities of the most astounding request in this atomic age and should not enjoy purposeless and troublesome interests. What’s more, they should avoid getting engaged with gathering governmental issues and spotlight themselves on national improvement. They should likewise develop unadulterated patriotism, nationalism, and otherworldliness so as to have the option to take a stab settled and congruity among individuals following various beliefs and religions.

Q4. “Having muscles of iron and nerves of steel” means?

Ans. It means, “Being both physically strong and mentally fit”.

Q5. Besides physical endurance. The author talks about three other qualities that are essential for the defence personnel. Which are they?

Ans. As indicated by the creator, physical endurance is fundamental for defence forces. There are three other attributes, which the youth intending to join denfence forces must have. These three qualities are the characteristics of discipline, cooperation, and corporate advancement.

Q6. “We live in a highly competitive age of science and technology and can no longer afford the luxury of mediocrity if we are to forge ahead.” By this sentence, the author means that.

Ans. The author alludes that we should be intellectually superior to make progress in science and technology.

Q7. According to the author, “those undergoing higher education constitute the privileged elite.” Why does he think so? And what does he expect them to do for the nation?

Ans. The writer aptly feels that those experiencing advanced education comprise the elite world. In a developing nation like India, an enormous number are as yet unfit to procure even primary education. The author is, in this manner anticipating them that they should reimburse their obligation to society by not squandering a single moment of their scholastic life in worthless or problematic pursuits. Then again, they should do their best to become capable and productive in their particular fields of study so they can serve the country with greater capacity and efficiency.

Q8. The writer warns that educated youth must keep themselves away from some futile pursuits.” What are the futile pursuits he is hinting at?

Ans. As per the author, the educated youth must focus exclusively on the service of the country and so as to make assure that they can do it viably. The author cautions that they fend off themselves from some useless pursuits. He is alluding to getting engaged with party politics and troublesome exercises, which lead to wasting their valuable time and vitality. They should ward off themselves from interests and other such absurdities.

Q9. What according to the writer is ‘crucial to the success of democracy’?

Ans. According to the writer, the educated youth of India must develop patriotism, which goes beyond pettiness. What’s more, they should also be able to work mainly for national integration and national advancement and all this, as indicated by the writer, will help evacuation of corruption elements and favoritism from India and actuate the advancement of economic development which is essentially excessively vital to the achievement of democracy.

Q10. “All is contained in that one single advice”. Which advice of Sri Aurobindo is the author referring to?

Ans. The author is referring to the advice, which Aurobindo Ghosh gave to students of Bengal National College. He urged them to do everything, including suffering themselves, to serve India. By way of refreshing to this advice, Dr. Karan Singh advises the educated youth to hold service of India dearer than everything else. According to the writer, the youth must work so that India may prosper and suffer so that India may rejoice.

Q11. Why does the writer say that it is important to accept that all human beings are inherently divine?

Ans. As per the author, it is imperative to accept every single person as naturally divine for such acknowledgment raises the pride of individual and cuts over every restricted barrier and distinction and empowers us to live respectively in harmony. It likewise encourages us fight valiantly for our freedom. It gives people with and wisdom enough to live in amicability without disdain and ill will for each other.

Q12. “These may not be such to hit the newspaper headlines but it is solid and
devoted activity……….”

a) What is the writer referring to in this line?

b) What according to the writer will be the result of such an activity?


a) The writer, in these lines, is referring to those numerous avenues that are always available to our youth for national service.

b) To writer, the result of such activity will be the real service of the nation, which can truly build the fabric of a great nation as India.

Q13. The writer lists out a number of tasks that the youth can take up for the progress of the nation. How does he suggest these tasks could be accomplished?

Ans. There are numerous tasks to be accomplished by our youth to be able to serve India effectively and according to the writer our youth will be able to accomplish these tasks if we organize a vast national youth movement transcending all political, communal, regional and linguistic diversities and than mobilize them for their success in all the dimensions.

Q14. Do you agree with the statement made by the writer that ‘The younger generation today faces challenges graver than any with, which their forefathers were confronted’?
Ans. We as free Indians are at a critical point in the history of country. I completely concur with what Dr. Karan Singh expressed on the grounds that our ancestors won freedom with extraordinary battle and more great sacrifice. At present, our country is experiencing narrow patriotism, nepotism, and corruption which are compromising secularism and democratic system and it is absolutely a graver test at the hands of our youth to battle with mental fortitude against these substantial odds since youth are brimming with gurgling excitement and vitality, they can do miracles and serve the country by just rising above selfish politics and stopping from getting indulged in such a troublesome interests and by appropriately preparing themselves to defeat all difficulties in satisfying every one of the tasks in front of them.

Summary of Appa-Mam and its Questions and Answers


Appa-mam is a short story written by Padma Hejmadi. The word ‘mam’ has been taken from Tamil which means Uncle. This is a humorous story that deals with a man who claims to be a sanyasi although he enjoys his living. Later he turns out to be a cheat.

Appamam is an uncle to the younger members and elders called him Appa. As elders called him Appa and he was an uncle, the younger of the family started calling him Appamam. Apart from this epithet, he was labeled with other epithets as ‘Shameless Rascal’ and ‘Old Burnt Face’.However, he took these epithets as titles or decorations. The narrator met Appamam for the first time when her mother took them to Madras to stay with her grandparents. They found Appamam seated in grandfathers chair wearing grandfathers dhoti and smoking bidi. His head cleans shaved and forehead coated with ashes, busy studying newspaper. Whenever asked about his whereabouts he always added that he is doing meditation wherein he had renounced worldly joys in search of spiritual knowledge but his behavior nullified everything.Later, Appamam announced that he was going on foot to the temple at Tirukazhukunram, and he would return by nightfall. Late in the evening, he came back after the day’s pilgrimage being dead tired. To his experience, he added that a few days of soft living had spoiled him. As a result, it was not possible for him to undergo even a single day’s starvation so, he didn’t eat the food packed in the container but gave to other pilgrimage and had been without food for two days.

Appamam was teased every time. When the younger uncle pretended to adjust his halo, he would say that it was always a little in the wrong position.

He discussed his nightmare that had become the part of family legend. He returned after three years during night time. The boys were away at college and the writer’s grandparents had gone to bed early. Suddenly a dark figure appeared at the gate calling “Premavati Premavati”. Grandmother woke up and got frightened for a moment waking up Grandfather as well who asked him where the ‘old burnt face’ had been. Actually, he had returned and brought back 25 rupees he had taken from the Grandfather’s desk which made Uncles decide that this virtuous act had brought on the nightmare. Later Grandfather woke up at midnight finding Appa man shouting some nonsense and dancing like a dervish around his bed. Grandfather stopped him and felt astonished to see that he had been sleeping all the time.

One day to the utter surprise of Grandfather, Appamam’s disciples paid a visit as they wanted a darshan and get blessings for he had been practicing meditation for years near North Indian village. Everybody made a critical remark that hardly mattered for Appamam. He gave a damn to everything, finished his breakfast, sat cross-legged under the neem tree and saw them one by one. Such an act surprised the members of the family who had never thought that Appamam could give blessings to others proving himself to be a real Sanyasi.

Later the story ends with a twist where two days later the earings of the writer’s aunt were missing with a remark that even Appamam was also not seen for days altogether. Appamam’s disappearance jolted the writer in her opinion about him.

Read Also: Attitude


The character is portrayed as a lethargic, prodigal, lazy bone conman who is filled with confidence. Appamam was an ascetic or sanyasi. He was an easy going man, quiet lazy, funny and intriguing. Besides this he was unreliable. He lived with a comfort doing nothing useful himself or to others. As a result, it was assumed that he was a charlatan. He was fond of stealing things from the house and giving them to others. Newspapers and chairs were the only source of interest for him. Although he claimed to be a sanyasi there was nothing spiritual about him. As elders called him Appa and he was an uncle, the younger of the family started calling him Appamam. Apart from this epithet, he was labeled with other epithets as ‘Shameless Rascal’ and ‘Old Burnt Face’. However, he took these epithets as titles or decorations. He was as cheerful as ever. He had the art of saying different things to different people. He had a creative mind. He had a different story for each person depending on what he thought of their individual taste and appreciation. Appamam enjoyed smoking. He used to tell unbelievable stories . He would sit in the sun and sleep in the shade. He played cricket with the writer,s cousins and helped them with their algebra. He was rather lazy. The writer humorously says that he enjoyed life more than anyone else.


Appamam’sway of being a sanyasi was unpredictable. It could not be correctly defined. There was no transparency. Appamam claims to be sanyasi but he leads a good life without caring for the opinion of others, follows his own lifestyle. Sometimes he would disappear from the house for many days without any explanation. Then he would reappear on the doorstep one morning unshaven and dressed in his saffron clothes and carrying his begging bowl. But he was as cheerful as ever. He had the art of saying different things to different people. He had a creative mind. He had a different story for each person depending on what he thought of their individual taste and appreciation. When he disappeared he took grandfather’s cuff links with him. On another occasion, he took ten rupees from Grandmother’s money which made members of the family lock up their belongings.

It was later found that as an ascetic he did not believe in worldly possessions, having nothing of his own. The writer’s mothers always defended Appamam saying everybody talk of his taking things but no one mentioned how easily he gave those things to the poor and needy.

When his disciples come to see him, the members of his own family feel amazed. Later the earings of the writer’s aunt were missing with a remark that even Appamam was also not seen for days altogether. Appamam’s disappearance jolted the writer in her opinion about him.


Appamaam’s visit to different parts of the country and practicing meditation attracted different kind of people as his disciples including a mother with her baby, children, an old farmer, a cripple and a young couple. To the utter surprise of Grandfather, Appamam’s disciples paid a visit as they wanted a darshan and get blessings. Everybody made a critical remark that hardly mattered for Appamam. He said firmly that they should not laugh at him in the presence of his disciples. He wanted them to respect the faith which his disciples had in him which shut their mouth and they stopped laughing. However, he gave a damn to everything, finished his breakfast, sat cross-legged under the neem tree and saw them one by one. Such an act surprised the members of the family who had never thought that Appamam could give blessings to others proving himself to be a real Sanyasi.

The Listeners by Walter De La Mare | Summary, Theme, Analysis, Poetic Devices and Answered Questions

The Listeners by Walter De La Mare

The poem “The Listeners” is written by the well known modern poet, Walter De La Mare. His literary fame mainly revolves around this poem and works for children. Supernaturalism is a predominant element found in his writings and has written many ghost stories, the most famous being ‘The Eight Tales”.

“The Listeners” is a brilliant piece of literature through which ‘Walter De La Mare’ is endeavoring to narrate an incident of a promise that was kept but was not reciprocated. It is a poem which compels the readers to derive interpretations for this poem. The atmosphere created in this poem is diabolic and haunted, and it is solely up to the reader to bring this poem to life.

The poet is talking about a weary horse rider who eventually reaches his destination in the darkest hour of the night. The moonlight shining bright and bathing a particular house in its glory. Dismounting from the horse, the rider wastes no time in knocking at the mysterious door. The horse relieved of its burden eats the grass to its heart’s content. The forest floor covered with plants. In this atmosphere of absolute stillness, the sounds that are heard are that of the horses chewing the grass and a bird scarring out of the tower of the mansion. It seemed that the bird was awakened by the arrival of the traveler and the supernatural phenomena within the house.

Baffled and perplexed by no response from the depth of the house, the traveler knocked the door for the second time.

In spite of the second attempt no one moved downward from the mansion towards the traveler, nor did a keen welcoming voice call out from the border of the window, laced with leaves.

Neither did anybody bent out of the window to know who the caller might be at the unearthly hour. The traveler expected at least someone to open the ground floor window, peep and stare into the dull and worried eyes of the traveler. The traveler stood transfixed and flustered and sound of silence became his patient listener. But, it seemed that whoever lived in that moonlit solitary house could only acknowledge the presence of the traveler by a deeper shade of silence. The world of the immortals within the house was moved by the only mortal sound around. The only witness to this sight were his horse and the stream of moonlight that unoccupied hall and ascended up those uncanny stairs. It is not that the traveler was not received by anyone but it so happened that they have become the inhabitants of the next world. The spirits within the house heard each word of the caller and were disturbed in their stark silence as the words he spoke penetrated their soul. The supernatural aspect of the house casts a shadow on the traveler who now stands frozen with confusion and fright. The absence of any kind of sound or movement sends a chill up his spine. While the meeting between the mortals and the immortals was progressing, his horse continued eating grass under the shield of the stars and the trees unmoved by the events of the night. Baffled and frustrated, the weary traveler knocks a third time. He screams to the inhabitants of the house to tell them that he was present and he did not fail to keep his promise. The listeners did not respond in any way and the silence kept growing graver, unable to meet the requirements of the traveler and bound by unforeseen circumstances, the listeners heard him departing as he mounted his horse and the sound of the horse was heard on the cobbled ground. With his departure, the sounds of silence moved forward and upward, without failing to notice the unsteady movement and the uncontrollable steps of the horse and its rider.

The poet through this poem basically talks about keeping one’s promises and he also reflects the inability of the mortals to communicate with the immortals who died before fulfilling their promises.

The Listeners by Walter De La Mary


CHAMPED: Another word for chomped

TURRETT: A small tower on top of a larger tower or at the corner of a building or wall, typically of a castle.

SMOTE: Past tense of smite, an old-fashioned word for striking with a firm blow

HOST: A large group


CROPPING: Cutting or harvesting

SPAKE: An old-fashioned word that means spoke

Poetic Techniques of “The Listeners”

1. Alliteration: The repetition of consonant sounds within close proximity, usually in consecutive words within the same sentence or line e.g.;

‘she sells sea shells on the sea shore’,

‘And the furrow followed free’.

Examples of Alliteration in the poem “The Listener” are

‘Forest’s ferny floor’, ‘Stood perplexed and still’, ‘stirred and shaken’, ‘suddenly smote the door’, ‘louder and lifted’, ‘Silence surged softly backward’.

2. Onomatopoeia: When sounds are spelled out as words, or when words describing sounds actually sound like the sounds they describe, e.g. ‘Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed’, ‘the hissing of the snake and the buzzing of the bee disturbed me’.

Onomatopoeia words in the poem are: ‘Chomped’, ‘Smote’, ‘Echoing’, ‘plunging’

3. Binary Image: when the poet makes use of two contrasting things or ideas, it is known as binary technique. It is used to give more poetic weight to the lines that have been written e.g.‘Hot and Cold’, ‘new and old’, ‘thick and thin’, summer and winter’.

The use of two binary images has been done in the poem.

‘Perplexed and still’, ‘leaned over and looked into’.

4. Metaphor: A host of phantomine listeners and the voice of worlds of men

Theme of The Poem

Walter de la Mare’s supernatural poem The Listeners is considered the quintessence of his poetic genius. The most celebrated uncanny feeling and ‘strangeness’ has been the pivotal theme of this particular poem. In this context, it should be mentioned that the lone traveler who experiences the strangeness in his heart is also baffled by communication failure and despondency of the unfulfillment of a promise as indicated in the poem. Did his regressed emotions of the past incidents, or some guilt of breaking a promise submerged deep in his unconscious due to regression and resulted in an uncanny feeling? Were those thronging phantom listeners external manifestation of the traveler’s regressed self? In terms of Freudian concept of ‘uncanny’ the prefix – ‘un’ is a token of regression. Depending upon his theory this article is an attempt to vindicate the traveler’s uncanny strangeness and the phantom listeners to be the projection of the repressed inner self and unsettled notions of a unified personality.

Explanation of The Poem

The listeners, a narrative poem delineating supernatural ambiance within, is a poem composed by Walter de la Mare, first published in London by Constable and Company in The listeners and other poems, a collection of Walter de la Mare’s verses in 1912. The central attraction of the poem is its supernatural element and gothic atmosphere. In addition to it, there remains a vivid description of the traveler’s psychological reaction upon confronting the strangeness of the place on a moonlit night.

The poem initiates with the depiction of a haunted and desolate house where a lone traveler arrives with a predetermined purpose. The entire atmosphere evokes a mysterious sense of horror and strangeness with its brilliant juxtaposition of silence and sound. It is evident from the description that the house is deserted by human and a strange presence of a host of phantom listeners has been depicted by the poet. These listeners are unable to make successful communication. They are at the receiving end. After knocking on the door twice the traveler left dishearted, but he left a message that he kept his promise. The entire effort of communication was on the part of the traveler ending in his assertion of fulfilling his promise. But the promise he mentioned there was never actually maintained. It is the traveler himself who implies the fulfillment in a condolatory tone. This consolation provided by him is the mark of his failure. The nature of this nocturnal visit of the traveler remains unknown matter of conjecture. Apart from that why should he feel so “perplexed”? He left a message – ‘tell them I came and no one answered/that I kept my word.” that implicates that he was conscious of the presence of those phantom listeners who were responsible for the uncanny feeling he experienced. Were these phantom listeners projection of his regressed self? As it has been mentioned in Freud’s expounded the theory of ‘uncanny’ that uncanny feeling is a result of repression.

Repression is a defence mechanism to maintain a balanced personality. To put it more specifically it is a conscious process of forgetting unpleasant and undesirable events of life. It is an involuntary and spontaneous exclusion of those memories from the conscious awareness which are disturbing for the individual. Despite trying hard to suppress them they may invade the consciousness in disguised form. In a menacing form, those feelings may recur and such recurrence unsettles the person’s mind. The traveler’s uncanny feelings may result from such regressive actions of past. His predicament reminds Macbeth’s encounter with the witches upon the heath in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. Though his associate Banquo witnessed the incident but critics are of the opinion that the witches were an external manifestation of Macbeth’s own inarticulate desires.

‘Uncanny’ is a feeling generated for something unfamiliar or incongruous. According to Freud ‘uncanny’ is familiar yet incongruous, as it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being simultaneously attracted to yet repulsed by an object. Freud’s revelation enlightened this in his essay on The Uncanny(1919) the German word unheimlich (uncanny, unfamiliar) and Heimlich(familiar, homely) are opposite but close in meaning, if not identical, since Heimlich means apparently belonging to the house also simultaneously juxtaposes the sense of being concealed, hidden, kept from sight. He further relates uncanny first to the survival of the unconscious of a primitive and subsequently repressed animistic mythological and mystic view of the world. Secondly the occurrence of repetition, coincidence and doubles are related to uncanny. He confirms that these are the result of repressed experiences in infancy. Otto Fenichel opines that ‘if the disappearance of the original aim from consciousness is called repression, then every sublimation is a repression.’Lacan also stressed the role of signifier in repression-‘the primal repressed is the signifier-examining how the symptom is constituted on the basis of primal repression of the ‘unterdruckung of the binary signifier…the necessary fall of the first signifier’. While interpreting the traveler’s uncanny feeling or unfamiliar experience his repetitive actions testify a great deal as he repeats the question twice, ‘Is there anybody there?’ He smote on the door twice that leads us to the conclusion of repetitive compulsion on the part of the traveler (Freud’s theory foregrounding Jung’s notion of syncronity).

The traveler’s assertion of keeping his promise probably made to the dwellers of the house incites mysterious strangeness. Nothing is implied distinctly or in specific terms about the promise, like-what was the promise? To whom was it made? Why he came at midnight to see the dwellers of the house? Whatever the answers may be it engenders an all-encompassing feeling of failure, a failure that also engulfs the traveler’s mind. Virtually the uncanny feeling of the traveler may be the reflection of his once repressed experiences or unfulfilled desires. The shock of failed communication, inability to fulfill his promise, such baffled efforts on the part of the traveler might have been experienced by him before and technically repressed into his unconscious. Those repressed memories surged into the surface invading the conscious after encountering the strange milieu of the mansion on a moonlit night. The revival of those feelings caused anxiety which makes him perplexed and still. When repression has rendered it strange and unfamiliar anxiety for uncanny is rediscovered. As Freud justified that certain triggers retrieve childhood memory, conflicts, or primitive beliefs overcome by a person but suddenly seemingly receive renewed affirmation. The atmosphere of the mansion is largely responsible for the resurrection of those submerged uncanny feelings, repressed fears, and suspicions. Recurrence of suppressed experiences generated that uncanny feeling in the perplexed traveler’s mind.

Where The Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore | Summary and Questions and Answers

In this post, you will find a complete summary of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poem ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’. You can also read all the expected questions from the poem along with their probable answers. I hope you’ll find this useful.

About The Poet: Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata). He was not only a writer, but also a painter, a philosopher, and a composer. The poem ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear…’ has been taken from his Nobel-winning collection of poems ‘Gitanjali’, a profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse. It was originally written in Bengali and subsequently translated into English by Rabindranath Tagore himself. In this poem, the noble laureate beautifully pours out his overwhelmed heart in his much-praised literary work “Where The Mind Is Without Fear” in which he exhibits his vision of a hassle-free nation by bestowing his heartfelt reliance on the master of the Universe. From a feminist point of view, this poem is appreciated as an inspiration for the woman race to improve their social status and economic status. Women of India need to come out of their narrow domestic walls by increased means of education and social justice. This thought-provoking poem also conveys the idea of eliminating the dreary desert sand of dead habits like Sati System, Dowry, and Child Marriage, etc from our Indian Culture to uplift our Indian Women. Our Women shell actively support and participate in the nationalist movement and secure eminent positions and offices in administration and public life in free India. This research article aims at stimulating the country to raise the voice for the freedom of women. It channelizes the empowerment of women by directing their efforts towards perfection.
About the poem: Where the Mind is Without Fear’ is one of his well-known poems of Rabindranath Tagore. It was initially written in Bengali, under the title ‘Prarthana’, which means supplication. This poem appeared in the volume called ‘Naibedya’ in 1901. Tagore composed this poem when India was under the grasp of British reign. He composed this poem to energize the countrymen, to ingrain heroic qualities and morale in their souls and brains.

The poet mourns the pitiful plight of Indians and in a manner reveals the people’s wretched state of being now downtrodden. They were in the clutches of cruel British rule. Tagore pours out his dream of the features of a splendid country That is his utopia in a manner. He dwells on the theme of spiritual liberty, freedom of mind, expression, beliefs, methods and thought, as well as political freedom. He wants to put forth uselessness of blind faith and superstition and heavily comment on the role of logical reasoning in our country’s prosperity.

In this poem published in days of pre-independence, the poet skillfully writes about happy heaven where all people of his country will be free from all sorts of bias and prejudice and not fragmented by narrow walls. He sketches a moving picture of the nation. He wants India to be a nation in the fold of brotherhood, a nation without fear of oppression and without apprehension. The poem reflects the utmost faith of the poet in God to whom he pleads to guide his countrymen.

Summary of Where the Mind is Without Fear

The poem, ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear…’, has been written by the poet in the form of a prayer to God for the true freedom of his country. The poet wishes for his country to be free from the oppressive rule of the colonizers. Once the country is free, everybody would live fearlessly and have confidence in themselves. The poet visualises a nation where knowledge is accessible to one and all since knowledge and education alone will lead the people from darkness to light. The poet wishes for a nation where people are not divided on the basis of caste, colour, creed, class, etc. The people of such a nation would be truthful and would speak from the depth of their hearts. In such a country, the people would give their best and work hard, which would ultimately make them achieve their goal of perfection. It is the dream of the poet that he wants his countrymen to have the power of reason and not to give in to age-old superstitious beliefs. He prays to God to help his countrymen progress so that they become individuals who are logical, progressive and have a broad-minded outlook. He requests God to guide his countrymen into the heaven of freedom, where all that he has prayed for comes true. Tagore thus sketches out the ideal form of freedom and not merely political freedom that he desires for his country. He aspires to bring about an awakening in a country that is enslaved both, politically and intellectually.

The mind without fear


Lines 1-2: In these lines, the poet prays to God that the people of his country should not fall down in dread and fear. They should be free from persecution and compulsion. Their heads ought to be always held high. He desires his countrymen to be valiant and have a feeling of pride and self-poise. They ought not to be plagued by any sort of mistreatment and should be resolved in their quest for goal. In the second line, the artist longs for a country where knowledge is available to one and all. Just the light of knowledge has the ability to obliterate the haziness of darkness. Thus, he craves everybody to be taught independent of class barriers. Lesson instructed should have otherworldly significance and should go for all-round development of the student’s personality.
Lines 3-4: Prejudice, discrimination separate people. They grow the seed of enmity. The poet wants that there should not exist any type of difference among people on the basis of caste, creed, language, sex, religion, and colour and gender. Biases and superstitions are the narrow dividers that partition us into groups and parties, thus, breaking our solidarity and making us frail and delicate.
Lines 5-6: Tagore wants the people of his country to be frank and honest. Their words should surely come out of their hearts. Their words are supposed to be distinct and clear. The poet asks everyone to work hard to achieve their end objective without fatigue. His peasants should extend their arms tirelessly towards perfection. They should work hard until perfection is achieved. Personification has been used in the sixth line. ‘ Tireless striving’ has been personified as a human being, stretching his arms to achieve perfection.

Lines 7-8: The poet expects his countrymen to be reasonable and logical in their thinking. Blind superstitions and traditional conventions should not dictate them. He draws an analogy between “reason” and “clear stream,” comparing “dead habits” with a “dreary desert.” The reason in the sand of dead habits should not lose its way.
Lines 9-11: The compatriots should have a dynamic approach and support new thoughts and ideas. Their brains ought to be driven forward by the contemporary new goals. In the last line, the writer calls to Almighty as ‘Father’ and prays him to let his nation wake up to such a heavenly homestead of liberty where there is brilliance, brightness, and confidence all around.

Critical Analysis

The poem is a lovely lyric, a patriotic song, and a dream of nobility. The theme is suggested by the opening line. It rouses the reader’s curiosity to learn about the place like heaven on earth where mind is without fear. Is there any place on the earth where ideal civilization exists? That’s not the question, because the poet has his ideal dream for his nation. He prays for its fulfillment. He wants his countrymen to be free from outmoded customs and superstitious beliefs. According to the poet, true freedom lies in liberty from narrow considerations of caste, colour, and creed like factors. 3⁄4 cynics discover the poem unrealistic and unworkable.

We can not expect the world to be full of virtuous people who are always telling the truth and leading an honest life. But an ideal must always be high enough to exceed the grip of its pursuer. Herein lies the poem’s beauty that creates immediate appeal. Simile and metaphor poetic instruments have been used. Abstract thoughts have been clothed in pictorial imagery.


Q1. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free”
a. Name the poem and the poet.
Ans: Where The Mind is Without Fear is the name of the poem is and the name of the poet is Rabindranath Tagore.
b. Name the form of the poem.
Ans: There is no rhyme scheme in the poem. It is written in free verse. The poem is written as a petition, a supplication to Almighty.
c.What does the poet want our ‘mind’ and ‘head’ to be?
Ans: The poet wants our minds to be fear from fear and heads to be held high.

d. What is meant by ‘mind is without fear’?

Ans: The expression ‘Mind is without fear’ insinuates the fact that our minds should be courageous. We ought not to be overwhelmed by the shackles of tyranny and oppression. Dread should not be able to discourage us. Our heads should be held high, with no type of dread or confinement.
e. Explain: ‘head held high’.
Ans: ‘Head held high’ signifies to have confidence. The heads of the countrymen are held down as a result of the horrifying mistreatment suffered by them in the hands of the British. The poet wants their heads to be held high with most extreme pride and poise and not bowed down.
f. Whose mind is the poet talking about and why?
Ans: The poet is discussing the minds of the countrymen. He wants his comrades to be courageous and not remain grasped in dread. His comrades were under the grip of British when he composed this poem. So his vision is of a daring India.
g. What is the vision of the poet?
Ans: The poet envisions a’ World of Freedom’ that can be acquired only if the people are fearless. Only a fearless mind can keep upright and straight his head. He wrote this poem when the British controlled the Indians. So, without any internal domination, he visualizes a mental image of free India without any external hegemony.
h. Why does the poet feel that his countrymen should not feel any kind of fear?

Ans: The poet knows how magnificent India used to be in the past, how India soared high before its views were chained. With the advent of the British, the people had lost their pride, confidence, and self-esteem. So the poet dreams of a free nation where his countrymen would not feel any kind of fear or oppression. People would keep bravely their heads high and voice their opinions freely.
i. How would the countrymen be able to hold their heads high?
Ans: The countrymen would be able to keep their heads high if they were free from any kind of oppression. They would derive power from their access to knowledge that could assist them to become confident. Their knowledge would not be confined to small thoughts and ideas. Narrow walls would bind them into chains, all of which would assist them to keep their heads high.

Q2. “Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls.”

a. Explain ‘Where knowledge is free’.
Ans: Knowledge enables us to comprehend different things, and everyone has the right to acquire knowledge regardless of caste, creed, and status. The sentence’ Where knowledge is free’ occurs in the poem Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore. The poet wanted an atmosphere in which knowledge would be freely available to everyone and not limited to a specific segment of society. Not only the wealthy and wealthy parts should be provided the chance to gain understanding. It should be accessible to everyone, whether the rich or the poor, without any social obstacles of any kind. It should not be limited by narrow ideas and social backwardness because it is only the light of knowledge that can obliterate the darkness of ignorance.

3. Explain the following phrases/lines from the poem.

i. ‘narrow domestic walls’

Ans: The phrase ‘narrow domestic walls’ means the conservative or narrow-minded divisions on the basis of caste, colour, class, and creed existent in society.

ii. ‘Where words come out from the depth of truth.’

Ans: The line ‘Where words come out from the depth of truth’ means that –

a. people must be honest in thought, word and deed.

b. they should stand by the truth even

when they face the most difficult of


iii. ‘tireless striving’

Ans: The phrase ‘tireless striving’ means making an effort to keep on trying without giving up, irrespective of the obstacles and difficulties.

iv. ‘dead habits’

Ans: The phrase ‘dead habits’ means the rituals and customs of the olden days which are followed without thought and logic.

4. State the context in which the poet uses the word ‘widening’. Suggest ways in which it can be made possible.

Ans: The poet uses the word ‘widening’ for the thoughts and actions of the citizens of the nation. He advocates that the Almighty can lead the people forward in life by broadening their outlook.

5. ‘Our nation should awaken from the darkness of the night’. Explain.

Ans: ‘Our nation should awaken from the darkness of the night’, means that the people of the nation should break free from the shackles of the oppressive colonial rule which was like a dark, long night and breathe in the fresh air of freedom.

6. The poem is not meant for India alone. Justify.

Ans: The poem is not meant for India alone because of the following reasons:

i. It concerns all the countries which are under an oppressive rule.

ii. It talks about freedom for all such countries.

7. The words we speak should reflect the truth. Justify.

Ans: The poet wants a world for his countrymen where they can speak the truth without any hesitation. He wants them to be free in every sense of the word so that their words reflect nothing but the truth.

8. Elaborate on the effect the word ‘where’ creates at the beginning of each line of this poem.

Ans: The use of the word ‘where’ at the beginning of each line creates emphasis on the fact that the poet is describing an ideal country. It creates a continuity of thought and links each of the factors that the poet describes into the whole idea of a heavenly country.

9. State the attributes of Rabindranath Tagore that the poem (prayer) reflects and give reasons for your answer.

Ans: The poem reflects the following attributes of Rabindranath Tagore:

i. Religious –

When he realises that his countrymen are in a deep slumber of ignorance, the poet composes a prayer to the Almighty in the hope that his intervention will awaken them.

ii. Hopeful and optimistic –

Rabindranath Tagore is aware that the situation in the nation is bleak today, but he is hopeful for a better future.

iii. Concerned –

The poet is concerned about the well-being of the people of his country. He wants them to gain knowledge and progress in life.

iv. Composes freely and from the heart –

Tagore uses free verse to write this poem, which indicates that he is an individual who loves freedom – be it for himself, his thought or his nation. The words flow from the depths of his heart and possess the ability to touch the heart of the reader and transform it.

Poetic Devices

10. Identify the Figures of Speech used in the present extract.

i. “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”

Ans: a. Alliteration – The sound of the letters

‘w’ and ‘h’ are repeated for poetic effect.

b. Synecdoche – Here, ‘mind’ and ‘head’

(a part) stand for the ‘citizen’ (whole).

ii. “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments”

Ans: a. Alliteration – The sound of the letters ‘w’ and ‘b’ are repeated for poetic effect.

iii. “By narrow domestic walls”

Ans: a. Metaphor – An indirect comparison has been made between ‘narrow domestic walls’ and the ‘narrow-minded divisions in society’.

iv. “Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection”

Ans: a. Personification – An inanimate object ‘striving’ has been given the human qualities of being ‘tireless’ and ‘stretching its arms’

v. “Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way.”

Ans: a. Personification – An inanimate object like the ‘stream’ has been given the human quality of ‘losing its way’.

b. Metaphor – An indirect comparison has been made between the ‘clarity of a stream’ and ‘reason’.

vi. “Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit”

Ans: a. Alliteration – The sound of the letter ‘d’ is repeated for poetic effect.

b. Metaphor – An indirect comparison has been made between ‘habit’ and ‘desert sand’.

vii. “Where the mind is led forward by Thee”

Ans: a. Synecdoche – Here, ‘mind’ (a part) stands for the ‘citizen’ (whole).

viii. “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

Ans: a. Personification – An inanimate object ‘country’ has been given the human quality of ‘waking up’.

b. Apostrophe – A direct address has been made to ‘Father (God)’ who is not present there.

11. Write an appreciation of the poem in about 12 to 15 sentences with the help of the following points.

i. Title

ii. Poet

iii. Rhyme scheme

iv. Favorite line

v. Theme / Central idea

vi. Figures of Speech

vii. Special features – Type of the poem,

language, tone, implied meaning, etc.

viii. Why I like/dislike the poem

Ans: The title of the poem is ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear…’ It is created by the incredible poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore.
There is no fixed rhyme scheme in the poem as it is written in a free verse form.
My most loved line from the poem is, “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake” since it isn’t just a petition to the Almighty yet, in addition, a message to the compatriots to stir from the servitudes of colonial rule. The focal thought of the poem is about the poet’s vision of freedom for his nation. He wants and appeals to God for an overall arousing of the countrymen of the country and not only for political opportunity.

The poetic devices utilized in the poem are alliteration, Metaphor, Apostrophe, personification, and Synecdoche.

The most uncommon features of the poem is the fact that it is a poem of expectation as the poet isn’t content with the current state of the nation, however, he is confident for a superior future.
The poet utilizes various metaphors to expand the shades of malice existent in the nation. Each idea has been associated with utilizing the word ‘where’. The poem is brimming with positive and negative symbolism as the poet imagines a superior future while confronting the bleak truth of today. I like the poem for its wonderful dream of a free and equivalent place, where the fellowmen live with one another in harmony and congruity. The poem has a widespread message and is pertinent even today.

12. State the poet’s wish that is expressed through the poem.

Ans: In the poem, the poet wants God to guide his compatriots for freedom from the oppressive colonial rule and lead his nation to an intellectual and moral awakening where its people are broad-minded, rational and proactive.

Quality by John Galsworthy | Summary and Questions


Introduction: The Gesseler brothers were shoemakers of an uncommon pedigree. They made bespoke shoes for clients. Each pair of shoes they made bore the signs of their expertise, duty, and above all adherence to quality. Since they made their shoes by hand, they hardly made just enough to make a decent living.
Incomprehensibly, their staid workshop stood defiantly amidst the marvelousness and fabulousness of London’s high streets. Shoe stores here sold footwear that were mass created by machines and were presented to the market sponsored by gigantic promotion campaigns.

Gesseler Brothers had nothing to promote for sans their quality. They had no machines, no corporate façade, and no tendency to push their shoes through purposeful publicity. For them, each foot was unique, thus, every shoe must be handcrafted.

In today’s material world, the Gesselers were a nonconformist, a renegade with a lost provision, and craftsmen, whose thoughts ran counter to whatever cutting edge business colleges instructed. They had shoe-production aptitudes few could match, however, nobody wanted to copy. Such is the toll crash corporate greed assumes the world’s perishing supply of master craftsmen.

In the modern business world, where the main concern of an enterprise turns into the sole yardstick of progress, furor for quality is viewed as a dark trait, without any takers. Geseler Brothers cherished for their conviction and their responsibility. Towards the end, maybe they fell prey to their excellent commitment to the specialty of making fine shoes, but, who bothers? Such individuals are, without a doubt, God’s endowments to humanity, yet how tragic they die un-heard, un-respected, and uncelebrated!

Questions And Answers

Q1. How long had the narrator known Gessler brothers?
Ans. The narrator had known the Gessller brother from the days of his extreme youth. His age was nearly fourteen or so when the narrator was promoted to one of the Gessler Brothers.

Q2. “He would never have tolerated in his house leather ion which he had not worked himself”. This shows that shoemaker….
Ans. This shows that the shoemaker was a self- respecting man who was proud of his ability and talent to make exquisite shoes.

Q3. Pick out the sentences in the second paragraph which show that the Gesslers were excellent shoemakers.
Ans. The following sentences are clear evidence about Gesslers being excellent shoemakers :

i) ‘It seemed so inconceivable that what he made could ever have failed to fit’.

ii) ‘He would have never tolerated in his house leather on which he had not worked himself’.

iii) ‘The pair of pumps, so inexpressibly slim. The patent leather ……making water come into one’s mouth.

iv) ‘ those pairs could only be made by one who saw before him the soul of boots – so truly were they prototypes incarnating the very spirit of all footgear.

Q4. Making shoes was a work of art for Gesslers means :
Ans. It means that the Gessler brothers considered shoemaking an art and spent hours in producing shoes that were of the highest quality and of exquisite workmanship.

Q5. How did the narrator differentiate between the two brothers? Who was the more skilled of the two?
Ans. According to the narrator, the narrator would identify the Gessler brothers after the conversation is over. The elder brother would say “I’ll ask my brudder” whereas the younger brother would take a decision immediately. He would say “Come tomorrow fortnight”.
Among these two, the younger brother was more skilled.

Q6. Why does the narrator compare the atmosphere of the shop to that of a church?
Ans. the narrator compares the shop’s atmosphere to that of a church to highlight sincerity and the job culture coupled with the utmost dedication to which Mr. Gessler was married as a shoemaker. His shop was the church where he served his clients without any selfish intentions.

Q7. The narrator says that the boots ‘lasted terribly’. Is it a compliment or criticism’? Explain.
Ans. The narrator says that the boots ‘lasted terribly’. It is a definite compliment. The narrator actually praises the quality of boots. This line clearly brings out the durability of the shoes made by Mr. Gessler.

Q8. “…… and I would continue to rest in the wooden ……..” why did the narrator have to rest in the chair? What was the incense of his trade?

Ans. The narrator had to rest in the chair because he had no choice to go to the shop as one usually goes to other shops in a mood of “please serve me and let me go” the narrator had to enter the shop as one enters a church and sit on the single wooden chair and wait for there was never anybody in the shop. The narrator is referring to the smell of leather as the incense of Mr. Gessler’s trade.

Q9. On one occasion the shoemaker offered to take back the narrator’s shoe. Why did he do so?
Ans. The narrator told Gessler that the pair of town walking boots creaked. The shoemaker said that they shouldn’t have done so. He, however, offered to take them back if he could do nothing to them because he thought it to be a reflection on his professional skill.

Q10. ‘Dose big firms’ are no self-respect. Who said this? Who were the big firms ……,
Ans. This statement was spoken by Mr. Gessler, a shoe-maker who produced excellent and exquisite shoes with devotion and diligence and the big ‘firms’ he was referring to were the big firms or factories which made shoe-making industry and with whom quality and customer satisfaction mattered much less. He spoke such word to expose the self-ulterior motives of those industrialists with whom monetary profits meant more than their self-respect and customer’s comfort.

Q11. What were the changes that the narrator observed when he visited the shoemaker’s shop after two years? Why had he not visited him for such a long time?
Ans. The narrator observed that outside one of the two small windows of Gessler’s shop another name was painted, also that of a bootmaker. The old pair of boots was huddled in the single window. Inside it was then a well contracted and even darker than ever. The narrator had not visited the shoemaker’s shop for a few years due to the fact that the shoes were made lasted longer than ever.

Q12. Why did the narrator order three pairs of shoes when he wanted only two?
Ans. The narrator actually wanted only two pairs of shoes but ordered three after he came to realize that the shoemaker had lost half of his store because his company was getting too different to carry on. He felt compassion for the condition of the Gessler brothers.

Q13. Why was the narrator shocked to receive the bill for his shoes?
Ans. The narrator was shocked to receive it for the time along with the parcel of shoes that was quite unusual for Gesslers wouldn’t send it until the quarter day.

Q14. What were the reasons that led to the death of the younger of the Gessler Brothers?
Ans. Gessler’s younger brothers were unable to cope with the pressures of his decreasing business and economic limitations and eventually died of slow hunger.

Q15. Why did the Gessler brothers lose customers even though they made the best shoes in town?
Ans. The Gessler brothers made the best shoes in the town despite the loss of customers. It was due to industrialization that made people resort to prompt services rather than the quality and durability of the product. As Gesslers would not compromise on quality and make shoes with a devotion that naturally required time and the seekers of prompt services stopped buying shoes from them.


Discussion Questions

Q. Discuss the appropriateness of the title of the story ‘Quality’.
Ans. The title of the story ‘Quality’ is an apt one, since this story centers around an eccentric craftsman’s extreme devotion to ‘quality’. Gessler brothers sustained in this treacherously material world since they were driven by their commitment to quality. Yet, the artisan could not endure and probably passed away due to poverty and destitution. His art devoured him. It sounds painful that an ace artisan of such expertise died so miserable a death. Had the world been more touchy to the prevalence of quality, the two brothers would have earned name and fame. Unfortunately, the world didn’t take a gander at them.

The story ‘Quality’ by John Galsworthy leaves us miserable after we go through it. It sears our inner voice since it portrays the defeat of an honorable trait of people – to struggle for perfection in whatever they do. This noble trait is ‘Quality’, a sister of ‘Creativity and imagination’.
The Gessler Brothers were Germans. As a race, Germans exceed practically all different races with regards to ‘quality’. The two brothers prepared shoes, a standout amongst the most ordinary of human possession. They earned their living making bespoke shoes of the most astounding craftsmanship. They scarcely scratched a living from their everyday job, except in the hearts of the clients they carved an imprint for themselves.

Need, hard manual work and shame stalked them at each step, but they were undeterred. It is this particular dedication to quality that brought them thankfulness from their bunch of buyers. In any case, declining to adopt present-day strategies for shoe-production, they trudged on in the quest for quality. This energy brought them to fate, and one of the brothers passed away. One can say that the quest for ‘quality’ to an unreasonable dimension brought them long lasting hopelessness.

It’s a powerful story of how commercial greed throttled the German brothers’ promise for an average life. Vanquished and dejected, they adhered to their adoration to make an ideal pair of shoes. How tragic! Quality killed an ace craftsman. The irony breaks us.

After we wrap up the story, we locate no other title for the story, more well-suited than ‘Quality’. It is at the focal point of the story, and it is its essence. However, other titles like, ‘A German Shoemaker’s solitary expertise’, or ‘The Appalling End to an Ace Shoemaker’ can likewise be considered appropriate titles for the story.

Tags: quality story questions and answers,theme of the story quality by john galsworthy,justify the title of the story quality,quality by john galsworthy full story,quality summary,quality by john galsworthy significance of the title, quality by john galsworthy critical appreciation,quality by john galsworthy conflict

The Daffodils By William Wordsworth- Summary and Questions Answers



A great lover of nature, William Wordsworth, had once wandered aimlessly just like a cloud floats in the sky. He had suddenly come across countless golden daffodils by the side of a lake. Those golden daffodils were fluttering and dancing in the air, appearing like stars twinkling in the sky. The made as if they were dancing in a frenzy.

The poet compares the golden daffodils with the stars that shine and twinkle in the sky. The poet feels the number of the daffodils as never-ending as the stars in the Milky Way.

The waves of the lake are also dancing but the dance of the daffodils surpassed the dance of the waves in happiness. The poet is wonderfully delighted in such a pleasant company. According to the poet, he could scarcely realize that he was collecting a treasure in his mind.

As time went on the poet found himself in the vacant or pensive mood but the beautiful sight of the golden daffodils began appearing in his mind and that recollection filled the poet’s heart with extraordinary delight.

In a nutshell, the poem exemplifies how William words worth, a pantheist, derive extraordinary bliss in the most ordinary things.

The Daffodils Summary


Have you spent some time thinking about this poem? If not, go back and do so before you proceed on.

What were your initial thoughts while reading this poem? Is the poem already very familiar to you? If so, did you try to read it differently? Did you try to apply what you learned in the first lesson?

The first aspect of the poem that is clearly visible is its structure: it’s neatly divided into stanzas of six lines each. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter. The word ‘iambic’ comes from the term ‘iamb’. In poetry, an iamb consists of one unstressed syllable and one stressed syllable. If you read the poem aloud, you’ll find that every other syllable is stressed while speaking.

Stanza 1

I wandered lonely…………. in the breeze.

Did you notice the contrasts in this stanza? The poet is depicted as a single, lonely person. The daffodils aren’t just a ‘crowd’ but a ‘host’. Think about the connotative meaning of the word ‘host’. It has many connotations, but as a collective noun, it is used most often to refer to angels. This meaning recalls one of the most fundamentals concerns of most Romantic poets: to think of nature the way others think of religion. What the poet can derive from observations of the natural world is no less important than the lessons taught by religious doctrines. By comparing himself to a cloud, the poet is perhaps trying to participate in the natural order of things or perhaps trying to pretend that he is a cloud in order to avoid confronting whatever issues make him lonely.

Also interesting in this stanza is the difference between the actions of ‘fluttering’ and ‘dancing’. Usually, something flutters because something else causes it to flutter. However, dancing conveys a sense of agency: it’s an active action, whereas ‘fluttering’ is a more passive one.

Stanza 2

Continuous as the stars……. in sprightly dance.

In this stanza, Wordsworth makes use of hyperbole or exaggeration by saying that he saw ‘ten thousand’ daffodils ‘at a glance’. The word ‘never-ending’ is also an exaggeration. Here, the poet is drawing attention to the fact that perception can differ from reality. The daffodils aren’t actually in a never-ending line, but there are so many of them that the line seems never-ending; so, in one sense, it is never-ending because the eye cannot see the end of it.

Note how the dancing from the previous stanza has now become a ‘sprightly dance’. It is even more vibrant now, and the addition of the description ‘tossing their heads’ really does make it seem as though the flowers have an active will of their own.

Stanza 3

The waves beside……… to me had brought:

Are you beginning to notice how the poet ascribes human qualities to the natural world? In this stanza, it isn’t just the flowers but also the waves that are dancing. The intensity of emotions conveyed is also steadily increasing as the poem progresses. From being ‘sprightly’ in the previous stanza, the flowers are now full of ‘glee’. Note the implication that the glee is infectious: it appears as though the daffodils have passed it on to the waves, and to the poet himself.

The repetition of the word ‘gazed’ reinforces the idea that the speaker looked at the scene for a long time. Until this point in the poem, we are given the literal description of the scene that the poet is looking at. Just as he has no thoughts about the ‘wealth’ that the scene has given him, so his readers are only given descriptions without accompanying ideas. The use of the word ‘show’ suggests a rehearsed performance: it is almost as though the poet is suggesting that the daffodils are the protagonists in a theatrical tableau.

Also notice that this stanza ends with a colon, suggesting a continuation of thought. In grammatical terms, colons are often used before definitions and explanations. So we can expect the final stanza to exemplify the meaning of the previous section of the poem.

Stanza 4

For oft, when on my couch …… dances with the daffodils.

‘For’ often conveys the meaning of ‘because’. The word seems to suggest that this stanza will present us with the explanation for why the poet says that watching the ‘show’ brought him ‘wealth’. Doesn’t the image of lying on a couch suggest the idea of being in a psychiatrist’s office? Wordsworth seems to be suggesting that recalling the scene with the daffodils is therapeutic to him. The ‘inward eye’ is that of memory, on which the scene has been imprinted in such a way that it flashes to life when the poet is in a ‘vacant’ or ‘pensive’ mood. Note again how the word ‘flash’ suggests an active action. The poet doesn’t say that he deliberately tries to remember the scene. The scene flashes into his mind, and it does so often (‘oft’), almost as though it has a will of its own that allows it to enter the poet’s mind whenever he is in a receptive mood.

Also, note the relationship between the time-related words ‘when’ and ‘then’. When something happens, then something else happens: this correlation indicates a cause and effect relationship. When the daffodils flash into the poet’s ‘inward eye’, then his heart fills with pleasure. The words ‘bliss’ and ‘pleasure’ continue the sense of ‘glee’ from the previous paragraph.

The peak of the poet’s ‘bliss’ here is that his heart ‘dances with the daffodils.’ It’s almost as though the scene is recreated, and this time the poet can actually participate in the ‘show’ rather than just be an observer. In this sense, the memory of the scene seems even more powerful than the poet’s encounter with the scene.

Discussion 1
1. After reading the poem, can you guess what a daffodil is?
Ans. The daffodil is a flower that is yellow and therefore comparable to gold in its colour. They usually grow near lakes. On seeing the yellow daffodils the poet perhaps recollects some golden memories that he cherishes in the lonely time. He, therefore, calls them ‘golden daffodils’.

Q. Why does the poet compare the daffodils to stars?

Ans. The poet compares the daffodils to stars because the daffodils stretch in never-ending line like the stars in the galaxy. Moreover, like stars, the daffodils shine as they are golden and also twinkle like the stars as they flutter due to the breeze. This is a clear indication that daffodils are heavenly stars.

Q. Why has the poet described solitude as being blissful?

Ans. The poet described solitude as being blissful because when the poet is lonely and not doing anything the thought of golden daffodils that he has seen dancing and fluttering in the valley fills his mind with pleasure and he rejoices the moment.

Q. What does the inward eye mean? What is it that flashes upon his eye? Do you think the poet is affected by it in any way? Give reasons.
Ans. The inward eye means visual imagination that takes the poet to the world of past recollection. It is something that can not be shared with other people. The golden daffodils which he has seen in the valley flash upon his inward eye. The memory of dancing and fluttering daffodils fills his heart with pleasure.
It is like a spiritual vision that brings a feeling of joy. It is a blessing for the poet. That is why the poet calls the inward eye a ‘bliss of solitude’.

9. Where were the daffodils growing ?
Answer: The Daffodils were growing beside the lake under the trees.

Q. What are the objects the poet compares with the daffodils?

Answer: The poet compares the daffodils with the dancing waves and shining and twinkling stars.

Q. What is the effect of daffodils on the poet?

Answer: The daffodils fill the poet’s heart with pleasure and he feels happy with them.

Q. What is the bliss of solitude according to the poet ?

Answer: When the person is in solitude and there is nobody around him. He is all alone. He has the opportunity to think of nature. In the poem the poet says that when he is either busy thinking or not thinking about any thing he is reminded of the daffodils. He says that loneliness becomes lovely if he thinks about daffodils in his loneliness. When he remembers the daffodils he starts feeling happy, content and perfectly at peace with himself. This happens because of solitude.

Q. Why does the poet stop on seeing the daffodils ?

Answer: The poet stops on seeing the daffodils because never before in his life had he seen such beautiful golden daffodils and that too in such a very large number. He is completely attracted towards them.

Q. What is the theme of this poem ?
Answer: The healing and refreshing effect of Nature is the theme of this poem.

Q. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ababcc.

Reference To The Context

1. Continuous as the stars that………in sprightly dance.

Reference: These lines are taken from the poem “the Daffodils” written by William Wordsworth. The poet feels elated at the sight of the countless number of the daffodils that have grown by the side of the lake.
Context: In the lines under reference, the poet compares the golden daffodils with the stars that shine and twinkle in the sky.

a) What does “they” refer to?
A. ‘They’ refers to the golden daffodils.
b) Why have they been compared to the Milky Way?
A. They have been compared to the Milky Way because the poet feels the number of the daffodils as unending as the stars in the Milky Way.
c) Pick out an example personification from these lines. What is the picture created through this description?

A. The example of personification is as under:

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The picture created by this description is one of the happy dancers dancing and tossing their heads against each other in a very happy situation.
d) Find an example of a rhyming couplet from these lines.
A. The example of the rhyming couplet from these lines is as under.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

2. Ten thousand saw I at……..a jocund company!

a) What did the poet see at a glance? We’re they really ten thousand in number?
A. The poet saw a countless number of daffodils at a glance. No, they were not really ten thousand in number. It is the poet’s way of describing the innumerable and unending sight of the daffodils. Such use of things is called hyperbole.

b) How do “they” outdo the waves?
A. The daffodils outdid the waves in happiness and joy for they were both happy but the daffodils appeared to the poet much happier than the waves and that is how the poet describes the way the daffodils outdid the waves.
c) What do the waves refer to?
A. The waves refer to the raised lines of water that fly over the surfaces of the daffodils.

d)How did the scene affect the poet?
A. The scene affected the poet emotionally. It made the poet feel emotionally satisfied and blissful.

e) Pick out three words that mean “being happy”?
A. The words that mean being happy are “glee”, “gay”,’ jocund’

f) Find two examples of personification from these lines?
A. Tossing their heads in sprightly dance the waves beside them danced.

3. I gazed- and gazed – but little thought
…….the bliss of solitude;

a) What is the wealth that the poet is referring to these lines? What kind of poetic device is it?
A. The poet is referring to the wealth of being, happy, the wealth of joy. It is not a reference to the material gains or whatever amounts be worldly. It is the wealth of being happy in the company of daffodils.

The poetic device used in it is’ metaphor’.

b) Why does the poet refer to it as ‘wealth’?
A. The poet refers to it as ‘wealth’ because it brings both emotional and spiritual satisfaction and emotional bliss.

c) When does the poet feel blissful?
A. The poet feels blissful even when he is not in the company of daffodils and also simply when he gets reminded of them.

d) Why does the poet refer to it as being a ‘blissful’ state?
A. The poet refers to it as being a blissful state because he derives a spiritual and emotional bliss. Even when the poet is completely alone where normally a person cannot be but sad. The remembrance of the beauty of the daffodils makes his solitude blissful.

e) Had the poet realised the importance of the scene when he had first seen it? Give reasons for your answer?
A. No, the poet had not realized the significance of the scene when he had first seen if because, in accordance with the poet, he could not visualize what wealth of joy the sight of the daffodils had brought to him. He could scarcely believe that the recollection of the scene of the daffodils would make his vacant times a source of happiness and satisfaction.

Summary and Explanation of The Ghat of The Only World  by Amitav Ghosh Class 11th (edurev)

Summary and Explanation of The Ghat of The Only World by Amitav Ghosh Class 11th (edurev)

There are two characters in this chapter. Both are Amitava Ghosh and Aga Shahid Ali. Amitava Ghosh is the author of the essay and he wrote the essay about Aga Shahid Ali, his friend. Agha Shahid Ali, a young and dynamic person, suffers from an incurable disease of a malignant brain tumour and knows that death will anytime knock his door. Being aware that he is dying very soon, Again Shahid asks the author to write something about him when he dies. At first Amitav Ghosh can’t think of the words he can answer, but at last, he promises him that he will do his best to write about him. From that very day on, the author begins to recollect all the memories of his beloved friend’s in order to fulfill his promise. When Shahid Ali dies at the age of 52, Amitabh Gosh writes this wonderful essay about him which he names “The Ghat of The Only World.”

The Ghat of the One World is originally the name of a famous poem written in the collection of his poems Rooms Are Never Finished by Aga Shahid Ali. The poet recalls all his loved ones who died and were alienated from another world in this poem. The poem is thus written in response to the realization by the poet that his death is approaching. He feels that his loved ones call him from the other side of the Ghat.

Tag: The Ghat of The Only World

Ghat is a Kashmiri word, also used in Urdu. It means the spot on a bank of the river from where the boats leave to another side. The ghat of the only world means that after a person finishes his journey in this world he feels at the point of the world. It is therefore used as a metaphor for death. It means the point from where a man departs to another world, which is called hereafter in common parlance. Agha Shahid used to say that he would meet his mother in the hereafter if there was hereafter. He dreamed that he had finished his journey of life and stood at the door of another world “The Ghat of the Only World”.
Now let’s explain the text of the essay.

Amitav writes that on 25 April 2001, he had a routine conversation with Shahid. During the conversation, Aga Shahid Ali first time expressed before him about his approaching death. Although he had been under treatment for fourteen months, Shahid was still on his feet. Aga Shahid told him in the quizzical voice that he wants him to write about him when he dies. To quote the actual words, “When it happens I hope you’ll write something about him “. On hearing these words of Shahid, he was shocked. At first, he is unable to say anything but after a few moments, he managed to say to him that he would be alright and he had to be strong.

Shahid was living some eight blocks away from his Study. Earlier he had been living in Manhattan. But after tests revealed that he had a malignant brain tumour, he moved to Brooklyn to be close to his youngest sister Sameera. The author says when he reassured him that he would be fine, Shahid began to laugh. He realized that he was dead serious. He understood that Shahid was firmly entrusting him a specific charge which he should not ignore. However, he was unable to search the words in which one promises friends that he will write to him after he dies. Finally, he told him, “Shahid, I will. I’ll do the best I can”. That said, the author picked up his pen and noted everything about the conversation. He continued this process for the next few months. It is this record that made him able to fulfill his promise that he had made with Shahid that day.

The author writes that he knew about Shahid’s work much time before he actually met him. Shahid’s famous collection, “The Country Without a Post Office” published in 1997 had a strong impact on him. The author also mentions that Shahid was a great poet and unique in many ways. The author adds that in 1998, he mentioned a line from The Country Without a Post Office in an article that touched briefly on Kashmir. That time he only knew that Shahid was from Srinagar and had studied in Delhi. He too had studied at Delhi University that time but had never met.

The author further said that they had many common friends and one of them put him in connection to Shahid. After that, they had several conversations and even they met each other number of times. When they come to know each other they found that they had many things in common. Both had a big list of common friends in India, America and elsewhere. Both loved the music of Roshanara Baigum and Kishore Kumar. Both also had an equal passion rogan josh and other foods. Both disliked cricket and both were fond of Bollywood films. Shahid was fanatic of meals and festivity. He loved gatherings. It gave him a real joy. He often invited people for lunch mostly for friendly conversation. Even his fatal disease did not impede him from doing and enjoying things.

He was remarkably bold. Even his life was consumed by his dangerous disease, Shahid was always a focus of carnival and limitless source of talk, laughter, food, and poetry. One day a crew arrived with a television screen. Shahid poured out, ‘I’m so shameless; I just love the camera’. Shahid turned simple things into the surprising ones. One day when Shahid was taken for surgery. He had already been through some unsuccessful operations. When the time reached to leave the hospital, a blue-uniformed hospital guard arrived with a wheelchair to carry Shahid. Shahid waved him away and walked on his own. But after a few steps, his feet buckled. The hospital escort returned. Shahid smiled at him and asked him his address. The hospital escort said that he was from Spain. Shahid clapped hands and cried in the loudest voice, “I always wanted to learn Spanish, just to read Lorca”. Garcia Lorca as you know was a famous poet and dramatist of Spain.

Shahid was remarkably talented in the kitchen. He would days over the preparation of dinner parties. He would invite people to the parties. In one of such parties he gave in Arizona, he met James Merrill. James Merrill drastically changed the pattern of his poetry. After he met James Merrill he began to write the poetry with strict metrical patterns and verse forms. Shahid has a wonderful passion for the food of his region. He loved the different variants of Kashmir particularly Kashmiri food in the Pandit style. The author writes that one day he asked Shahid why he gave so much importance it. Shahid that it was explained because often dreamed about the Pandits. He frequently thought how the Pandits has vanished from Kashmir and their food became extinct. This was the thing that repeatedly haunted him.

Shahid was also a great repartee. Repartee means the person who is quick and amusing at answers and remarks in a conversation. Once at Barcelona airport, Shahid was stopped by a woman security guard for security checkup. She asked Shahid what he did he do. Shahid replied that he was a poet. The woman also asked him what he was doing in Spain. Shahid retorted that he was doing poetry. The woman got very angry. In anger, she enquired Shahid if he was carrying anything that could be dangerous to the passengers. At this Shahid uniquely clapped his hand to his chest add shout: ‘Only my heart.”

Shahid was also a brilliant teacher. Amitav writes that he had heard a great deal about the brilliance of his teaching. He also saw him teaching at Baruch College in 2000 and this was to be his last class. On that day he discovered how much his students loved him. The students had printed a magazine and dedicated the issue to him. When a student from India arrived late, Shahid greeted her and utter in a loud voice, “Ah my little subcontinental has arrived! ” It the feeling of patriotism always stirred him whenever he would see or behold another South Asian. He remembered the time at Penn State with absolute pleasure. He once said to a vibrant group of students that he grew as a reader, he grew as a poet and he grew as a lover. Shahid used to say that his time at Penn State was the happiest time of his life. Subsequently, he went to Arizona to take a degree in creative writing. After that, he performed a series of jobs in colleges and universities. He taught at Hamilton College, the University of Massachusetts and finally at the University of Utah where he was appointed as professor in 1999. When he had his first blackout in February 2000, at that time he was on leave from Utah University.

Shahid was originally the residence of Kashmir. From 1975 onwards, when he moved to Pennsylvania, he lived mainly in America. His brother and two sisters also there but his parents continued to live in Srinagar. Shahid would spend the summer season with his parents at Srinagar every year. Shahid was a first-hand witness to the mounting violence that enmeshed the valley from the 1980s onwards. Shahid was inclusive and ecumenical in his outlook. Ecumenical means the person who treats the people of different parallel and one who unites the people of different religions and sects. In his childhood, he made a Hindu temple in his room in Srinagar and his parents also supported him. One day when the author told Shahid that he was the closest to national poet of Kashmir. Shahid retorted: ‘ “A national poet. But not a nationalist poet; please not that”. Shahid was profoundly linked with Kashmir. In “The Country Without a Post Office” he returns to Kashmir to discover its fallen minaret:
I will die, in autumn, in Kashmir,
And the shadowed routine of each vein
Will almost be news, the blood censored,
For the Saffron Sun and the Times of Rain

Tag: The Ghat of The Only World

The author says that one day he had one more noted telephone conversation with Shahid. Shahid had gone to the hospital for a scan to see if the chemotherapy he was going through had any positive effect. The author had called him several times but there was no response. Then the author called him the next morning, this time he answered. He points out and said that doctors had stopped all his medicines and they gave him less a year. Then the author told him what he would do. Shahid calmly replied that he would return to Kashmir to die. He added that he didn’t want to leave a mess for his siblings. He would return to Kashmir where he would get a lot of support and his father was also there. However, later due to some logistical and other reasons, he changed his idea of returning to Kashmir. He was content to be laid to rest in Northampton near to one of his beloveds Emily Dickinson.

In the final paragraph, the author writes that the last time he saw Shahid was on 27 October at his brother’s house. They had a routine conversation with each other. There was no trace of worry or anguish on Shahid’s face. He had made his peace with the approaching end. He was calm and contended surrounded by his family and friends. The author also says that since Shahid told him, I love to think that I’ll meet my mother in the afterlife if there is an afterlife. ” Finally, he died peacefully in his sleep, at 2.0 a.m on 8 December.


The author concludes that in Shahid’s absence, he is extremely amazed because their brief friendship has resulted in so vast a avoid. The author also says that he remembers him every time whenever he walks into his living room especially on the night when he read them his adieu to the world: “I Dream I Am at the Ghat of the Only World… “

Suitor and Papa By  Anton Chekhov- Summary and Solved Questions

Suitor and Papa By Anton Chekhov

Brief Introduction
The story”The Suitor and Papa” authored by Russian writer describes the futility of marriage, relationship, and family in European society. It delineates a contemporary society in which marriage is given secondary importance rather than job and enjoyment.

Petrovich Milkin was a decent companion of Nastya. They hung out and the people thought they were lovers. Nastya’s father was not an exception for this misconception. People started to ask Milken about their marriage and the young fellow realized the danger he was in. Before he could flee from the country, Nastya’s father calked Milkin for a meeting to discuss the marriage.

Milkin attempted to avoid the looming fiasco of marriage by asserting he was a Kondrashkin’s a drunkard, he had fled with stolen money and that he was mad. But in spite of every allegation that he heaped upon him, Nastya’s father found the essential goodness in the young fellow. At last Milkin approached his friend and specialist to certify him mad.

On hearing Milkin looked for a medical certification to expel a marriage, the friendly doctor refused to confirm his friend insane because he believed that an insane person can’t escape from marriage!

Summary And Critical Analysis

This critical analysis or evaluation will help students understand the question/answer; reference to context; character analysis and also the content of the story. It will enable them to formulate their own comments and interpretations on the story and understand well its theme, plot setting, etc. These meaningful, value-based things enhance student creativity.


• Petrovich Milkin = A young Man

• Anastasia (Nastya) = Kondrashkin’s daughter

• Kondrashkin = Anastasia’s Father

• Dr. Fituyev = A Psychiatrist

• Petrovich Milkin hung out with Nastya, one of the Kondrashin’s daughters. Seeing this, most people thought that Milkin and Nastya were lovers and would marry.

• Milkin’s friends begun asking him about their marriage but Milkin was not interested in getting married.

• Well, he had been intimate with Nastya dined almost every evening, walked together there but Milkin had no designs of marrying Nastya.

•Seeing this, his friends and Nastya’s family would compel him to wed the young girl who loved him, Milkin chooses to leave the spot. In this way, he goes to Nastya’s home and meets her father Kondrashkin. He tells him that he will be leaving the place the following day.

• Kondrashkin is annoyed and shocked. He calls it dishonest. He requests Milkin to propose to his daughter Nastya.

• At this point, Milkin presents a number of reasons to evade the matter.

• Milkin admits that he would find no better girl than Nastya if he had wished to get married, he says that the two had different convictions and views.

• Kondrashkin counters this contention by saying that all people have varying perspectives and feelings and that he could never meet any lady who had similar perspectives and feelings. He further says that after a couple of days of their marriage, the harsh edges would be scoured off and there will be no distinctions throughout their life. Milkin says that he was not a proper match for Nastya because he was a poor man.

• The crafty Kondrashkin laughs at this. He reminds Milkin that he was a salaried man.

• Milkin is unsuccessful again so he comes up with another lie that he is a drunkard!

• Kondrashkin says that he does not believe this. Milkin being a good young man, no, he could not believe he drinks.

• Now Milkin realizes that Kondrashkin was determined to get him married to Nastya. Instantly, he says that he took bribes!

• Kondrashin laughs at it, too. He reminds Milkin that everyone in the world took bribes. Milkin feels like being disarmed and defeated.

• Next, Milkin goes a little more dramatic and says that he could any time be arrested for embezzlement. He was on a trial.

• At this, Kondrashkin appears to have abandoned his pursuit. He asks Milkin how much amount he had embezzled a big amount of a 144, 000 ruble (it is ruble because the story is Russian).

• Kondrashkin goes silent for a while and predicts that Milkin will be sent to a Siberian prison if he is caught. He tells him that Nastya will follow him to Siberia as her love is pure. He, therefore, asks Milkin to propose to her.

• Milkin now comprehends that the two were playing a similar game-the man was forcing him to wed his little daughter at any expense! Milkin’s brain tinkles by and by and he says that he would be attempted not just for misappropriation, but also for fabrication.

• The intelligent Kondrashkin laughs at this because there will be the same punishment for the two crimes!

• Milkin now says that he is a runaway convict. Kondrashkin becomes silent for a moment and then asks Milkin why he had not been arrested yet.

Milkin says that he had been living in somebody’s else identity.

• Kondrashkin thinks about it. He is abruptly cheered. He asks Milkin to wed Nastya because in that way the police could never discover him until death.
Milkin makes another endeavor he says he is insane! Kondrashkin is no such senseless that he would trust it. He says that lunatics can’t contend so legitimately and reasonably as Milkin did. Milkin rises and goes out to get a doctor’s certificate to prove his madness.

• Milkin meets Dr. Fituyev, a Psychiatrist. The doctor doesn’t find anything wrong with Milkin.

• Milkin urges the doctor to certify him insane to avoid getting married.

• Dr. Fituyev says that he could not certify Milkin because anyone who doesn’t wish to get married is a wise man.

• The doctor asks him to come for a mental fitness certificate anytime he decides to get married.

• Milkin has no way out. He sits down, helpless.


Q. Why did Pyotr’s friend ask for a stag party?

A. Pyotr’s friend asked for a stag party because there were rumours all around about Pyotr’s marriage.

Q. Why did Pyotr’s friend conclude that he was planning to marry Nastya?

A. Pyotr’s friend concluded that Pyotr was planning to marry Nastya because Pyotr would spend days with the kondrashkins. He would dine with them and go with Nastya and Konrashkins for walks. He would also take her bunches of flowers.

Q. Pyotr’s friend says, I’m glad for Kondrashkin’s sake rather than yours. Why?

A. Pyotr’s friend says that because he was happy for Kondrashkin’s sake because Kondrashkin had seven daughters and the marriage of Milkin with Nastya would mean that one of his liability would be settled by the poor father.

Q. I’ll drop in tomorrow and sort it out with that blocked of Kondrashkin’s….” What was Pyotr’s planning to sort out with Kondrashkin?

A. Pyotr planned to sort out with Kondrashkin that he had no plan to marry his daughter. He wished him to know that he was not interested in getting married to his daughter when he had been dining at his place and walking with Nastya and that all this would never mean that he would marry his daughter.

Q. In what state was Pyotr when he went to meet Konderashkin? How do you know?

A. Pyotr was in a state of displeasure and anger. His rumours of getting married to Kondrashkin’s daughter Nastya had frustrated him. We know all this only when in a disturbed and confused state he entered the study of Kondrashkin.

Q. What issue was Kondrashkin accusing Pyotr of evading?

A. Kondrashkin was accusing Pyotr of evading his daughter Nastya’s marriage issue.

Q. Pyotr cited many reasons for not proposing to Anastasia. List them.

A. Pyotr cited many reasons in order to avoid getting married to Anastsaia. The reasons are listed as under:

  • that he was a drunkard,
  • that he took bribes,
  • that he had embezzled a hundred and forty-four thousands,
  • that he was on the trait for embezzlement,
  • that he was a runaway convict,
  • that he was mad and
  • that marriage is forbidden to a mad person.

Q. Do you think the reasons Pyotr put forth were genuine? How do you know?

A. We believe the reasons were somehow genuine for Pyotr had no choice but to concoct reasons to avoid getting hitched with Nastya for the court councilor seemed to use his hospitality as a pressure tactic to force the young Milkin to agree to marry Anastasia.

Q. When he failed to convince Kondrashkin, what did Pyotr almost family decided to do?
A. After failing to persuade Kondrashkin, Pyotr decided to pretend insanity, a Hamlet device, so that he would not be allowed to marry legally. He almost decided to visit one of his friends, a doctor, and get a certificate from him to prove that he was crazy.

Q. Why does Fithyev refuse to certify Pyotr as mad, despite being his friend?

A. Fithyev refuses to certify him as mad for he believed that anyone who did not want to get married could not be insane. He thinks that avoiding marriage is being wise.

The Brook By Lord Alfred Tinnyson- Summary, Question, Explanation and Poetic Devices

The Brook By Lord Alfred Tennyson

Central Idea: The brook is a tiny stream born in a certain mountain. In the course of its journey, it grows bigger and stronger. As it flows through the pebbles, it makes so many types of sounds. Their movements are varied as well. It slips and slides; its curves and flows are stealing and winding. It’s chattering and babbling, making both musical and harsh sounds. The birth and growth, chatter and babbling of the brook are very similar to a human being’s activities. Overall, the brook represents life. Both have an origin, an intermediate stage, and an end. Both are fighting different adversities, odds and moving forward towards their goal. The brook is life above all. Men may come and men may go, yet life goes on eternal. In the case of the brook, a similar guideline applies. It continues streaming like life everlastingly.

The Brook Summary

The Brook is a beautiful poem written by Lord Alfred Tennyson. The poem is symbolical of human life. The brook usually originates from the mountains and quickly moves down to follow its course. In the poem, the brook has been shown to start from the place of coots and herns and it quickly rushes down sparkling in the sun through a ground of ferns. The brook swiftly moves down many hills and between the long narrow hilltops. The brook rushes down past many villages and bridges. Thus, the brook rushes down past many places making noisy sounds. This noisy and vigorous movement of the brook to reach its destination is symbolical of a man in his youth who is vigorous, enthusiastic and full of energy and for whom anything is possible.

The brook flows by a farm owned by a man named Philip, to join an overflowing river. Here the brook completely describes the cycle of human life. The lifespan of a man is very short and his cycle of coming and going has been there and will remain forever. But, the brook is different from a man because of its immortality. The brook chatters because of its quick flow over the stony ways and pebbles.

The brook curvily flows because the path it takes curves at one point and passes through many fields and unplugged land. Many pieces of land are seen sticking out in the brook, having some plants where colorful insects like butterflies come along with the bright birds. While the brook flows it takes a lot of things along with it like blossoms, trout, foamy flakes, gravel, slit which resembles the way map meets people in his lifetime and moves forward. The brook wears away because of its meandering flow. The brook slips slides, dances and its moment is oven hindered by pebbles and small plants but it overcomes everything to reach its destination river. The last two lines suggest that the flow of the brook is continuous and goes on forever. And, as far as, human life is concerned, it is very short-human life comes to an end to make a room for another generation.

1. ‘I’ in the poem is referred to the brook.

2. The brook starts its journey from the place of water birds, moving down the hills noisily, curving at many places, overcoming the obstacles, and finally reaching its destination – river

3. In these lines, human life is compared and contrasted with the brook. Human beings are mortal because they’ve got a short span of life. They have to go through the cycle of arrival and departure. But the brook is immortal. It witnesses the coming and going of human beings because it itself is eternal.
4. Sudden sally, willow weed, foamy flake, skimming swallows, sandy shallow.

5. Yes, the journey of the brook can be compared with human life. The way

the brook originates and then flows with the vigor overcoming all the hurdles and taking along with it the blossoms, trout, gravel, etc can be compared with the vigour and enthusiasm of human beings when they are young and full of energy to overcome anything here obstacles, in order to reach their destination and in their journey they meet different people and continue to move ahead in their journey of life.

Short Summary of The Brook

The poem ‘The Brook’ is written in the first person, so it strikes a self-portraying note. It continues like a journey, which has various stages, different ups, and downs, demonstrating various types of development.

The Brook starts its adventure from some place in the mountains, which are home to birds like ‘coots’ and ‘heron’ and stops it by joining the ‘brimming stream’. On its way, it goes by numerous slopes, ridges, towns, villages, bridges. The brook’s movement is at times commanding and solid, here and there relaxed. It advances by eroding the banks, through developed, uncultivated terrains and forelands. The brook is also the territory of numerous sorts of fish and is brimming with willows, mallows, and blooms. It moreover gives a gathering point to darlings and surface to swallows to skim. Its surging water fills in as a background for the dance of the beams of the sun.

The Brook starts its adventure from somewhere in the mountains where birds like’ coots’ and’ heron’ live and ends it by joining the’ brimming stream.’ It goes through numerous slopes, ridges, towns, villages, bridges on its way. The movement of the brook is sometimes commanding and solid, sometimes relaxing here and there. It advances by eroding the banks, through developed, uncultivated terrains and forelands. The brook is also the territory of many kinds of fish and is full of willows, mallows, and blooms. It also gives the lovers a gathering point and the surface to skim swallows. Its surging water fills the dance of the sun’s beams as a background.

The brook continues on its adventure slipping, sliding, gliding, dancing, lingering, gushing. The moon, the stars make it mumble. On its way, it beats numerous obstacles also, deterrents yet achieve its last goal at last.

The adventure of the brook becomes parallel to the journey of human life. The poet makes an intelligent remark which highlights the continuity and external existence of the brook to the short-lived nature of human life. The poet wishes to teach that just as good and bad times don’t stop the stream from its voyage, in the same way, people should also take the obstacles and distresses in their stride.

The Brook by Tennyson

Explain the following lines with reference to context.

a) I come from haunts of coot and hern……..

And half of a hundred bridges.

Reference to context:- These lines have been taken from the poem, “The Brook” written by Alfred Tennyson. The brook has been personified in this poem and it itself narrates its musical journey through mountains, hills, towns, villages, wilderness, farms, fallows, forelands, grassy lawns and stony courses to finally embrace the brimming river. This journey of the brook is akin to human life as human life too like a brook passes through different phases and encounters different situations sometimes good and sometimes troublesome until it finally meets the river of death. The poet has made use of beautiful visual and auditory imaginary to make the recitation of the poem a lifelike an experience. Besides these, the poem has also used onomatopoeic words and alliteration to infuse the poem with a great melody.

Explanation: In these lines, the brook speaking as a living being says that it is born at a place that is visited by water birds like coot and hern. It at once acquires speed and passes through the ferns displaying the shiny texture of its waters. After crossing the ferns, it quickly moves down a valley making a characteristic sound. Then, it passes through various hills at a great speed.

This haste in the brook, immediately after it originates is like that of a child who is eager to learn new things, stumble while reaching out for things and is full of energy.

b) Till last by Philips farm, flow …

I babble on the pebbles.

Reference to context:– Same as 1

Explanation: The brook says that it reaches the farm of Phillip – a common Englishmen. It keeps flowing to finally join the brimming river that is its final destination. The brook says that many men come to this world and many others leave it but it goes on without any halt that is to say life doesn’t stop for anyone. The brook takes a stony course and produces a chattering sound and it hits against the stones. It produces high-pitched sounds while moving along with the stony ways. It sometimes produces bubbles and become a water body full of whirlpools.

c) Till last by Philips farm, flow …

I babble on the pebbles.

Reference to context:– Same as 1

Explanation: The brook further says that as it passes through various fields and uncultivated lands, it twists itself and zigzags through these lands. It tends to say that its journey is never a straight one like that of human’s life which is full of twists and turns. It passes through the capes inhabited by willow trees and wallow plants. It keeps on producing sounds while on the move to join the brimming water. It again mentions that people come and leave this world but the journey of the brook is eternal.

d) I wind about, and in and out…

But I go on forever.

Reference to context: Same as 1

Explanation: The brook says it continues its wavy motion and meets various other creations of nature on its way. Sometimes, it happens to come across a flower sailing on it, sometimes it shelters a strong and active trout and sometimes a grayling finds its home in the brook. As the brook rushes to meet its fate i.e. a brimming river, various foamy flakes rise from it and the brook makes them dance as it moves. The waters of the brook move the gravel along with them. This could be the poet’s way of saying that when a man passes through any stage of life it draws the experiences that he has gained and carries them with him throughout his life. The brook flows to meet the brimming river. People come and leave this world but the journey of the brook is eternal.

e) I steal by lawns…

Against my sandy shallows

Reference to context: Same as 1

Explanation: In these lines, the brook saysc.Y that it passes, through grassy lands. Slowly, it slips the hazel trees, it makes the lovely purple flowers of forgetting – me – not come to motion. These flowers are for lovers. It slips, slides, it grows dark at turns bright as it glides through its deep passages and when it passes through its sandy and shallow courses, it creates beautiful patterns when the sunlight hits its waters. This course of the brook is the most beautiful one. The words used in these lines are all suggestive of a controlled speed of the brook like that of a human being when he reaches its maturity level has acquired the quality of patience and does not rush for everything.

f) I murmur under upon and stars …

But I go on forever.

Reference to context: Same as 1

Explanation: The brook says that it continues its journey even while the sun is hidden and the moon and the stars are out. It produces a murmuring sounds while it passes through the covers of night. It passes through the difficult most part of its course, it is thorny and wild. Its speed slows down as it passes through the rough pebbles. The brook seems to have come of age by now.

The small plants even challenge their speed and hinder its movement and then finally it moves out of these traps to join the brimming river. It says people may come into this world and people may go from this world but its journey has to go on forever. That may be the reason why the poet hasn’t concluded the poem with the mention of the brook finally joining the river. This may be because the poet wants to lay all emphasis on the journey of the brook rather its destination and to acknowledge this flowing process of the brook as a never-ending journey. This theory and wild course of the brook’s journey may be compared to the old age of the human being where his health slows him down and he has difficulties doing the easy and simple jobs even.


1. Give examples of alliteration and the beautiful
images that form the texture of the poem ‘The Brook.’

Ans. Sudden sally, twenty thorpes,
I slip, I slide, willow-weed, field, and fallow, bubble babble are examples
of alliteration. The poem contains many beautiful images- the first one is formed in stanza 2 ‘By thirty hills- a hundred bridges’. This vivid image is of the brook flowing through hills and valleys, under bridges and passing by the

There is one more beautiful and strikingly vivid image in the poem is that of the brook making serpent-like
motions slipping, sliding, glancing among meadows, grassy plots, forget me-nots and floating fish.

2. How is the journey of the brook similar to the journey of life and yet different?

Ans. There are many similarities between the brook and the journey of life, e.g., both have a beginning, a middle age, and an end. There are struggles in the lives of both — human life continues in spite of struggles and ups and downs, and the brook continues to flow against all odds. But one thing is different – man is mortal, whereas the brook is eternal, a man may come and man may go but the brook goes forever.

3. ‘The Brook’ proceeds like a travelogue. Discuss the importance of the various places that the brook encounters on its journey.

Ans. The brook travels through hills and valleys, between ridges and under bridges, next to Philip’s farm, fallow land, and foreland, making its way through, with a flower here and a trout there and a lot of grayling through sand and gravel obstructions until it falls into the big river. It passes thirty hills and fifty bridges.

4. Describe four movements that the brook makes during its journey.

The various movements that the brook makes on its journey are best described by the poet Lord Tennyson through words like sally, sparkle, slide, move, slip, hurry, flow, go, loiter, linger.

It sparkles as it emerges among the plants with slender leaves, it sparkles in the sunshine among the ferns. It hurries down hills and slips between ridges. It steals by lawns and slides, by hazel covers, it slips and slides, it glooms and
glides and glances. It means it moves gently, slowly, unobserved, smoothly and then comes out into the open.

5. What is the symbolic meaning conveyed by

“For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever”?

Ans. The brook is a stream that originates in some mountain. It becomes greater and stronger over the span of its adventure. It makes numerous sorts of sounds as it moves through the stones. Its movements are also varied. It slips and slides; it steals and winds its bends and streams. It chatters and prattles, it makes melodic as well as cruel sounds. The brook’s birth and development, chattering and babbling are very much like the exercises of a human. The brook speaks to life all in all. Both have an origin, a middle stage, and an end. Both battle against different afflictions, chances and continue moving towards their objective. Most importantly, the brook speaks to life. Men may come and men may go, however life goes on forever. A similar principle applies in the case of brook. It continues streaming endlessly, like life.

6. What does the poet want to convey through the poem, ‘The Brook’?
The brook is a symbol of the battle of human life. The poet wishes to call attention to the fact that as ups and down don’t dissuade the stream from its adventure, similarly, human beings should also take the obstacles and sorrows in their stride.

7. Name the different things that can be found floating in the brook.

The brook goes through numerous slopes, ridges, gardens, and valleys. It continues on its journey with extraordinary power. So it carries numerous blossoms, greeneries, stones, weeds with its stream. Commonly brilliant fish like the trout or the grayling can be seen floating in it. When the current is strong, froth assembles on its surface. The brook grasps all that it experiences with great joy.

8. What is the message given by the brook?

The poet wants to convey the message by personifying the brook that like the brook conquers numerous obstacles and obstractions in its adventure boldly and achieves its last goal similarly people should likewise stay undaunted to acknowledge the delights and sorrows of life and, face bodily all the impediments, that come in the way of their aim.


Q1. Who is “I” referred to as in the poem?

Ans. ‘I’ is referred to the brook that has been personified in the poem.

Q2. Trace the journey of the brook.

Ans. ‘The Brook’ is a story about the musical journey of a stream from its origin to its end. It’s a story about the various courses it takes to reach its destination i.e. a brimming river. The brook is personified in the poem and its itself narrates its story of life, therefore, the poem is written in the first person.

The brook originates from a place that is frequently visited by water birds like coot and hern. It at once acquires great speed and flows down producing its characteristic sound. It passes through various hills, ridges, various villages, and a town as well. It flows beneath about a fifty bridges, passes beside Phillip’s farm to ultimately reach the brimming river. It takes stony paths and makes a loud noise while passing through them. It produces whirlpools, it passes curving through the fields and fallows and capes with willows and mallows. It moves in a zigzag fashion and meets flowers, trout’s, gray lines and foamy flakes on its way. It carries the golden gravel with it. It passes through grassy lawns, it glides over its deepest and shallowest passages, it passes through the thorns of the woods, pebbles, cresses and what not with only aim to join the brimming river.

Q3. Explain the following lines:

For men may come and men may go but I go on forever”. What purpose do these lines serve?

Ans. The poet has used these lines as refrain i.e., they get repeated at regular intervals.

In these lines, the brook mentions the natural phenomenon of the universe the phenomenon of life and death. Billions of people came to this world, lived their lives and eventually met their inevitable fate i.e. death. Nobody came to live forever unlike the brook, whose the journey started since the creation of the world and is still going on oblivious of the fact that how many people have lived and died during this time.

The purpose of these lines is to impart an idea that the world does not stop for anyone. The phenomenon of nature goes on no matter what. The cycle of life and death keeps moving. Humans are only a part of this phenomenon. There are things that have been there before their arrival and will be there after their departure. Nature is all powerful, everlasting and so humans must not think of themselves as eternal beings.

Q4. Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds in verse such as “I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance’. Pick out more examples of alliteration from the poem.

Ans. Alliteration is the repetition of the initial sound usually a consonant or first sound of two or more neighboring words in a line of prose and poetry. Examples from the poem are:

Sudden Sally Sparkle, twenty, town; Phillips, from flow; men, may; bubble, bays, babble; field, fallow, fairy, foreland; with,Willow, weed; foamy, flake, golden gavel, slip, slide, gloom, glance, skimming swallows’ sandy shallows; murmur, the moon.

Q5. Can the journey of the brook to be compared to human life? How?

Ans. The poet has employed symbolism in the poem using the journey of the brook as a symbol of the human journey. The use of personification and the first person ‘I’ relates the brook to a human even more. The journey of a brook runs parallel to the journey of a man. The changes of size, shape, speed, sound, and courses that a brook encounters along its journey are similar to the different stages and experiences that a man confronts in his lifetime. Like an infant, a brook is born, it is wild energetic. It rushes forward to meet challenges like a human baby. It undergoes various changes making different sounds i.e. showing various dispositions like a human baby then comes the ripe age of the brook where it flows with patience just like a grown-up individual who performs calculated actions. Then comes a stage for the brook where it loiters like an old man who finds it move and after this age. As the brook flows again to meet its fate i.e. brimming river, humans move to their fate i.e. death. The journey of the brook never stops and so does not stop the cycle of birth and death. Individuals die but the existence of the living continues to be there.

Poetic Devices in the poem.


The refrain is a verse, a set or a group of some lines that appears at the end of a stanza or appears where a poem divides into different sections. This technique may, sometimes, involve minor changes in its warding. It also contributes to the rhyme of a poem and emphasizes an idea through repetition.

The refrain is a type of repetition, but it is somewhat different from repetition.

Refrain in a poem, may appear at the end of a stanza, however, repetition may occur in any line of the stanza.

Example of the set of lines used as a refrain in the poem is

To join the brimming river for men may come and men may go, but I go on forever.

Visual Imagery:

It is a type of literary device that stimulates our sense of sight and creates visual images in our mind. Examples from the poem are: sparkle out among the fern, bicker down a valley, slip between the ridges, brimming river, bubble into eddying bays, many a curve my banks, a blossom sailing, lusty trout here and there a gray line, silvery water break, move the sweet forget me no’s. I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, skimming swallows, netted sunbeam dance, sandy shallows, under the moon, stars brambly wilderness, and round my cresses.


Sound Imagery:

It is a type of literary device that stimulates our sense of hearing and creates audible images in our mind. Examples from the poem are:
Bicker down, chatter over, stony ways, bubble into eddying bays, steal by lawns, murmur under moon and stars, in little sharps and trebles.

Onomatopoeia: it is a technique of imitating natural sounds by expressing them through words e.g. natural voice of a dog is expressed as
‘bow – wow’ when water hits against anything it makes a certain sound that is imitated by the word ‘splash’. There are many onomatopoeic words in the English vocabulary. Examples of onomatopoeic words from the poem are chatter, murmur. bubble, babble.

Personification: It is a figure of speech, in which an inanimate object (lifeless object) or an idea is given human attributes and treated as if they were human beings or having human qualities.

• Death lays his icy hands on kings.

• My pen pleads me to stop.

• Flowers are dancing in the air.

In the poem, ‘The Brook’ the brook has been personified. The brook is actually a lifeless entity but it speaks of its journey and mentions its movements as if it is a human being.

e.g. I come from the haunts of coot and hern

I murmur under moon and stars etc.

I loiter around my cresses

I go on forever.




The tongue has the power to do good or evil to others. Backbiting is common among people. Even the religions books admonish the people who backbite. The Quran strongly condemns scandal-mongering and character assassination Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that the similitude of a person who indulges in backbiting is to a man who has eaten the flesh of his dead brother. The Bible says that a person with a good tongue is a perfect man. The Gita says that a man free from the habit of backbiting is born to god like endowments. And the Guru Granth says that a back bitter carries a great burden of sins. Lord Buddha says that one requires living a life based on right speech.

For God's Hold Thy Tongue

Robb Simeon Ben Gamalie once asked his servant to bring him something good to eat. The servant brought a tongue for him. The next time the Rabi asked him to bring something that was not good. The servant again brought a tongue. The Rabi was angry with his servant for bringing a tongue on both occasions. The servant explained that there was nothing better than a good tongue and nothing worse than an evil one.

Working with the Text

1. What do the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet (PBUH) tell us on backbiting and scandal-mongering?

Ans. The Quran strongly condemns those who indulge in scandalmongering and admonishes them. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a person who indulges in backbiting is like a man who has eaten the flesh of his dead brother.

2) What do the Gita and the Bible tell us on backbiting?

Ans. The Gita tells that a person free from the habit of backbiting is like God. The Bible says that a person free from the habit of backbiting is a perfect man having control over his whole body.

3) What do the Granth Sahib and Lord Buddha tell us on backbiting?

Ans. The Granth Sahib tells us that a backbiter carries a great burden of sins. Lord Buddha lays stresses on right speech as a path towards salvation.

4) Why did the servant of Rabbi Simeon bring tongues both the times?

Ans. There is nothing better than a good tongue and nothing worse than an evil one. That is why the servant brought tongues on both occasions.

5) Why did Rabbi Simeon invite his disciples for a meal?

Ans. Rabbi Simeon invited his disciples for a meal to teach them the value of having a soft tongue.

6) What according to you is the moral of the lesson?

Ans. The moral of the lesson is that we should not speak ill of others behind their backs.

7) How does our tongue do good or bad to others?

Ans. From the tongue issues the good and also the bad. The tongue does well if one holds it and doesn’t speak badly about others. It proves to be bad if it is given liberty.

Language Work

Add the correct ending to each of the following words and say what each person does or is connected with.

1. govern: governor = one who governs

2. cater: caterer = one who provides food or drink for a social or business function

3. translate: Translator = One who translates writing or speech from one language to another

4. Novel: Novelist = a person who writes novels

5. Tour: tourist = a person who visits a place for pleasure and interest

6. Politics: politician = a person whose job is in politics

7. Decorate: decorator= a person who decorates the inside of the people’s houses

8. Art: artists = An artist is a performer or someone who draws or paints pictures.

9. Economics: economist = An economist is a person who studies, teaches or writes about economics

10. Drama: Dramatist = A person who writes plays

11. Cricket: cricketer = a person who plays cricket

12. Engine: engineer = a person who uses scientific knowledge to design, construct and maintain engines or structures such as roads, railways, and bridges.

13. History: historian = A person who specializes in the study of history.

14. Mountain: mountaineer = a person who climbs mountains

15. Donate donator = Someone who gives something to a charity.

16. Grammar: Grammarian = A person who studies grammar and writes books about it.

17. Auction: auctioneer = a person in charge of an auction

18. Science: scientist = A person who does research in science

19. Teach: teacher = a person who teaches

20. Electricity: electrician = a person who job is to install and repair electrical equipment

21. Physics: Physicist = A person who does research connected with physics.

22. Write : writer = a person who writes books etc.

23. Speak: speaker = a person who makes a speech at a gathering

24. Win: winner = a person who wins a contest or a competition

25. mathematics = Mathematician = A person who is trained in mathematics.

Grammar Work

Complete each sentence with an adverb. The first letters of the adverb are given.

1. We didn’t go out because it was raining he……

2. Our team lost the game because we played very ba…..

3. I had little difficulty finding a place to live. I found a flat eas……

4. We had to wait for a long time, but we didn’t complain. We waited pat……

5. Nobody knew Atif was coming to see us. He arrived in unex…….

6. Zeeshan keeps fit by playing tennis reg……

7. I don’t speak Punjabi very well, but I can understand it per…..if spoken sl……and cl……

Ans. (1) Heavily; (2) Badly; (3) Easily; (4) Patiently; (5) Unexpectidely; (6) Regularly; (7) Perfectly, slowly and clearly.

Put in the correct word.

1. Two people were seriously injured in the accident.


2. The driver of the car had _________ injuries, (serious/seriously) 3. I think you behaved very__________ (selfish/selfishly)

4. Razia is__________ upset about losing her job.(terrible/terribly)
5. There was a______ change in the weather. (sudden/suddenly)

6. Everybody at the marriage party was ______ dressed.


7. Aslam speaks English _________ (fluent/fluently)

8. Ved Sir fell and hurt himself quite ____________ (bad/badly)

9. Hafeez didn’t do well at school because he was taught __________ (bad/badly)

10. Don’t go up that ladder. it doesn’t look _________


Ans. (1) Seriously; (2) Serious; (3) Selfishly; (4) Terribly; (5) Sudden; (6) Colourfully; (7) Fluently; (8) Badly; (9) Badly; (10) Safe.

Let’s Write

Backbiting is an evil which causes damage to our own self as well as the society. Mention some other such evils and write about them in a paragraph.

Superstitions are beliefs which are irrational and unscientific. Man has so many beliefs which are nothing but superstitions. These are relics of the ancient times when people were uncivilized and ignorance prevailed among men. They felt awe in the presence of mysterious and mighty forces of Nature and they worshipped all those things which were greater and stronger than them. Whenever they found anything happening in Nature, they tried to give some explanation for it. This explanation was not based on reasoning and naturally, this led to blind faith and superstitions. People had many blind beliefs out of fear or ignorance. All these foolish practices are resorted to, though there is no explanation for them. Fear of misfortune or expectation of good fortune makes us believe superstitions. Superstitions do us a great harm. They hinder our power of judgment and cripple our power of reasoning. They are a great obstacle to the development and growth of our spirit. They destroy self- confidence and encourage fatalism. Superstitions burden and weaken the mind. A superstitious man lives in daily fear of bad omens. He waits for a lucky sign before he starts doing something. Many men waste their time and energy in making calculations of lucky and unlucky days. Thus superstitions stand in the way of progress. They have done more harm than good. Of course, superstitions have gone deep into our blood, but we must try to get rid of them. We should have a rational and scientific attitude towards life.


Questions and Answers

Q. 1. What do the Quran and the traditions of Prophet (PBUH) tell us on backbiting and scandal-mongering?
Ans: The Quran says:

Woe to every (kind of) scandal-monger and backbiter.

The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that the similitude of a person who indulges in backbiting is to a man who has eaten the flesh of his dead brother.

Q. 2. What do the Gita and the Bible tell us on backbiting?

Ans: The Gita says:-

Freedom from fear, purity of heart, perseverance in (pursuit of) knowledge, freedom from the habit of backbiting, compassion for (all) beings, freedom from avarice are his who is born to god like endowments.

Ostentation, pride are his who is born to demoniac endowments.

The Bible says:-

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body.

Q. 3. What do the Granth Sahib and Lord Buddha tell us on backbiting?

Ans: The Guru Granth Sahib says:-

The slanderer carries the great burden of sins, without payment he carries loads.

Lord Buddha in his Eightfold Path says:-

One requires living a life based on right speech.

Q. 4. Why did the servant of Rabbi Simeon bring tongues both the times?

Ans: The servant of Rabbi Simeon brought tongues both the times because he believed that the tongue issues the good and also the bad. There is nothing better than a good tongue and nothing worse than an evil one.

Q. 5. Why did Rabbi Simeon invite his disciples for a meal?

Ans: Rabbi Simeon invited his disciples for a meal because he wanted to teach them the virtues and vices that a tongue can do.

Q. 6. What according to you is the moral of the lesson?

Ans: The moral of the lesson is that we should refrain from backbiting and scandal-mongering for the injuries caused by the tongue are the hardest ones to heal. We should always be polite and humble in our attitude toward others.

Q. 7. How does our tongue do good or bad to others?

Ans: Our tongue by being polite can please others and bring a smile on other’s face. A tongue has the power to make a sad person happy but the same can prove disastrous as well. It can hurt the other person so deeply that he will always remember our rude remarks. By insulting, and speaking ill of others, we leave an ugly scar in their hearts that always pricks them.

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