By- Jayant Narlikar
Short Answer Type Questions (30 to 40 words)
1.What sort of ‘Adventure’ has been narrated by Jayant Narlikar?
Ans. The adventure of Professor Gangadharpant was not real or physical. He was a historian. He wanted to know what would have happened if the Marathas had lost the Battle of Panipat. For two days during his unconsciousness, he visited the new Bombay and had a bitter experience in Azad Maidan.
2. Who was Professor Gaitonde? What was his plan in Bombay?
Ans. Professor Gaitonde or Gangadharpant was a historian. He had written five volumes on history. But his research work was still going on. He was on his way to Bombay. He planned to go to a big library and consult the history books there to find out how the present state of affairs was reached.
3. What was Gangadharpant’s experience on way to Bombay?
Ans. Gangadharpant travelled by the Jijamata express along the Pune-Bombay route. His plan was to consult some history books at the library. At Sarhad station, an Anglo-Indian checked the permits. That was the place where the British Raj began. He got the company of one Khan Sahib on the train. He noticed that the city was quite different from what he had known about it.
4. What was Gangadhar’s experience when he reached a small station Sarhad?
Ans. It was Gangadhar’s first visit to this new Bombay. Every blue carriage carried the words Greater Bombay metropolitan railway’ and also a small Union Jack painted on it. It gently reminded him that he had entered the British territory. An Anglo-Indian checked the train permits of the passengers.
5. What had Professor Gaitonde not expected in Bombay?
Ans. Professor Gaitonde was prepared for many shocks but he had not expected to see the domination of East India Company in Bombay. History books said that the company had been wound up after 1857. But here in Bombay it still seemed to be alive and flourishing. He found a different set of shops and departmental stores and big bank buildings as in England.
6. What for did Professor Gaitonde enter the Forbes building? What was his experience there?
Ans. The professor went to Forbes building to meet Vinaya gained, his own son. The receptionist searched through the telephone list and directory of employees. There was no one bearing that name. It was a big blow. He felt that so far everything had been shocking and surprising so the blow of non-existence of his son was not totally unexpected.
7. What did the professor do in the Town Hall library?
Ans. The professor asked for the history books he himself had written. There was no change in the events up to the death of Aurangzeb. The change had occurred in the last volume. He read the description of the Battle of Panipat. Abdali was defeated by the Maratha army led by Sadashiv Rao Bhau and his nephew Vishwas Rao. This event led to a power struggle. It established the supremacy of the Marathas. The British company was reduced to pockets of Influence near Bombay. The Marathas set up their science research centres. They accepted the help of English experts.
8. What is the professor’s opinion was the cause of expanding British influence in India?
Ans. Professor Gangadhar felt glad to learn that the white men could not have expanded their hold if the Marathas had not allowed them for commercial reasons to stay on in Bombay. That lease was to expire in 2001 according to the treaty of 1908.
9. What did the professor wish to find out in history books?
Ans. He wanted to find the answer to his question about how the Marathas had won the Battle of Panipat. He found a clue in the book on history titled Bakhars. Vishwasrao had a narrow escape from being killed by a bullet that brushed past his ear. This boosted the morale of the Maratha army and they fought bravely.
10. What two things did the professor put into his pockets at the Town Hall?
Ans. He put some notes in his right pocket and the book, the ‘Bakhar’, into his left pocket.
11. What bitter experience did the professor have at the meeting in Azad Maidan?
Ans. A lecture was in progress when the professor reached Azad Maidan. Seeing the presidential chair vacant, he occupied it swiftly. The audience protested. They said the chair was symbolic. But when the professor began to address the gathering, he was physically removed from the dais.
12. How did Bakhar’s account of the Battle of Panipat differ from what other history books said?
Ans. All the history books said that the Maratha army had lost the battle. Vishwasrao was hit by a bullet and he fell. That broke the morale of the army. That was not what the professor’s own copy of the Bakhar said. It said that Vishwas Rao had a narrow escape as the bullet brushed past his ear. The professor was dying to know the facts.
13. How did Rajendra rationalise the professor’s experience?
Ans. Rajendra tried to explain the professor’s experience on the basis of two scientific theories. The professor had passed through a catastrophic experience. The Maratha and the Abdali army were well matched. So a lot depended on the morale of the troops and the leadership. The point at which Vishwas Rao was killed, proved to be the turning point. They lost their morale and suffered defeat. But the Bakhar’s page presented an opposite view. It said that the bullet missed Vishwas Rao, and that boosted the morale of the soldiers. The professor was thinking of this aspect when he was hit by the truck.
14. How did Rajendra try to explain the mystery of reality?
Ans. We normally experience reality directly with our senses. But what we see is not the whole truth. That is proved if we take the example of an electron. Fired from a source, it can go in any direction, breaking all laws of physics. This is called lack of determination in quantum theory. The professor, said Rajendra, had made a transition from one world that he knew to another that could have been. The observer can experience one reality, but alternative realities also exist. The professor had also experienced a different world without any physical movement when he became unconscious after being hit by a truck.
15. ‘But why did I make the transition?’ What explanation did Rajendra give to the professor?
Ans. Rajendra guessed that the transition must have been caused by some interaction. Perhaps the professor had been thinking at the time of collision about the catastrophic theory and its role in wars. The professor admitted that he had been wondering at that time what course history would have taken if the Marathas had won the Battle of Panipat.
16. Why did Gangadhar decide to cancel his thousandth address?
Ans. Gangadhar informed the organisers of the Panipat seminar that he won’t be able to keep his commitment. The reason was his bitter experience at the Azad Maidan meeting when the hostile crowd refused to listen to him and threw eggs and tomatoes at him.