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By- Anees Jung
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
Q1. ‘The beauty of the glass bangles of Firozabad contrasts with the misery of people who produce them’. Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangle industry. Discuss the endless spiral of poverty, apathy, greed and injustice present there.
Ans. The lesson ‘Lost Spring’ describes the pathetic condition of the bangle-makers. On the one hand, it is the plight of the street children forced into labour early in life and denied the opportunity of studying in schools. The glass industry has its own hazards. The illegal employment of very young children and the pathetic working conditions leads to many children becoming blind. They work in glass furnaces with high temperatures. Their dingy cells have no light, nor any ventilation. Boys and girls work under these conditions while welding pieces of coloured glass to make bangles. Their eyes are more adjusted to the dark than to the light outside. They thus often lose their eyesight at a young age.
Over and above this, it is the apathy and callousness of society and the political class to the sufferings of the poor that makes us feel sympathetic towards these bangle makers. The poverty-stricken bangle makers also suffer because of the exploitation at tthe he hands of the middlemen and politicians. They do not improve their lot and instead get only beaten up by the police. They are unable to organize themselves. Hence, their life is full of sufferings i.e. physical and emotional.
Q2. “For the children, it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders, it is a means of survival.” What kind of life do the rag-pickers of Seemapuri lead? Answer in about 120-150 words. [All India 2017]
Ans. Seemapuri is a settlement of ragpickers. It is a place on the outskirts of Delhi. Those who live here are squatters who came from Bangladesh in 1971. They live here without an identity and permits. They do have ration cards that enable them to vote and buy grain. Food is more important for them than their identity. Children grow up to become partners in survival. And survival in Seemapuri means rag-picking. Through the years it has acquired the ‘proportions of a fine art’. An army of barefoot children appears in the morning with their plastic bags on their shoulders. They disappear by noon. Garbage has a different meaning for children. For them, it is wrapped in `wonder’. They may find a rupee even a ten rupee note or a silver coin. There is always hope of finding more. But Seemapuri is a hell. Ragpickers live in structures of mud. They have roofs of tin and tarpaulin. There is no sewage, drainage or running water. It is unimaginable that it is a part of Delhi.
3. ‘Grinding poverty and traditions condemn the children of ragpickers or bangle makers to a life of exploitation. Such children are deprived of all opportunities in life. Mukesh, who opts out of the existing profession of his forefathers by resolving to start a new job of a motor mechanic symbolises the modern youth. What lesson do we learn from Mukesh’s example?
Ans.No doubt grinding poverty and tradition have condemned the children of ragpickers and bangle makers to a life of exploitation. The ragpickers’ children have accepted their fate to be barefoot as their tradition. Similarly, bangle makers persist with bangle making, saying it is their karma. Their spirits due to constant suppression and servitude make them incapable of raising their voices against injustice and exploitation.
Mukeshsymbolises the modern youth who dares to fight with their destiny and change it. He has hope and aspiration to do differently and better his future. In spite of the environment, he is living in, and with no support from his family, Mukesh wants to break the age-old tradition to work as a bangle maker throughout his life. He wants to be a motor mechanic. This shows that one should not give up hope even in the worst circumstances and always strive to do better.
4. ‘Lost Spring’ explains the grinding poverty and traditions that condemn thousands of people to a lift of abject poverty. Do you agree? Why/Why not?
Ans. ‘Lost Spring’ is indeed a description of the grinding poverty and traditions that condemn thousands of people to a life of abject poverty.
Saheb, a young ragpicker is doomed to live a miserable life of poverty. He wants to go to school and play tennis. Due to poverty, he has to even give up his freedom and start working as a helper at a tea shop. Here he is burdened with the commands of his employer and is forced to live a miserable life. Another such example is that of Mukesh who belongs to a bangle makers family in Firozabad. He wants to be a motor mechanic. But his family traditions and poverty have forced him to work in the inhumane conditions of a bangle factory, in dark rooms and near hot furnaces.
Thus, the poor and destitute of both Seemapuri and Firozabad are caught in the web of poverty, servitude, suppression and exploitation.
5. Most of us do not raise our voice against injustice in our society and tend to remain mute spectators. Anees Jung in her story ‘Lost Spring’ vividly highlights the miserable life of street children and bangle makers of Firozabad. She wants us to act. Which qualities does she want the children to develop?
Ans. Anees Jung in her story ‘Lost Spring’ analyses the grinding poverty and traditions which condemn the small children to live a miserable life of exploitation. Street children or the ragpickers of Seemapuri are forced to either rely on the garbage for their livelihood or work as labourers. These children live in a condition of extreme exploitation throughout their lives due to their poverty. Similar is the situation of children from the bangle making families of Firozabad. Here the children are forced to accept bangle’ making as their doom due to poverty and family tradition.
The author has also given a story of resistance and fortitude. In spite of the harsh conditions of poverty and exploitation, there are children like Mukesh who have refused to accept their fate. They have their ambition to do something different and better. The author stresses the need to aspire for betterment. No doubt for this one needs to be daring, confident, diligent and hardworking.
6. Describe the circumstances which keep the workers in the bangle industry in poverty.
Ans. The bangle makers of Firozabad make beautiful bangles. But these people work in a very unhygienic atmosphere. They work in glass furnaces at high temperatures, in dingy cells without sufficient air and light. In spite of so much hard work, these people live in a state of poverty because they work in an unorganized manner and are exploited by the middlemen. This results in their poor state. Even if they try to get organized, they get beaten up by the police. They are not able to come out of the vicious circle of their exploiters: middlemen, policemen, sahukars, lawmakers, bureaucrats and politicians. They have been repeatedly exploited physically as well as economically for generations and so are forced to live a life of poverty.
7. Describe the life of ragpickers at Seemapuri. Why is this place, in spite of being on the periphery of Delhi, considered miles away from it?
Ans. In 1971, some families migrated from Bangladesh and took refuge, at the outskirt of Delhi, at a place called Seemapuri. It is a colony where about 10,000 ragpickers and their families live in structures of mud, with the roof of tin or tarpaulin. They are devoid of basic facilities like sewage, drainage or running water. They have no identity but a ration card to have their names on the voters’ list. They have never bothered for their identity because for them food is the prime focus. Children of these families work as ragpickers and garbage for them is the only means of survival.
The place Seemapuri, at the periphery of Delhi, the capital of India, yet is miles apart from Delhi metaphorically. The place is devoid of even basic amenities in contrast to the highly developed and progressive Delhi.
8. ‘Saheb is no longer his own master. Mukesh insists on being his own master.’ Discuss.
Ans. Both Saheb and Mukesh, symbolise the exploited children in India who are forced to live a life of poverty. Saheb is a ragpicker who lives at Seemapuri. His only means of survival is garbage. He lives in a subliminal condition. Finally, he starts working at a tea stall where he completely loses his freedom and childhood. But he has compromised with his fate. He has accepted his condition and has completely given up himself. Mukesh, on the other hand, is a boy who also belongs to a very poor family but doesn’t give up and compromise with circumstances. Though he belongs to a bangle maker’s family and is destined to work as a bangle maker, he refuses to accept it. He has his own ambition to become a motor mechanic. He doesn’t want to be dominated and exploited by others. He wants to be his own master and take his own decisions.
9. The paradoxes of the society that we live in are aptly featured in ‘Lost Spring’.Comment.
Ans. ‘Lost Spring’ is a vivid description of the grinding poverty and tradition that condemn the children in our country to a life of poverty and exploitation.
Saheb, a small boy, who is a ragpicker and relies on garbage for his living, seems to be very enthusiastic about going to school. But he never gets this opportunity and his entire childhood is lost in solving the greatest problem of his life, i.e. to earn a meal. He has to compromise with his freedom and joy of childhood and works at a tea stall to earn money.
Mukesh, who was born into a bangle maker’s family of Firozabad, wants to be a motor mechanic. He works in the most hazardous conditions in the glass furnaces with high temperature and no lights. People of his community are caught in the vicious circle of sahukars, middlemen, policemen, bureaucrats and politicians. Mukesh wants to be his own master and do something different.
The story very clearly describes the reality of our society.
10. Justify the title of the story ‘Lost Spring’.
Ans. Childhood is considered the spring of human life. It is full of exuberance and playfulness. But the children of ragpickers of Seemapuri and bangle makers of Firozabad are deprived of this period; their life. They never enjoy the carefreeness of their childhood. They have to assist their poor parents in earning their living since the very tender age.
In fact, the story brings out the reality of our society where poor children work as ragpickers and bangle bakers in inhuman and hazardous conditions. The plight of these children highlights the apathy of the rich and powerful people of the society who have no concern for them.
‘Lost Spring’ refers to those moments of childhood which are full of happiness, growth and carefree spirit and which have been snatched from the children of Seemapuri and Firozabad. The title justifies the story which makes an effort to sensitize the people towards these poor children. It emphasizes the need to save the childhood of these poor children and provide them with their basic rights of a decent life and good education.
11. “For the children, it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders, it is a means of survival.” What kind of life do the rag-pickers of Seemapuri lead? Answer in about 120-150 words. [All India 2017]
Ans. Seemapuri is a settlement of ragpickers. It is a place on the outskirts of Delhi. Those who live here are squatters who came from Bangladesh in 1971. They live here without an identity and permits. They do have ration cards that enable them to vote and buy grain. Food is more important for them than their identity. Children grow up to become partners in survival. And survival in Seemapuri means rag-picking. Through the years it has acquired the ‘proportions of fine art’. An army of barefoot children appears in the morning with their plastic bags on their shoulders. They disappear by noon. Garbage has a different meaning for children. For them, it is wrapped in `wonder’. They may find a rupee even a ten rupee note or a silver coin. There is always hope of finding more. But Seemapuri is a hell. Ragpickers live in structures of mud. They have roofs of tin and tarpaulin. There is no sewage, drainage or running water. It is unimaginable that it is a part of Delhi.