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By- Anees Jung
Short Answer Type Questions (30 to 40 words)
Q1. What could be some of the reasons for the migration of people from villages to cities?
Ans. The people migrate from villages to cities because of natural disasters and resulting poverty. A rag picker recollects many storms that have swept away his fields and home in Dhaka. That is why they left, looking for gold in the big city where he now lives.
Q2. Would you agree that promises made to poor children are rarely kept? Why do you think this happens in the incidents narrated in the text?
Ans. I agree that promises made to poor children are rarely kept. It is easy to tell poor children that they should be in school, but are we ever in a position to start a school? As individuals, it is difficult to provide facilities and assistance that can remove poverty.
Q3. What is Saheb looking for in the garbage dumps? Where is he and where has he come from?
Ans. Saheb lives on the garbage dumps in Seemapuri on the outskirts of Delhi. His family came from Bangladesh. Survival in Seemapuri means rag picking. Garbage to them is gold. Saheb looks for coins in the heaps of garbage. He even finds a ten rupee note sometimes. When you can find a silver coin in a heap of garbage you don’t stop scrounging, for there is hope of finding more.
Q4. Describe Seemapuri.
Ans. Seemapuri is in the periphery of Delhi, yet miles away from it metaphorically. Squatters who came from Bangladesh in 1971 live here. Their shanties are devoid of sewage, drainage and running water. The main occupation of the people living there is rag picking.
Q5. What is the meaning of Saheb’s full name? What does he do the whole day?
Ans. His full name is ‘Saheb-e-Alam’. It means the lord of the universe. He does not know it. If he knew it, he would not believe it. He roams the sheets barefoot with other children carrying plastic bags and scrounging for garbage.
Q6. Describe the importance of garbage in the life of residents of Seemapuri.
Ans. Garbage has acquired the proportions of a fine art. For the elders, garbage is a means of survival and for the small children who scrounge heaps of garbage, it is wrapped in wonder. Sometimes they find a rupee or even a ten rupee note. This gives them hope of finding more.
Q7. Where does the author find Saheb one winter morning? What does a dream come true for him?
Ans. The author finds Saheb standing by the fenced gat of a neighbourhood club. He is watching two young men, dressed in white playing tennis. He is wearing discarded tennis shoes. One of them has a hole. Having walked barefoot, even shoes with a hole is a dream come true.
Q8. What explanations does the author offer for the children not wearing footwear?
Ans. Travelling across the country the author has observed children walking barefoot in cities and on village roads. It does not lack money but a tradition to stay barefoot is one explanation. The author wonders if this is only an excuse to explain away a constant state of poverty.
Q9. Is Saheb happy working at the Tea Stall? Explain.
Ans. Saheb has got a job at a small tea stall. He is paid 800 and all his meals. There seems to be some improvement in his condition but his face has lost the carefree look. The steel canister that he carries belongs to the owner of the shop. It seems heavier than the plastic bag he used to carry as a rag picker. ‘Saheb is no longer his own master’.
Q10. What makes the city of Firozabad famous?
Ans. Firozabad is famous for bangles. Every other family in Firozabad is engaged in making bangles. It is the centre of India’s glass blowing industry where families have spent generations working around furnaces, welding glass, making bangles for women all over India.
Q11. Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangles industry.
Ans. The glass bangle industry of Firozabad employs children and they work in very unhealthy and hazardous conditions. They are made to work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light. Almost twenty thousand children work in the hot furnaces, often losing the brightness of their eyes. A number of workers become blind with the dust from polishing the glass of bangles. Many children lose their eyesight before they become adults.
Q12. How is Mukesh’s attitude toward his situation different from that of his family?
Ans. Mukesh insists on being his own master. He has seen enough of the poverty, the dangers and the sub-human living conditions of the glass bangle industry. He wants to be a motor mechanic. His resourcefulness and determination to break free are admirable, even though ‘his dream looks like a mirage’, amidst the dust of streets. He stands out with a positive attitude which is so different from that of his family. The people of Ferozabad are struggling to survive the burden of the lineage. Mukesh, on the other hand, wants to rebuild his destiny and not be a glass bangle maker.
Q13. What forces conspire to keep the workers in the bangle industry of Firozabad in poverty?
Ans. The workers in the bangle industry have remained in poverty and years of mind-numbing labour has destroyed their initiative and ability to dream. They cannot organize themselves into a cooperative as they have fallen into a vicious circle of middlemen who trapped their fathers and forefathers. The police beat them up if they get organized, there is no leader who can take up their cause. The author identifies the forces that conspire against them. They are the stigma of caste, a destructive cycle of the Sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of the law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.
Q14. How does the author focus on the ‘perpetual state of poverty’ of the children not wearing footwear?
Ans. Most of the young ragpickers do not wear footwear. The author noticed this. Some of them were even without chappals. The children wanted to wear shoes though some of then say that it is tradition to stay barefoot. The author attributes it to the scarcity of money. It is poverty that does not allow them to possess footwear.
Q15. Explain ‘For children, garbage has a meaning different from what it means to their parents’.
Ans. The small ragpickers scrounge heaps of garbage for some coin, note or valuable things. Sometimes they do find a rupee or even a ten rupee note. Then they hope to find more. They search excitedly. For children, garbage is wrapped in wonder. For the grown-ups, it is a means of survival. Hence, garbage has two different meanings.
Q16. Who is Mukesh? What is his dream? Why does it look like a ‘mirage amidst the dust’?
Ans. Mukesh is the son of a poor bangle maker of Firozabad, where every other family is engaged in making bangles. His poor father has been unable to renovate the house or educate his sons. Mukesh wants to be his own master and dreams of becoming a motor mechanic. He wants to drive a car. But the conditions under which he exists, make this dreamlike an illusion, a mirage.
Q17. What contrast do you notice between the colours of the bangles and the atmosphere of the place where these bangles are made?
Ans. The bangles made in Firozabad are of every hue (colour) born out of the rainbow. They are sunny, gold, paddy green, royal blue, pink and purple. Boys and girls work in dark dingy huts next to the flames of oil lamps around the high heat of the furnaces, blowing glass, welding and soldering it to make bangles. The colours of the bangles ironically have no meaning for the bangle makers.
Q18. The bangle makers are ignorant of something. What is it? What would happen if laws were enforced strictly?
Ans. The bangle-makers are unaware of the fact that child labour is illegal and has been banned by law. The industry is hazardous to their health. Many children become blind before reaching adulthood. If the law were enforced strictly, 20000 children would be released from working hard throughout the day at hot furnaces with high temperatures.
Q19. `Savita is a symbol of innocence and efficiency’. Comment.
Ans. Savita is a young girl. She has put on a drab pink dress. She is soldering pieces of glass. Her hands move mechanically and efficiently like the tongs of a machine. She is innocent and does not understand the sanctity of the bangles that she is working so hard to create.
Q20. Why can’t the bangle makers not organize themselves into a cooperative?
Ans. Most of the young bangle makers are subjected to exploitation at the hands of the middlemen. They are frightened of the police who usually haul them up, beat them and drag them to jail for daring to form co-operatives. There is no leader among them to help out and their parents are too old and helpless. Hence, the idea of organizing themselves into a cooperative becomes too far-fetched.
21. Who is Mukesh? What is his dream?
Ans. Mukesh is a young boy from a poor family of Firozabad. His family is under heavy debt and is working in a bangle-making factory for generations. But Mukesh is different and dreams of becoming a motor mechanic and drive a car.
22. Why could the bangle makers not organise themselves into a cooperative?
Ans. The bangle makers could not organise themselves into a cooperative due to being exploited by the middlemen. They are not able to break the vicious circle which is created by the middlemen, sahukars, politicians, bureaucrats and policemen.
23. How is Mukesh’s attitude to his situation different from that of his family members?
Ans. Though Mukesh belongs to a bangle maker family, he has his ambition to be a motor mechanic. He doesn’t want to be subjected to the exploitation of the middlemen. He wants to break the generations-old family tradition of bangle making.
24. Why had the ragpickers come to live in Seemapuri?
Ans. The ragpickers are the migrants from Bangladesh. They have been living at Seemapuri since 1971. They have no identity and no permit. They only have ration cards that get their names on the voters’ list and enable them to buy grain. These are refugees from Bangladesh who come and settled in Seemapuri 45 years ago.
25. To which country did Saheb’s parents originally belong? Why did they come to India?
Ans. Saheb’s parents originally belonged to Bangladesh. They left their village in Dhaka in 1971 due to extreme poverty and migrated to Delhi and started living at Seemapuri.
26. In what sense is garbage gold to the ragpickers?
What does garbage mean to the children of Seemapuri and to their parents?
Ans. Garbage is gold to the ragpickers because in the garbage, they hope to get something useful for them, or some money, or some articles which can be sold at the junk shop to fetch them money. For the ragpickers, garbage is a means of their livelihood. For children of the ragpickers, garbage is wrapped in wonder. They find new things in the garbage every day.
27. Whom does Anees Jung Name for the sorry plight of the bangle makers?
Ans. Anees Jung says the bangle makers of Firozabad are caught in the vicious circle of sahukars, middlemen, police, bureaucrats and politicians who keep on exploiting them. Due to this, bangle makers are not able to organize themselves into a cooperative.
28. How is Mukesh different from other bangle makers of Firozabad?
Describe Mukesh as an ambitious person.
Ans. Mukesh, a young boy of a bangle makers’ family in Firozabad, is different from others because he is ambitious and wants to break the generations-old traditions. He, unlike others, doesn’t want to make bangles. He wants to be a motor mechanic and drive a car.
29. How was Saheb’s life at the tea stall?
Ans. Saheb lost his freedom as a child at the tea stall. Though earning? 800 per month and two times meal, he was not happy. Now he was no more his own master. He had to obey his employer and had lost the carefree life that he had earlier.
30. Justify the title `Lost Spring’.
Ans. Spring symbolizes ‘childhood’. In the chapter ‘Lost Spring’, Anees Jung has described the lost childhood of thousands of poor children in our country who live in slums like Seemapuri or work in the bangle industry of Firozabad.
31. What was Saheb full name? Why was it ironical?
Ans. Saheb’s full name was ‘Saheb-e-Alam’ which means the master of the universe. But, on the contrary, Saheb is a victim of poverty. He lives in a slum and is not able to get a meal. So the name of Saheb is highly ironical.
32. ‘Seemapuri is on the periphery of Delhi yet miles away from it metaphorically.’ What does the author mean by this?
Ans. Seemapuri is on the periphery of Delhi which is a metropolitan city and the capital of India. The living conditions at Seemapuri are highly pathetic. This place is devoid of even basic facilities such as to as sewage drainage and running water. The houses are made of mud with the roof of tin and tarpaulin. It is beyond imagination that such a place is part of a progressive and developed capital of the country.
33. ‘Together they have imposed the baggage on the child that he cannot put down.’ Who do ‘they’ refer to? What is the ‘baggage’ and why can the child not get rid of it?
Ans. ‘They’ refers to the sahukars, middlemen, bureaucrats, politicians and policemen. Together all these forces have created a vicious circle for the bangle makers. The ‘baggage’ refers to the burden or the compulsion to work in the bangle factories. The child cannot refuse to work in these factories due to the heavy debt on his parents. As a result, they are compelled to work in hazardous conditions.
24. ‘When I sense a flash of it in Mukesh I am cheered.’ What is this a reference to and why does it make the author happy?
Ans. This refers to the fact that Mukesh had the courage to think differently and dream of a better life. Unlike others, Mukesh had dared to dream. This is something which makes the author happy. She is pleased to see the spark of optimism and determination in Mukesh’ eyes.