The lesson My Childhood give good detail of My Childhood Memories. It can be considered as my childhood story. It is well explained through Introduction, Message, Theme, Title, Characters, Summary in English, Summary in Hindi, Word meanings, Complete lesson in Hindi, Extracts, Long answers, Short answers, Very short Answers, MCQs and much more.
By- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Important Long/ Detailed Answer Type Questions- to be answered in about 100 -150 words each
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. How did Abdul Kalam earn his ‘first wages’? How did he feel at that time?
Ans. Abdul Kalam’s cousin, Samsuddin, used to distribute newspapers in Rameswaram. The Second World War broke out in 1939. Now the train’s halt at Rameswaram was suspended. The bundles of newspapers were thrown out from the moving train on the Rameswaram road between Rameswaram and Dhanuskodi. Now Samsuddin needed a helping hand to catch the bundles which were thrown out of the moving train. He employed Abdul Kalam to do this job. Thus Abdul Kalam earned his first wages. This was a great moment for him. He felt a great wave of joy and pride in earning his own money for the first time. Even after tiny years Abdul Kalam clearly remembers that day
Q.2. “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted.” What ‘system’ is this sentence referring to? What are `such problems’? Does the text suggest that the problems have been tackled?
Ans. The above sentence refers to religious differences between people. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam belonged to Rameswaram. At that time, the small society of that town was rigid in terms of the segregation of different social groups. This system was prevalent in the whole of the country. The high caste people did not like to eat or drink with the people of low castes. The new teacher in Abdul Kalam’s class could not tolerate that a Muslim boy should sit with the son of a Hindu priest. He sent Abdul Kalarn to the back bench. But some people have tried to fight these problems. Abdul Kalam’s teacher, Sivasubramania lyer’s served Abdul Kalam with his own hands. He sat down beside him to eat. Later, his wife realised her mistake. The next week, she served Abdul Kalam in her kitchen. Yet these problems are deep-rooted in India. These have not been tackled even now.
Q.3. What does Abdul Kalam say about his parents in the lesson ‘My Childhood’?
Ans. Abdul Kalam is full of praise for his parents. He was born into a middle-class family of Rameswaram. His father was Jainulabdeen. He was neither educated nor rich. Yet he had plenty of natural wisdom. He was also very generous. Abdul Kalam’s mother was Ashiarnma. She was a kind and helpful lady. Kalam’s parents were generous. A number of outsiders daily ate with the family. Their number was more than all the members of Kalam’s family put together. Abdul Kalam was greatly influenced by his parents. His father taught him the value of self-discipline and honesty. From his mother, he inherited faith in goodness and deep kindness. His parents were not rich but they provided their children all the bask necessities of life like food, clothes and medicines. Thus, Abdul Kalam’s parents greatly influenced him.
Q.4 How does Abdul Kalam describe his three close friends?
Ans. Abdul Kalam says that in his childhood, he had three close friends. Their names were Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan. All these boys were from orthodox Hindu Brahmin families. Ramanadha Sastri was the son of Pakshi Lakshmana Sastry. He was the high priest of the Rameswaram temple. When Ramanadha grew up, he took over the priesthood of the temple from his father. Aravindan went into the business of arranging transport for the pilgrims who visited Rameswaram. The third friend, Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railways. Abdul Kalam says that although they were from different refigOts, none of them ever felt any difference among themselves because of different religious backgrounds. Their parents were also liberal and generous. Ramanathan’s father rebuked the new teacher for spreading the poison of social inequality in the minds of innocent children.
Q.5. In this chapter, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam describes two of his teachers. What is the difference in the outlooks of these two teachers?
Ans. Abdul Kalam describes two teachers of his school days. When he was in the fifth standard, a new teacher came to the class. Abdul Kalam was sitting in the front row, next to his close friend Ramanadha Sastry. The teacher could not tolerate that a Muslim boy should sit with a Brahmin boy. He sent Abdul Kalam to the back bench. It made both Abdul Kalam and Ramanadha very sad. Later, however, the teacher realised his mistake.
The attitude of Abdul Kalam’s science teacher was quite different. His name was Sivasubramania lyer. He did not believe in social barriers and tried his best to break them. One day he invited Abdul Kalam home for a meal. His wife was a traditional lady. She refused to serve a Muslim boy into her kitchen. But Iyer served Abdul Kalam with his own hands. Then he sat down beside him to eat his meal. Thus we find that there is a lot of difference in the outlooks of the two teachers.
Q 6. Describe the incident at Kalam’s school days when a new teacher shifted him to the back row. What followed this incident?
What mistake did the new teacher in Kalam’s elementary school commit one day? How was he reformed?
Ans: Abdul Kalam was in the fifth standard at the Rameswaram Elementary School when a new teacher came to their class. Kalam used to wear a cap which marked him as a Muslim. He always sat in the front row next to his Brahmin friend, Ramanadha Sastry. This new teacher could not tolerate a Muslim boy sitting with the son of a Hindu priest. So, he asked Kalam to go and sit on the back bench which, according to this new teacher, was in accordance with the social ranking. This incident made both the boys very sad and brought tears to Ramanadha’s eyes. They reported this incident to their respective parents. Lakshmana Sastry, Ramanathan’s father, sent for the teacher and reprimanded him for spreading the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance in the minds of innocent children. He asked him to either apologise or quit school. The teacher not only regretted his unbecoming behaviour but also reformed himself.
Q7. Kalam says, On the whole, the small society of Rameswaram was very rigid in terms of segregations of different social groups”. Were they aware of their differences only or did they also naturally share friendships and experiences? (Textual)
Ans: Although the small society of Rameswaram was very rigid in terms of segregations of different social groups still Kalam and his family were very broadminded as far as religious tolerance was concerned. His mother and grandmother used to tell him bedtime stories both from the life of the Prophet and Ramayana. Kalam had three close friends and all of them were Hindu orthodox Brahmins. Besides, his family used to arrange boats with a special platform during the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalyanam ceremony. The platform was used to carry idols of the Lord from the temple to the marriage site, Ram Tiratha, which was in the middle of a pond close to Kalam’s house. Hence, Kalam and his family did not let the difference in religious faith affect their behaviour. They were as much at ease with no- Muslims as with those from their own religion.
Q 8. The author speaks both of people who were very aware of the differences among them and those who tried to bridge these differences. Which incidents help us to identify such people in the text? (Textual)
Ans: The incident when Kalam’s new teacher shifted him from the first row, where he used to sit with the Hindu priest’s so Ramanadha Sastry, to the last row helps to identify a person who was intolerant to differences.
The incident when the wife of Sivasubramania Iyer, Kalam’s science teacher, refused to serve food to Kalam, a Muslim boy, in her ritually pure kitchen, helps to identify yet another person who was intolerant to differences.
However, the incident when Lakshmana Sastry, an orthodox Brahmin priest, reprimanded the new teacher for spreading the poison of social inequality and communal intolerance helps to identify a person who tried to bridge the differences. Also, when Sivasubramania Iyer, an orthodox Brahmin, set an example for his conservative wife by not only serving food to Kalam but also sitting beside him to have his meal helps to identify another person who tried to bridge differences.
Q9. Who was Sivasubramania Iyer? What sort of relationship did Kahn’ share with him?
Ans: Sivasubramania Iyer was Kalam’s science teacher. He wanted to break social barriers so that people of different background could live in harmony with each other. While trying to change the system, he was mentally prepared to confront many Problems. He was very fond of Kalam and used to guide and encourage to be on a par with the highly educated people of big cities.
Once he invited Kalam to his place to share food with him. When his conservative wife refused to serve food to Kalam, a Muslim boy in her ritually pure kitchen, Iyer not only served Kalam himself but also sat with him to have his meal. He again invited Kalam for dinner the following weekend. However, this time his wife served Kalam as she had been reformed by her husband’s example. Thus, Sivasubramania Iyer and Kalam shared a strong bond of love which was nurtured by the teacher’s progressive vision and his concern for his student.
Q10. Teachers can either ‘make’ or ‘break’ their students’ lives. Cite two incidents from “My Childhood” to prove the truth of this statement.
Ans: Abdul Kalam’s life was influenced in a major way by some experiences that he had during his school days. They were instrumental in shaping his character and later on his career.
Once, when he was in the fifth standard, a new teacher came to his class. He did not like Kalam, a Muslim boy, sitting next to Ramanadha Sastry, a Brahmin. So, he shifted Kalam to the back seat simply because it was in accordance with the social ranking of that time. This was a heart-breaking experience for Kalam. This poison of social inequality and communal intolerance could have demoralized the young Kalam if his friend’s father, Lakshmana Sastry had not intervened. He ensured that the teacher not only regretted his action but also reformed himself.
Another experience that made Kalam a stronger and wiser person was when his science teacher Sivasubramania lyer invited him to his house for a meal. During the meal Iyer noticed that Kalam was upset at his wife’s attitude, so he invited Kalam to another dinner the following weekend saying, “Once you decide to change the system, such problems have to be confronted”.
These two experiences could have had disastrous consequences for Kalam in particular and Rameswaram society in general, had they not been dealt with Farsight and wisdom by kalam’s teachers. Thus, from these incidents, it is clear that teachers can ‘make’ or ‘break’ their students’ lives.
Q11. Suppose you are the new teacher who had sent Kalam to the last row in the class. You realise your mistake after the Hindu priest Lakshmana Sastry reprimanded you. Write a diary entry in about 150 words expressing your regret at your behaviour.
Ans:(Day and Date) (Time)
My first day at Rameswaram Elementary School was very eventful. Although I was supposed to teach I actually learnt a valuable lesson myself.
On entering the fifth standard, I noticed a boy in a Muslim cap sitting in the front row next to a Brahmin boy wearing the sacred thread. I coup I do not tolerate this and I asked the Muslim boy, whose name was Abdul Kalam, to go to the last row. The boy and his friend both looked sad but my order was followed.
In the evening, Lakshmana Sastry, the high priest of the Rameswaram temple and the Brahmin boy’s father sent for me. He reprimanded me for poisoning young and innocent minds about the differences based on class and community. He asked me to either apologise or to quit the school and the island. I was shaken as the warning had come from none other than the high priest himself.
I was totally ashamed of my mean behaviour. I regretted having victimized an innocent boy and belittling his religion. I offered my sincere regret and resolved never to let any such prejudice to influence my decisions. I am grateful to Lakshmana Sastry for showing me the right path.