NO MEN ARE FOREIGN
By– James Kirkup
LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
(to be answered in about 100 – 150 words each)
Q1. How does the poem justify that people in all countries of the world are essentially the same?
Ans:-The poet justifies the statement that people living in different countries are essentially the same by asserting that ‘no men are strange’. Every single body breathes and functions in the same way as ours. Each one of us equally needs the sun, air and water. Human hands too are used for the similar purpose of toiling for livelihood. Eyes too perform the similar function of sleeping and waking up. Love wins us all and we all recognise its power. In peace times, we all flourish and wars starve us. Hatred leads us astray and when we take up arms against each other, the entire earth is defiled and destroyed. Therefore, we all like peace which showers abundance and prosperity on us. Therefore, essentially we all are the same.
Q2. ‘Wars have always brought total ruin in this world, yet they are fought repeatedly.’ Discuss.
Ans:- Wars are the result of over-ambition and greed of irresponsible rulers of the world. They bring ruin both to the victor and the vanquished by shattering the economy of the warring countries. In the past, wars were localised but now they are global and hence more dangerous and destructive. The memories of the First and the Second World Wars are still fresh in our minds. The horrific after-effects of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 can still be seen. Still, it is appalling to note that people of the world do not learn from history. The danger of yet another war lurks all the time. The divisive forces are even stronger in the present times and the mad race for armaments too is scary. Hope lies in the strength of the common people who should refuse to be fooled by vested and unscrupulous leaders. Instead, people of the world should look at the world as a global village that offers innumerable opportunities and reasons for peaceful coexistence.
Q3. How does the poet James Kirkup prove that no men are foreign? How far is he able to convince his reader about it?
Ans:-The poet, James Kirkup, cites various examples to prove that no men are foreign. The very title of the poem is thought-provoking and compels the reader to think about the issue of people living in other countries as foreigners and strangers. As the poem progresses, the poet repeatedly emphasises that all human beings are identical in their nature and approach. All live on the same earth; enjoy air, sun and water; love peace and are averse to war. They all have common experiences and toil in a similar manner to earn the livelihood. The logical reasoning put forth by the poet and the frequent reminders fully convince the reader that no men are foreign. He gets the message that alienation from fellow brethren is equally damaging to himself. He also understands that by treating other men as foreign, the world stands exposed to the risk of war which can lead to irreversible destruction and pollution of mother earth. Q4. In what way do we dispossess, betray and condemn ourselves by hating our brothers and taking up arms against them? By hating our brothers and taking up arms against them, we ‘dispossess’ ourselves as we deprive ourselves of their love. When we hate them, they too retaliate negatively and cease to love us. Mutually, we deprive each other of the noble emotion of love. We betray ourselves as our hatred leads to wars, and wars cause widespread death and destruction. This leads to the piling up of trash that pollutes our own mother earth. The dust and smoke from war choke the air that we breathe. So, hatred of fellow beings, in fact, leads to betrayal of our own selves. Further, this earns us condemnation as we violate the purity of the elements of nature. We threaten our own existence by ruining the systems that sustain us. Hence, hating our brothers and taking up arms against them does more damage to us.
Q4.How, according, to the poet, the human earth is ‘defiled’ and the innocence of air ‘outraged’?
Ans:- The weapons of war make the earth dirty and spoil its atmosphere. The deadly ammunition destroys the fertility of the earth and makes it barren. Explosives cause destructive fires sending ashes all over. This pollutes the land as well as the air and the water. It leads to the spread of hunger and innumerable diseases. Both earth and air lose their purity. Thus, the victor, as well as the vanquished, find the Earth and its environment hostile and unfriendly. The kind mother Nature becomes absolutely helpless and is unable to shower her gifts on human beings. It is tarnished and robbed of its bounties. The innocence of air is signified by its purity. But wars strip the air of this innocence and fill it with smoke and dirt. The air then becomes unsuitable for human survival. Thus ‘human earth’ is ‘defiled’ and ‘innocence of air’ is ‘outraged’ by wars.
Q5. A great persons tell us to live cordially and as brothers. But we people tend to fight over trivial issues. Why don’t we live with others harmoniously? What makes us fight and hurt others?
Ans. It is true that many people have been telling us to live harmoniously since long. We never follow their message. We also know that our greed to get more wealth and power cannot give us a peaceful life. But some deep-rooted evils in our society make us draw a distinction between people. We know that all customs and conventions have been made by people. God has made all people equal. But we make differences between people for our selfish motives. We start to hate even our family members due to our ego to be more powerful. By doing so, we, at last, harm ourselves. We become objects of hatred for society. In society, people dislike selfish people.
So before going to hurt other’s feeling, first of all, we should think whether doing such act with others is justified by other people or society. We should learn to live with others as brothers. We should learn to tolerate, forgive and compromise. Only in this way, our life would be happy and peaceful.
Q6. How are we responsible for war? Explain with reference to the poem No Men are Foreign’.
Ans. Everyone is responsible for the war. If we start hating our brothers, we will become the cause of tension. And the tension is converted into war one day. So nobody should hate and despise anyone. Our biased and impolite behaviour toward fellow human beings becomes the cause of unnecessary wars.
Q7. The land our brothers walk upon. Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie!’ What does the poet mean to say the above lines? Explain.
Ans. The poet means to say in these lines that it is the same land on which we walk and after our death, we would be buried in the same earth. Through these lines, the poet tells us that we do all our activities on the same land. We get food from this land. We make our houses on this land and we get many other things from the same land, then why do we say to some people to be `others’?. No one is other. We live in the same house or universe as a family. Then why do we create discrimination against some people? Why do we fight with our brothers? It is all because of our greed to get more wealth and power. We want to have more wealth and power than others. In the pursuit to fulfil this desire, we fight with others and hurt them.
The poet also tells us that one day all of us have to die. Nothing would remain ours. We will have to leave all the things on the same earth. At last, we all will be buried in the same earth.
Q8. How are we alike? Explain in context with the poem.
Ans. We all are alike. We have the same body structure. All of us need the same air to breathe, the same sun to get sunlight and warmth and the same water for many purposes. Our daily routine is also almost the same. We get up in the morning, take a bath, have breakfast and go to work or school. All of us long for love. We all sleep at night and wake up in the morning.
When our needs and feelings are the same, then we should treat all people equally.
We should not look down upon anybody on the basis of his/her colour, caste, region or gender. We should treat everyone as our brother and sister.
Unfortunately, some self-centred people fight with others and try to hurt them. They think that others have harmed them. We should not think that other people are ‘others’. They are also our brothers. If they make any mistake, we should forgive them or compromise with them.