64. Reading Skills Comprehension: Convocation of a University in India

              Convocation of a University in India

Read the passage given below carefully:  

It is no small honour to be asked to address the Convocation of a University in India, and certainly, it is a unique experience for me, at any rate, to be called upon to address a University Convocation at one place a second time.

I know poverty and misery and I quite appreciate by personal experience what it is to be poor, what it is to have no clothes, what it is to have no books, what it is to struggle through life, what it is to walk through the streets without an umbrella, without conveyance along miles in dusty wards. I have been through it all and I can understand the difficulties that most of you graduates have to face up today. I’m speaking from a long experience of 60 years. Please do not imagine that all the 60 years are milk and roses. To be able to accomplish something, I want to tell you that you have to go through such experience.

I admit success in life is not always awarded to the intelligent or the strong and it is to some extent a bit of a gamble, but nonetheless, those who have got their minds right and those who know their job will sooner or later, sooner perhaps than later make their way in life. But they should not be disappointed if they do not; they have to face up life and take it as they find it. This is the kind of philosophy that I have learnt by experience, and I make a free gift of it to you all.

What I say is this that the great things in life are not really great things in life. The Nobel Prize, the F.R.S. and the like, many of them leave a bitter taste in the mouth. What I love is to enjoy the common things in life.

Based on your reading of the passage, answer the following questions:            (1×5=5)

(a) Why did the author consider being asked to address a Convocation at a University in India a unique experience?

(b) Why does the author say that sixty years of his life were not “milk and roses”?

 (c) What does the author attribute success to?

(d) What is the author’s attitude toward awards?

(e) Find a word in the passage that means the same as ‘transport


(a) He considered it a unique experience because this was the second time he had been asked to address a University Convocation in one place.

(b) The author’s life was not ‘milk and roses’ as he had to struggle a lot in life due to poverty. He didn’t have money to buy books, clothes or an umbrella and had to walk miles as he couldn’t afford a vehicle.

(c) The author attributes success to intelligence, strength, good luck and the ability to think right and have a good knowledge of one’s job.

(d) The author does not care for awards. He doesn’t consider them great but according to him, enjoying the common things in life was a greater achievement.

(e) Conveyance

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