121. Reading Skills Comprehension: Village Fairs

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                                             Village Fairs

Read the following passage carefully:

1. Mahatma Gandhi used to say that if we want to see real India we should go to the village. Similarly, if we want to See the real spirit of’ Indian life, we shall have to go to see villagers celebrating their fairs. Last year I was invited by a friend to see a fair in his village. Though this fair was not an annual affair; last year it assumed more importance and attracted a large number of visitors because one of’ our senior ministers had very kindly consented to inaugurate it The minister’s consent “as not an unusual thing since it was an election year.
2. The village was situated at a distance of about ten miles from Delhi. I travelled by cycle and reached my friend’s house at about noon. It was a cloudy day and the countryside looked beautiful. The minister arrived in time. He was preceded and followed by a number of policemen. In the life of villagers visits by such dignitaries are a very unusual affair. Everyone bowed in deep respect and I was wondering whether the atmosphere created by the presence of the was in tune with the gay spirit of the fair.
3. After the ceremonial departure of the minister, villagers seemed to heave a sigh of relief. They came in increasingly large numbers. They were in their colourful best. Men, women and children were very happily advancing towards the Mela grounds near the tomb of a Muslim saint. Many stalls had sprung up. There were toy sellers and sweetmeat sellers. Every child was forcing his parents to buy toys. The toys the sweetmeats were dust laden as every blow of wind laid a fresh coat of dust on them, There were no roads, only dusty pathways led to the stalls and the fairground.
4’. Some distance from the stalls I saw a juggler performing his tricks. The simple-minded villagers watched his tricks with open-mouthed wonder and felt besides themselves with joy at every new trick. Another group of villagers was enjoying the feast of a rope dancer. Children and women were availing themselves of swinging in the air on ropes tied to the trees. Everywhere and in every heart there was a joy. The colourful dress of children and women and their songs added to the beauty of the fair.
5. Near the tomb, I saw about half a dozen Muslim holy men sitting quietly and receiving the homage of’ the simple villagers who gathered there every year to invoke the blessing of the great saint to keep the evil spirits away from their fields. A group of villagers formed a circle danced hand in hand around the tomb. A couple of women also took part in it.
6. As evening fell, the fair came to an end. 1’he villagers dispersed as easily as they had gathered. There were no traffic jams, no policemen to control mischief-makers and no voluntary agencies to look after the missing children. Everybody in the village knew one another and there was no fear of loneliness. This show of brotherhood among the villagers deserves to be followed by city-dwellers.
                                Type I (Multiple Choice Questions)
1 2. 1 Choose the most appropriate option :
1. We should go to a village to see the:
(A) ministers     (B) village people    (C) real spirit of life     (D) village fair
2. Dignitaries visiting a village is an unusual affair because:
(A) they don’t like villagers                                         (B) they are interested in inaugurations only
(C) village fairs are not frequent                                (D) their usual Visits are during elections only
3. After the departure of the minister:
( A) the villagers went back to their home               (B) the villagers came in large number to the fair
(C)every one bowed in deep respect                         (D) no one spoke loudly
4. Every child in the fair forced his parents to buy:
( A) sweetmeats     (B) colourful dresses        (C) toys         (D) sweets
5. The village fair did not have.
(A) juggler         (B) rope dancers         ( C) swings         (D) electronic swings
6. When a village fair comes to an end, there are:
(A) traffic jams         (B) policemen        (C) no mischief-makers         (D) fearful
7. The word from the passage which means the opposite of ‘homage’ is
(A) respect         (B) tribute        (C) contempt         (D) reverence

                         Type — II (Very Short Answer Type Questions)
12.2 Answer the following questions briefly :
I. The author visited a village fair. What had made the event assume more importance?
2. How did the villagers behave when the minister arrived? Why did they do so?
3, Describe the village fair scene.
4. What were the people doing near the tomb?
5. How was the disposal scene different from those in cities?
ANSWERS:
12.1
 1. (C) real spirit of life                                                           
 2. (D) their usual visits are during elections only
 3. (B) the villagers came in large number to the fair         
 4. (C) toys
5. (D) electronic swings                                                            
6. (C) no mischief-makers
7. (C) contempt
Type-ii
12.2
1. One of the senior ministers was coming to inaugurate it.
2. Everyone bowed in deep respect and no one spoke loudly. Because the visits by such dignitaries are a very unusual affair.
3. There were shops of toys, sweetmeats etc. People thronged there in colourful dresses. Performances of a juggler and rope dancer were being enjoyed by people.
4. They were paying homage to some Muslim holy men to invoke the blessings of a great saint to keep evil spirits away from their fields.
5. There were no traffic jams, no policeman to control mischief Makers and no agencies to look after missing children.

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