Sunday, August 25, 2013

LIFE AT MOKAMEH GHAT by Jim Corbett(1875-1955): Sample Questions and Answers

1.       Answer any one of the following questions ( in about 50 words):  5x1=5
(i)                 Why was the crossing of the river ‘always a pleasure’ to Corbett ? (HS ’08)

Ans.      Corbett had to cross the Ganges often in performing his additional duty to manage the plying of the steamers between the two banks of the river. That was always a pleasure to him for two reasons. First, it allowed him time to rest his legs and have a quite smoke. Second, it gave him an opportunity of indulging in one of his hobbies, the study of human beings– their nature, culture, occupation, etc. through the passengers. (76 words)

(ii)               Describe the work that Corbett and his fellow workers had to do at Mokameh Ghat. (textbook)
Or, How did Jim Corbett and his team overcome the strenuous job at Mokameh Ghat ? (HS ’11)

Ans.      When Corbett was engaged in the contract of loading, unloading and transhipping, tons of goods had been piled up at Mokameh Ghat. They had to clear the backlog and to keep the traffic moving simultaneously.  At the beginning, they had to work tirelessly which earned them reputation. The work moved smoothly as their common object was a better living condition. To retain the reputation, others cheerfully performed the work of an absentee. (72 words)

(iii)             “I said I would try to satisfy his curiosity.” – Who said this and to whom? How did he satisfy the other person’s curiosity ? (textbook)

Ans.      Jim Corbett said this to Crosthwaite.
He satisfied the curiosity of Crosthwaite by recounting the lower deck passengers. There were three Brahmins and four Nepalese carrying the holy water of the Ganges. A Mohammedan dhoonia was sitting on the deck with a harp-like instrument beside him. Two Tibetan lamas were returning from a pilgrimage. The writer’s old friend was going to plough his field on the other bank. A Mohammedan tobacco merchant was going to Muzaffarpur.  (76 words)

(iv)              What is Corbett’s observation on labour unrest, strikes and communal disorders in modern day India ?
Or, What is Corbett’s suggestion about solving the problems of labour unrest, strikes, communal disorders in modern day India ?

Ans.      Corbett says that there was no strike, labour unrest or communal disorders in his time. People of all classes lived and worked together in perfect harmony with a spirit of cooperation. He feels that even today that is possible if the agitators and trouble makers, who provoke the poor to quarrel and fight among themselves, are eliminated by isolating them and if the interest of one is regarded as the interest of all. (73 words)

(v)                Describe the celebration of the Christmas Day at Mokameh Ghat.
Or, How did Corbett and his men observe the Christmas ?
Or, “There was however one day in the year that all of us looked forward to ...” – Describe, after the author, how the day mentioned above was observed. (HS ’09)

Ans.     Corbett’s workmen and the railway staff celebrated the Christmas Day in a festive mood. They decorated the office and its surroundings with red and green signal flags and strings of marigold and jasmine flowers. Everybody put on clean clothes. Corbett sat on a chair. Ram Saran garlanded him and delivered a long speech which was followed by a short speech by Corbett. Then sweets were distributed among the children. At last Corbett distributed a cash bonus to the staff and the labourers. (82 words)

(vi)              What does Jim Corbett say about the distribution of a cash bonus among his staff ? How did it help him in his work ? (HS ’10)

Ans.      Jim Corbett distributed eighty percent of his profit as bonus to Ram Saran, to the staff and to the labourers on Christmas Day. The bonus, though small, was greatly appreciated by them.
     The distribution of the bonus, mentioned as the real business of the day, generated a goodwill and willing co-operation among his staff and helped Corbett in his work for twenty one years without one single unpleasant incident, and without one single day’s stoppage of work. (77 words)

(vii)            “The idea originated with Ram Saran.” – What was the idea and how was it implemented ? (HS ’09)
Or, “One of my first undertakings, when I had ...” – What was the undertaking referred to ? How was it materialised ?

Ans.     The idea/undertaking was to start a school for the sons of Corbett’s workmen and the lower-paid railway staff.
       Corbett and Ram Saran rented a hut, appointed a teacher and started the school with twenty boys. Gradually the roll strength rose to two hundred, new buildings were erected and seven new teachers were appointed. The Govt. then upgraded it to the status of a Middle School. (65 words)

2.       Answer any two of the questions that follow (each in about 30 words):  3x2=6
(i)                 What was the first ‘snag’ that Ram Saran’s school faced and how was it solved ?
Or, How was the problem of ‘caste prejudices’ solved at Ram Saran’s school ? (HS ’07)
Or, “Caste prejudices were the first snag we ran up against ...”—Who were ‘we’ ? What are ‘caste prejudices’ ? (HS ’11)

Ans.      [Here ‘we’ refers to Corbett and Ram Saran.]
       The first snag that Ram Saran’s school faced was the caste prejudices for which the students of high-castes and low-castes could not sit together in the same hut. The teacher solved this problem by removing the sides of the hut as the students of all castes could sit in the same shed. (52 words)

(ii)               “My tan hid my blushes...”—Who says this ? What made him blush ? (textbook)

Ans.      Jim Corbett says this to Crosthwaite.
       He thought that the passengers did not know English. But a Mohammedan gentleman told him in perfect English that he was very much impressed by the writer’s description though he was a tobacco merchant and not a hide one. This remark of the man made Corbett blush. (53 words)

(iii)             “...the real business of the day started...”—What was the real business of the day ? Why is the business called the real business ?

Ans.     The ‘real business’ of the Christmas Day was the distribution of a cash bonus to Ram Saran, his staff and labourers by Jim Corbett from the eighty percent of his profit.

It is called the real business because it ensured heartfelt co-operation which enabled him to carry on his work smoothly for 21 years. (54 words)