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Lost Spring NCERT Solutions for Class 12 English Flamingo Chapter 2
Lost Spring NCERT Text Book Questions and Answers
Lost Spring Think as you read
What is Saheb looking for in the garbage dumps? Where is he and where has he come from?
Unlike his parents who sifted through the garbage dumps for their survival, Saheb took it to be a treasure trove, wondrous and magical. He sometimes chanced upon a coin and hoped of finding more. He lived in Seemapuri. His family had arrived from Bangladesh in 1971.
What explanations does the author offer for the children not wearing footwear?
The author disagreed with the usual explanation that is offered for the children going barefoot as a part of tradition in India. She felt it was only an excuse for the lack of money. They could ill-afford shoes as they lived in “a perpetual state of poverty”.
Is Saheb happy working at the tea-stall? Explain.
Saheb was secure working at a tea-stall where he received daily wages and was given regular meals. However, it can be guessed that he was unhappy as he does not answer the writer when asked if he was happy. The writer also noticed that his face no longer carried the carefree look. He looked burdened with responsibilities.
What makes the city of Firozabad famous?
Firozabad was famous for its bangles. Most families in Firozabad were engaged in making bangles. It engaged most of the families in its central industry. They worked around furnaces, welding glass and making bangles.
Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangles industry?
Bangles were manufactured in glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air or light. As a consequence, the children, who slogged away in cloistered rooms close to the hot furnaces, often lost the brightness of their eyes, even their vision.
How is Mukesh’s attitude to his situation different from that of his family?
Mukesh’s father worked as a tailor and as a bangle maker. He passed on his bangle-making skill to his family.
However, Mukesh dreamt of becoming a car mechanic, and wanted to break away from the occupation his family had been involved in for generations.
Lost Spring Understanding the text
What could be some of the reasons for the migration of people from villages to cities?
Although it is difficult for the people to relocate from villages to cities, migration of such a nature continues unabated. People migrate for various reasons. These could be:
- de-fragmentation of land holdings
- lack of job opportunities
- lack of physical infrastructure no factories or other forms of employment, no medical support, no educational institutions, etc.
- lack of public health amenities such as sewage, drainage, etc.
- inability to deal with environmental hazards such as rains, storms, etc.
- glamour of the city life lures youngsters
- limited opportunities for progress
- aspirations for a better lifestyle
Would you agree that promises made to the poor children are rarely kept? Why do you think this happens in the incidents narrated in the text?
Promises made to the poor children are rarely kept. Promises are made both at the national and international levels to provide healthy lives, quality education, protection against abuse, exploitation and violence, and combating HIV or AIDS. Yet, it is estimated that 246 million children are engaged in child labour. Of those, almost 171 million work in hazardous conditions, such as in mines, with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or with dangerous machinery.
In some sectors their presence is kept under wraps where they toil away as domestic servants in homes, and labouring behind the walls of workshops. Millions of girls work as domestic servants and as unpaid household help and are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. As the world looks ahead to prosperity, many children barely have a future, trapped in the conditions of poverty, conflict, and a degraded environment.
Just like Saheb and Savita, their future continues to be bleak. The children become disillusioned and often turn cynical. This happens because of utter poverty and the failure of the government to provide social security to the people.
What forces conspire to keep the workers in the bangle industry of Firozabad in poverty?
Despite a government ban on child labour, 20,000 children in Firozabad work in horrific conditions to support their poor families. The workers are exposed to hazards such as blindness, tuberculosis, bronchitis, etc. In spite of working in such hazardous conditions the children are underpaid.They are forced to lead this life of poverty, as bangle-making continues to be their only means of livelihood. They can barely afford two square meals a day. They lack money and enterprise to do anything except carry on the business of
making bangles. The young men follow in the path of their elders as the profession is carried from one generation to the next. Years of mind-numbing toil kills their drive and their ability to dream. They lack the education and awareness to organise themselves into a cooperative and escape the vicious circle created by middlemen. The fear of the police and lack of leadership keep them back They remain caught in a web of poverty, burdened by the stigma of caste. The bureaucrats and the politicians exploit them further.
Lost Spring Talking about the text
How, in your opinion, can Mukesh realise his dream?
Mukesh, one of the many children in Firozabad, aspired to be a motor mechanic. His dreams were unlike those of his peers, who worked in bangle manufacturing units amidst appalling conditions. Most of the people there, caught in the vicious circle, were bom and died in the same miserable plight as their forefathers. Mukesh, however, dared to dream.
He was determined to go to a garage and learn how to become a garage mechanic. He realized that the garage was a long way from his home, yet he was resolute and decided to walk all his way there. He dreamt of driving cars that he saw hurtling down the streets of his town. His passion and perseverance would help him achieve his goal. Mukesh was able to dream of breaking away from tradition, and that was the first step towards the realisation of his dreams.
Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangle industry.
Child labour gives rise to a situation where the children are forced to work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions that scar them physically, emotionally, and mentally for the rest of their lives. The glass and glassware industry in India is concentrated in Firozabad. These factories produce a number of glass items, such as bangles, chandeliers, wine glasses, beads, crockery, bulbs, and cut glass items. The industry employs about 8,000 to 50,000 children, some as young as eight years old. The factory floor is like an inferno, due to the intense heat, poor ventilation, broken glass, dangling electric wires, and lack of protective equipment.
Often, glass splinters injure the workers, and pieces of glass cut into the bare feet of children. The children bump into each other and may scorch their bodies. Children are seen walking barefoot over glass littered floors, some with scarred eyes and burnt scalps. Child workers in the glass factories in Firozabad suffer from mental regression, asthma, bronchitis, eye problems, liver ailments, skin bums, chronic anaemia, and tuberculosis. Studies conducted at the Maulana Azad Medical College, in New Delhi, show genetic damage in the body cells of the labourers who have worked close to furnace heat for three years or more.Children, working in factories, often suffer from emotional, mental, and psychological scars.
Why should child labour be eliminated and how?
There are various harmful effects of child labour. These include:
(a) Economic exploitation: Children may only receive one quarter of adult wages.
(b) Long working hours: Some children are expected to work for excessive hours, often up to 12-16 hours per day.
(c) Loss of educational opportunities: Children, who work, either give up their school education or find that their educational performance declines because of their work.
(d) Physical harm: Working children experience physical harm in a number of ways in terms of:require concerted efforts from all sections of the society to make a dent in the problem. It can be eliminated by:
- Increased risk of accidents
- Risk of physical violence from people in authority
- Theft is a risk faced by children who work as street vendors
- Risk of illness from poor hygiene and exposure to bad weather
- Harmful effects of chemicals
(e) Abuse and exploitation: It is essentially a socio-economic problem inextricably linked to poverty and illiteracy.
- Legislative action plan
- Focusing general developmental programmes for benefitting child labour
- Subsidising education
- Providing basic necessities
Lost Spring Thinking about language
Carefully read the following phrases and sentences taken from the text and name the figures of speech used.
- Saheb-e-Alam which means the lord of the universe is directly in contrast to what Saheb was in reality. The figure of speech used – irony
- “Drowned in an air of desolation”. The figure of speech used – hyperbole
- “Seemapuri, a place on the periphery of Delhi yet miles away from it, metaphorically.” The figure of speech
used – metaphor/irony
- “For the children it is wrapped in wonder; for the elders it is a means of survival.” The figure of speech
used – contrast
- “As her hands move mechanically like the tongs of a machine, I wonder if she knows the sanctity of the bangles she helps make.” The figure of speech used – simile
- “She still has bangles on her wrist, but no light in her eyes.” The figure of speech used – paradox/contrast
- “Few airplanes fly over Firozabad.” The figure of speech used – metaphor/sarcasm/contrast
- “Web of poverty”, the figure of speech used – metaphor
- “Scrounging for gold”, the figure of speech used – metonymy/hyperbole
- “And survival in Seemapuri means rag-picking. Through the years, it has acquired the proportions of a fine art.” The figure of speech used – hyperbole/sarcasm
- “The steel canister seems heavier than the plastic bag he would carry so lightly over his shoulders.” The figure of speech used – metaphor
Lost Spring Extra Questions and Answers
Lost Spring Short Answer Questions
Who was Saheb? Where was he and where had he come from? What did he look for in the garbage dumps?
Saheb was a child who had been forced by circumstances to become a ragpicker. His family had migrated from the green fields of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1971. They had been forced to move out because storms had swept away all they had. They had shifted to Delhi to make a living. They lived in the slums of Seemapuri. Each day the child went looking for money in garbage heaps.
Saheb was a victim of circumstances. Justify.
Saheb had once lived in the green fields of Dhaka but the storms swept away their fields and homes. Consequently, he ended up in Delhi as a ragpicker. There was an inherent desire in him to attend school and study. This could not be fulfilled because of poverty. When Anees suggested that he go to school, he was excited and a few days later asked her if her school was ready.
Bring out the irony in Saheb’s name.
Saheb’s name was “Saheb-e-Alam” Ironically, it meant, lord of the universe. But that was something he would never know. Even if he did, he would have found it hard to believe. He roamed the streets barefoot scrounging the garbage heaps, but hardly managed to get one full meal.
Explain: “Seemapuri, a place on the periphery of Delhi, yet miles away from it, metaphorically”.
Geographically, Seemapuri is a place on the outskirts of Delhi. It housed migrants from Bangladesh, who earned their living as ragpickers. A run-down place that lacked amenities of sewage, drainage, or running water, it was unlike the life of glitter and glamour in Delhi. People in Delhi lived a luxurious life in contrast to the poverty prevailing in Seemapuri.
What does garbage mean to adults and the children in the slum?
Garbage meant different things to the adults and to the children in the slum. To the adults in Seemapuri, rag¬picking meant survival. It had assumed proportions of fine art. On the other hand, to the children garbage was like a mysterious package. They scrounged through it to discover unknown valuables.
Saheb is resigned to his fate and does not covet for what he considers is beyond his means. Justify.
Saheb, a poor ragpicker, had resigned himself to his fate. He knew the areas that were out of bounds for him. He used to stand by the fenced gate of the club and was content watching others play tennis. He ventured into the club, to swing when no one was around. He had accepted his place in the society where he had to subsist on the items discarded by the privileged—tennis shoes, shirt and shorts. He gladly accepted work at a tea stall although it robbed him of his freedom.
How was Mukesh different from Saheb?
Saheb was more resigned to his fate and had given up the freedom he enjoyed as a ragpicker for a salaried job at a tea stall. On the other hand, Mukesh insisted on being his own master. He was determined to be a motor mechanic. He was not prepared to compromise his dreams and give in like Saheb. He had even chalked out a path to achieve his dreams.
What did most slum dwellers do for a living in Firozabad?
Firozabad is known for its bangles; it is the centre of India’s glass-blowing industry. Many people are employed in this industry. Families have spent generations working around furnaces, welding glass and making bangles. Since child labour is cheap, this place has around twenty thousand children who work in the hot furnaces. These children often lose vision before they become adults because of the environment they work in.
Describe the scene in Mukesh’s house as viewed by the narrator.
Mukesh was another young child who had been forced by poverty into child labour. He lived in a dilapidated shanty with garbage strewn around. His house was a half-built shack, thatched with dead grass and a wobbly iron door. When the narrator visited the place, she noticed a firewood stove with a large vessel of spinach leaves. She also noticed a frail very young woman cooking. Later she realized she was wife of Mukesh’s elder brother. The narrator also saw Mukesh’s grandmother and his father, who were weak having spent their . lives making bangles.
How do you know that everyone in Mukesh’s family had resigned to their fate?
Like most people in Firozabad, Mukesh was bom in the caste of bangle makers. Mukesh’s father was a poor bangle maker who had worked hard, first as a tailor. But despite slogging all his life, he had not been able to renovate a house or educate his two sons. Hence he had no option but to pass on the art of making bangles to his sons. Mukesh’s grandmother was an old woman who had watched her husband go blind but she did not complain. She accepted it as her fate of her “god-given lineage”. It was only Mukesh who dreamt of breaking out and being a mechanic.
The future of the slum dwellers in Firozabad is as bleak as their present. Why does the writer feel so?
The future of the slum dwellers in Firozabad was as bleak as their present. The families were trapped in poverty, a curse that continued for generations. They also faced the stigma of having been bom in a lower caste and were victimized by the inhuman sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of law, the bureaucrats and the politicians. With all forces working against them, they were unable to defy the norms.
Why didn’t the people in Firozabad organize themselves into a cooperative to fight the system?
Despite being exploited, the people in Firozabad were unable to organize themselves into a cooperative to escape from being manipulated and fight the system. Had they organized themselves into cooperatives, they ran the risk of running into trouble with the authorities. Moreover, there was no leader among them who could lead them. They were trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, indifference, greed and injustice.
Mukesh dreams of a different future. What does he dream of? How does he want to accomplish his dreams?
Mukesh was bom in a family of poor slum dwellers. He has been taught to work in the glass factory but Mukesh did not want to follow the traditional profession. He dreamt of being a motor mechanic. He wanted to learn about cars and was determined to leam the skill in order to ensure for himself a better life.
Explain: Few airplanes fly over Firozabad.
Mukesh wanted to be a motor mechanic and he was prepared to walk to the garage to leam. He never dreamt of flying a plane as to the slum dwellers in Firozabad, planes were a far-fetched reality. Because of the limited exposure in the slums of Firozabad, Mukesh dreamt within his means.
Lost Spring Long Answer Questions
Describe the miserable plight of the people in Seemapuri.
Seemapuri was a locality on the outskirts of Delhi which housed unlawful residents who came from Bangladesh back in 1971. This area was a place where thousands of ragpickers lived. The people lived in structures of mud, with roofs of tin and tarpaulin. There was no sewage system, no drainage or running water. The migrant poor lived there for more than thirty years without an identity, without permits but with ration . cards that got their names on voters’ lists. The children in these slums grew up to become partners in survival as ragpickers. To them, garbage heaps were like gold mine that would ensure their daily bread and a roof over their heads.
“But promises like mine abound in every comer of his bleak world.” What does the writer mean?
The narrator, Anees, met Saheb every morning looking for money in the garbage. Saheb confessed to the narrator that he scrounged the rubbish heaps as he had nothing better to do. He longed to go to school but there was not one in the neighbourhood. When Anees asked him half joking that if she started a school, would he join, he consented very gladly. In fact he was so enamoured with the idea that a few days later he asked her if her school was ready. Anees was embarrassed at having made a promise that she was not serious about. She felt that most people made promises to children like him that were never fulfilled.
What do people have to say about people walking barefoot? What is the writer’s opinion?
The writer narrates an experience when she asked a child why they were barefoot. One replied that his mother did not bring them down from the shelf, while the other boy felt that he would throw them off anyway. Yet another boy expressed his desire for shoes. The writer recalled having seen children walking barefoot. She had been informed that people walked barefoot not because of lack of money but due to the tradition in India. She wondered if this was an excuse to explain away the perpetual poverty. She had also heard of a boy from Udipi, who prayed every morning for a pair of shoes.
Explain: The steel canister seems heavier than the plastic bag.
The writer, one morning, saw Saheb on his way to the milk booth carrying a steel canister. He had relinquished his job as a ragpicker and had taken up employment in a tea stall for eight hundred rupees.His face had lost the carefree look when he roamed the streets like a vagabond. As a ragpicker he seemed carefree, constantly looking for things—“wrapped in wonder”.
At the tea stall he was now burdened with the responsibility of a job. He was literally and metaphorically fraught with the weight of the steel canister. The canister was heavier than the plastic bag that he carried “lightly over his shoulder”. The plastic bag was light because the bag gave him the freedom to lead a life that was not governed by adults. He was no longer the master of his own free will after he was burdened by the job at the tea stall.
Describe the poverty of living conditions of the people in Firozabad.
Firozabad is a city known for bangles and glass industry. However the people working in the industry led a pitiable life. They lived in dilapidated, dingy houses in cloistered lanes that were foul smelling and clogged with garbage. Their homes were hovels with crumbling walls, shaky doors, no windows, and crowded with families of humans and animals living together.
Mukesh’s house was no better. It was a half-built shack. One part of the house was thatched with dead grass and it had a wobbly iron door. Most of the houses were similar dark huts. The children worked under flickering .oil lamps with their parents, welding pieces of coloured glass into circles of bangles. Their eyes were more adjusted to the dark than to the light outside. Hence, they often ended up losing their eyesight before they became adults. The people were exploited by sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.
Describe the writer’s visit to Mukesh’s place.
Anees visited Mukesh’s house in Firozabad, a place known for its glass industry. Mukesh was bom in the caste of bangle makers. Anees noticed a weak young woman, the wife of Mukesh’s elder brother, cooking . the evening meal for the whole family. She was very young but as the daughter-in-law of the house, was in charge of three men—her husband, Mukesh and their father.
Mukesh’s father was an impoverished bangle maker. He had worked hard, first as a tailor, then a bangle maker. Despite years of relentless labour, he had neither been able to renovate a house, nor send his two sons to school.Mukesh’s grandmother had watched her husband go blind with the dust from polishing the glass of bangles. But she had accepted it as her fate. She felt that “god-given lineage” could never be broken.
Mukesh is not like the others. His “dream(s) loom like a mirage amidst the dust of streets that fill his town Firozabad.” Justify.
Mukesh was born in a family riddled with poverty. He and his family were leading a difficult life that was not uncommon to the people of that socio-economic strata. But that had not deterred his desire to lead a different life. Mukesh was determined to be his own master. He had decided to become a motor mechanic and was . determined to leam to drive a car.
When Anees heard of that, she felt that Mukesh’s dreams were like a mirage—unattainable because it was difficult for him to break out of the generations of bangle-making tradition. She was convinced it would be difficult for Mukesh to achieve his unconventional dream.
In your opinion, can Mukesh realize his dream?
Yes, Mukesh could certainly achieve his dream as he dared to dream in the first place. He was unlike most people who spent their lives doing what their families had done for generations. Mukesh had a tangible plan in action to realize his dreams. He was determined to go to a garage and leam more about cars. Despite the fact that the garage was at a distance, he was resolute. “I will walk,” he said. His passion and perseverance would certainly help him achieve his goals.
No, Mukesh will not be able to realize his dream because there were thousands of families trapped in poverty ‘ who face the stigma of caste system. To cap it all, they live with insensitive people who exploit the situation. The inhuman sahukars, the middlemen, policemen, the keepers of law, the bureaucrats and the politicians— all work against them. These poor people are unable to come out of their misery because they lack education or leadership. Mukesh’s dream will too die a death like many others of his station.
Lost Spring Value Based Question
What societal evils are depicted in the “Stories of Stolen Childhood”?
Anees Jung voices her concern over the exploitation of children in hazardous jobs such as bangle making and rag-picking. Grinding poverty and thoughtless traditions result in the loss of childhood innocence and education. They are denied a life of dignity, having been born into and conditioned by a life of poverty.
The miserable plight of Saheb-e-Alam and Mukesh brings out the grinding poverty and traditions which condemn children to a life of exploitation. It also spells out the callousness of the society towards the underprivileged.
Saheb, a ragpicker, was a young boy who had been denied education and was engaged in ragpicking as a profession. Mukesh was a bangle maker, born into the bangle-making legacy of his poor family. He, however, nurtures dreams of becoming a motor mechanic someday. Through examples of these slum children, constricted by the narrow bounds of poverty and child labour, the author voices the relevant concerns of societal evils.
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