‘Lost Spring’ by Anees Jung
Introduction:The lesson is an interesting and revelatory description of the lives of two poor children and thereby in extension about underprivileged children in India. Sensitively written it brings out the conditions they live in, the circumstances they have to battle and the unrequited dreams they nurture. It forces the reader to think about children working not only as rag pickers and bangle workers but also in food stalls and shops in cities. In spite of their work they seem to be in a perpetual state of poverty.
Rag pickers and child-workers are common in Indian cities. Even though Lost Spring portrays the sad picture of the plight of the poor children of India, Anees Jung is revealing another face of the Indian society through Saheb and Mukesh.
Saheb was a rag picker from Seemapuri. He is a rag picker because his family and society believe that they are the privileged ones chosen to pick the waste. Saheb has simple dreams. He is curious about learning. He believes the promises of the BIG people. One day suddenly Saheb was found doing another job that was out of his tradition. Having abandoned the rag picking he adopted to carrying milk to a shop that paid him decently. Changes!
Mukesh is a bangle maker because his family, caste and society strongly believe that they are the fortune makers of the country. Mukesh is determined. He has a clear dream. Just one dream. But he finds it hard to achieve that. His society believes that they are the chosen ones of God to make bangles: make the fortune of the country. Yet they are not fortunate. Fortunately Mukesh realizes this and is ready to look for a change that would change the course of history. He is dreaming of becoming a motor mechanic.
Neither is Saheb privileged nor is Mukesh fortunate. They will be, only when they break away from the stigma of religion and caste and many others. A change in the attitude of the poor people towards their work and the choice they are supposed to make.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS: (SOLVED)
1.Seemapuri (is) a place on the periphery of Delhi yet miles away from it metaphorically. Justify this statement.
Ans. Geographically, Seemapuri is a place on the outskirts of Delhi. It houses migrants from Bangladesh, who earn their living as rag pickers. A run-down place that lacks amenities of sewage, drainage, or running water, it is unlike the life of glitter and glamour in Delhi.
2. Through the years rag picking has acquired the ‘proportion of a fine art’ in Seemapuri. Justify the statement.
Ans. The means of survival of the migrants of Bangladesh in Seemapuri is rag picking. Garbage to them is gold. Like a fine art that has no end in appealing to the sense of beauty, the rag pickers scrounging the garbage is a never ending process which provides them their daily bread day after day.
3. Does rag picking mean the same thing for parents and children? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. No, rag picking is not the same for parents and children. For the elders, rag-picking is a necessary evil-the only means of survival as it provides them their daily bread. On the other hand, the children view the garbage as a mine of gold. They marvel at what they might find in the garbage dumps. A chance finding of a currency note or a coin thrills them beyond imagination and provides them hope of finding more.
4. Why was not Saheb happy on getting a job?
Ans. Saheb was not happy on getting a job in a tea stall for a salary of Rs.800/- per month as he lost his freedom. He had to carry the stall owner’s steel canister in place of his bag. He lost his carefree look .He was now no longer his own master.
5. Why don’t the bangle makers of Firozabad organise themselves?
Ans. The bangle makers are trapped in the vicious circle of middlemen and police. If they organise a co- operative they will be hauled up, beaten and dragged to jail by the police for doing something illegal. There is no leader to help them out of their misery. They are the victims of greed and injustice.
6. What is Saheb looking for in the garbage dumps? Where is he and where has he come from?
Ans. 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 to find more. He was not only looking for the yellow metal but anything valuable like money, clothes, shoes, etc.
He lived in Seemapuri . He had come from Bangladesh in 1971.
7. What explanations does the author offer for the children not wearing footwear?
Ans. The author disagreed with the usual explanation that is offered for the children going barefoot as a part of tradition. She felt it was only an excuse for the lack of money. They could not afford shoes as they lived in ‘a perpetual state of poverty’.
8. What makes the city of Firozabad famous?
Ans. Firozabad was famous for its bangles. Most families in Firozabad are engaged in making bangles. They work in the glass blowing industry , welding glass and making bangles.
9. Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangle industry?
Ans. Bangles are manufactured in glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air or light. As a consequence, the children who slog away in dark rooms close to the hot furnaces, often lose the brightness of their eyes, even their vision.
10. What is the theme of ‘Lost Spring’?
Ans. This lesson highlights the author’s concern about the miserable condition in which the poor children live and work. It creates an awareness in the minds of the readers about the social responsibilities that we as citizens have in providing a healthy atmosphere for the children to grow into complete individuals.
11. ‘Savita is a symbol of innocence and efficiency’. Comment.
Ans. Savita is a young girl. She wears a drab pink dress. She solders pieces of glass. Her hands move mechanically like the tongs of a machine. She is innocent and does not understand the sanctity of the bangles that she’s making. She’s very efficient in her work.
12. Bring out the irony in Saheb’s name.
Ans. Saheb’s name is Saheb-e-Alam. It means lord of the universe. Ironically, he is a rag-picker who’s poverty stricken, barefoot and homeless . He scrounges the garbage dumps to eke out a livelihood but rarely gets a full meal to eat. Thus is name is a contrast to his existence.
13. What forces conspire to keep the workers in the bangle industry of Firozadabad in poverty?
Ans. Lack of education and awareness, stigma of being born in the caste of bangle makers , vicious nexus of sahukars, middlemen, politicians and the police who suppress and oppress the bangle makers and keep them in poverty. Their low spirits, dormant initiative, fear of being beaten and dragged to jail, absence of awareness and leadership only make matters worse for them.
14. Why does the author describe children of the slums as partners in survival?
Ans. Children in Seemapuri are offsprings of homeless rag pikers. Due to extreme poverty , their parents are unable to provide for them and so they end up picking rags at an early age for their survival and as support to their families.
15. How does Mukesh’s grandmother view the family occupation of bangle making and its poverty?
Ans. She views it as the destiny of her family members. Her husband’s blindness, their misfortune and impoverished condition – she feels , are ordained by destiny. Years of deprivation and suffering have made her accept everything stoically in the name of karma or fate.
16. How has being born in the caste of bangle makers become both a destiny and a curse?
Ans. Many people in India follow a rigid caste system. Being born in a caste of bangle makers in the city of Firozabad is both a destiny and a curse. By virtue of their birth, extreme poverty, lack of education and opportunity , they have taken up the profession of bangle making at an early age. Their destiny becomes a curse as once in this profession, they’re in the grip of a vicious circle. All doors close on them and in a short span of time they end up losing their spirit as well as their eyesight.
17. Describe the atmosphere in glass furnaces. How can working there affect the young children?
Ans. Glass furnaces of Firozabad are ill-lit, ill-ventilated, unhygienic and dingy hovels. Working for long hours in these hot furnaces with high temperatures bends the backs of young children, leads to loss of vision at an early age and makes them old before their time.
18. Why are the people of Firozabad averse to cooperative movement?
Ans. Generations of family subservience to middlemen, combined with lack of education , awareness and acute poverty has broken the spirit of the younger generations also. They fear that organizing themselves into a cooperative movement will only make them bear the wrath of police. They lack a leader and are aware that the vicious nexus of sahukars, middlemen, politicians and police will not allow the cooperative movement to take shape.
19. What could be some of the reasons for the migration of people from villages to cities?
Ans. The people migrate from villages to cities because of natural disasters and resulting poverty. A rag picker recollects many storms that have swept away his fields and home in Dhaka. That is why they left, looking for gold in the big city where he now lives.
20. Would you agree that promises made to poor children are rarely kept? Why do you think this happens in the incidents narrated in the text?
Ans. I agree that promises made to poor children are rarely kept. It is easy to say to poor children that they should be in school but will we ever be in a position to start a school. As an individual, it is difficult to provide facilities and assistance that can remove poverty.
Q. Where does the narrator encounter Saheb every morning?
Q. Explain the use of literary devices in the sentence, “An army of barefoot boys who appear like the morning birds and disappear at noon”.
Q. Why do slums like Seemapuri mushroom around big cities?
Q. Despite being refugees how do people in Seemapuri have ration cards?
Q. Why does the author describe children of the slums as ‘partners in survival’?
Q. Describe the condition of children in slums considering the author’s perception of them as ‘partners in survival ‘.
Q. Saheb wanted to be the master of his own destiny. Comment.
Q. How are the tennis shoes a dream-come-true for Saheb?
Q. Describe the atmosphere in glass furnaces. How can working there affect the young children?
Q. Is Mukesh’s sister-in-law’s life different from that of Mukesh’s?
Q. What has Mukesh’s father achieved in life despite years of hard back-breaking labour?
Q. Describe the contrast that Anees Jung brings out between Saheb and the son of the priest.
Q. ‘Survival in Seemapuri means rag picking’. Elucidate.
Q. Why can’t the bangle-makers break their ‘God-given lineage’?
Q. ‘Little has moved with time in Firozabad’ says Anees Jung. Why does she say so?
Q. ‘I see two distinct worlds…’ says Anees Jung. Draw a contrast between the two.
Q. Justify the title ‘Lost Spring’.
Long Answer Questions:
1. For most women, bangles are dreams in glass but for bangle makers of Firozabad they are a vicious circle they cannot wriggle out of. Comment.
Bangles – red, green, blue, yellow etc. are a symbol of ‘suhaag’ and auspiciousness in marriage in our country since centuries. In today’s world, they are also a fashion statement for the young and old women alike. These glass bangles of varied hues adorning a woman’s wrist provide not only a visual treat but also music of their own. These bangles spread joy and happiness in the lives of women. But ironically little do these women realize that the makers of these beautiful bangles themselves lead a miserable life. After nearly 60 years of independence, Firozabad, the hub of the bangle industry is an underdeveloped, backward town with neither any infra structure nor basic amenities. The town resembles a dumping ground. The glass furnaces where workers make bangles are ill-lit and ill-ventilated, dingy hovels with high temperatures. People here do not even get one frugal meal a day. To add to the misery, all of them lose their eyesight at a young age and live in a dark world for the rest of their lives.
2. ‘The beauty of the glass bangles of Firozabad contrasts with the misery of people who produce them.’ Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangle industry. Discuss the endless spiral of poverty, apathy, greed and injustice present there.
The lesson ‘Lost Spring’ describes the apathy of the bangle-makers on two planes.
Firstly, it is the plight of the street children forced into labour early in life and denied the opportunity of studying in schools. Secondly, the glass industry has its own hazards. The employment of very young children in the pathetic working conditions is illegal. Over and above, it is the apathy and callousness of society and the political class to the sufferings of the poor that makes us sympathetic towards these bangle makers. They work in glass furnaces with high temperatures. Their dingy cells have no light, no ventilation. Children work in these extreme conditions while welding pieces of coloured glass to make bangles. Their eyes are more adjusted to the dark than to the light outside. They often lose their eyesight at a young age.
The other reason for which the poverty stricken bangle makers suffer is because of the exploitation at the hands of the middlemen and politicians. They do not work to bring an improvement in their conditions, instead they get brutally beaten up by the police. They are unable to organize themselves. Hence, their life is full of sufferings both physical and emotional.
3. “But promises like mine abound in every corner of his bleak world.” What does the writer mean?
The writer, Anees Jung, met Saheb every morning looking for money in the garbage. Saheb confessed 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 casually 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.
4. How, in your opinion, can Mukesh realise his dream?
Mukesh was different from the others of his community. By daring to dream, he has already taken the first step towards a big change. He wants to become a motor mechanic and drive a car. He can realise this dream with determination and hard work. There might be many obstacles on his way but a strong willpower will help him move towards the way to success. The fact that he is willing to walk a long distance in order to learn the vocation, underlines his firm resolve. The only thing left for him to do is to make that first journey to that garage and request the owner to take him in and guide and direct him on his journey as a mechanic.
5. Why should child labour be eliminated and how?
Child labour should be eliminated because it takes away from the child his childhood and the prospect of elementary education. Moreover, since child labour is cheap, and consequently engaged in hazardous and dangerous employment, they are often vulnerable to mental and physical illness. In order to curb this problem, it is important to make education easily accessible. Apart from that, the parents must be made aware of the consequences of working in harmful environments. It is also important to make the public aware of the fact that child labour is a criminal offence and is punishable under law. The government must ensure stricter child labour laws and that the offenders are punished.
Additional long Answer Questions:
4. Describe the bangle makers of Firozabad. How does the vicious circle of the sahukars and middlemen never allow them to come out of a web of poverty?
5. How, in your opinion, can Mukesh realize his dream?
6. Why should child labour be eliminated and how?
7. Like all children of his age, Saheb also has many hopes and dreams. Do you think children like Saheb are able to fulfill their dreams? Why?
8. Slums are the ugly underbelly of all big cities the world over. Describe the contrasting world of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ treading these two worlds.
9. Politicians exploit all people and situations to their benefit. Comment, keeping in view the situation of refugees in Seemapuri.
10. Why is Mukesh’s dream of learning to drive a car likened to a mirage?
11. What is a Cooperative movement? Why does Anees suggest to bangle makers to form a cooperative?
12. Why does a young child of a bangle maker accept his destiny without question or rebellion?
13. The author observes that ‘daring is not part of the children’s growing up’. What does this tell you about the mental suppression and apathy among the children?
14. Describe the author’s visit to Mukesh’s house.
15. “Saheb and Mukesh are brothers in penury and suffering.” Discuss.
16. How is Mukesh more ambitious in life than Saheb? Give a reasoned answer. ( CBSE 2013 )
VALUE BASED QUESTIONS:
1. ‘Lost Spring’ by Anees Jung brings out the condition of children in India.
Even after sixty five years of independence we have children who do not go to school, work in inhuman conditions and live in slums. As a nation we have somewhere failed in our duty. What values do we need to inculcate among the people of this nation in order to bring back the ‘spring’ in the lives of these children.
– Strong will to ensure that all children get basic education
– A sense of commitment
– Wanting to help children
– Say no to child labour
– To do something for the society
Mukesh, Savita and Saheb are victims of child labour
2. Mukesh and Saheb are victims of society’s apathy. What should be our attitude towards them.
– Complete understanding of their situation
– To create awareness in the society about the underprivileged
– To garner support from youngsters and start night schools
– Not to look down upon them
3. None of them know that it is illegal for children like him to work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light.’ As citizens of this country what do you think is our duty ? What steps can youngsters like you take to reduce the scourge of poverty?
– Work with NGOs and create awareness on rights and duties
– Provide education to these children – Educate their parents about the ills and dangers of
making their children work in inhuman conditions
– Create co-operatives to provide soft loans for these people
CBSE 2013- Value Based Question:
Q4. Everyone wishes to live a lavish life in a big city. Big cities provide big dreams kin one’s eyes. These attract everything especially from villages or small towns.
After reading the text LOST SPRING you must have been to point out the possible reasons behind migration from a place to other. Write a paragraph in about 100 words for a social magazine highlighting the issue ‘The reasons for the migration of people from villages to cities.’
Ans: Due to urbanization, education, employment, safety and other basic amenities more and more people are migrating from villages to the cities. In the lesson at hand, people have fled from Bangladesh because their fields and houses were swept away by the storm. There they could not get even enough food to fill their belly. The settlement of Seemapuri is a fine example of this kind. In addition to this one can see that the pressure on the land has increased due to population and mechanized farming. So the requirement of labour is very acute. Consequently, people flee towards the cities for work. In earlier days means of education and transportation, etc. were very few. Only a few could get education. Agriculture was their main profession. With extensive and renovated education, the youth run from post to pillar in search of job. They do not want to stay in unhealthy and unhygienic rural surroundings.
Not to speak of this, all sorts of village crafts have been replaced with the machines. The market is full of competition, quality and cheap goods. The villagers fail to compete with the new system of heavy industrialization. So the people migrate from villages to cities to attain a city-like presence for themselves.