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English Class 12th FLAMINGO – PROSE ~ Chapter 2: Lost Spring (Anees Jung)

                                                 Lost Spring


Points to Remember
 Name means – lord of the universe
 but earns living by rag-picking
 lives in Seemapuri
 works barefooted. 
Living conditions in Seema Puri
 On the outskirts of Delhi, yet miles away from it, home of 10,000 rag pickers.
 make their living by rag-picking
 food and survival more important than an identity
 garbage to them is gold because it is a means of survival.
 A bangle maker of Firozabad
 works in high temperature
 work place – small and dirty
 Hazardous working conditions
 dreams of being a motor mechanic. 
Hazards of Working in Glass Bangle Factory
 high temperature.
 long working hours in front of hot furnace
 boys and girls assist parents in the dim light of flickering oil lamps.
 eyes more adjusted to dark than light.
 dust from polishing bangles affect their eyes
 exploited by money lenders, police, bureaucrats, politicians.
 fear of being ill-treated by police.
 live in a state of intense poverty.
 live in stinky lanes

 over crowded place with humans and aminals.

1. What is the irony in the name "Saheb-e-Alam"?
Ans. 'Saheb-e-Alam' means the 'Lord of the Universe' but Saheb was oblivious of what it meant. Contrary to what his name represented,
he roamed the streets with his friends, an army of barefooted boys scrounging in the garbage heaps to make both ends meet.

2. Why have the ragpickers settled in Seemapuri?
Ans. Several families like Saheb have been the victims of nature's fury. They left Dhaka after storms swept away their fields and houses and settled in seemapuri.

3. Is Saheb happy working at the tea stall? Explain.
Ans. Saheb is not happy working at the tea stall. Even though he is paid more and given his meals, but he is no longer his own master. The steel cansister seemed to be heavier than the plastic bag.

1. Explain the significance of the title 'Lost Spring".
Ans.  Spring is the season of optimism and hope. It symbolises life.
 But, unfortuntely, millions of children in our country waste their childhood in ragpicking and other hazardous industries.
 The joys of childhood, the vibrance of spring is lost either in the garbage or in dingy cells with furnaces.
 The grinding poverty and traditions condemn these children to a life of exploitation.
 They see very little hope of escaping from their impoverished life of misery & deprivation.
 Moreover, years of mind-numbing toil have killed all initiative and the ability to dream.
 They are entangled in a spiral that moves from poverty to apathy to greed and to injustice.

Question.1. To which country did Saheb’s parents originally belong? Why did they come to
India? (Compartment 2014)
Why did Saheb’s parents leave Dhaka and migrate to India? (Compartment 2014)
Why had the ragpickers come to live in Seemapuri? (Foreign 2014)
Answer. Saheb’s parents belonged to Dhaka in Bangladesh, where they lived amidst green fields. They and the other ragpickers left their homes many years ago and migrated to India in search of a livelihood, as their homes and fields were destroyed in storms. This forced them to come to India, where they settled in the slums of Seemapuri.
Question.2. What job did Saheb take up? Was he happy? (All India 2014 Modified)
Answer. Saheb took up work at a tea stall, where he had to perform several odd jobs, including getting milk from the milk booth. He was not happy, as he had lost his independence. Though he earned ? 800, and got all his meals free, he was no longer his own master.
Question.3. In what sense is garbage gold to the ragpickers? (Compartment 2014)
Garbage to them is gold; why does the author say so about the ragpickers? (Delhi 2008)
Answer. Garbage is gold to the ragpickers of Seemapuri because it provides them items which can be sold for cash, which can buy them food and is a means of survival. Moreover, it is gold also because the ragpickers can find stray coins and currency notes in it.
Question.4. How is Mukesh different from the other bangle makers of Firozabad? (Delhi 2014; Modified)
Answer. Mukesh has the courage to dream big in spite of all adversity, whereas the other bangle makers of Firozabad have resigned to their fate, and have suppressed all their hopes and desires. Mukesh refuses to follow the ‘God-given lineage’ of bangle making and wants to be a motor mechanic when he grows up.
Question.5. Whom does Anees Jung blame for the sorry plight of the bangle makers?
(Compartment 2014)
Answer. Anees Jung blames the middlemen, the policemen, the lawmakers, the bureaucrats and the politicians for the sorry plight of the bangle makers. These people conspire against and exploit the poor bangle makers. They pay them meagre wages, do not let them form co-operatives, and compel their children to join the same trade at an early age.
Question.6. What is Mukesh’s dream? Do you think he will be able to fulfil his dream? Why? Why
not? (Compartment 2014)
What was Mukesh’s dream? In your opinion, did he achieve his dream? (Foreign 2009)
Is it possible for Mukesh to realise his dream? Justify your answer. (All India 2009)
Answer. Mukesh’s dream is to become a motor-mechanic. It is no doubt difficult for Mukesh to achieve his dream, as he is torn between his desires and his family tradition, which he cannot escape. Besides, he has to face a number of obstacles in the form of sahukars, middlemen, bureaucrats, law makers, politicians etc. However, his will to work hard, and his strong determination could make him achieve his dream. ‘
Question.7. In spite of despair and disease pervading the lives of the slum children, they are not
devoid of hope. How far do you agree? (Delhi 2013)
Answer. In spite of growing up amidst despair and disease, children who live in the slum have the desire to achieve something big in life, like Mukesh. This shows that they are not devoid of hope. Saheb, a ragpicker, is eager to go to a school and learn. Mukesh, who works in dark, dingy cells making bangles, dreams of becoming a motor mechanic, which is very much against his family traditlbn.
Question.8. Who is Mukesh? What is his dream? (Delhi 2012)
Answer. Mukesh is a child labourer who Works in a glass bangle making factory that is situated in Firozabad. Though Mukesh belongs to a poor family which is engaged in bangle making, he dreams of becoming a motor mechanic when he grows up.
Question.9. Why could the bangle makers not organise themselves into a cooperative? (All India 2012)
Answer. The bangle makers could not organise themselves into a cooperative because they were trapped in the vicious circle of sahukars, middlemen, policemen, up bureaucrats and politicians. If they tried to organise themselves, they would be beaten by up the police and put in jail.
Question.10. Mention any two hazards of working in the bangle industry. (Foreign 2011)
Answer. The glass bangle industry offers a very unhealthy and hazardous environment to the people working in it. They have to work in the glass furnaces with high temperature in dingy cells
without air and light. Workers, including child labourers, lose their eyesight at an early age.
Slogging for long, relentless hours also has adverse effects on their bodies.
Question.11. Why does the author say that the bangle makers are caught in a vicious web?
(All India 2010)
Answer. The bangle makers in Firozabad are exploited at the hands of the Sahukars, middlemen, policemen, law makers, bureaucrats and politicians. They toil day and night, but are not
paid appropriate wages and are steeped in poverty. They cannot form cooperatives for their betterment. Moreover, their children are also compelled to join the same trade at an early age and cannot dare to take up any other profession.
Question.12. Is Saheb happy working at the tea stall? How do you know? (Foreign 2010, All India 2009)
Answer. Saheb is not happy working at the tea stall. He is paid a fixed wage of Rs 800, and also receives all his meals free. But the author notices that his face has lost its carefree look, which makes it evident that he is not happy. He has lost his independence, and is no longer his own master.

Question.1. Give a brief account of life and activities of the people like Saheb-e-Alam settled in
Seemapuri. (Delhi 2011)
Answer. The author’s acquaintance with Saheb and other barefoot ragpickers introduced her to Seemapuri. It is a slum area located on the periphery of Delhi. The residents of Seemapuri consist of people who left Bangladesh in the 1971 War and are basically refugees. Saheb’s family is among them. The area does not have facilities of sewage, drainage or running water. About 10000 ragpickers live here. Their only means of livelihood is ragpicking, and they treat rags as valuable as gold. These ragpickers have lived here for more than thirty years without any identity. They do not have permits but have ration cards, with which they can get their names on the voter’s list and also buy grains at subsidised rates.
Question.2.’Lost Spring’ explains the grinding poverty and traditions that condemn thousands of
people to a life of abject poverty. Do you agree? Why/Why not? (All India 2011)
Answer. ‘Lost Spring’ is a good narration of grinding poverty and traditions to which thousands of people have succumbed. The story revolves around the pitiable condition of poor children who have been forced to live in slums and work hard in dirty conditions. The story is divided into two parts. The first part tells the writer’s impression about the life of poor ragpickers who have migrated froin Bangladesh, but now have settled in the Seemapuri area of Delhi.
The second part narrates the miserable life of the bangle makers in the town of Firozabad. The stark reality of these families is that in spite of back-breaking hard work that they put in, they cannot have two square meals a day. Besides, they are victims of exploitation by those above them and also suffer the consequences of blind belief in traditions.
Question.3. The bangle makers of Firozabad make beautiful bangles and make everyone happy
but they live and die in squalor. Elaborate. (Delhi 2010)
Answer. Firozabad is the hub of India’s glass-blowing industry where families have spent generations making bangles to adorn married women. The stark reality of these families is that in spite of the back breaking hard work that they put in, they cannot have two square meals a day.
They work in deplorable conditions and many lose their eyesight early. To top it all, they live in unhygienic conditions where there is a lack of basic amenities too.
The sad reality is that the workers cannot organise themselves into a cooperative. They are devoid of all enthusiasm and do not dare to dream of anything better. The fear of the police and lack of leadership among themselves have confined them to a vicious circle of poverty, indifference and greed. Thus, while they bring happiness to everyone’s life, their own life is steeped in poverty and squalor.

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