Lost Spring- Summary | Class 12 – CBSE ,AHSEC
About The Lesson
These excerpts are taken from the author’s book Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood.
The chapter is divided into two parts, continuing the author’s first-hand experience with poverty and traditions prevailing in some parts of India. The first part describes the plight of the poor ragpickers
of Seemapuri. The second part describes the miserable conditions of the bangle-makers
About the Characters
Saheb: He was a rag picker from Seemapuri, Delhi. He has simple dreams. He believes in promises made to him.
Mukesh: He is a boy belonging to a family of bangle makers in Firozabad. He dreams of breaking away from tradition and becoming a motor mechanic.
Summary Of The Text In English
The Narrator (Anees Jung): She is a social worker who empathises with the slum-dwellers and honestly portrays their pitiable lives.
Summary Of The Text
Meeting with Saheb
The writer, Anees Jung, notices rag pickers daily in her locality. One day she comes to know from Saheb, a rag picker, that he and his family came to India a long time ago. His mother tells him that they had a house in the green fields of Dhaka in Bangladesh. But frequent storms destroyed their home and fields.
So they were forced to leave their country in search of food and shelter. One morning, the author suggests to Saheb, the ragpicker that he should go to school. He tells her that there is no school in his locality. At this, the author half-jokingly offers him to join her school when she opens it. After a few days, Saheb asks her if her school is ready. That makes her feel small in front of the boy because she did not mean opening a school when she offered him to join it.
The author visits Saheb’s slum huts.
There are about 10,000 rag pickers, living in Seemapuri on the periphery of Delhi. She comes to know that these people came from Bangladesh in 1971. They live in structures made of mud with a roof of tin and tarpaulin. They have lived here for the last thirty years without identity. They have only ration cards that enable them to cast their votes and buy some food grains. To get food for the empty stomachs of their families is the only priority. They live in miserable conditions without any other facility of life. They have no sewage, no drainage and water supply. Food for their survival is more important for them than their identity. Wherever they find food, they pitch their tents and the children grow in them. After some years, they also help their family in bread earning. For the last many years, Seemapuri has become their homeland. The only job they can do there is rag picking. Garbage for them is no less than gold. Seemapuri gives them food and roof over their heads. Garbage means a wonderland for the children of Seemapuri. It is just a means of survival for their parents. Saheb tells the author that they sometimes find a silver coin, a rupee or a ten rupee note from the garbage. In this way, garbage becomes a treasure for them. In the hope of getting more coins, they keep on exploring the garbage
Saheb’s love for Tennis:
Saheb loves to play tennis. Once the author notices him standing out of a club where tennis is played. He admits that the gatekeeper, some times, allows him to use the swing. His love for tennis is provided by the fact that he is wearing tennis shoes. These do not match the disclosed shirt and shorts. What was Saheb wearing one morning? Where did he get it one morning?. These shoes were discarded by a rich parents’ son because one of them had a hole in it. But these shoes meant a lot for Saheb. It was like a dream come true, unfortunately, the game which he watched so intently was out of his reach.
Saheb started working in a Tea Stall
Saheb started working at a tea stall. He is Paid Rs. 800 and all his meals. Saheb is not happy working in a tea stall. While working in the tea stall, Saheb lost all the previous joy and carefree manner. Now the steel canister which he was carrying seemed heavier than his plastic bag.
Another Story: The story of the bangle sellers of Firozabad.
Mukesh like other children had a dream. He wanted to be a motor mechanic. It was like a mirage for the author. He wants to be the master of his job, not a servant. Mukesh wants to break the lineage of his parents and the forefathers. He is not a fatalist like his parents. He would learn to drive a car. Thus he would also learn how to repair cars from a motor mechanic. The garbage is at a distance, but he would walk the distance to learn the trade of a motor mechanic. Firozabad is famous for making multicolored bangles. Almost every family is that town is engaged in this work. From one generation to the other, the work of making bangles is continuing. Mukesh’s family is also one of them. No one of these families know that it is illegal to engage children in that odd work. They have to work in the glass furnaces of high temperatures.
They work in small cells without proper air and light. In totality, they are 20,000 children working there in inhuman conditions. They have put their eyes in darkness while working in these dark places with the light of furnaces only. Miserable condition of the structures in which Mukesh lives.
The writer visits Mukesh’s home. She has to pass through the lanes which were full of foul smell and garbage. The houses they pass through were in bad condition without windows and shaky (wobbly) doors. The locality is crowded with people and animals. Mukesh tells the author beforehand that his house is being rebuilt.
He opens the door of such a house. It is a half-built shack (hut or a shed.)In one part of it, there is a firewood stove. A frill (weak) woman is making an evening meal for the family. Mukesh tells the author that she was his elder brother’s wife. When Mukesh’s father comes in, she puts a veil (purdah) closer to her face. His father is a poor bangle maker. He has failed to give a proper shape to his house in spite of his long years of doing hard labour. He has failed to send his two sons to school. What he could teach them is only the art of making bangles. He himself has lost his eyesight from the dust of the polishing of bangles. Mukesh’s grandmother believes in destiny.
She says that they are in that condition because of their Karam, the destiny. Bangle making is their source of livelihood, the very life of them. They do not think to come out of that. She has seen her husband lose eyesight due to the dust from polishing the glass of bangles. In the dark huts, small boys and girls sit near the flickering oil lamps. They weld the pieces of coloured glass into circles of bangles. Their eyes are more adjusted to the darkness rather than the light of the day. That is the reason why they lose their eyesight before reaching adulthood.
The author Anees Jung, then, talks of a young girl wearing a pink dress. She is sitting alongside an elderly woman, soldering pieces of glass. The girl is doing her work mechanically. The author wonders if she knew the sanctity of the bangles in Indian culture. Wearing of bangles is necessary for every married woman. It symbolizes ‘suhaag’ for them. The girl will come to know about all this at the time of her marriage. Her head will be covered with a red veil; her hands would be dyed red in henna. Red bangles will roll on to her wrists. She will then become a bride. she will wear bangles throughout her life like the old woman of her family.
Their poverty becomes more clear when the old woman tells the author that she had never enjoyed one full meal in her entire lifetime. Their life is drained of joy. Her husband, who has a flowing beard, says that he knows nothing but bangles. His only achievement in life is that he has made a house for the family to live in. It gives a greater satisfaction to him that his family has at least a roof over their heads.
Nothing has changed in the life of the bangle sellers of Firozabad. Poverty has made itself a permanent resident of their huts. No outer help reaches there so that they may think of coming out of their poverty. They have no money to start another business. So the younger generations also have to continue that business of bangle making. They have become unable to take any initiative and dream about their future.
Victims of middlemen: The author tells them to make an organization to come out of the vicious circle of the middlemen. The author comes to know that they cannot do that. Their forefathers and their parents have been victims of the middlemen. If ever they tried to organize themselves, they are afraid of all types of torture. They will be entangled or implicated in false cases. The police will do all kinds of cruelties on them. So they are forced to remain in the same kind of situation forever. The bangle sellers of Firozabad are hopeless. They talk in a spiral way from poverty to apathy (lack of interest) to greed and to injustice. The writer finds two worlds. On one side there is a family caught in the web of poverty, burdened by the stigma of the caste they are born in. Another world is of a vicious circle of the ‘Sohukars’, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of the law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.
The children of this family are so much burdened with hard labour and poverty that they never dare to come out of that vicious circle. But the author notices a flicker of hope in Mukesh’s eyes. He wants to be a garage mechanic. He would go to a garage and learn the trade of a motor mechanic. He dares to walk the long distance of breaking the vicious circle of remaining in the same occupation that means poverty to them.
Very Short Answer Questions (1 Mark)
1. Who is the author of ‘Lost Spring’? 2012 2014
Ans. Anees Jung is the author of ‘Lost Spring’.
2. What is ‘Lost Spring’ about? (2013)
Ans. ‘Lost Spring’ is about two poor Indian children Saheb and Mukesh who owing to the poverty had to lose their childhood happiness for the sake of supporting their family.
3. What is the original book from which his prose piece is an excerpt?
Ans. The prose piece is an excerpt of the book ‘Lost Spring, Stories of Stolen Childhood’.
4. Who is Saheb? 2016
Ans. Saheb is a young ragpicker, who scrounges the garbage dumps on the streets of Delhi for his living. He was, however, originally from Dhaka.
5. Whom does the author encounter every day in the street?
Ans. Every day, the author encounters a young ragpicker, Saheb in the street.
6. What does Saheb do every day?
Ans. Every day, Saheb scrounges the garbage dumps on the streets of Delhi in order to find something valuable.
7. Where is the original home of Saheb?
Where does Saheb originally hail from? 2019
Ans. The original home of Saheb is in Dhaka.
8. Why have Saheb and his family migrated to Seemapuri? (2018)
Ans. The storm had swept away Saheb’s home and green fields in Dhaka. Hence, he and his family had migrated to Seemapuri.
9. What does Saheb look for in the garbage dumps? 2016
Ans. Saheb scrounges the garbage dumps to find something that is valuable which the author refers to as ‘gold’.
10. What is Saheb’s full name?
Ans. Saheb’s full name is Saheb-e-Alam, which means ‘lord of the universe’.
11. What is the meaning of Saheb’s full name?
Ans. The meaning of Saheb-e-Alam is ‘lord of the universe’.
12. Whom did Saheb observe standing at the fenced gate of the neighbourhood club?
Ans. Saheb stood at the fenced gate of the neighbourhood club and observed two young men, dressed in white clothes, playing tennis.
13. What was Saheb wearing when he was at the gate of the club?
Ans. Saheb was wearing a dis-coloured shirt and shorts and also a pair of tennis shoes with a hole in one of them.
14. Where is Seemapuri?
Ans. Seemapuri is a place on the periphery of Delhi.
15. Who is Mukesh?
Ans. Mukesh is a young boy who worked in Firozabad, a small town famous for its glass bangles.
16. Where does Mukesh live?
Ans. Mukesh lives in Firozabad. His house is in one of the foul-smelling towns with garbage strewn all around.
17. What is Mukesh’s dream?
Ans. Mukesh dreams of becoming a motor mechanic.
18. Who is Savita?
Ans. Savita is a young girl who does the work of soldering pieces of glass. She wears a drab pink dress.
19. Why is Mukesh proud to take the author to his home?
Ans. Mukesh was proud to take the author to his home because it was being rebuilt.
20. Who is in charge of Mukesh’s household?
Ans. The daughter-in-law of the house who was Mukesh’s elder brother’s wife was in charge of the household.
21. What does the author of ‘Lost Spring’ find Saheb doing every morning? 2014 2015
Ans: The author of the lost spring finds Saheb scrounging for gold in the garbage every morning.
22. What does the ‘garbage’ mean for the elders of Seemapuri? 2017
Ans: For the elders of Seemapuri garbage mean the means of survival. It is their daily bread, a roof over their heads.
Short Answer type questions (2 Marks)
1. What is Saheb looking for in the garbage dumps? Where is he and where has he come from? 2014
Ans. In the garbage dumps, Saheb looks for useful items that can be sold for cash. These items can be sold for cash. They are just like ‘gold’ for him. Sometimes he finds a rupee even a ten rupee note if luck favours.
Saheb and his family live in Simapuri, a slum on the periphery of Delhi. Saheb and his family had migrated from Bangladesh.
2. What explanations does the author offer from the children not wearing footwear? 2015
Ans. Some of the children simply do not care to take the trouble of taking their slippers down from the shelf to wear them. Another explanation she receives is that not wearing footwear is a tradition. However, she feels that it is simply an excuse to hide a perpetual state of poverty, as many families cannot afford to buy footwear for their children.
3. Is Saheb happy working at tea stall? (2012, 2014)
Ans. Saheb got a job at a tea stall where he was paid Rs. 800 and all his meals but Saheb seems unhappy because he has lost his freedom. The steel canister seems heavier than the plastic bag. The bag was his but the canister belongs to the owner. Saheb is no longer his own master.
4. What did garbage mean to the children of Seemapuri and to their parents? (2013)
Ans. Garbage means ‘gold’ to the poor ragpickers because some of it can be sold for cash, thus becoming a means of survival for the children of Seemapuri and for their parents. It is providing them their daily bread and a roof over their heads.
5. Who was Saheb? What was his full name? What was the irony about his name? (2013, 2016)
What is the actual name of Saheb? What does it signify? 2019
Ans. Saheb is a poor rag-picker who lives in Seemapuri. His full name is ‘Saheb-e-Alam’, which means ‘Lord of the Universe’.
The irony lies in the meaning of his name itself. According to his name, he should be a king and enjoy all the luxuries of life. But unfortunately, he is a barefoot rag picker, who lacks even the basic necessities.
6. Why is Mukesh realistic about his dreams?
Ans. Mukesh has his own aims and dreams and wants to be his own master. He does not always want to remain a bangle-maker. He wants to go to a garage and get the required training. He is thus, determined to achieve his goal and become a motor mechanic.
7. What is Mukesh’s dream? Do you think he will be able to fulfill his dream? Why? Why not?
Who is Mukesh? What is his dream?
Ans. Mukesh belongs to the bangle-makers of Firozabad where each family is engaged in bangle-making. On asking, Mukesh says, “I will be a motor mechanic. I will learn to drive a car.” Thus, he wants to be his own master. However, because he is caught up in the vicious cycle created by others, he will not be able to realise his dream and will remain a bangle-maker.
8. What makes the city of Firozabad famous? (2015)
Ans. Firozabad is famous for its bangle-making industry. Beautiful bangles can be seen all over. Every second family is engaged in the business of bangle-making. It is the centre of India’s glass-blowing industry where families have spent generations working around furnaces.
9. Mention the hazards of working in the glass bangles industry?
Ans. The glass bangles industry has a very hazardous working environment. People work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light. Most end up losing their eyesight even before they become adults. Adding to their misery, they are caught in a vicious cycle of people who exploit them.
10. Why does the author say that the bangle-makers are caught in a vicious web?
What forces conspire to keep the workers in the bangle industry of Firozabad in poverty?
Ans. The bangle-makers in Firozabad are exploited at the hands of the Sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the lawmakers, the bureaucrats, and the politicians. Thus they remain steeped in poverty. They cannot from cooperatives for their betterment. Moreover, their children are also compelled to join the same trade at an early age, thus remaining in the vicious web.
11. What was the promise made by the narrator to Saheb? Why was she embarrassed?
Ans. The author made a promise to open a school. The writer was embarrassed because she has not opened the school yet and Saheb keeps of asking her, “Is your school ready”, she feels embarrassed. She made a promise that was not meant.
12. Why could the bangle-makers not organise themselves into a cooperative?
Ans. The bangle-makers could not organise themselves into a cooperative because they were trapped in the vicious circle of Sahukars, middlemen, policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians, who exploited them. If they tried to organise themselves, they would be beaten by the police and put in jail.
13. Why had the rag pickers come to live in Seemapuri?
Why did Saheb’s parents leave Dhaka and migrate to India?
Ans. Once Saheb’s parents lived in Bangladesh, amidst the green fields of Dhaka. There were many storms that swept away their fields and homes. That’s why they migrated to Delhi and settled down in Seemapuri looking for an occupation.
14. Why do the young inhabitants of Firozabad end up losing their eyesight? 2016
Ans. The young boys and girls of Firozabad work with their fathers and mothers. They have a flickering oil lamp in front of them. They weld pieces of glass in bangles. Their eyes get more used to dark than to the light outside. Many of them lose their eyesight before they become an adult.
15. What theme does ‘lost spring’ explore?
What does the title ‘Lost Spring convey’?
Ans. Spring is associated with childhood. Just as spring is the season when flowers bloom, similarly, childhood is the period when an individual bloom and grows. Anees Jung here presents the horrific truth about the life of children in India who are victims of child labour and are not allowed to grow and bloom freely. Their childhood or springtime is lost.
16. What is the significance of bangles in India society? (2012, 2017)
Ans. In Indian society, bangle symbolizes ‘suhaag’ for a married woman. An Indian bride invariably wears red bangles in their wrist.
17. Why does the Mukesh grandmother believe that a ‘god-given-lineage’ can never be broken?
‘It is his Karma, his destiny’- Explain.
Ans. Mukesh’s grandmother believes in destiny. She believes that they cannot escape from the God-given lineage. It is their destiny to suffer like this. They were born in the caste of bangle-makers and will always be one, for they do not have any control over their destiny.
18. What are the two different worlds in Firozabad? 2018
Ans: The author noticed two different worlds- one of the families, caught in a web of poverty burdened by the stigma of caste in which they are born; the other a vicious circle of sahukars, the middlemen, the policemen, the keepers of the law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.
19. What was the promise made by Anees Jung to Saheb? 2018
Ans: The author made a promise to open a school. The writer was embarrassed because she has not opened the school yet and Saheb keeps of asking her, “Is your school ready”, she feels embarrassed. She made a promise that was not meant.
Long Answer Type Questions (6 Marks)
1. Describe the miserable daylight of the people of Firozabad. (2012, 2014, 2015, 2017)
Ans. The bangle makers of Firozabad are exposed to multiple health hazards while working. Many of them are children who work near hot furnaces during daylight, often losing their eyesight before adulthood. Years of mind-numbing toil have killed all the initiative and the ability to even think of talking up another profession. They are not able to organise themselves into a cooperative due to bullying and exploitation by politicians, authorities, moneylenders, and middlemen. They live in stinking lanes choked with garbage, having homes with crumbling walls, wobbly doors, no windows, overcrowded with families of humans and animals coexisting in a primeval state. They have not even enjoyed even one full meal in their entire life because of their poverty.
2. How is Mukesh’s attitude towards his situation different from that of Saheb? Why?
Ans. Mukesh belongs to a bangle-making family, but he is not content with this profession. He dares to dream of becoming a motor mechanic and driving cars. He has strong will power and wants to achieve what he dreams about, unlike other people in his family. In contrast to this, Saheb is a rag picker who is content with his life but becomes unhappy when he gets a job at a tea stall, even though now he is probably earning more and on a regular basis.
3. Describe the bangle makers of Firozabad. How does the vicious circle of the sahukars and the middlemen never allow them to come out of poverty? (2018)
Ans. The bangle makers of Firozabad have spent generations working around furnaces. Every other family in Firozabad is engaged in making bangles. They sit around lamps welding glass, making bangles for all the women in the land.
These families are caught in the web of poverty. They are burdened by the stigma of caste. They believe that they are born to this caste and thus bangle making is a god given lineage, out of which they can never imagine a life. They cannot organize themselves into cooperatives for fear of the police. Individual bangle makers are always caught in the vicious circle of the middlemen and the sahukars. This vicious circle exploits them so much that they are left with so less money that they have only enough to engage in bangle making. They cannot afford to have two meals a day. Thus they live in abject poverty.
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