By Ruchika Gupta
Bholi Class 10 English Chapter 9 Summary, Explanation with Video, Question Answers From Footprints without Feet Book
Bholi Class 10 – Here is CBSE Class 10 English Chapter 9 Bholi Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words. Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson. All the exercises and Questions and Answers given at the back of the lesson have been covered.
Class 10 English Footprints Without Feet book
Chapter 9 Bholi
By K.A. Abbas
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|Bholi Summary||Bholi Explanation|
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Bholi is a story written by K.A. Abbas. The story revolves around a girl who due to an accidental fall and disease in her childhood faces the problem of being dull and ugly. She is always a target by everyone for not being good-looking and intelligent. Her life turns when she joins a nearby school where her teacher encourages her and helps her to become a learned and confident person. Later in the story, circumstances arise where Bholi has to give acceptance to the marriage with an unequal match but rejects it when she sees her father pleading to the bridegroom when he demands dowry. The story shows the rise of a girl against social injustice.
Bholi Summary – The story opens up with the introduction of a little girl named Sulekha. She was called ‘Bholi’ for being a simpleton. This was so because some part of her brain had got damaged due to an injury during her childhood. She stammered and had pockmarks on her face which she got when she had contracted smallpox at the age of two. She was a laughing stock for everyone. Her father Ramlal was a Numberdar. He had three sons and four daughters, Bholi being the youngest of all. Ramlal was always worried about her as it seemed impossible to marry her with her having an ugly face and a dumb mind. One day, the Tehsildar visited their village to inaugurate a girl’s primary school. He persuaded Ramlal to send his daughters to school. Ramlal’s wife suggested to send Bholi to school, although she was against sending girls to school because no boy would marry such a girl. She reasoned that as Bholi had no chance of getting married, so she could go to school. In the beginning, Bholi was frightened to leave her house but when for the first time in her life, she was dressed up and her hair was washed and oiled, she felt that she was to visit a better place. In the school, she met a teacher who was very kind and polite to her. She encouraged her to study and speak with confidence. This filled hope in Bholi and she began to go to school every day. Years passed and her village upgraded into a small town with some facilities like a cotton mill, a cinema and the primary school being converted into a secondary school. One day Bholi’s parents decided to marry her to a lame old man who was a widower but was rich and had not demanded any dowry. They thought it to be the best marriage proposal for their dumb daughter and fixed up her marriage. On the wedding day, the bridegroom arrived with great pomp and show which filled Ramlal with joy. The groom discovered that Bholi had pock marks and demanded dowry in return for marrying her. He demanded a sum of five thousand rupees. Ramlal begged for mercy and even placed his turban in Bishamber’s feet but Bishamber Nath did not agree. Ramlal had to give the money in order to save both his family’s honour and his daughter’s marriage. Bholi could not bear all this and refused to marry a greedy old man. People accused her of being shameless. The wedding party returned. The marriage ceremony ended without Bholi getting married. Her father was surrounded by grief and said that now no one would marry her and what would she do in future. To this, she replied that she would take care of her parents when they grew old and would teach in her school. Her teacher who was quietly watching all this felt proud of her decision.
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Bholi Class 10 Video Explanation
Bholi Class 10 Explanation
Bholi Explanation – HER name was Sulekha, but since her childhood, everyone had been calling her Bholi, the simpleton. She was the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. When she was ten months old, she had fallen off the cot on her head and perhaps it had damaged some part of her brain. That was why she remained a backward child and came to be known as Bholi, the simpleton.
Backward: slow learner
The narrator describes a girl named Sulekha. She was the fourth daughter of the Numberdar (landlord) Ramlal. Sulekha was called Bholi since her childhood. She was called so for being a simpleton and a slow learner. All this happened because she had fallen on her head from a narrow bed when she was only ten months old. This had led to damage of some part of her brain making her a slow learner.
At birth, the child was very fair and pretty. But when she was two years old, she had an attack of small-pox. Only the eyes were saved, but the entire body was permanently disfigured by deep black pockmarks. Little Sulekha could not speak till she was five, and when at last she learnt to speak, she stammered. The other children often made fun of her and mimicked her. As a result, she talked very little.
Pockmarks: spots on the skin
Stammered: fumbled for words
Mimicked: copy, imitate
When she was born, she was very fair and beautiful. But when the child was two years old, she caught smallpox which left spots on her whole body. Only her eyes were saved from it. She started speaking when she turned five and would often fumble. Other children made fun of her and copied her. This made her feel so bad that she stopped speaking.
Ramlal had seven children — three sons and four daughters, and the youngest of them was Bholi. It was a prosperous farmer’s household and there was plenty to eat and drink. All the children except Bholi were healthy and strong. The sons had been sent to the city to study in schools and later in colleges. Of the daughters, Radha, the eldest, had already been married. The second daughter Mangla’s marriage had also been settled, and when that was done, Ramlal would think of the third, Champa. They were good-looking, healthy girls, and it was not difficult to find bridegrooms for them. But Ramlal was worried about Bholi. She had neither good looks nor intelligence.
Prosperous: doing well, rich
Plenty: a lot of
Ramlal had seven children- three sons and four daughters. Bholi was his youngest child. Ramlal was a rich farmer. He provided the family with good food. All the children were healthy and strong except Bholi. His sons were sent to the city to study at the schools and colleges. Radha was his eldest daughter, who was married. Mangla’s marriage had been fixed and now it was Champa, the third daughter’s turn. As all of them were healthy and beautiful girls, it was not tough to marry them off. The main concern for Ramlal was Bholi because neither was she beautiful or intelligent. It was not an easy thing to find a bridegroom for her.
Bholi was seven years old when Mangla was married. The same year a primary school for girls was opened in their village. The Tehsildar sahib came to perform its opening ceremony. He said to Ramlal, “As a revenue official you are the representative of the government in the village and so you must set an example to the villagers. You must send your daughters to school.”
Tehsildar: District collector
Bholi was seven years old when her elder sister Mangla got married. That year a primary school for girls was opened in the village. The Tehsildar (District Collector) visited to inagurate it. He asked Ramlal to send his daughters to school. He encouraged him to do so because as he was the revenue official, his act of sending his daughters to school would serve as an example for the villagers. This would lead to the education of girls in the village.
That night when Ramlal consulted his wife, she cried, “Are you crazy? If girls go to school, who will marry them?” But Ramlal had not the courage to disobey the Tehsildar. At last his wife said, “I will tell you what to do. Send Bholi to school. As it is, there is little chance of her getting married, with her ugly face and lack of sense. Let the teachers at school worry about her.”
After hearing the tehsildar, Ramlal discussed the matter with his wife. She at once rejected it by saying that it would become difficult for them to marry their educated daughters. Ramlal was now double minded as he didn’t want to disobey the tehsildar and on the other hand, his wife was also right. Finally, his wife suggested to send Bholi to school because anyways, there were negligible chances for her to get married.
The next day Ramlal caught Bholi by the hand and said, “Come with me. I will take you to school.” Bholi was frightened. She did not know what a school was like. She remembered how a few days ago their old cow, Lakshmi, had been turned out of the house and sold. “N-n-n-n NO, no-no-no,” she shouted in terror and pulled her hand away from her father’s grip.
The next morning, Ramlal took Bholi to school. Bholi was afraid of going to school as she was not aware of what school was. Bholi was reminded that a few days ago, their cow, Lakshmi had been sent out of home and her father got money in return for it. She thought that she too would be sold like Lakshmi and so, pulled her hand away from her father’s hand.
“What’s the matter with you, you fool?” shouted Ramlal. “I am only taking you to school.” Then he told his wife, “Let her wear some decent clothes today, or else what will the teachers and the other schoolgirls think of us when they see her?” New clothes had never been made for Bholi. The old dresses of her sisters were passed on to her. No one cared to mend or wash her clothes. But today she was lucky to receive a clean dress which had shrunk after many washings and no longer fitted Champa. She was even bathed and oil was rubbed into her dry and matted hair. Only then did she begin to believe that she was being taken to a place better than her home!
Bholi’s father got irritated with her behavior and shouted that he was taking her to school. He then told his wife to dress her up because he didn’t want others to think ill of them. So, it was for the first time that Bholi got clean clothes to wear, although it was her elder sister Champa’s worn-out dress. She was bathed and her messy hair was washed and oiled. Such treatment made her believe that she was going to some better place than her home.
When they reached the school, the children were already in their classrooms. Ramlal handed over his daughter to the headmistress. Left alone, the poor girl looked about her with fear-laden eyes. There were several rooms, and in each room girls like her squatted on mats, reading from books or writing on slates. The headmistress asked Bholi to sit down in a corner in one of the classrooms.
Fear-laden: full of fear
Squatted: to sit with one’s knees bent
Upon reaching school, they found that children were already in their classrooms. Ramlal handed Bholi to the headmistress and left the place. Bholi’s eyes were full of fear because it was the first time that she had gone out of home. There were a number of classrooms with many students in each one. They were sitting on the mats and were reading or writing. Bholi was taken to a classroom and was ordered to sit there by the headmistress.
Bholi did not know what exactly a school was like and what happened there, but she was glad to find so many girls almost of her own age present there. She hoped that one of these girls might become her friend.
Bholi was not aware of anything about school. What made her happy was that there were so many girls of her age. She thought that she may find a friend among these girls.
The lady teacher who was in the class was saying something to the girls but Bholi could understand nothing. She looked at the pictures on the wall. The colours fascinated her — the horse was brown just like the horse on which the Tehsildar had come to visit their village; the goat was black like the goat of their neighbour; the parrot was green like the parrots she had seen in the mango orchard; and the cow was just like their Lakshmi. And suddenly Bholi noticed that the teacher was standing by her side, smiling at her. “What’s your name, little one?”
Orchard: land planted with fruit trees
In the class, the lady teacher was teaching something but Bholi could not understand it. She was just looking at the various pictures on the wall which were beautiful. Bholi was attracted towards them. There was a picture of a brown horse that resembled the horse on which the tehsildar had visited their village. There was also a picture of a green parrot which looked like the same parrots that she had seen in the mango orchard (land planted with mango fruit trees). There was also an image of a cow that resembled their own cow Lakshmi. While she was busy looking at the pictures, she realized that the teacher was standing near her. She asked Bholi her name.
“Bh-Bho-Bho-.” She could stammer no further than that. Then she began to cry and tears flowed from her eyes in a helpless flood. She kept her head down as she sat in her corner, not daring to look up at the girls who, she knew, were still laughing at her.
When the school bell rang, all the girls scurried out of the classroom, but Bholi dared not leave her corner. Her head still lowered, she kept on sobbing. “Bholi.” The teacher’s voice was so soft and soothing! In all her life she had never been called like that. It touched her heart.
Stammer: fumble for words
Sobbing: noisy crying
Bholi tried hard but stammered and could only say Bho- Bho. After this she began to cry and did not dare to look up as she was sure that all the other girls would be laughing at her. When school was over, the teacher came to Bholi and called her by her name. Bholi was still crying with her head down. The teacher’s voice was very soft and Bholi had never been addressed with such affection before. She felt so good that it touched her heart.
“Get up,” said the teacher. It was not a command, but just a friendly suggestion. Bholi got up.
“Now tell me your name.”
Sweat broke out over her whole body. Would her stammering tongue again disgrace her? For the sake of this kind woman, however, she decided to make an effort. She had such a soothing voice; she would not laugh at her.
“Bh-Bh-Bho-Bho-,” she began to stammer.
“Well done, well done,” the teacher encouraged her. “Come on, now — the full name?”
“Bh-Bh-Bho-Bholi.” At last she was able to say it and felt relieved as if it was a great achievement.
“Well done.” The teacher patted her affectionately and said,
“Put the fear out of your heart and you will be able to speak like everyone else.”
Bholi looked up as if to ask, ‘Really?’
Soothing: reduce pain or discomfort
Disgrace: dishonor, shame
The teacher tried to make her comfortable by her friendly manner. She asked her name again. Though Bholi was hesitant and nervous, she tried and was able to speak her full name. The teacher praised her for her attempt and said that if she shunned fear, she would be able to speak clearly. Bholi was surprised to hear that she could speak clearly.
“Yes, yes, it will be very easy. You just come to school everyday. Will you come?”
“No, say it aloud.”
“Ye-Ye-Yes.” And Bholi herself was astonished that she had been able to say it.
“Didn’t I tell you? Now take this book.”
The book was full of nice pictures and the pictures were in color — dog, cat, goat, horse, parrot, tiger and a cow just like Lakshmi. And with every picture was a word in big black letters.
Nodded: bow your head in a direction to give your approval
Astonished: impressed, greatly surprised
The teacher at once understood her curiosity and said that what she had said was true and that if she came to school every day, she would be able to speak without any problem. Then she enquired if Bholi would come to school the next day. Bholi gave her approval by moving her head in up and down direction. The teacher prompted her to speak it loudly. This encouraged Bholi and she spoke ‘yes’ clearly. She was surprised at her ability to speak clearly. The teacher again praised her and gave her a book full of pictures and of dog, cat, goat, etc with an alphabet written in big size along with every picture.
“In one month you will be able to read this book. Then I will give you a bigger book, then a still bigger one. In time you will be more learned than anyone else in the village. Then no one will ever be able to laugh at you. People will listen to you with respect and you will be able to speak without the slightest stammer. Understand? Now go home, and come back early tomorrow morning.”
The teacher said that when Bholi would complete that book, she would be given a bigger book and after that a still bigger book. She also told her that one day she would become an educated person in the village and people would respect her because of her knowledge and wisdom. Not only this, she would be able to speak clearly. With this, she asked her to come to school early the next morning.
Bholi felt as if suddenly all the bells in the village temple were ringing and the trees in front of the school-house had blossomed into big red flowers. Her heart was throbbing with a new hope and a new life. Thus the years passed. The village became a small town. The little primary school became a high school. There were now a cinema under a tin shed and a cotton ginning mill. The mail train began to stop at their railway station.
Blossomed: grow, bloom
Throbbed: beat, pulse
Ginning: the process of treating (ginning) the cotton
Bholi was very happy. Her heart felt a rare type of happiness and she imagined that she could hear the bells at the temple ringing and imagined that the trees outside the school had red coloured flowers on them. She felt a sudden beat in her heart that made her full of hope and happiness. Years passed and the village grew into a small town, her primary school was now a high school. There was a cinema under a tin shed and a cotton ginning mill opened in her town. Even the mail train started to halt at the village railway station.
One night, after dinner, Ramlal said to his wife, “Then, shall I accept Bishamber’s proposal?”
“Yes, certainly,” his wife said. “Bholi will be lucky to get such a well-to-do bridegroom. A big shop, a house of his own and I hear several thousand in the bank. Moreover, he is not asking for any dowry.”
“That’s right, but he is not so young, you know — almost the same age as I am — and he also limps. Moreover, the children from his first wife are quite grown up.”
One night, Ramlal was discussing with his wife that he had got a marriage offer for Bholi. He asked his wife whether to accept Bhishamber’s proposal or not. To this, his wife replied that they should definitely accept the proposal because it was suitable for Bholi. She supported her view by saying that Bhishamber had a big shop, own house and cash deposit in the bank. Also, he was not asking for dowry. Ramlal was a bit unsure because Bishamber was of his own age and was handicapped. He also had grown-up children from his first marriage.
“So what does it matter?” his wife replied. “Forty-five or fifty — it is no great age for a man. We are lucky that he is from another village and does not know about her pock-marks and her lack of sense. If we don’t accept this proposal, she may remain unmarried all her life.” “Yes, but I wonder what Bholi will say.” “What will that witless one say? She is like a dumb cow.” “May be you are right,” muttered Ramlal. In the other corner of the courtyard, Bholi lay awake on her cot, listening to her parents’ whispered conversation.
Pock marks: marks, blemishes
His wife said that there was no harm in it if there was a big age gap between Bholi and the groom. She said that they could not find any other match for Bholi. She also said that as he was from another village, he may not know about Bholi’s mental condition and her ugly face. Ramlal said that he was worried that how Bholi would react to it but her mother replied that Bholi was like a dumb cow and would not say anything. Bholi was lying in her bed nearby and listening to her parents conversation.
Bishamber Nath was a well-to-do grocer. He came with a big party of friends and relations with him for the wedding. A brass-band playing a popular tune from an Indian film headed the procession, with the bridegroom riding a decorated horse. Ramlal was overjoyed to see such pomp and splendour. He had never dreamt that his fourth daughter would have such a grand wedding. Bholi’s elder sisters who had come for the occasion were envious of her luck.
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Grocer: a person who sells house hold goods and food items
Procession: March, Parade
The bridegroom, Bishamber Nath was a rich man. He had a grocery shop where he used to sell food items and household goods. He had a good business. On the wedding day, he came with his friends and family. They were accompanied by a brass band which was playing a popular tunes from Hindi movies. The bridegroom was riding a decorated horse. Ramlal was very happy to see all this. He had never dreamt of such a grand wedding for his fourth daughter. Bholi’s elder sisters felt jealous of her good luck.
When the auspicious moment came the priest said, “Bring the bride.”
Bholi, clad in a red silken bridal dress, was led to the bride’s place near the sacred fire.
“Garland the bride,” one of his friends prompted Bishamber Nath. The bridegroom lifted the garland of yellow marigolds. A woman slipped back the silken veil from the bride’s face. Bishamber took a quick glance. The garland remained poised in his hands. The bride slowly pulled down the veil over her face.
“Have you seen her?” said Bishamber to the friend next to him.
“She has pock-marks on her face.”
“So what? You are not young either.”
“Maybe. But if I am to marry her, her father must give me five thousand rupees.”
Auspicious: good, favorable
Garland: wreath of flowers and leaves
On the wedding day, Bholi was brought for the wedding rituals. She was dressed in a red silk sari. When she reached, one of Bishamber’s friends asked him to garland the bride. As he was about to put the garland around her neck, a woman removed the veil that covered her face. He saw the blemishes on her face and at once objected to the marks on the bride’s face. His friend answered that he should ignore this as he himself was not young to marry a young girl like her. Bishamber told Ramlal that he wanted five thousand rupees in return for marrying an ugly woman like Bholi.
Ramlal went and placed his turban — his honour — at Bishamber’s feet. “Do not humiliate me so. Take two thousand rupees.”
“No. Five thousand or we go back. Keep your daughter.”
“Be a little considerate, please. If you go back, I can never show my face in the village.”
“Then out with five thousand.”
Tears streaming down his face, Ramlal went in, opened the safe and counted out the notes. He placed the bundle at the bridegroom’s feet.
On Bhishamber’s greedy face appeared a triumphant smile. He had gambled and won. “Give me the garland,” he announced.
On hearing the bridegroom’s demand, Ramlal got so upset that he went to him and kept his turban at his feet. He requested him to be considerate and requested him to accept two thousand rupees instead of five thousand as dowry. Bishamber was firm and said that he could keep his daughter at home then. Ramlal requested him not to do all this as it would ruin his pride in front of the whole village. But Bishamber was adamant on his demand of five thousand rupees. Ramlal went inside and brought five thousand rupees from the safe, counted the money and handed it over to Bishamber. Now the bridegroom was happy because he had won the bet. He asked for the garland. He was ready for the marriage.
Once again the veil was slipped back from the bride’s face, but this time her eyes were not downcast. She was looking up, looking straight at her prospective husband, and in her eyes there was neither anger nor hate, only cold contempt. Bishamber raised the garland to place it round the bride’s neck; but before he could do so,
Bholi’s hand struck out like a streak of lightning and the garland was flung into the fire. She got up and threw away the veil.
Downcast: low, cast down
Prospective: would be
Contempt: disrespect, disregard
Struck: hit, bang
Flung: aim, launch
Bholi removed the cover off her face and stared at Bishamber. Her eyes were full of disrespect for him. There was no anger or hatred in her eyes. As Bishamber was about to garland her, she struck her hand at the garland as quick as a streak of lightning. The garland flew and fell into the sacred fire. She threw away her veil too.
“Pitaji!” said Bholi in a clear loud voice; and her father, mother, sisters, brothers; relations and neighbours were startled to hear her speak without even the slightest stammer.
“Pitaji! Take back your money. I am not going to marry this man.” Ramlal was thunderstruck. The guests began to whisper, “So shameless! So ugly and so shameless!”
“Bholi, are you crazy?” shouted Ramlal. “You want to disgrace your family? Have some regard for our izzat!”
“For the sake of your izzat,” said Bholi, “I was willing to marry this lame old man. But I will not have such a mean, greedy and contemptible coward as my husband. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t.”
Startled: sudden shock
Bholi addressed her father by saying “Pitaji”. Her voice was clear and she spoke without stammering. Her family was shocked to see this. She continued and said that her father should take back his money as she would not marry this man. Ramlal was shocked to hear all that. Even the relatives started whispering that the girl was shameless as she was refusing to the marriage. Ramlal grew angry and shouted at Bholi that she had gone mad because such an act of her could bring disgrace to their family. Bholi replied that it was for the sake of her family’s honour that she had consented to marry the lame old man but she was not ready to marry a greedy coward.
“What a shameless girl! We all thought she was a harmless dumb cow.” Bholi turned violently on the old woman, “Yes, Aunty, you are right. You all thought I was a dumb–driven cow. That’s why you wanted to hand me over to this heartless creature. But now the dumb cow, the stammering fool, is speaking. Do you want to hear more?” Bishamber Nath, the grocer, started to go back with his party. The confused bandsmen thought this was the end of the ceremony and struck up a closing song.
Violently: strong or extreme manner
An old woman commented that Bholi was a shameless girl though they all thought that she was a dull and innocent girl. Bholi looked at her with extreme anger and said that everyone thought that she was a fool and that is why they wanted to marry her off to an unkind man. They called her shameless because she could take a stand for herself. Bishamber Nath and his friends and family started to return. The bandsmen were not sure of what was happening. They thought that the marriage ceremony had completed and so, started playing the music related to the ending of a wedding ceremony.
Ramlal stood rooted to the ground, his head bowed low with the weight of grief and shame.
The flames of the sacred fire slowly died down. Everyone was gone. Ramlal turned to Bholi and said, “But what about you, no one will ever marry you now. What shall we do with you?”
And Sulekha said in a voice that was calm and steady, “Don’t you worry, Pitaji! In your old age I will serve you and Mother and I will teach in the same school where I learnt so much. Isn’t that right, Ma’am?”
The teacher had all along stood in a corner, watching the drama. “Yes, Bholi, of course,” she replied. And in her smiling eyes was the light of a deep satisfaction that an artist feels when contemplating the completion of her masterpiece.
Contemplating: view, observe
Ramlal was in deep sorrow, he was feeling ashamed. The flames of the sacred fire died after sometime and the guests too went away. He then asked Bholi that what would be her future now and who would marry her. Bholi replied that she would take care of both her parents and would teach in the same school that had made her learn so much. She sought approval from her teacher who was quietly watching all the drama. She approved Bholi’s statement. She was deeply satisfied with Bholi’s response to the whole situation. It was similar to the way an artist feels when he sees his masterpiece once it is complete.
CBSE Class 10 English Syllabus as Per Term 2 From Footprints Without Feet Book
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