CBSE Class 7 English Chapter 2 Bringing up Kari Summary, Explanation, and  Question Answers from An Alien Hand Book


Bringing up Kari Class 7 NCERT Class 7 English An Alien Hand book Lesson 2 Bringing up Kari Summary and Detailed explanation of the lesson along with the 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. Take Free Online MCQs Test for Class 7 Click Here

Bringing up Kari Introduction


The lesson is about a pet elephant whose name was Kari. It starts when the elephant was just five months old.


Bringing up Kari Class 7 Video Explanation Part 1

Bringing up Kari Summary


Bringing Up Kari Summary – The author talks of the time when he was a nine-year-old boy and he was given a five months old elephant to take care of. They grew up together. The elephant lived in a pavilion under a thatched roof which rested on thick tree stumps, as it provided good accommodation for it.The author then talks of how he took care of Kari and that one of the first things Kari did was save a boy from drowning. Kari didn’t eat much but he still needed forty pounds of twigs to chew and play with. Every day the writer would take Kari to the river to give him a bath, which the elephant enjoyed very much. The writer would lead the elephant by its ear. To get twigs for Kari, he would leave the elephant on the edge of the jungle and then take his sharp hatchet and go to the heart of the jungle to get luscious twigs for Kari. The writer tells us how difficult it was to get the twigs for Kari. He would have to climb all kinds of trees to get the most delicate and tender twigs. Most of the twigs were from the young branches of the banyan tree which grows like a cathedral of leaves and branches, as they were Kari’s favourite kind. He then tells us about the incident when Kari saved someone. It was a spring day in March. The writer was gathering the twigs when he heard a baby-ish cry for help. He immediately realized that it was Kari who was crying for help. He thought that someone was hurting Kari, so he climbed down the tree and quickly ran towards the direction where he had left the elephant, the edge of the forest. However, Kari was not there. The writer couldn’t find him anywhere near the spot. He then went towards the edge of the water. There, he saw a black something struggling above its surface. Then it rose higher and he saw that it was Kari’s trunk. Thinking he was drowning, he became helpless. But then he saw Kari’s back rise above the water and the moment the elephant caught his eye, he began to trumpet and struggle up to the shore. After reaching the shore, still trumpeting, Kari pushed the writer  into the water and, as he fell into the stream, he saw a boy lying flat on the bottom of the river, who had not touched the bottom but was floating right above it.The writer rescued the boy with Kari’s help. 

Kari was trained just like children. He developed a liking for ripe bananas and the fruit from the narrator’s dining table started disappearing. His parents blamed him and the servants for theft. One day the narrator saw a black snake-like thing taking away a bunch of bananas and then he discovered that Kari was behind this. He spoke to Kari just like a child is spkoen to and told it that if it stole in future, he would whip it. Kari did not steal in future and whenever anyone gave it fruit, it would squeal in delight. 

Elephants have to be trained to sit, to walk and to go fast. Speaking the word “Dhat” and pulling the elephant by the ear taught it to sit, speaking the word “Mali” and pulling its trunk forward signalled it to walk. Kari learned Mali in three lessons but took three weeks to learn dhat. It is important to teach an elephant to sit because otherwise when it grows big, one has to climb onto it with a ladder. Carrying a ladder at all times can be a tedious task. 

The master call is the most difficult to be taught. It takes almost five years to learn it. It is a mix of a hissing and growling sound, like a fight between a tiger and a snake. Once this noise is made in the elephant’s ears, it does on a spree and uproots one tree after the other. In case one is lost in the forest on a dark night, this master call can bring the elephant to one’s rescue. It will uproot all trees. It will scare other animals. The monkeys will jump from one branch to the other and the stags can be seen running around too. One can easily find the way home even in the dark.

Bringing up Kari Class 7 Video Explanation Part 2

Bringing up Kari Explanation

the elephant

Passage: KARI, the elephant, was five months old when he was given to me to take care of. I was nine years old and I could reach his back if I stood on tiptoe. He seemed to remain that high for nearly two years. We grew together; that is probably why I never found out just how tall he was. He lived in a pavilion, under a thatched roof which rested on thick tree stumps so that it could not fall in when Kari bumped against the poles as he moved about.

Word Meaning
to stand with raised heels, the weight of the body on the balls of the feet
Pavilion: a shelter in an outdoor structure
Rested: here, the roof was laid on the tree stumps
Stumps: the bottom part of tree trunk, left after a tree has been cut
Bumped: hit

Explanation of the above Passage: The author tells us that the baby elephant, Kari, was five months old when he took charge of it. The author was nine years of age and when he stood on his toes, he could reach upto Kari’s back. Kari was that tall for two more years. The narrator and Kari both grew big and tall simultaneously so the narrator did not realize how tall Kari had gone. Kari lived in a shelter made of straw and hay, the roof rested on tree stumps which prevented it from falling when Kari hit into the poles. 

Passage: One of the first things Kari did was to save the life of a boy. Kari did not eat much but he nevertheless needed forty pounds of twigs a day to chew and play with. Every day I used to take him to the river in the morning for his bath. He would lie down on the sand bank while I rubbed him with the clean sand of the river for an hour. After that he would lie in the water for a long time. On coming out his skin would be shining like ebony, and he would squeal with pleasure as I rubbed water down his back. Then I would take him by the ear, because that is the easiest way to lead an elephant, and leave him on the edge of the jungle while I went into the forest to get some luscious twigs for his dinner. One has to have a very sharp hatchet to cut down these twigs; it takes half an hour to sharpen the hatchet because if a twig is mutilated an elephant will not touch it.

Word Meaning
: branches of trees
Ebony: a heavy wood mainly black in colour
Squeal: cry, trumpet
Luscious: tasty and sweet smelling
Hatchet: small axe
Mutilated: torn, awkwardly mutilated

Explanation of the above Passage: Kari had saved a boy’s life. It did not eat much but everyday it needed tree branches weighing forty pounds – to chew and play with. The narrator would take him to the river for a bath. He would lie on the sandy bank of the river while the narrator would clean him for almost one hour. Later Kari would lie in the water for a long time. When it would come out, its skin would shine like ebony wood, absolutely black in colour. The narrator would take Kari by its ear and he tells us that that is the easiest way to lead an elephant. He would leave Kari at the starting point of the forestand would go inside the forest to get nice and tasty branches for Kari. The narrator adds that he had to cut the branches well with a good axe because elephants do not accept torn or damaged branches.

Passage: It was not an easy job to get twigs and saplings for Kari. I had to climb all kinds of trees to get the most delicate and tender twigs. As he was very fond of the young branches of the banyan tree which grows like a cathedral of leaves and branches, I was gathering some, one spring day in March, when I suddenly heard Kari calling to me in the distance. As he was still very young, the call was more like that of a baby than an elephant. I thought somebody was hurting him, so I came down from my tree and ran very fast to the edge of the forest where I had left him, but he was not there.

I looked all over, but I could not find him.

Word Meaning
young tree
Delicate: here, soft
Tender: here, soft and young

Explanation of the above Passage: Collecting twigs for Kari was not easy because the narrator had to climb various trees to get soft and young branches. The narrator recollects an incident that happened in the spring season in the month of March. He had climbed a banyan tree which was full of leaves and branches. He calles it a cathedral of leaves and branches because it had lots of them. When he was busy collecting the twigs, he heard Kari’s scream. As Kari was young, his sound was like that of a child and not like that of an elephant. The narrator rushed to the spot where he had left Kari but he was nowhere in sight. He searched for Kari but could not find him.


Passage: I went near the edge of the water, and I saw a black something struggling above its surface. Then it rose higher and it was the trunk of my elephant. I thought he was drowning. I was helpless because I could not jump into the water and save the four hundred pounds of him since he was much higher than I. But I saw his back rise above the water and the moment he caught my eye, he began to trumpet and struggle up to the shore. Then, still trumpeting, he pushed me into the water and, as I fell into the stream, I saw a boy lying flat on the bottom of the river. He had not altogether touched bottom but was somewhat afloat. I came to the surface of the water to take my breath and there Kari was standing, his feet planted in the sand bank and his trunk stretched out like a hand waiting for mine. I dived down again and pulled the body of the drowning boy to the surface but, not being a good swimmer, I could not swim ashore and the slow current was already dragging me down.

Word Meaning
went upwards
Afloat: floating in water, not sinking
Drowning: to die due to submerging in water

Explanation of the above Passage: When the narrator reached the edge of the water, he saw something black in colour in it. It was struggling on the surface of the water. As the thing moved upwards, he recognized it to be Kari’s trunk. The narrator thought that Kari was drowning but he could do nothing to save him. Kari was much heavier than the narrator. The narrator saw Kari come out of the water and as it saw him, it made a sound and struggled its way to the shore. Kari pushed the narrator into the water because it wanted his help in saving a boy who was drowning. The boy was floating in the water. The narrator went up onto the water’s surface and saw Ksri standing, its trunk up in the air as if it was a hand waiting for the narrator’s hand. The narrator dived again and pulled the boy but as he was not a good swimmer, he could not reach the shore and the slow waves of the water were pulling him along.

elephant and the boy

Passage: Seeing us drift by in the current, Kari, who was usually slow and ponderous, suddenly darted down like a hawk and came halfway into the water where I saw him stretch out his trunk again. I raised up my hand to catch it and it slipped. I found myself going under the water again, but this time I found that the water was not very deep so I sank to the bottom of the river and doubled my feet under me and then suddenly kicked the river bed and so shot upwards like an arrow, in spite of the fact that I was holding the drowning boy with my hand. As my body rose above the water, I felt a lasso around my neck. This frightened me; I thought some water animal was going to swallow me. I heard Kari squealing, and I knew it was his trunk about my neck. He pulled us both ashore. 

Word Meaning
rushed suddenly
Hawk: a bird of prey
Lasso: a rope with a noose at one end

Explanation of the above Passage: When Kari saw that the two were flowing away with the water, it behaved unusually. Otherwise, Kari was very slow but now it rushed towards them. It stretched its trunk towards the narrator. He tried to hold it but lost grip and slipped. As the narrator started going under the water, he realized that it was not deep. He touched the base and pushed upwards, reached the surface of the water. He felt a rope around his neck and thought that some water animal had caught him. He was scared that the animal would swallow him. Sometime later he heard Kari’s squeal and realized it was his trunk. Kari pulled both of them to the shore.

Passage: Kari was like a baby. He had to be trained to be good and if you did not tell him when he was naughty, he was up to more mischief than ever. 

Explanation of the above Passage:  Kari was like small children. The narrator had to train him to behave well otherwise he would become very naughty.

Passage: For instance, one day, somebody gave him some bananas to eat. Very soon he developed a great love for ripe bananas. We used to keep large plates of fruit on a table near a window in the dining-room. One day all the bananas on that table disappeared and my family blamed the servants for eating all the fruit in the house. A few days later the fruit disappeared again; this time the blame was put on me, and I knew I had not done it. It made me very angry with my parents and the servants, for I was sure they had taken all the fruit. The next time the fruit disappeared, I found a banana all smashed up in Kari’s pavilion. This surprised me very much, for I had never seen fruit there and, as you know, he had always lived on twigs.

Explanation of the above Passage: The narrator shares an incident. Once someone fed bananas to Kari and it developed a liking for bananas. The narrator’s family would keep fruits on a table near a window. One day the bunch of bananas disappeared and the servants were blamed for eating the fruit. A few days later, it disappeared again and now, Kari was blamed for it. He knew he hadn’t eaten them and so was upset with his family for blaming him. The next time the bananas disappeared, he found one in Kari’s shelter which helped him identify the thief. The narrator was surprised because before that day he had never seen fruit in Kari’s shelter because Kari ate branches only.

Passage: Next day, while I was sitting in the dining-room wondering whether I should take some fruit from the table without my parents’ permission, a long, black thing, very much like a snake, suddenly came through the window and disappeared with all the bananas. I was very much frightened because I had never seen snakes eat bananas and I thought it must be a terrible snake that would sneak in and take fruit. I crept out of the room and with great fear in my heart ran out of the house, feeling sure that the snake would come back into the house, eat all the fruit and kill all of us. 

Explanation of the above Passage: The next day the narrator was sitting in the dining room and thinking of taking some fruit without his parents’ permission. Just then a long black coloured thing which looked like a snake came through the window and took away the bananas. The narrator was scared because he had not seen snakes eat bananas and thought that the snake was scary because it stole fruits. Slowly, he went out of the room, he feared that the snake would return into the house, eat all the fruit and kill the family. 

stretched out his trunkPassage: As I went out, I saw Kari’s back disappearing in the direction of the pavilion and I was so frightened that I wanted his company to cheer me up. I ran after him into the pavilion and I found him there eating bananas. I stood still in astonishment; the bananas were lying strewn all around him. He stretched out his trunk and reached for one far away from where he was standing. That instant the trunk looked like a black snake, and I realised that Kari was the thief. I went to him, pulled him out by the ear and joyously showed my parents that it was Kari and not I that had eaten all the fruit these many weeks. Then I scolded him, for elephants understand words as well as children, and I said to him, “Next time I see you stealing fruit, you will be whipped.” He knew that we were all angry with him, even the servants. His pride was so injured that he never stole another thing from the dining-room.
And from then on, if anybody gave him any fruit, he always squealed as if to thank them.

Word Meaning
Astonishment: surprise
Strewn: thrown around
Whipped: punished by beating with a whip

Explanation of the above Passage:  As the narrator stepped out of the house, he saw Kari’s back, going towards his shelter. The narrator followed him because he wanted to be in Kari’s company in order to forget the fearful incident. There he saw Kari eating the bananas and they were lying all over the place. Kari stretched its trunk to grab a banana at a distance. Then the narrator realised that the snake he had seen was Kari’s trunk. He realized that Kari had been stealing the fruit all these months. He pulled Kari’s ear and with delight showed his parents that Kari was the fruit thief. Elephants understand human language as spoken to children also. The narrator said to Kari that he would whip it if it stole anything in future. Kari knew that everyone was upset with it. In the future Kari did not steal anything. If anyone gave it fruits, Kari would make a sound of happiness.

Passage: An elephant is willing to be punished for having done wrong, but if you punish him without any reason, he will remember it and pay you back in your own coin.

Word Meaning
pay you back in your own coin:
To seek revenge on someone by treating them in the same negative manner as they treated one

Explanation of the above Passage: If they do any wrong, they accept punishment but if punished without any reason, the elephants take revenge by giving the same punishment back.

Passage: An elephant must be taught when to sit down, when to walk, when to go fast, and when to go slow. You teach him these things as you teach a child. If you say ‘Dhat’ and pull him by the ear, he will gradually learn to sit down. Similarly, if you say ‘Mali’ and pull his trunk forward, he will gradually learn that it is the signal to walk. 

Explanation of the above Passage: The narrator tells us the process of training elephants. The elephant is trained on when to walk, go fast or slow just like we teach children. When the trainer says ‘dhat’ and pulls the elephant by the ear, it learns to sit down. When the trainer says ‘mali’ and pulls the trunk forward, it learns it as a signal to walk.

Passage: Kari learned ‘Mali’ after three lessons, but it took him three weeks to learn ‘Dhat’. He was no good at sitting down. And do you know why an elephant should be taught to sit down? Because he grows taller and taller than you who take care of him, so that when he is two or three years old, you can only reach his back with a ladder. It is, therefore, better to teach him to sit down by saying ‘Dhat’ so that you can climb upon his back, for who would want to carry a ladder around all the time? 

Explanation of the above Passage: Kari learned the walk signal in three lessons but it took three weeks to learn the sitting signal. Kari was not good at sitting down. It is important to teach elephants to sit down because after some time, they grow very tall and the caretaker has to use a ladder to reach its top. When it sits, one can climb up its back which is better than carrying a ladder all the time.

 carrying a ladder

Passage: The most difficult thing to teach an elephant is the master call. He generally takes five years to learn it properly. The master call is a strange hissing, howling sound, as if a snake and a tiger were fighting each other, and you have to make that kind of noise in his ear. And do you know what you expect an elephant to do when you give him the master call? If you are lost in the jungle and there is no way out, and everything is black except the stars above, you dare not stay very long anywhere. The only thing to do then is to give the master call and at once the elephant pulls down the tree in front of him with his trunk. This frightens all the animals away. As the tree comes crashing down, monkeys wake from their sleep and run from branch to branch— you can see them in the moonlight—and you can almost see the stags running in all directions below. You can hear the growl of the tiger in the distance. Even he is frightened. Then the elephant pulls down the next tree and the next, and the next. Soon you will find that he has made a road right through the jungle straight to your house.

Explanation of the above Passage:  While training an elephant, the most difficult thing is the master call. It takes almost five years to perfect it.  It is a distress sound made by the mahout. It is like a mix of a hiss and a growl, as if there is a fight between a tiger and a snake. If you are lost in the jungle at night, everything is black except the stars in the sky, and give out the master call, the elephant uproots the tree in front of it. The animals get scared, sleeping monkeys wake up and panic. In the moonlight, monkeys can be seen jumping from one tree to the other, stags can be seen running on the ground. The tiger’s growl can be heard too. Then the elephant uproots one tree after another till it creates a straight path to the person’s house.

Bringing up Kari Question Answers

1. The enclosure in which Kari lived had a thatched roof that lay on thick tree stumps. Examine the illustration of Kari’s pavilion on page 8 and say why it was built that way. 

Kari’s pavilion had a thatched roof which rested on thick tree stumps. This was done so that he could not easily break it. Kari would often bang into the poles of the shelter. So, the tree stumps had been kept to make it firm.

2. Did Kari enjoy his morning bath in the river? Give a reason for your answer.

Kari would enjoy the bath in the river when the narrator would scrub it for an hour. Then Kari would remain in the water and when it would come out, it would shine like ebony. 

3. Finding good twigs for Kari took a long time. Why? 

Elephants do not accept mutilated or damaged twigs. Kari liked tender branches and the narrator had to be careful while chopping them. All this took time.

4. Why did Kari push his friend into the stream? 

A boy was drowning in the water and was floating in it. Kari wanted the author to help him and so it pushed him into the stream.

5. Kari was like a baby. What are the main points of comparison? 

The narrator spoke to Kari just like we speak to a child. Kari was trained like children are. The narrator would scold him, train him like a child. Kari would make mischief like children. 

6. Kari helped himself to all the bananas in the house without anyone noticing it. How did he do it? 

Once Kari developed a liking for ripe bananas, he would stretch the trunk from the window and take away the bunch of bananas with him to the pavilion. No one came to know where the fruit was disappearing to.

7. Kari learnt the commands to sit and to walk. What were the instructions for each command? 

When the narrator said “dhat” and pulled kari’s ear, it was a signal for it to sit down. When he said “mali” and pulled the trunk forward, it was an indication to walk.

8. What is “the master call”? Why is it the most important signal for an elephant to learn?

“Master call” is a distress call. It is a mix of a hissing and growling sound and is similar to a snake and tiger fighting. It takes almost five years to train an elephant in it. Once the call reaches the elephant’s ear, it just pulls down the tree in front of it. It scares the animals in the forest. All animals start making noises and running here and there. In case one is lost in the forest on a dark night, the master call will direct the elephant to uproot all trees on the way and clear the way home for its master. 


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