Bholi Class 10 | KA Abbas | Chapter 9 | Footprints without Feet |


Bholi Class 10 by KA Abbas | Chapter 9 | Footprints without Feet | English|

Summary of Bholi

The chapter ‘Bholi’ revolves around a young girl named Sulekha who is often isolated and neglected by all and sundry. Education brings a massive transformation into her life which builds her confidence and makes her courageous to fight for her rights.

Being a Numberdar of his village, Ramlal (Bholi’s Father) was a well-off man who has all the comforts in his house. His one of seven children, Bholi, once fell down the cot which caused some injuries to her brain. As a result, she was slow at learning and often neglected by all. Besides, she had pock marks on her face for she was once attacked by small pocks in her childhood. She was named Bholi for the same reason. She started speaking late and usually stammered. Everyone ridiculed her including her family and treated her as if she were a burden to them. 

Once, a Tehsildar came to inaugurate an elementary school where he met Bholi’s Father and advised him to send his daughter to school for their better and bright future. Ramlal could not deny what the Tehsildar said. When Bholi’s mother came to know about that, she decided not to send her to school. She was a conservative woman who thought sending her daughter to school would lead many problems in her marriage. On the other hand, keeping her pock-marked face in mind, she made up her mind to do so.

Initially, Bholi was afraid going to school for it was a new place. But, when she was dressed up beautifully with new clothes, it somewhere changed her mind and she got ready to go there. On reaching there, she found a completely different atmosphere. Moreover, her teacher encouraged her to be fearless and speak whatever she wanted to. She was advised to be least bothered about her stammering and stop heeding what others thought of her. Bholi was very much impressed with the pictures of birds and animals on the wall. More importantly, she was happy in the company of her teacher who was trying to make her feel special. She felt a new life returning to her after going to school.

After few years, Bholl’s parents found a match for her. He was a middle-aged widower with grown up children. But, her mother was least concerned for they thought she could never get such a good partner in her whole life due to her pock-marked face and stammering. Her father wanted to ask Bholi how she was feeling but forbidden by her mother to do so. So, they accepted the proposal and got ready to get her married.

On the day of marriage, the bridegroom Bishamber Nath had a glimpse of Bholi’s pock-marked face. He immediately demanded Rs. 5000 as dowry and threatened to walk away if they refused to pay. In order to avoid humiliations, Ramlal handed him in the amount. When Bholi saw all that, she threw away the garland and refused to marry a greedy and coward widower. Seeing her father worried, she assured him and said that she would work as a teacher in the same school where she studied and make her dreams come true.


Short Answer Type Questions of Bholi

Question 1 : Why is Bholi’s father worried about her?

Answer : Bholi was not like other children of her neighbourhood. When she was little, she fell off the bed and that made her brain get a bit hurt. She learned to speak late and she had trouble saying things sometimes. It made her dad worry about how people would think of her when it came time for marriage.

Question 2 : For what unusual reason is Bholi sent to school?

Answer : Ramlal, who was a government official and father of Bholi, was told by the Tehsildar of his village to send his daughters to a new school. But Ramlal’s wife didn’t want that to happen for she was worried that Bholi’s pock-marked face and dull brain would affect her marriage’s prospects. However, they decide to follow the piece of advise given by the Tehsildar to satisfy the latter.

Question 3 : Does Bholi enjoy her first day at school?

Answer : Initially, When Bholi first came to school, she was afraid. She cried when the teacher asked her name. She sat in the corner. But then she saw all of the pretty pictures on the walls and her teacher was nice to her. When school ended, she liked it even though at first, she did not like school very much.

Question 4 : Does she find her teacher to be different from the people at home?

Answer : Bholi had a unheeded child at home for long, but her teacher was different and poles apart from others. The teacher neither made fun of her ugliness nor objected to her stammering like others did. On the contrary, She encouraged Bholi and dealt her with love, care and affection which touched Bholi’s heart and moved her altogether.

Question 5 : Why do Bholi’s parents accept Bishamber’s marriage proposal?

Answer : Bishamber was a well-off grocer who had not demanded any sort of dowry from Bholi’s parents for getting latter married. Seeing his selfless nature, they got ready to get Bholi married to him.

Question 6 : Why does the marriage not take place?

Answer : Bishamber asked for a dowry of five thousand rupees from Ramlal at the time of their marriage because he had, somehow, seen that Bholi had a scarred face. Ramlal could not refuse for he was aware of the reality. But, Bholi refused to marry him because he was greedy and it would hurt her feelings. Therefore, the marriage was called off.

Question 7 : Bholi had many apprehensions about going to school. What made her feel that she was going to a better place than her home?

Answer : While Bholi was going leaving for school. Her parents had to put on her clothes nicely. They bathed her and fixed her hair. She felt like she was going to a better place since she got the special treatment.

Question 8 : How did Bholi’s teacher play an important role in changing the course of her life?

Answer : Bholi had a hard time when she first went to school. She was shy and nervous. But her teacher, or teacher’s assistant, was nice to her and encouraged her to be confident and do the things that other kids could do. She helped Bholi read and write, which made Bholi brave too. Now she is an independent girl who knows what her rights are.

Question 9 : Why did Bholi at first agree to an unequal match? Why did she later reject the marriage. What does this tell about her?

Answer : The bride first agreed to the marriage to please her parents. Later on, she refused the marriage when the groom asked for a dowry. This tells us that Bholi was not a timid girl and couldn’t be fooled by anyone. She knew what she wanted and how to fight for her rights.

Question 10 : Bholi’s real name is Sulekha. We are told this right at the beginning. But only in the last but one paragraph of the story is Bholi called Sulekha again. Why do you think she is called Sulekha at that point in the story?

Answer : The word Bholi means simple and one who unaware of one’s rights. On the other hand the name Sulekha suggests the one who has a good sense of letters. She is named Sulekha for now she is educated and knows pretty well what her rights are. She is no longer Bholi who hardly pays attention to what is right and what is not to her. Her decision of calling off her marriage due to demand of dowry transforms her from Bholi to Sulekha.

Question 11 : Bholi’s teacher helped her overcome social barriers by encouraging and motivating her. How do you think you can contribute towards changing the social attitudes illustrated in this story ?

Answer : We can contribute by saying no to dowries. Boys and girls should be given the same opportunities and equal strata. We must also learn to respect those who are differently abled and motivate them to do better in lives.

Question 12 : Should girls be aware of their rights and assert them? Should girls and boys have the same rights, duties and privileges? What are some of the ways in which society treats them differently? When we speak of ‘Human rights’, do we differentiate between girl’s rights and boy’s rights?

Answer : Yes, there is a difference between the rights of boys and girls. Boys are treated differently in society. They are given more opportunities than girls. Girls are only taught to be wives and mothers. Boys have special privileges when it comes to food or freedom or careers. Girls need to know their rights so that they can exercise them properly. Girls need their education so they can take care of themselves and have dignity even if they don’t get any help from anyone else. They should demand what they deserve, even if it will take fighting for it!

Question 13 : Do you think the characters in the story were speaking to each other in English? If not, in which language were they speaking? (you can get clues from the names of the persons and the non-English words used in the story.)

Answer : We do not think so. Several words like “numbardar”, “tehsildar sahib”, and izzat support that. The names of characters like “Randal” and “Bholi” also support this.

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