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Sparrows by K A Abbas

Self-Assessment

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Sparrows min

 

Summary

Rahim Khan  was a son of farmer. He had two ambitions in life. His first ambition was to join a touring circus and second ambition was to marry a Hindu girl named Radha, but  his parents killed both of his ambitions. His parents did not allow him to join in touring circus as such kind of works were considered ‘too lowly’ and ‘immoral’ by his parents. Again they planned Radha to marry Ram Lal by convincing her father as she was a Hindu girl. So Rahim Khan had to marry a girl whom his parents had chosen for him, but he was infused with pain and anger.  His hatred for family and society made him cruel to everyone ,and turned into a hard-hearted man who seemed to be none but a beast. He had two sons Nuru and Bundu, but they left him because they could not bear more than usual beating of Rahim Khan. He became unfriendly with everyone .His neighbours criticized him for his misbehavior while gossiping. As a hard-hearted devil he wanted to take revenge, in which  his wife was the first and immediate target. So  his wife left him after suffering physical and mental pain for thirty years by his ill-treatment. Rahim Khan carried a burden of  his frustrations, unfulfilled dreams and hatred of certain people in his life with loneliness.

One day when  Rahim Khan cleaned his hut ,he saw a nest of sparrows . There the mother sparrow was trying to protect baby sparrows from him. When he tried to peek in, mother sparrow attacked him. Rahim Khan observed the family of sparrows and the manner in which the sparrows took care of their young ones with so much care and affection. Rahim Khan realized the duty and responsibilities of being a parent and husband and learned the reality of family. Gradually, he was drawn to the sparrows and named the young ones after his sons. He took care of the nest of four sparrows as his family.

From the next day onwards, Rahim Khan transformed himself to a man with feelings. He went to his farm to take care of the two little sparrows which had now grown. He considered the four sparrows as his only friends. He would not  beat his bullocks Nathoo and Chhiddoo ,and did not quarrel with anybody.

One day Rahim came back to his  home early when the sky was overcast with threatening clouds. It was raining heavily After he reached home .He inspected the nest and worried if it was getting drenched in the rain. He started repairing the leakage of the hut. From the next day he had been suffering from a high fever. His neighbours did not see him  for several days, and  they went to Rahim Khan’s hut and observed him through a crack in the door. They saw him calling the name of Nuru and Bundu , and thought that he had been mad. They sent for his wife. When the wife and children reached the next day, the neighbours broke open the door. Entering the hut they saw that Rahim Khan was dead and the four fluttering sparrows  in the hut.

Message of the story : This story enriches us with the message that circumstances turn a sensitive and kind-hearted man to cruel and hard-hearted man. Nobody is bad since his birth. Rahim Khan worried about the sparrows at the last moment of his life .It shows that Rahim Khan was not bad at heart. Again this story claims that human beings should move on according to situation to attain happiness and love without blaming others unlike Rahim Khan who misbehaved with others and did not get happiness during his entire life.

 

Short Answer Type Questions

1. When did Rahim return from the field?

Ans:  Rahim returned from the field when the sun was setting behind.

2.How did Rahim Khan detest himself for thirty years in ‘Sparrows’?

Ans: Rahim Khan ill-treated his wife, his children and his bullocks ,quarreled with everyone in the village and made himself the most-hated person in the community for thirty years.

3.What athletic skills did Rahim Khan possess in his youth?

Ans: The athletic skills that Rahim Khan possessed in his youth was wrestling, kabaddi, diving from the canal bridge.

4.Whom did Rahim Khan marry?

Ans: Rahim Khan married to the girl whom his parents selected for him.

5.Why did Rahim Khan’s sons leave him?

Ans: Rahim Khan’s sons left him because of a more than usual severe beating.

6.Why did Rahim Khan ill-treated his wife?

Ans: Rahim Khan ill-treated his wife to express his anger against his family, society and life.

7.What details did Ramnath share about Rahim Khan’s  recent cruelties?

Ans: Ramnath said that Rahim Khan nearly killed Ramnath’s mare for straying into Rahim Khan’s field .

8.What did the villagers do after repeatedly knocking on the door in ‘Sparrows’?

Ans: After repeatedly knocking on the door the villagers broke their way and they found the large and gaunt frame lying in the brooding silence in ‘Sparrows’.

9.Who was Radha?

Ans: Radha was the daughter of Ram Charan ,the village banya.

10.Who had an obsequious voice? What bad news did she have for Rahim Khan?

Ans: The old woman had an obsequious voice. 

She had a bad news for Rahim Khan that his wife had only gone to her brother’s home at Nurpur and would be back in a few days.

11. “the tradition of centuries of serfdom ran in his blood.”–What does the word ‘serfdom’ refer to?

Ans: The word ‘serfdom’ refers to the condition of a tenant farmer who is bound to a hereditary plot of land and to the will of a landlord.

12.What is Rahim Khan’s profession?

Ans: Rahim Khan was a farmer.

13.What was Rahim Khan’s ambition in his youth?

Ans: Rahim Khan wanted to join in touring circus, and desired to marry to Radha.

14.Who was Ram Charan?

Ans: Ram Charan was a banya and Radha’s father.

15.Whom did Rahim Khan love?

Ans: Rahim Khan loved Radha ,a Hindu girl.  

16. Who were Nathoo and Chiddoo?

Ans: Rahim Khan had two bullocks which were Nathoo and Chiddoo .

17.“O Bundu ,O Nuru, who will feed you”–Who were Bundu and Nuru? What did the speaker mean to say?

Ans: “O Bundu ,O Nuru, who will feed you”- Bundu and Nuru were two sons of Rahim Khan who had left him.

The speaker was worried about two sparrows whom he named after his sons. He thought if nobody would feed them after his death.

18.What were the two wishes of Rahim Khan when he was youth?

Ans: He has two ambitions in his youth. His first ambition is to marry his beloved Radha, a Hindu girl. His second ambition is to join a touring circus.

19.Whom did Rahim Khan hold responsible for the frustration of his life? What do ‘Cobwebs’ symbolize? 

Ans: Rahim Khan held his family and society responsible for the frustration of his life.

‘Cobwebs’ symbolize all the bitter memories Rahim Khan had of his past that veiled his heart and the hatred that blinded him to recognize true love and happiness in small things of life.

20.What did the old woman say to Rahim Khan?

Ans: The old woman told him that his wife had gone to her brother at Nurpur.

21.How did Rahim avenge himself?

Ans: Rahim Khan then decided to avenge his defeat at the hands of his parents, his family and society. Having decided to take revenge, his first and immediate target was his wife. He not only ill-treated his wife, and his two sons but also  his two bullocks for nearly thirty years. He fought with everyone in the village.

22.What lessons did Rahim Khan learn from the sparrows? What is the theme and message of the story “The Sparrows”?

Ans: Rahim Khan observes the family of sparrows and learns the true meaning of family. The manner in which the sparrows takes care of their young ones teaches Rahim Khan the essence of being a parent and husband.

The theme of the story “The Sparrows” is cruelty, fear, resentment, tradition, connection, redemption and change. The message of the story “The Sparrows” is Only true love can elicit true relationship.

23.Why did Rahim Khan’s wife leave him? How did Rahim Khan feel after his wife left?

Ans: Rahim Khan’s wife left him as he always ill-treated her.

Due to Rahim Khan’s wife he became more angry than earlier, and felt unhappy as well as sad.

24.”He was strongly amused by the little bird’s heroic efforts to save his home and children”-What efforts of the little bird seemed to be heroic?

Ans: When Rahim Khan stretched his hand to get hold of the two little sparrows , he found the mother sparrow attacking him with all courage and might .This effort of mother sparrow seemed to be heroic defence for her children and family.

25.Who was referred to as “a necessary piece of furniture”?

Ans: Rahim Khan’s wife was referred to as “a necessary piece of furniture”.

 

Long Answer Type Questions

1.How did  sparrows change Rahim Khan’s heart?

Ans: While cleaning Rahim Khan saw a nest of sparrows and the mother sparrow trying to protect baby sparrows from him. When he tried to peek in, mother sparrow attacked him. Then Rahim Khan observed the family of sparrows and the manner in which the sparrows take care of their young ones. He was amused by the heroic efforts of the sparrows that  were so caring and affectionate towards their young ones and tried their heart and soul to save them. he realized the true meaning of family ,the essence of being a parent and husband, and learned to love others .From the next day onwards, Rahim Khan got transformed from cruel man to kind-hearted man.

2.”Seething with inward wrath he entered the dark hut and sat down on the charpoy”–What does ‘the dark hut’ represent?

Ans: In the story “Sparrows” ‘the dark hut’ represents Rahim Khan himself. It shows how he has been excluded and alienated from society and how people avoid him at all costs. It points to how he has been deserted by his wife and two sons and there is almost nothing but darkness inside. All the pain he inflicted upon his family in that very hut, is the same he suffers within. He finally dies inside the very same hut, consumed by all the bitterness and darkness with a sliver of virtue. 

3.Bring out the various symbolisms used in the story ‘Sparrows’.

Ans: In the story ‘Sparrows’ the very beginning forecasts the upcoming doom. The ‘sunset’ symbolizes grim and death, ‘plough’ symbolizes the burden of his unfulfilled dreams and hatred of people that he carried all through his life. ‘Circus’ symbolizes happiness and life. Again, “haughty and unfriendly air” was flowing which symbolize the unfriendly nature of the village peasants who never tried to understand the rude behaviour of Rahim Khan and rather became critical in judging his character  and ‘hut’ is symbolical of Rahim Khan’s alienation from the society and also his loneliness as we see that villagers gather in chaupal to gossip and to smoke but he never joins them. ‘Cobwebs’ symbolize all the bitter memories Rahim Khan had of his past that veiled his heart and the hatred that blinded him to recognize true love and happiness in small things of life. Sparrows symbolize a sense of community , love and happiness.

4.Describe the views of the neighbours about  Rahim Khan when he returned from the fields.

Ans: When Rahim Khan returned from the fields and approached the chaupal, the hilarious tones of gossip turned into cautious whispers. After Rahim Khan vanished round the corner, the heavy tread of his footsteps was not heard. At that moment, Kallu passed the communal hookah to another and considered Rahim Khan as ‘the heart-hearted devil’. Then the fat sweet-seller further added that his temperament was getting worse and worse everyday, so he had beaten poor Ramoo’s child for throwing a pebble at his oxen the previous day. Then, the old grey-haired Patel regarded him to be the most cruel man who had compassion neither for a child nor for a helpless animal. He also said that it did not make him surprise that his sons had run away from his home.

5.”O Bundu, O Nuru, who will feed you”– Who were Bundu and Nuru? After whom did Rahim Khan name the sparrows? What is suggested through this line?

Ans: Bundu and Nuru were the name of his two sons who had left him long ago.

Rahim Khan named the sparrows after his sons.

This line suggests that Rahim Khan’s cruelty is not his natural instinct. It is a result of his frustration about love and career. Again, it suggests a great change in his heart from cruelty to tenderness, from indifference to sympathy.

6.How did Rahim Khan sacrifice his life for the sparrows?

Ans: One day when the sky was overcast, Rahim Khan returned home early. It started raining. The sparrows crowded up within their feathers to protect one another. Rahim Khan on inspection realised that the nest was getting drenched in the rain.

Disregarding the rain, he set about repairing the part of the hut that was leaking. As he finished, he sneezed. He had a high fever the next day. When Rahim Khan’s concerned neighbours didn’t see him for several days , they visited him through a crack in the door of Rahim Khan’s hut. At that time Rahim Khan was talking to the sparrows wondering how they would live without him. The neighbours thought that Rahim Khan had gone mad, so they sent for his wife. When the wife and children reached Rahim Khan’s hut , the neighbours broke open the door, but found Rahim Khan dead and the four sparrows fluttering in the hut. In this way Rahim Khan sacrificed his life to protect the sparrows.

7.Justify the appropriateness of the title of the story, ’Sparrows’.

Ans: Khawaja Ahmad Abbas’s story “Sparrows” revolves around Rahim Khan and his interaction with sparrows. Rahim Khan finds himself getting ill-treatment at the hands of his parents, family and society ,and develops an unnatural habit of being cruel, indifferent and unsympathetic. But one day he was amused by the heroic efforts of the sparrows that tried their heart and soul to save their young ones. He realized the essence of being a parent and husband and learned the true meaning of family. The sparrows infused love and compassion in the heart of Rahim Khan, who transformed himself from a cruel man to kind-hearted man and sacrificed his life to protect the sparrows.

 This brings out the significance of the title Sparrows. Here sparrows provide and bring out the most significant change in Rahim Khan’s life and character. So, the title is appropriate.

8.What lessons did Rahim Khan learn from the sparrows? What is the theme of the story “The Sparrows”?

Ans: Rahim Khan observes the family of sparrows and learns the true meaning of family. The manner in which the sparrows takes care of their young ones teaches Rahim Khan the essence of being a parent and husband.

The theme of the story “The Sparrows” is cruelty, fear, resentment, tradition, connection, redemption and change. 

9.Narrate the incident that transform Rahim Khan from a cheerful and kind young man into a beast that he had become.

Ans: When Rahim Khan was young, he had two ambitions in life. His first ambition was to join a touring circus and second ambition was to marry a Hindu girl named Radha, but both of his ambitions were not fulfilled as his parents killed both of his ambitions. His dream of travelling with the Circus was shut down by his parents as they felt it was “too lowly” and “immoral” for a “respectable peasant”. This along with his desire to marry a girl of his choice, Radha, was quashed as she was a Hindu.  After that he married to a girl whom his parents had chosen for him. He became cruel to everyone and turned into a hard-hearted man and beast.

 

Exercise

A. Answer any two of the following questions in a complete sentence:

1.How old was Rahim Khan? What did Nanha say about Rahim Khan?

2.Who was Ramnath?

3.What is the message conveyed in the short story ‘Sparrows’.

4.How was the ambitions of Rahim Khan killed by his parents?

5.What lessons did  Rahim Khan get from the sparrows?

6.Why did Kallu beat Ramoo’s child?

7.After whom did Rahim name the sparrows? Name the sparrows. 

8.How did Rahim return from the field?

9. In which extremity of the village did the mango grove fringe?

10.What did Rahim Khan’s father suggest Ram Charan?

 

B. Answer any two of the following questions in 100 words :

(a)What did the villagers do after repeatedly knocking on the door in Sparrows? Do you sympathize or empathize with Rahim? Answer in reference to the story.

b)How did Rahim Khan’s romance with Radha come to an end?

c)How did the sparrows become only friend of Rahim Khan?

d)Bring out the various symbolisms used in the story ‘Sparrows’.

e)Sketch the character of Rahim Khan in the short story ‘Sparrows’.

f) Comment on the meaningful ending of the story.

g)Give a pen picture of the people’s conversation about Rahim Khan.What details did Ramnath share about Rahim’s recent cruelties?

h)How was the ambitions of Rahim Khan killed by his parents?

i)Describe the feelings and thoughts of Rahim Khan when his wife had left him.

j)Narrate the events that led Rahim Khan to be a cruel man.

k) Justify the title of the short story ‘Sparrows’.

l) What did neighbours in village discussed about Rahim Khan when he returned from the field?

m)How did Rahim Khan get drenched? What was his only worry during the last moments of his life?

n)What information Rahim Khan get after returning to his hut? What was Rahim Khan’s reaction after getting that information?

C. (i) Split the following sentence as per the instruction :

a) When he awoke it was already late forenoon and he started the day by cursing his wife, for it was she who used to wake early every morning. (Split into simple sentence)

b)Leaning the plough up against the low wall of house, he proceeded to the oxen to a pair of big wooden stakes embedded in the ground just in front of the doorway. (Split into two sentences)

c)They found the large frame of Rahim lying in the brooding silence of the room, broken only by the fluttering of four sparrows. (Split into Simple Sentences)

d) His neighbours were still frightened of him and regarded his recent peaceful behaviour with suspicion. (Split into Simple Sentences)

e)The two little ones had now grown into fine young birds, and he called them Nuru and Bundu after his lost sons whom he had not seen for several years. (Split into Simple sentences)

f)For thirty years his wife had submitted to his persecution with the slave- like docility that is the badge of her tribe. (Split into Simple Sentences)

g)These four sparrows were his only only friends.(Split into simple sentences)

h)When he awoke it was already late forenoon and he started the day by cursing his wife, for it
was she who used to wake early every morning. (Split into simple sentence)

(ii) Combine each of the following sentences as per the instructions : 

a) The sun was setting behind the mango grove. Rahim Khan returned from the fields.(Combine into complex)

b)Seething with inward wrath he entered the hut. Then he sat down on the charpoy (Join into a compound sentence)

c) Rahim Khan also married. He had no choice in the matter. (Join into a complex sentence)

d)He found a group of children playing on the road. They ran away as they saw him. (Join into a compound sentence)

e)Next day he resumed his daily work. Still no one talked to him in the village. (Combine into complex)

f)The villagers did not see him going to the fields for several days. They grew anxious.(Join into a compound sentence)

(iii) Change the mode of narration :

a) Nanha said, “He is getting worse and worse everyday. Only yesterday he beat poor Ramoo’s child for throwing a pebble at his oxen.” (Change the narration)

b)Rahim Khan said to the boys, “Why are you running away? I am not going to beat you.” (Change the narration)

(c) The woman hastily explained with an apologetic look, “She has only gone to her brother’s home at Nurpur and will be back in a few days.”

d) Rahim Khan said, “O Bundu, O Nuru, who will feed you when I am gone?” (Change into direct speech)

e) “Poor fellow,” they said , “he has gone mad. We will send for his wife to look after him.” (Change into direct speech)

f)He questioned if her son had been arrested again for revenue arrears or her daughter-in-law had delivered another baby. (Change into direct speech)

D. Correct the error and rewrite the following:

(a) Rahim had a feel, not exactly of affection.

b) The peasants shook their heads sympathetic.

c)Next morning he awoke to a high fever.     

d)Circus work was too lowly and immoral at a respectable peasant.

e)Then he sat down into a smoke,with his beloved hookah beside him. 

 

Word-Meaning:

♦fringed-bordered, ♦tread-step, ♦hilarious-very funny, ♦chaupal-a place where people sit for gossiping in rural area, ♦mare-female horse, ♦straying-moving casually, ♦embedded-rooted, ♦hastily-quickly, ♦summoned-gathered