Lost Spring Questions and Answers

Short Answer Type Questions : 3 Marks (30 – 40 Words)

Question 1 : What does the reference to chappals in ‘Lost Spring’ tell us about the economic condition of the ragpickers?

Answer : The reference to chappals in ‘Lost Spring’ tells us about the miserable life of the ragpickers settled in Seemapuri. The parents cannot even afford to buy chappals for their children and hence their children remain barefoot.

Question 2 : Describe the irony in Saheb’s name.

Answer : The full name of Saheb, the ragpicker, is Saheb-e-Alam, which means ‘Lord of the Universe’. As per his name, he should live like a king. The irony is that he is a barefoot ragpicker who lacks even the basic necessities.

Question 3 : What did Garbage mean to the children of Seemapuri and to their parents?

Answer : For the children of Seemapuri, garbage is something wrapped in wonder as at times they find a ten or a one rupee note in it. For their parents, it is a means of survival because some of it could be sold for cash.

Question 4 : What does Saheb look for in the Garbage dumps?

Answer : As per the author, Saheb is looking for currency notes or coins in the garbage dump. He belongs to a Bangladeshi family that has migrated to India during the Indo-Pak war in 1971 in search of livelihood.

Question 5 : To which country did Saheb’s parents originally belong?  Why did they come to India?

Answer : Saheb’s parents belonged to Dhaka in Bangladesh, where they lived amidst green fields. They and the other ragpickers left their homes and migrated to India in search of a livelihood, as their homes and fields were destroyed in storms.

Question 6 : In what sense is garbage gold to the ragpickers?

Answer : Garbage is gold to the ragpickers of Seemapuri because they can sell some of it for cash. This in turn helps them buy food and sustain themselves. Moreover, it is also gold for them because the ragpickers at times find stray coins and currency notes in it.

Question 7 : Whom does Anees Jung blame for the sorry plight of the bangle makers?

Answer : Anees Jung blames the middlemen, the policemen, the lawmakers, the bureaucrats and the politicians for the sorry plight of the bangle makers. These people plot against and exploit the poor bangle makers.

Question 8 : What is Mukesh’s dream? Do you think he will be able to fulfil his dream? Why/Why not?

Answer : Mukesh’s dream is to become a motor-mechanic. It is difficult for Mukesh to achieve his dream, as he is forced to follow his family tradition, which he may or may not be able to. However, his will to work hard, and his strong determination could make him achieve his dream.

Question 9 : How is Mukesh different from the other bangle makers of Firozabad?

Answer : Mukesh had the courage to dream big in spite of all adversity, whereas his family members and the other bangle makers of Firozabad had resigned to their fate, and had suppressed all their hopes and desires to follow the ‘God-given lineage’ of bangle making.

Question 10 : What job did Saheb take up? Was he happy?

Answer : Saheb too up work at a tea-stall, where he had to perform several off jobs, including getting milk from the milk booth. He was not happy, as he had lost his independence and hence he was no longer his own master.

Question 11 : In spite of despair and disease pervading the lives of the slum children, they are not devoid of hope. How far do you agree?

Answer : I agree that the slum children are not devoid of hope as Saheb, a ragpicker, is eager to go to school and learn and Mukesh, who makes bangles, dreams of becoming a motor mechanic.

Question 12 : ‘It is a tradition to stay barefoot……’

What is the attitude of the ragpickers of Seemapuri towards wearing shoes?

Answer : Some of the children in Seemapuri want to wear shoes. But a large number of them have to stay barefoot as they cannot afford to buy a pair of shoes. They state that it is a tradition to stay barefoot as an excuse to hide their grinding poverty.

Question 13 : A young man in Firozabad is burgened under the baggage of two worlds. What are they ?

Answer : The two worlds that burden a young man in Firozabad include one of the family in which they are born and the other of the vicious circle of the sahukars, middlemen, the police, the keepers of the law, the bureaucrats and the politicians.

Question 14  : Why is Saheb unhappy working at the tea-stall?

Answer : Saheb is not happy working at the tea-stall as the author notices that his face has lost its carefree look, which makes it evident that he is not happy. He has also lost his independence, and is no longer his own master.

Question 15 : Survival of Seemapuri means ragpicking. Comment.

Answer : Ragpickers who live in Seemapuri on the outskirts of Delhi are very poor. They do not have a proper source of income and hence have to rely on ragpicking as it is the only means of survival for them.

Question 16 : Why could the bangle makers not organise themselves into a co-operative?

Answer : The bangle makers could not organise themselves into a cooperative because they were trapped in the cruel circle of sahukars, middlemen, policemen, bureaucrats and politicians. If they tried to organise themselves, they would be beaten up by the police and put in jail.

Question 17 : Who is Mukesh? What is his dream?

Answer : Mukesh is a child labourer who works in a glass bangle making factory that is situated in Firozabad. He dreams of becoming a motor mechanic when he grows up.

Question 18 : Mention any two problems faced by the bangle sellers.

Answer : The bangle sellers are very poor and do not have money to do anything except making bangles. They work in hazardous conditions and as a result lose their eyesight early in their life.

Question 19 : Mention any two hazards of working in the bangle industry.

Answer : People working in the bangle industry are prone to many diseases as they work in suffocating and unhygienic conditions. They also lose their eyesight early in their life as they work at high temperatures.

Question 20 : What does the writer mean when he says, ‘Saheb is no longer his own master’?

Answer : Saheb started working in a tea-stall where he is bound and burdened. He has to follow the orders of his master and is not free as he was earlier. Hence, the writer says that “Saheb is no longer his own master.”

Question 21 : Why does the author say that the bangle makers are caught in a vicious web?

Answer : The bangle makers in Firozabad are exploited at the hands of the Sahukars, middlemen, policemen, law makers, bureaucrats and politicians. They toil day and night, but are not paid appropriate wages. Their children are also compelled to join the same trade at an early stage.

Question 22 : What does the title, ‘Lost Spring’ convey?

Answer : The title ‘Lost Spring’ convey how millions of children in India lose out on living the ‘spring’ of their lives, that is their childhood. The best phase in their life is lost in the hardships involved to earn their livelihood.

Long Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120 – 150 Words)

Question 1  : “For the children it is wrapped in wonder, for the elders it is a means of survival.” What kind of life do the ragpickers of Seemapuri lead?

Answer : ‘Lost Spring: Stories of Stolen Childhood’ describes the plight of poor ragpickers of Seemapuri, a place on the outskirts of Delhi.

‘Ragpicking is the only source of livelihood for these families of ragpickers who have fled from Bangladesh in the hope of finding a better life. For small children like Saheb and his friends’ ragpicking is also wrapped in wonder because sometimes they get unexpected things while ragpicking. Sometimes they are lucky to get some ‘gold’ meaning some objects which can be traded for money and it is a wonderful feeling for these small children who live in abject poverty.

Question 2 : Garbage to them is gold. How do ragpickers of Seemapuri survive?

Answer : Seemapuri is a slum on the outskirts of Delhi, mostly populated by illegal migrants from Bangladesh, whose families came here during 1971. Now they number about 10,000 persons whose main profession is ragpicking. They live here without identity and have no basic amenities, but still they are happy because they get rations, which means food, more important than an identity. Ragpicking is their only means of survival beacuse they are able to find some saleable items thrown in rubbish dumps which can be traded for cash. Sometimes the discover even currency notes in the rubbish. According to the author, “It is their daily bread, a rood over their heads, even if it is a leaking roof.” Thus, it is equivalent to gold for them.

Question 3 : Describe the difficulties the bangle makers of Firozabad have to face in their lives.

Answer : 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 an initiative, will power and the ability to even think of taking up another profession. They are not able to organise themselves into a cooperative due to bullying and exploitation by the 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 co-existing in a primeval state. They have not even enjoyed even one full mean in their entire lifetime because of their poverty. These are some difficulties which these people have faced.

Question 4 : How is Mukesh’s attitude towards his situation different from that of Saheb? Why?

Answer : Mukesh belongs to a bangle making family, but he is not content with this profession. He dares to dream of becoming a car mechanic. He has strong will power and wants to achieve what he dreams, unlike other people in his family. In contrast to this, Saheb is a ragpicker who is content with his life, but becomes unhappy when he gets a job at the tea-stall, even though now he earns more and on a regular basis. Saheb is unhappy because he has lost his independence, which he had as a ragpicker. However, Saheb accepts his new situation, whereas Mukesh dares to want to break free from tradition. This is beacuse Mukesh is more courageous and determined than Saheb.

Question 5 :   What circumstance force Mukesh not to pursue his family business of bangle making ? Instead, what did he decide to do?

Answer : Mukesh dares to dream of a different life and decides not to puruse his family business of bangle making. he does not want to accept his life of misery in the name of destiny. Though he is born in poverty-ridden family in the caster of bangle makers ,he dreams of a better future. He wants to break free from the vicious circle of sahukars and middlemen and carve a new beginnning for himself by becoming a motor-mechanic. He knows what it is like to work in glass furnaces that are neither well-lit nor well-ventilated. They are dingy places with high temperatures. He has seen that the youngsters are weighed down by the pressure of their parents to follow the family business and have forgotten to dream of an alternative world. So Mukehs’s dream of going to a garage and learning to be a motor-mechanic is an attempt to break-free of the mind-numbing toil.

Question 6 : Give a brief account of life and activities of the people like Saheb-e-Alam settled in Seemapuri.

Answer : Most of the people like Saheb-e-Alam settled in Seemapuri were refugees from Bangladesh who had fled their country and migrated to Delhi from Dhaka in the wake of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. Their dwellings were structures of mud, tin and tarpaulin with no sewage, drainage, or running water. Picking garbage and rags helped them to earn their daily bread, gave them a roof over their head and was their only means of livelihood and survival. Though these sqatters of Seemapuri have no identity but they do have valid ration cards that enable them to buy grain. Living in Seemapuri, which is on the periphery of Delhi, is like a living hell. Children here grow up to become partners in survival to their parents. An army of barefoot children appear every morning, carrying their plastic bags on their shoulders and disappear by noon. They are forced to live a life of abject poverty that results in the loss of childhood innocence.

Question 7 : ‘Lost Spring’ explains the grinding poverty and traditions that condemn thousands of people to a life of abject poverty. Do you agree? Why/Why not?

Answer : ‘Lost Spring’ is a good narration of grinding poverty and traditions to which thousands of people have succumbed. The story revolves around the pitiable condition of poor children who have been forced to live in slums and work hard in dirty conditions. The story is divided into two parts. The first part tells the writer’s impression about the life of poor ragpickers who have migrated from Bangladesh, but now have settled in the Seemapuri area of Delhi.

The second part narrates the miserable life of the bangle makers in the town of Firozabad. The stark reality of these families is that in spite of back-breaking hard work that they put in, they cannot have two sqaure meals a day. Besides, they are victims of exploitation by those above them and also suffer the consequences of blind belief in traditions.

Question 8 : The bangle makers of Firozabad make beautiful bangles and make everyone happy but they live and die in squalor. Elaborate.

Answer : Firozabad is the hub of India’s glass-blowing industry where families have spent generations making bangles to adorn married women. The stark reality of these families is that in spite of the back breaking hard work that they put in, they cannot have two square meals a day.

They work in deplorable conditions and many lose their eyesight early in their life. To top it all, they live in unhygienic conditions where there is a lack of basic amenities.

The sad reality is that the workers cannot organise themselves into a cooperative. They are devoid of all enthusiasm and do not dare to dream of anything better for themselves. The fear of the police and lack of leadership among themselves have confined them to a cruel circle of poverty , indifference and greed. Thus, while they bring happiness to everyone’s life, their own life is steeped in poverty and squalor.

Value Based Answer Type Questions : 6 Marks (120 – 150 Words)

Question 1 : Most of us do not raise our voice against injustice in our society and tend to remain mute spectators. Anees Jung in her story, ‘Lost Spring’ vividly highlights the miserable life of street children and bangle makers of Firozabad. She wants us to act. Which qualities does she want the children to develop?

Answer :  Anees Jung wants the children to become free from the vicious cycle of poverty into which they have fallen due to the middlemen, sahukars and law enforcement officials. She wants them to be bold enough to raise their voice against their oppressors.

They should be fearless and optimistic so that they can dream of taking up other occupations, just like Mukesh, who wants to be a motor-mechanic. They should become free from their traditional occupations so that they can be free from injustice and exploitation and realise their life’s ambitions. She sees the spark of such a quality in Mukesh, who is willing to go to any lengths to become a motor-mechanic. She wants some people to help them develop these qualities so that they can take up respectable jobs which will fulfill their dreams and improve their financial condition.

Question 2 : “It is karam, his destiny.” Says Mukesh’s grandmother.

The above lines show that the bangle makers of Frozabad have lost all hope. Do you feel that a ‘God-given lineage’ can be broken.? Why or why not? Write an article in about 120 – 150 words.

Answer :

Key to Success

by Sameer

The people who have the fire of desire in their hearts create their own destiny. One will face hardships throughout his path, but only they will reach the destination who have the courage to fulfil their dreams. History and even the society we live in are replete with examples of such people who fought their unfavourable and pathetic conditions and emerged as winners. By the sheer force of determination, an individual can accomplish the tasks that seem difficult. Although the lack of opportunities is many a times a hurdle, yet a man has the ability to rise above his circumstances. The fact is that one’s occupation is not a God-given lineage. It is just a diktat made by some selfish people , and a man can break it by his strong will power. One should not forget that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Question 3 : “None of them know that it is illegal for children like him to work in the glass furnaces with high temperatures, in dingy cells without air and light.”

As citizens of this country what do you think is our duty? What steps can youngsters like you take to reduce the scourage of poverty?

Answer : Our duty as citizens of India is two-fold. Firstly, we should arrange for providing education to such children. Secondly, we should also educate their parents about the ills and dangers of making their children work in inhuman conditions.

These duties can be carried out in various ways. The youth can work with NGO’s working in this area by joining them on a part-time basis to create an awareness among both the parents and their children of their rights and duties. They can even devote some of their time for coaching the poor children.

For ensuring a better livelihood for the parents, co-operative societies can be created which provide loans to the parents to establish and run their own small businesses. The parents can also attend night schools under the adult education schemes. Here again the youth can make an important contribution by imparting education at such centres.