Detailed explanation of “Bholi”, including definitions of difficult words. In addition, the explanation is followed by a lesson summary. Also, NCERT Question and Answers are also provided to help students understand this Chapter and do well in their exams.
Bholi’ is the story of Sulekha who not only symbolises simplicity but innocence too. She is a young girl neglected by all due to her unattractive physical appearance. Education transforms her. It inspires courage and confidence in her. It gives her the strength to raises her voice fight for her rights. She stood up for her honour and self-respect in the end and rebelled against the evil practice of dowry system.
The main character of this story is a simple girl, named Bholi. Her real name is Sulekha and she is the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. She fell out of her cot when she was ten months old and probably, a part of her brain was damaged. Since then she remained a backward child. Pretty at the time of her birth, her body was disfigured and at the age of two, by an attack of smallpox. Only her eyes were saved. She learned to speak at the age of five and stammered while speaking. So , everyone made fun of her.
Bholi was the weakest child, while her brother and sisters were healthy. Her sisters, who were good looking, were married off and her brothers were sent to the city to study. Ramlal was only worried about Bholi as she was neither beautiful nor intelligent. Bholi was seven years old when a primary school was opened in their village. The Tehsildar who had come to inaugurate the school advised Ramlal to send his daughter to school to set an example for others. Bholi’s father who was a revenue officer, wanted her to study there. He sent Bholi to school even though her mother protested against it.
Dressed in new clothes, she was sent to school. Earlier she used to wear old clothes of her sisters. She was given a bath and oil was rubbed into her dry hair. Bholi was filled with fear when her father went back to village after handling Bholi to the headmistress. Happy to see other girls there, she hoped that one of them would become her friend.
The teacher in the class said something to other girls but Bholi could not understand anything. She was attracted to the colourful pictures on the wall. She was impressed by the realistic pictures of birds and animals. The teacher asked her name but Bholi was too scared to answer. She stammered and then started crying. The teacher called her lovingly and encouraged her to tell her name.This time Bholi tried to speak her name and was successful. She also asked Bholi to come to the school daily. She gave her a book with many colourful pictures in it. She also told Bholi that she would soon be able to read it and everyone would treat her with respect. Bholi was filled with hope.
As the village progressed, the primary school became a high school. When Bholi was of marriageable age, her father fixed her match with a person named Bishamber. He was 45 or 50 years old widower. He had grown up children from his first wife. Bishamber was rich man and had a big shop, house and a large bank balance. He walked with a limp. Ramlal was not happy from this proposal but his wife believed that it was the best marriage proposal for Bholi. She told Ramlal that since Bishamber was from another village, he didn’t know about Bholi’s pockmarks and lack of sense.
Bholi was not consulted when this marriage was fixed. The day of her marriage came, and Bishamber arrived with a big baraat. He was pleased with the arrangements but when Bholi’s silken veil was removed, he was shocked to see her pock-marked face. He refused to garland her, and said that the marriage would go through only if an additional five thousand rupees were given to him. He threatened to walk away from the ceremony. Ramlal was afraid of humiliation and so with tears in his eyes, he brought the money.
When Bishamber was about to garland her, Bholi flung the garland into the fire. She asked her father to take back the money and refused to marry. She very clearly told her father that she would not marry that man, who was not just only old and lame but also a mean and greedy person. An old woman now called her shameless which angered her. The Bholi replied that now she is not a dumb or a stammering fool. She took a vow never to get married. She decided that she would become a teacher and serve her parents in their old age. Her teacher who was watching all this drama approved Bholi’s decision.
|pock-marks||marks on the skin left by the small-pox disease|
|mimicked||copy the behaviour or speech of other people in order to make fun of them|
|stammered||to speak with many pauses
or repetitions because of
having a speech problem
|disfigured||spoiled or damaged|
|revenue||government receives regularly, or an amount
representing such income
|matted (of hair)||tangled into a thick mass|
|Squatted||sat on their heeds|
|scurried||to move quickly with short
|soothing||having a gently calming effect|
a tree or plant)
|to produce flowers|
|heart was throbbing||heart was beating much
harder and faster than usual due to excitement
|witless||very foolish or stupid|
|grocer||one who sells food and household goods|
|prompted||to cause (someone) to do something|
|poised||not moving but ready to move|
|humiliate||to make someone feel very
ashamed or foolish
|muttered||to speak quietly so that it is
difficult for other people to hear what you say.
|prospective||likely to be or become something specified in
|like a streak of
|contempt||a strong feeling of disregard for someone|
|thunderstruck||extremely surprised or shocked|
|contemplating||thinking deeply or carefully about something|