Detailed explanation of “My Childhood”, 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.
This chapter is an extract taken from autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam. Wings of Fire. This chapter is about his childhood. He became the India’s eleventh President in 2002. His hard work, sincerity and dedication made him a world class Scientist. In this chapter he describes his house, family, friends and teachers. It also mentions how he earned his first wages. During his childhood, he faced religious discrimination but was able to overcome it with the support of some progressive people. The motivation given to him by his father and science Teacher to pursue his goals made him a great scientist in the future.
Abdul Kalam was born in 1931 into a middle-class Tamil family in the island town of Rameswaram in Madras. His father’s name was Jainulabdeen and his mothers name was Ashiamma. He had three brothers and one sister. Kalam’s father was not much educated but he had great wisdom and generosity. He was not rich but he provided Kalam a very secure childhood. His mother fed many poor people and outsiders everyday. The family lived in their ancestral house. It was a large pucca house, made of limestone and brick on the Mosque Street in Rameswaram. Kalam inherited honesty and self discipline from his father and faith in goodness and deep kindness from his mother.
Abdul Kalam was only eight years old when the second world war broke out in 1939.There was a great demand for tamarind seeds at that time. Kalam used to collect these seeds and got a sufficient amount by selling them at a provision store. Kalam’s brother-in-law, Jallaluddin told him stories about the war which Kalam later read in the newspaper, Dinamani. Kalam earned his first wages by working as a helper to his cousin, Samsuddin, who distributed newspapers in Rameswaram.
Kalam had three close friends in his childhood. They were Ramanadha Sastry, Aravindan and Sivaprakasan. All of them belonged to orthodox Hindu Brahmin Families. Ramanadha was the son of the high priest of the Rameswaram temple. He later took over the priesthood of the Rameswaram temple from his father. Aravindan joined the business of arranging transport for visiting pilgrims. Sivaprakasan became a catering contractor for the Southern Railwavs.
Abdul Kalam was in the fifth standard at Rameswaram Elementary school when a new teacher came to their class. Abdul was sitting next to his close friend Ramanadha Sastry in the front row. The teacher could not tolerate a Muslim boy (Kalam) sitting with a Hindu priest’s son (Ramanadha). So, he asked Kalam to go and sit on the back bench. Both Kalam and Ramanadha felt very sad about this. When Kalam went to the last row Ramanadha started crying. It had a deep and lasting impression on Kalam’s mind. Later, Ramanadha’s father called the teacher and warned him against spreading social separation among the children. The teacher felt sorry for his behaviour.
Kalam s science teacher, Sivasubramania Iyer, was a high-caste Brahmin. His wife was very conservative. On the other hand, he was very liberal and he did his best to break social barriers. One day, he invited Kalam to his house for dinner. His wife refused to serve a Muslim boy (Kalam) in her kitchen. So, the teacher himself served Kalam with his own hands and sat next to him to eat. He again invited Kalam for dinner next weekend. When Kalam went to his house the next time, Sivasubramania’s wife took him inside her kitchen and served him food with her own hands.
After the Second World War was over, India’s freedom was certain. Gandhiji urged Indians to build their own country. Kalam took his father’s permission to leave Rameswaram as he wanted to continue his studies at the district headquarters in Ramanathapuram. His father allowed him but his mother did not like it. So, his father comforted his wife by quoting Khalil Gibran. He told her that her children are not her’s but of life’s longing for itself. They came through her and not from her. She could only give her love to them and should not impose her will on them.
(1) How did Abdul Kalam earn his first wages ?
(2) Describe Abdul Kalam house in Rameswaram?
(3) Abdul Kalam had a secure childhood? Do you agree or disagree? Give reason?
(4) Why did Abdul Kalam collect tamarind seeds in 1939?
(5) How did Abdul Kalam help his cousin Samsuddin?
(6) What did Abdul Kalam’s family do during the annual Shri Sita Rama Kalayanam ceremony?
(7) What kind of life did young Abdul Kalam lead?
(8) What did Abdul Kalam learn from his parents?
(9) Give a character sketch of Abdul Kalam’s father?
(10) How did the new teacher start spreading casteism in the class ?
(11) Why did the new teacher ask Kalam to go and sit on the back bench?
(12) What happened when Abdul Kalam and Ramanadha Sastry reported the classroom matter to their respective parents?
(13) Do you think the new teacher deserved the treatment meted out of him? Why / Why not ?
(14) How did Sivasubramania Iyer’s wife behave with Abdul Kalam when he went to her house for the first time? How did she behaved the second time?
(15) How did Abdul Kalam’s science teacher react when his wife refused to serve food to Abdul in her kitchen?
(16) How did Sivasubramania Iyer teach Abdul Kalam to change the system?
(17) How did Abdul Kalam’s father console Kalam’s mother when he left Rameswaram for higher studies?
(18) Write in brief about Abdul Kalam’s classroom experience?
(19) How did the new teacher spread communal hatred among the school children?How was he corrected?
|innate||an inborn quality or feeling in one’s nature|
|austere||simple, strict and severe|
|princely sum||a large amount of money|
|anna||an old Indian coin, worth about six paise|
a sudden increase in the strength of a feeling.
|figures of authority||persons who have the power to give orders or make decisions.|
|downcast||sad or depressed|
|mingle||mix with each other|
|on par with||equal to|
|imminent||about to take place|
|unprecedented||something that has never happened before.|