NCERT Class 10 English Bholi

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Bholi

HER name was Sulekha, but since her childhood everyone had been calling her Bholi, the simpleton. She was the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. When she was ten months old, she had fallen off the cot on her head and perhaps it had damaged some part of her brain. That was why she remained a backward child and came to be known as Bholi, the simpleton. At birth, the child was very fair and pretty. But when she was two years old, she had an attack of small-pox. Only the eyes were saved, but the entire body was permanently disfigured by deep black pockmarks.

Little Sulekha could not speak till she was five, and when at last she learnt to speak, she stammered. The other children often made fun of her and mimicked her. As a result, she talked very little. Ramlal had seven children — three sons and four daughters, and the youngest of them was Bholi. It was a prosperous farmer’s household and there was plenty to eat and drink. All the children except Bholi were healthy and strong. The sons had been sent to the city to study in schools and later in colleges. Of the daughters, Radha, the eldest, had already been married. The second daughter Mangla’s marriage had also been settled, and when that was done, Ramlal would think of the third, Champa. They were good-looking, healthy girls, and it was not difficult to find bridegrooms for them. But Ramlal was worried about Bholi. She had neither good looks nor intelligence.

Bholi was seven years old when Mangla was married. The same year a primary school for girls was opened in their village. The Tehsildar sahib came to perform its opening ceremony. He said to Ramlal, “As a revenue official you are the representative of the government in the village and so you must set an example to the villagers. You must send your daughters to school.”

That night when Ramlal consulted his wife, she cried, “Are you crazy? If girls go to school, who will marry them?” But Ramlal had not the courage to disobey the Tehsildar. At last his wife said, “I will tell you what to do. Send Bholi to school. As it is, there is little chance of her getting married, with her ugly face and lack of sense. Let the teachers at school worry about her.”

Think about it

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

2. How did Bholi’s teacher play an important role in changing the course of her life?

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

4. 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?

Talk about it

1. 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?

2. 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 girls’ rights and boys’ rights?

3. 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.)


Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 10 English Bholi

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