Friday, 29 May 2020

Sound of Music Part 2


Sound of Music  Part II
The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan


Analysis

·       ‘The Sound of Music Part Two’ is devoted to Shehnai maestro, Ustad Bismillah Khan who gave a new life to shehnai and brought it to classical stage.
·       The life story of Bismillah Khan is a true example of secular India. In spite of being a devout Muslim, he used to play shehnai and sing in temples. According to him music is above religious boundaries.
·       Bismillah Khan devoted his life to music and shehnai and for the spread of India’s cultural heritage. He passed away in 2006. His life story is a great inspiration for music aspirants.


Summary /  Synopsis

§  Emperor Aurangzeb banned ‘Pungi’ a musical instrument because of its unpleasant sound. A barber who was from a family of musicians decided to improve the tonal quality of pungi. Choosing a hollow pipe with a stem longer and broader than pungi he made seven holes on its body. When he played it in the court, soft and melodious sound was produced and every one was impressed. As it was first played by a ‘nai’ in king’s court, it was named ‘Shehnai’.    
§  Shehnai was played during wedding and in temples as it was considered to be auspicious. The credit for bringing it to the classical stage goes to Ustaad Bismillah Khan.
§  Born in a well known family of great shehnai players, Bismillah took to music early in life. As a boy Bismillah used to sing in a local temple in Dumrao, Bihar, and would earn a big laddu. He accompanied his uncle, Ali Bux who used to play shehnai in Vishnu temple in Benaras.
§  Bismillah started practising shehnai at the banks of river Ganga for hours in solitude. The flowing waters of the Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent ragas that were considered to be beyond the range of shehnai.
§  At the age of 14, he accompanied his uncle to the Allahabad Music Conference. He got his big musical break when he was chosen to give first performance on the opening of All India Radio in Lucknow in 1938. He was the first Indian to play Raag Kaafi from Red Fort in Delhi on 15 August, 1947, first Independence Day.
§  His first trip abroad was to Afghanistan where King Zahir Shah gifted him priceless carpets and other souvenirs to acknowledge his mastery. He was the first Indian to perform at the Lincoln Hall, USA. He also perfomed in Montreal, Cannes Art Festival and Osaka Trade Fair. An auditorium inTehran was named after him. He composed music for two films, Gunj Uthi Shehnai being one of them.
§  National and international awards poured on him. Padma shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna was conferred on him. He wished Indian children to learn music as it is ‘Hindustan’s richest tradition’.
§  In spite of having travelled all over the world Bismillah Khan was exceedingly fond of Benaras and Dumraon. Whenever he was away from Benaras, he missed the river Ganga and when away from Dumraon, he missed its ‘mattha’.
§  Once, his student offered him to head a shehnai school in USA, he declined it saying that river Ganga can’t be transported, there.  


Message

The life story of Bismillah Khan is beautiful message of religious unity and communal harmony. This story highlights that by learning and pursuing music and other arts we may help keep India integrated and unified.

Important Question answers

Q1. Where was shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?

Ans. In India shehnai was traditionally played at the royal courts as a part of ‘naubat’ which was the traditional ensemble of nine instruments. Later, it was being played at weddings and in temples as it was considered to be auspicious.
We are indebted to Bismillah Khan that he brought shehnai to classical stage. He improvised and invented raagas which were earlier considered to be beyond the range of shehnai. He broke the myth of shehnai not being capable to create independent tunes. He played raag Kaafi on it from the Red Fort on first Independence Day.

Q2. Find at least two examples from the chapter that tell Bismillah Khan’s love for India and Benaras.

Ans. Bismillah Khan devoted his life to worship music and spread classical music and shehnai. He encouraged Indian parents to teach their children music which he considered to be India’s richest cultural heritage. Though being a devout Muslim he played shehnai and sang at temples. For him music and Indian cultural heritage is beyond religious boundaries. When he was asked why he did not go to Pakistan after partition, he told that he couldn’t imagine of living out of India and leaving Benaras.  
He was not ready to leave Benaras at any cost. When his student offered him to head a shehnai school in USA, he declined it saying that river Ganga can’t be transported, there. Whenever he was away from Benaras, he missed the river Ganga and when away from Dumraon, he missed its ‘mattha’. He could practise shehnai at the banks of Ganga for hours in solitude. The flowing waters of Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent ragas to be played with shehnai.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wind Class 9


Wind


Analysis of the poem

§  The poem ‘Wind’ is composed by Dr. Subramania Bharati who is a Tamil poet and better known for his revolutionary poems with patriotic themes. The poem is translated into English by A. K. Ramanujam who is a Kannada and English poet.
§  The entire poem is an extended metaphor for life as the wind stands for hardships and challenges in life.
§  The poem is composed as a monologue or direct talk of the poet to the wind. 
§  Towards the end the poet brings out the central idea of the poem strong people are not affected by adversities but the weak are. The poet conveys that we should not be scared of fire rather make it their friend.
§  The poem is set in backdrop of pre independence era. It is composed to arouse patriotic emotions in the freedom fighters of India during freedom struggle.


Summary / Synopsis

·       The poem opens with a scene of destruction caused by wind. The poet asks the wind not to break the shutters of the windows, scatter the papers and throw down the books from the shelf. He asks the wind to blow softly and not to create destruction.
·       The wind brings rain and again. It crumbles weak houses, breaks the weak doors, uproots the weak trees and scares weak hearts. This way it makes fun of weak people and fragile things. the important thing to learn is that it is the friend of strong people..
·       The poet says that it is up to the wind god whether it brings destruction or shows mercy on humanity. The poet suggests the reader that to make friends with the wind we need to build strong homes with firm doors. He also suggests people be strong, both physically and mentally to combat and resist the ill effects of the wind. The last four lines of the poem tell us about the nature of the wind.
·       It blows out the fires which don’t have force, but the strong fires turn stronger by the wind. It means that the wind is supportive of those who are already strong and powerful but crushes the weak people, fragile things and infirm mind.
·       A very significant message is hidden in these four lines that strong people are not affected by adversities but the weak are. So, it is good to be a friend of the wind, which is a symbol of hardships and obstacles, because only then we will be able to face tough times.


Theme & Message

The theme is reflected in the central idea of the poem that stamina to face the hardships and challenges builds a tough character and strong personality brings revolutionary changes in his life and society.
A very significant message is conveyed through the poem that strong people are not affected by adversities and hardships whereas the weak minds get scared of strong winds of adversities. It is advisable to be a friend of wind, which is a symbol of hardships and obstacles, because only then we will be able to face tough times. The poet conveys that we should not be scared of fire rather make it their friend.


Background

The poem is set in backdrop of Pre Independence Era. It was composed to arouse patriotic emotions in the freedom fighters of India during freedom struggle. The poet tried to inspire them to let the fire of patriotism burn in their hearts and let it not be extinguished by the brutality of the British.


Poetic Devices

Wind, come softly – Personification
He won’t do what you tell him – Personification
His friendship is good – Personification
The wind blows out weak fires – Symbolism
He makes strong fires roar – Symbolism
Don’t break the shutters of the windows
  Don’t scatter the papers                                -- Anaphora                      
Don’t throw down the books                                        
crumbling houses, crumbling doors, crumbling rafters – Repetition
crumbling wood, crumbling bodies, crumbling lives – Repetition
look what you did – you threw them all down – Repetition
wind will be friends with us – Assonance
wind god winnows – Assonance
His friendship is good – Assonance  
The wind blows out weak out weak fires – Alliteration
Wind god winnows – Alliteration


Questions – Answers

Q1, What do the last four lines of the poem convey?

Ans. A very significant message is hidden in the last four lines that strong people are not affected by adversities but the weak are. Through the last four lines, the poet inspires us to be strong, firm and determined so that we may face all the hardships or obstacles in the life to come. He tells us that the wind can only extinguish the weak fires but intensifies the stronger ones. In the same way, people who do not fight against the challenges coming in their lives, they have to face the failure. On the other hand, those who stay determined and make sincere efforts to meet their goals, come out to be successful.

Q2. What does the poet mean when he says, “the wind god winnows”?

Ans. Winnowing is a process which is performed by the farmers to separate husk from the grains. The poet says that the wind god winnows the crumbling houses, weak doors, rafters and trees, frail bodies and infirm hearts from stronger ones. In the harsh winds weak things are blown away just like husk or hay but the strong things like grains stay there. This way wind separates weak people and things from the stronger ones.

Q3. What should we do to make friends with the wind?

Ans. We need to make ourselves stronger if we wish to be friend of wind. We must build strong homes with firm doors. We should also practise to make our bodies and hearts stronger not complain about harsh wind of difficulties in life. On the contrary we should thank God for giving difficulties and challenges that help us grow and make us learn how to face them.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The Lost Child


The Lost Child


Analysis

·       The story ‘The Lost Child’ is written by Mulk Raj Anand, a renowned Indo Anglian author.
·        The story is set in an Indian village and gives an authentic picture of a village with lively description of a village fair.
·        It deals with the peculiar behaviour of children and immaturity on part of youngsters who often misjudge their desires as their needs.
·        The theme of the story is ‘all that glitters is not gold’. Every attractive thing may not be important for us.


Summary  /  Synopsis

§  The little child is very happy and excited as he is going to his village fair along with his parents.
§  On his way many beautiful and attractive things catch his attention such as toys hanging in the shops, flowering mustard fields birds and insects. He wanted to buy toys and take flowers. He also wanted to catch dragonflies and play with doves. But, each time his parents said ‘no’ to him. Often he lagged behind in order to take these things and at his parents’ call he joined them.  
§  When the child reached the fair, again he was attracted by all the colourful objects and fascinating sights.
§  First the call of sweet seller caught his attention and he wanted to eat ‘burfi’ which was his favourite sweet but his parents paid no attention. Moving ahead he wanted to buy a garland of gulmohur but he didn’t express his desire as he knew that his parents would refuse it. Seeing colourful balloons and game of snake charmer, too, he suppressed his desire.
§  Then, he reached near a big round about. People were enjoying ride on it. There he could not control his desire and said, I want to go on the roundabout’. He didn’t get any response. When he turned around, he came to know that he was lost. He cried and ran in all the directions but could not find his parents.
§  A kind man in the fair heard his cry and lifted him up in his arms. He tried to pacify the child by asking him if he would take a ride in roundabout but the child requested the stranger to take him to his parents only.
§  Moving ahead the stranger offered the child to enjoy the dance of snake, take balloons, buy a garland and eat sweets. But, each time the child crying bitterly, said, ‘I want my father, I want my mother.’
§  The story is left unended by the writer with a purpose that the children and the youngsters must introspect their casual behaviour and careless attitude towards parents and other valuable things and realise their importance in life before they are lost.


Message

The message of the story is crystal clear that we need to realise the importance of things in our life before they get lost. We pine for other things that we don’t have and in this, we tend to ignore more valuable things that we have. We only realise their value in our life when that are not with us.
The writer warns against immature behaviour of children who crave for attractive things without thinking of their value and significance.


Important Question answers

Q1. In the fair the child wanted many things? What were they? Why did he move ahead without waiting for an answer?

Ans. In the fair the child was attracted towards many things and he wanted to have each one of them. First, he wanted to buy ‘burfi’ which was his favourite sweet. But, when his father got angry, he couldn’t dare ask for a garland of gulmohur, rainbow coloured balloons, music played by snake charmer and other things. Each time he moved ahead without asking and waiting for an answer as he knew that his parents would refuse.

Q2. When does the child realise that he has lost his way? How have his anxiety and desperation been described?

Ans. When the child reached a big roundabout in full swing, he could not resist his temptation to have a ride on it and he expressed his desire to his parents. He didn’t get any answer and turned around to find that his parents were not there. Then he realised that his is lost. 
Crying loudly he ran in all the directions but in vain. He got inside a crowd of people near a shrine to look for his parents. His turban got untied and clothes became spoiled. Sweating badly and weeping bitterly he called out ‘mother’ and ‘father’. When he was about to be crushed under the feet of crowd, he was lifted up by a kind man in the crowd.  


Friday, 15 May 2020

Sound of Music - Part One


Sound of Music I
Evelyn Glennie


Notes

·       A brief biographical sketch of Evelyn Glennie in ‘The Sound of Music Part One’ is beautifully drawn by Deborah Cowley who writes ‘Evelyn Glennie listens to music without hearing it’.
·       The story of Evelyn’s unshakeable determination, unfathomable dedication and perseverance is a great inspiration to the young learners and aspirants.
·       The story highlights that if we have an undying passion to achieve something, even the destiny makes way for it.


Summary /  Synopsis

§  Evelyn Glennie lived in Scotland. Sitting at railway platform she could feel the vibrations of approaching train. She was going to London as she had got admission in Royal Academy of Music, London. But her journey since her childhood upto London had been tough.
§  When Evelyn was eight years old, her mother noticed that she didn’t respond to her name being called. Her loss of hearing was gradual and when she was eleven years old, it was confirmed by the doctor that she had lost her hearing power completely. The specialists advised that she should wear hearing aids and go to the school for the deaf. But, Evelyn was determined to lead a normal life and pursue her passion for music.
§  Although she was discouraged by her teachers, her potential was noticed by the master percussionist, Ron Forbes who encouraged Evelyn to feel music through her body parts especially lower body instead of hearing it through her ears. Now, things were easy for Evelyn. She realized that she could feel various sounds through different parts of her body.
§  Evelyn pursued her passion to become a big musician. She learnt to feel music through her body parts. She got admission in the Royal Academy of Music, London and scored the highest marks in the history of the academy.
§  Evelyn evolved into a multi – percussionist and attained mastery over almost a thousand musical instruments, some of them being orchestra, drums, xylophone, piano, etc. In the year 1991, she won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious ‘Soloist of the Year’ Award.
§  In an interview, Evelyn tells that hard work and dedication towards her goal have helped achieve her goals. Evelyn gives solo performances as well as free concerts for hospitals and schools motivating the young music aspirants.
§  Evelyn’s story is an inspiration for the differently abled and the young learners who aspire to pursue music or fulfil their dreams the way she has done.

Important Question answers

Q1. How does Evelyn hear music?

Ans. Evelyn Glennie was passionate about music but unfortunately, she lost her sense of hearing by the age of eleven. Master percussionist, Ron Forbes spotted Evelyn’s talent and taught her to feel music through her other body parts specially her lower body instead of hearing it through her ears. He trained her by tuning two large drums to different notes. Now, Evelyn could sense various sounds and vibrations through different parts of her body. She could feel the higher notes produced by one of the drums through the upper part of her body, above the waist and the lower notes of the other drum through the lower part of her body, below the waist. Evelyn removed her footwear while she performed on a wooden floor so that she can feel the vibrations produced by different instruments pass through her bare feet. This way, Evelyn learnt to hear the sounds of various musical instruments.

Q2. Name the various places and causes for which Evelyn performs.

Ans. Evelyn went to Royal Academy of Music, London to study music. She made her first tour to United Kingdom with a youth orchestra, at the age of sixteen. Evelyn is a popular musician with a busy international schedule touring in most parts of the world. Apart from the regular concerts in hospitals and schools, she also does charity and does free concerts in hospitals and prisons.



Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The Road Not Taken


The Road Not Taken

Analysis of the poem

§  The poem ‘The Road not Taken’ is composed by Robert Frost who is a renowned American poet and better known for his nature poems with realistic themes.
§  The entire poem is an extended metaphor for life as two roads stand for choices offered by life and wood is presented as dilemma.
§  “The Road not Taken” begins with a dilemma ‘To be or not be” which has been a part of human existence since the mankind has evolved. Walking out, the speaker comes to a fork in the road and has to decide which path to follow.
§  the yellow leaves that cover the roads suggest that the poem is set in autumn.
§  After peering down one road as far as he can, the speaker chooses to take the other one, which he describes as ‘less travelled’ announcing that he has the courage to venture the difficult option and is willing to take the rare choice as he doesn’t wish to be a part of crowd. These lines have often been read as a celebration of individualism.
§  Frost claims he will be telling the story “somewhere ages and ages hence,” a typical beginning for a story.
§  Towards the end he brings out the central idea of the poem when he makes a confident statement, “I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” Here, he established the importance of decision making and acting upon it rather than fussing over the results.


Theme

The theme is reflected in the central idea of the poem that a single decision can transform a life as tough choice brings a revolutionary change in life and moulds a personality.


Autobiographical Element

The poem has got an autobiographical element as Robert Frost himself took a U-turn in his life. Earlier when American publishers refused to publish his poems, he moved to England where his poems got the readers and became most sought for.
After some time, he again decided to come back to his own country, USA as he wanted to be known and die as an American poet. It really needs lot of courage and faith in one’s decision. This decision of Frost sets him apart from other American poets and brings him reverence and prestige.

Poetic Devices

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – Symbolism
I took the one less travelled by – Symbolism
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood                        Anaphora
And looked down one as far as I could
Then took the other, as just as fair – Repetition
And looked down one as far as I could – Repetition
Somewhere ages and ages hence – Repetition
And that has made all the difference – Assonance
I shall be telling this with a sigh – Assonance
Because it was grassy and wanted wear – Alliteration
Though as for that the passing there – Alliteration
Oh! I kept the first for another day – Alliteration
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – Refrain


Questions – Answers

Q1. Does the poet seem happy about his decision?

Ans. We cannot tell, ultimately, whether the speaker is pleased with his choice or not as the word ‘sigh’ can be either sigh of relief or that of regret. But, the confusion is erased by the speaker when he claims that his decision has made ‘all the difference’. The speaker neither seems happy nor sad but quite confident and positive about his decision when he makes the confident statement, ‘And that has made all the difference’. He seems to be less bothered about the results and more concerned about the decision. He wants to tell the readers that he respects his decision and has confidence in his choice whatever is the result. The last line makes one thing clear that he certainly is not sorry about his decision whatever be the difference. 

Q2. What is ‘the difference’ that the poet mentions?

Ans. The reader cannot discern whether the “difference” evoked in the last line is glorious or disappointing. The word ‘difference’ itself doesn’t convey whether this choice made the speaker’s life better or worse. What is clear is that the act of choosing a different and difficult option will certainly bring a remarkable difference in his life.  ‘All the difference’ conveys the simple fact that choice is inevitable and decision making is more important. One should be ready to face the consequences – better or worse as the poet seems to be confident and respecting his decision and proving his identity as a unique person who doesn’t believe in following the crowd but be ‘diffenrent’.

Q3. Justify the significance of the title ‘The Road not Taken’.

Ans. Indeed, the title of the poem ‘The road not Taken’ is about absence. It is about the choice the speaker did not make or could not make, which still haunts him. However, Frost refuses to allow the title to have a single meaning and he quotes, ‘the road not taken also denotes the road which is less travelled and the road most people did not take, the other road which was choice of very few people’. According to him, ‘No matter which road we take, we’ll always sigh about the road not taken by us, and wish we’d taken another.”