NCERT Solutions for Class 8 English Chapter 14 - The Comet-II

Question 1:

‘‘For a moment James wondered if he had done his sums right.’’ Why was James doubtful about his sums and calculations?


At about 1 a.m. James looked up at the sky from his window. A star-studded night greeted him. One could not even think of the calamity that was to struck the planet on such a peaceful night. This created in him doubts about his calculations.

Question 2:

What did the scientists at the conference say about James’s sums?


The scientists said that James was right in his calculations. There was no escape from the Comet Dutta’s direct hit with the Earth as predicted by him.

Question 3:

Immediate action was needed, the scientists decided. Give one example each of ‘defensive’ and ‘offensive’ action mentioned in the text.


It was suggested that people should take shelter in underground bunkers. But, this defensive action was not practical and was dismissed outright. The second suggestion was that the scientists should try to push away the comet from its path. They could do so by a powerful nuclear explosion. This was an offensive action.

Question 4:

‘‘I am not buying any Christmas presents till December 15.’’ What did Sir John mean by that?


Sir John made these remarks when Duttada asked him if they would succeed in deflecting the comet from its path. He meant to say that he was not very sure about their success.

Question 5:

What is Duttada expected to do on his return from London?


On his return from London, Duttada is expected to perform a shanti yajna arranged by his wife and his younger brother.

Question 6:

What is his (Duttada’s) reaction to the proposal (of yajna)?


Duttada refused to perform the yajna. He said that it was a meaningless ritual based on superstition.

Question 7:

What does ‘Project Light Brigade’ refer to?


Project Light Brigade refers to the task of pushing away Comet Dutta from its path. It was to be done by a powerful nuclear explosion.

Question 8:

What does Sir John say about the Project in his letter to Duttada in October?


In October Duttada receives a letter from Sir John. He writes to tell Duttada, ‘‘The charge of the Light Brigade has begun. Let us hope for the best.’’

Question 9:

Did Sir John buy Christmas presents on December 15? How did Duttada get to know about it?


Yes, Sir John bought Christmas presents on December 15. On November 18, a special messenger from the British Council brought an urgent telex message for Duttada. It read—‘‘I am confident now of buying my Christmas presents on December 15—John Macpherson.’’

Question 10:

Why, according to Indrani Debi, had the comet not been disastrous? Do you agree with her?


Indrani Debi said that the comet did not lead to any disaster because of the yajna organised by her. We don’t agree with this view because it is based on superstition. The disaster was averted by the timely action of the scientists.

Question 11:

Is Duttada’s general outlook
(i) rational? (ii) moral? (iii) traditional?
Choose the right word. Say why you think it right.


(i) rational. I think it is the right word as he opposed the 'yajna' performed by his wife and believed in the scientists.

Question 12:

Should a scientist’s findings be suppressed if they seem disturbing? Give reasons for and against the topic.


A scientist’s findings should not be suppressed even if they seem disturbing. If they are suppressed, then people will not know about the danger they are going to face and they would not be able to take precautionary measures against it. A scientist’s findings should be suppressed if they seem disturbing. If they get leaked, they may send a wave of panic throughout the world.