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Khwaja Ahmad Abbas has written a beautiful story about the girl, “Bholi”. Bholi was targeted by everyone as she was not good-looking or intelligent due to an accidental fall and disease in her childhood. Later, she joins a school where she was motivated by her teacher who helped her in becoming a confident and learned person. Her life took a major turn when she stood against social injustice as she was asked to accept the proposal for marriage with an unequal match. She rejected the offer when she saw her father pleading in front of the groom who demanded a dowry.
Why is Bholi’s father worried about her ?
Bholi is mentally backward. She has deep black pock-marks on her body. She stammers badly. The father is worried that no one will marry such a girl.
For what unusual reasons is Bholi sent to school ?
For what unusual reasons does Ramlal send Bholi to school ?
The Tehsildar urges Ramlal to send his daughters to school. He wants him to set an example for others. But Ramlal’s wife is against sending girls to school. She thinks nobody marries girls who have been to school. But there is no chance of Bholi getting married. She is not good-looking and she lacks sense. So to get rid of her, the mother agrees to send her to school.
Does Bholi enjoy her first day at school ?
We can’t answer this question with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The teacher asks Bholi her name. Bholi stammers badly. She begins to cry. She keeps sobbing in a corner. But then the teacher calls out her name lovingly. No one has ever shown her such love. It touches Bholi’s heart.
Does she find her teacher different from the people at home ?
Yes, she finds her teacher very different from the people at home. At home, nobody cares for Bholi. Even her mother thinks her to be a burden. But her teacher shows great love and sympathy for her. She speaks to her softly. She fills her heart with a new hope and a new life.
Why do Bholi’s parents accept Bishamber’s marriage proposal ?
Bishamber is quite rich. He has a big shop, a house and a lot of money. He is not asking for any dowry. And Bholi is not good-looking. She lacks sense also. For all these reasons, Bholi’s parents accept Bishamber’s marriage proposal.
Why does the marriage not take place ?
Bishamber sees black pock-marks on Bholi’s face. He refuses to marry her unless he is given five thousand rupees. Ramlal gives him the money. But Bholi calls Bishamber a mean and greedy person. She refuses to marry him.
Bholi had many apprehensions about going to school. What made her feel that she was going to a better place than her home ?
Bholi never got any good clothes to wear. She only got the old dresses of her sisters. But that day she was given a clean dress. She was bathed. Oil was rubbed into her hair. So she felt she was going to a better place than her home.
How did Bholi’s teacher play an important role in changing the course of her life ?
Bholi was a mentally backward child. Everyone laughed at her. But her teacher brought a new hope in Bholi’s life. She filled her with confidence. Bholi refused to marry a greedy person. She decided to teach in the village school. In this way, Bholi’s teacher played an important role in changing the course of her life.
Why did Bholi at first agree to an unequal match ? Why did she later reject the marriage ? What does this tell us about her ?
Bholi did not want to bring disgrace to her family. Therefore, she agreed to marry Bishamber who was of her father’s age. But at the time of marriage, Bishamber demanded a dowry of five thousand rupees. Bholi’s father placed his turban at Bishamber’s feet. But Bishamber was adamant. At this, Ramlal brought a bundle of five thousand rupees and placed at his feet. But Bholi refused to marry a man who was so mean and greedy. This shows that Bholi was a girl of great courage and confidence. She was not ready to suffer any disgrace or injustice. She decided to serve her parents in their old age, and thus proved that girls are in no way less helpful than boys to their parents.
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 ?
Bholi’s real name is Sulekha. When she was ten months old, she fell off the cot. She fell on her head. Some part of her brain was damaged. It made her mentally backward. That was why she was called Bholi, the simpleton. She was sent to school. Her teacher showed great love and sympathy for her. She filled her with great courage and confidence. Bholi gave Bishamber a befitting treatment. Now she was no longer a girl who lacked sense. She was wise, confident, courageous and self-respecting. That is why in the end of the story, she is referred to by her real name, Sulekha — not Bholi, the simpleton.