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What Role Did the Author’S Father Play for Families Uprooted by the Partition? - English Language

MCQ

The summer he turned 82, my father lost his stories. He was still vibrant, garrulous and energetic, and initially, none of us noticed that his anecdotes were getting repetitive, that he was forgetting names and places, that he was confusing times and references. A man of many narratives, we listened to his oft-repeated tales, sometimes with feigned patience and sometimes with visible impatience.

Till the day the stories stopped. The words dried out. The memories disappeared. The change happened so gradually that its final suddenness took us, his immediate family by complete surprise. And when the stories dried up, the energy seemed to drain away from his soul. This loss of energy was immediately and visibly apparent as this was one trait, above all others that characterized my father.

A child of Partition, Baba had left his native Barisal in present-day Bangladesh, on the eve of this momentous event in 1947, at the age of 14. My grandmother, widowed since the birth of my father, her youngest son, decided to leave their sprawling homestead with extensive farming lands and immigrate to the yet-to-be formed republic of India, along with her four other sons. Thus, family lore tells us, she liquidated some of her assets, packed her immediate family and necessary belongings onto a steamer and sailed into the teeming, seething city of Calcutta to set up a new life.

A seminal rupture in the subcontinent, Partition had wreaked havoc among countless families, uprooted and flung far and wide without any recourse. Baba often became that recourse – his contribution making a significant difference to families struggling to survive with some degree of dignity. It seemed his experience of early loss and deprivation had in a strangely converse way, endowed him with a generosity of soul that I have yet to encounter in another person.

It was thus shocking to see this extraordinary man with the mind, heart and soul of a Colossus shorn of his spirit.

In an effort to revive his flagging interest, I urged him to start writing down stories from his life. I bought him a notebook and with great flourish announced his assignment.

Stories were my particular stock in trade. I’d nurtured an early passion for storytelling and story writing into a teaching career focussed on literacy. I used specific strategies to build a writing habit in my students, centered on the belief that we all have stories to tell. As the children became confident and joyful storytellers, their acquisition of benchmarked literacy skills outstripped that of their peers.

Could I use these same strategies to draw the forgotten stories from Baba? Would these forgotten stories, in turn, help him reconstruct a sense of self?

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from: “Her father’s memories were slipping away. She made him tell stories so that he could hold on to them”, by Ranu Bhattacharyya, Scroll, 2019.]

What role did the author’s father play for families uprooted by the Partition? 

Options

  • He acted as a source of help to them in a difficult situation through his generosity of soul.

  • He helped them find lost family members and put them in touch with them.

  • He helped them by providing food and medicines when they were in need.

  • He told them stories of their homeland since he had such a large store of stories and anecdotes.

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Solution

He acted as a source of help to them in a difficult situation through his generosity of soul.

Explanation:

The correct answer is - he acted as a source of help to them in a difficult situation through his generosity of soul. This is clear from the fourth paragraph of the passage.
There is nothing in the passage to support he helped them find lost family members and put them in touch with them or he helped them by providing food and medicines when they were in need as the correct option. While the author’s father, we are told, had a lot of stories to tell, there is nothing in the passage to indicate he told these stories to families uprooted by the Partition nor that hearing such stories helped them; therefore, he told them stories of their homeland, since he had such a large store of stories and anecdotes cannot be the correct answer.

Concept: Comprehension Passages (Entrance Exams)
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