“But at length even her patience gave way. She called Jumman and said to him: ‘My son, it is clear there is no room for me in your house. You had better give me a small allowance so that I can set up a separate kitchen.”
i) Who is ‘she’ mentioned in the extract? Why did her patience give way?
Answer : ‘She’ mentioned in the above extract is Jumman’s maternal aunt. She had been living in Jumman’s house but was not being properly looked after. She was treated very badly. Jumman’s wife said mean things to her daily. Hence, her patience gave way.
ii) Do you agree with the woman that Jumman should provide for her?
Answer : Yes, I totally agree with Jumman’s aunt that he should provide for her. She had made him her heir after the understanding that she would be looked after at Jumman’s place. But this did not happen. Jumman had betrayed her trust. He should have provided for her.
iii) Why is the woman in the extract saying that there is no room for her in Jumman’s house?
Answer : The woman in the extract, Jumman’s maternal aunt, had made Jumman the heir to her property. She had been living with him. However, after the deed was registered, she was not properly looked after. Jumman’s wife humiliated her and said mean things to her. She realised that she had no room in Jumman’s house.
iv) How does Jumman react to her demands?
Answer : Jumman reacted in a very rude and indifferent manner to her demands. He told her that money did not grow on trees. When she questioned him that how she would live, he taunted her saying that she had not conquered death which meant that she was not going to live for long.
v) How had Jumman broken his aunt’s trust?
Answer : Jumman’s aunt had made him the heir to her property thinking that she would be looked after at Jumman’s house. Everything was fine till the deal was registered. However, the moment it got registered, the aunt was subjected to humiliation and indifference. Jumman had not kept up with his promise and hence had broken her trust.
“Some said, ‘This is what justice means.’ Others, This is surely not man’s doing. God lives in the heart of the panches and directs their thoughts. How then could the panches ever be deceived?”
i) Why were the people saying such things?
Answer : People were saying such things and were praising Jumman for his sense of justice as he had risen over narrow prejudices and decided the case on the basis of facts, keeping aside his hatred for Alagu.
ii) How had justice prevailed like this earlier in the story?
Answer : Earlier in the story, the case between Jumman and his aunt was under consideration. Alagu was chosen as the head panch then. He had very close relations with Jumman but decided in favour of his aunt which was judicially correct.
iii) What was the present case in consideration of the panchayat?
Answer : The present case before the panchayat was of the tiff between Alagu and Samjhu Sahu. Samjhu Sahu had bought Alagu’s bullock saying that he would pay him in a month’s time. However, he refused to pay Alagu several months after citing the reason of the bullock’s death.
iv) Why had Samjhu Sahu chosen Jumman as the head panch?
Answer : The whole village had known the differences that had come between Alagu and Jumman after Alagu, being the head panch, had decided in favour of Jumman’s aunt. Sahu probably had thought that he would seek his revenge this time.
v) What did Jumman realise after he was made the head panch?
Answer : Once Jumman found himself in the shoes of Alagu, he realised the importance of the position that he was holding and the respect attached to it. To a panch, private feelings did not matter. All were same in the eyes of the panch. A panch had to do justice even if his family was involved in the crime.
Long Answer Type Question
Answer : Alagu Chowdhary and Jumman Sheikh were best friends. They had trust in each other and had been together since their childhood. They both had earned respect and prestige among the village folk.
Jumman had a maternal aunt. The aunt was old and in her last years transferred all of her property to Jumman on the understanding that she would be looked after at this place. Till the deed was not registered, Jumman and his wife were considerate to her. However, the moment the deed was registered, their behaviour changed towards her. They were indifferent to her needs and feelings. Jumman’s wife, Kariman, humiliated her daily and said mean things to her. Unable to bear the ill-treatment, the aunt approached Jumman and seeing that he was not going to keep his promise, she went to the panchayat with her case.
At the panchayat, Jumman was sure of his victory. He was further elated when the aunt nominated Alagu as the head panch. But Alagu could not favour his friend. He had to perform his duty and let justice be done. He tore apart Jumman in cross-examination and finally decided that Jumman must provide for his aunt. After that day their friendship snapped and they became sworn enemies.
Aalgu’s fortunes started to fall and one of his bullocks died. The other bullock was of no use to him and decided to sell it. Samjhu Sahu was keen to buy it and Alagu sold it to him upon the promise that Samjhu Sahu would pay hum money in a month’s time. But due to the harsh treatment that the bullock got at the hands of the Samjhu, its condition began to deteriorate until one day, the famished bullock was subjected to so harsh an ordeal that it died. Samjhu lost a huge amount of money and tins of ghee that day and he and his wife blamed Alagu for their misfortune. He denied paying for the bullock and the case was taken to the panchayat.
At the panchayat, Samjhu Sahu nominated Jumman as the head panch thinking that he would take revenge for what Alagu had done to him. However, when Jumman found himself in Alagu’s shoes, he realised that a panch did not know hatred or love. He must perform his justice at any cost. Thus, Jumman set aside his hatred and decided in favour of Alagu. Everybody exclaimed that it was true justice. They also said that God lived in the heart of the panch and directed him.