Jina and Etiben: NBSE Class 10 English summary and answers

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Get here the summary and solutions of the chapter Jina and Etiben. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.


The poem “Jina-Etiben, A Romance Retold” is based on an Ao legend and is written by Nabina Das. In this poem, the poet tells the story of two an unforgettable lovers Jina-Etiben who despite every circumstance that was against them continued to remain in love and became the paramount example of true love.

There is an old village named Mopongchuket in Mokokchung district of Nagaland where Jina and Etiben lived. They loved each other very much and wanted to spend their lives together. Jina was ravine-hearted among all men and Etiben was amber faced and charming girl. That two lovers would meet in the mountains and near the water holes where Jina would play his Kota-Kongki and Etiben would clean her ornaments of gold. One day, Etiben’s parents came to know about their love and demanded dowry of cows and oxen from Jina for Etiben’s hand. As Jina was poor, he failed to fulfill the dowry demand of her parents.

In the meantime, a rich man named Tenyur appeared with cows and oxen and asked for Etiben’s hand from her parents. The parents agreed and Etiben got married to Tenyur though they tried all they could to stop the marriage from happening. Etiben even pretended to be ill to postpone the marriage, but all failed. The two lovers wear separated.

After the marriage, however, Etiben felt like a caged beast in her new home with Tenyur and continued to think about her lover Jina and soon they started meeting again until they were discovered by Tenyur.

After the discovery, Tenyur beat Etiben black and blue and left her unconscious in the field on the crops. Jina came to know about this and nursed Etiben very carefully. He stayed at her side secretly night after night and tried his best to console her. However, Etiben succumbed to her injuries. Jina too died soon after because of all the grief of the separation. Before the death of the lovers, they had promised each other to meet in the Netherworld.

When the villages were burning the dead bodies, they watched in awe two smokey figures rising high up in the sky holding hands that resembled Jina and Etiben.

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Textual questions and answers

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Read the line from the poem:

Shining like emerald and sparkling jade

Which the figure of speech is used in the line?

A. simile B. metaphor C. personification D. alliteration

Answer: A. simile

2. Which figure of speech is used in the following line?

Beckoning birds and beasts to sing with their souls

A. onomatopoeia B. alliteration C. metaphor D. personification

Answer: D. personification

3. Which word means a deep narrow gorge with steep sides?

A. mountain B. valley C. hills D. ravine

Answer: D. ravine

4. Which of these meanings best explains the word ‘vice’ as used in the poem?

A. immoral or wicked behaviour B. a weakness of character or behaviour C. a shortcoming D. one who acts in the place of

Answer: B. a weakness of character or behaviour

5. What does the poem teach about true love?

A. True love is more precious than riches. B. True love does not fade with time. C. True love will endure to the end. D. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above

Reference to Context

1. The mountains of Mopongchuket
Shining like emerald and sparkling jade
The hills of the Ao that echo like gongs
And even today call out in songs
To follow the jaunty footprints
And the eternal loving glint
In the eyes of the amber-faced Etiben
And the ravine-hearted Jina,
man among men!

a) What are the mountains of Mopongchuket compared to?
b) The hills of Ao echo. Why do they do so?
c) What do the hills celebrate and sing about even today?
d) Jina is called ‘man among men’. What aspect of his character does this refer to?

Ans: a) The mountains of Mopongchuket are compared to emerald and sparkling jade.

b) The mountains do so to follow the footprints of Jina and Etiben and their eternal love.

c) The hills celebrate and sing the songs about the lovers Jina and Etiben that they witnessed.

d) Jina is called ‘man among men’ because he was a man of his words. Regardless of the circumstances, he never left Jina.

2. They fell in love, so rich and pure
It washed away Jina’s vice of being poor
Across the vales and
hills they sang
Of an eternal wish of togetherness like swans
In love’s tide to swim forever and ever
Sharing heart’s bounty, to lose each other never.

a) Who is ‘they’ in these lines?
b) What are they compared to? Why?
c) What was their intent?

Ans: a) They in these lines are Jina and Etiben.

b) Jina is compared to a ravine because he was strong and bold. Etiben is compared to amber because her face was as bright as gold.

c) Their intent was to live together like swans.

3. Tenyur the rich man’s son coveted Etiben
He came with the dowry before Jina did
No one ever heard Jina’s heart plead
Not the parents, no friends, no gods saw the pain.

a) Who was Tenyur?
b) What did he do? Why?
c) How did Jina feel?

Ans: a) Tenyur was a rich man who was cruel and inhuman.

b) He came to meet Etiben’s parents with the dowry. He did so because he wanted to marry Etiben.

c) Jina felt devastated that Etiben had to marry Tenyur because he loved her with all his heart.

4. His anger poured
Etiben who he beat unconscious
Almost taking that breath from her precious
Left her lying among the helpless crops

a) Who was angry?
b) Why was he angry?
c) What did he do in anger?

Ans: a) Tenyur was angry.

b) He was angry because he discovered his wife Etiben and her lover Jina meeting secretly in the fields.

c) In anger, he beat Etiben mercilessly and left her unconscious among the crops.

5. A married woman who could never know another
Neuer love, never court and never at all gather
The pearls of happiness in a home that’s a cage
She was worse than a beast in separation and rage.

a) Who is the married woman referred to in Line 1?
b) Why is her home described as a cage?
c) Pick out a simile in the above extract.

Ans: a) The married woman is Etiben.

b) Her home is described as a cage because she was not happy there, had to spend most of her time inside it and was away from Jina.

c) In the above extract, comparing the home to a cage is a simile.

6. As the villagers smoked the lover’s bodies
For the last rites, they
watched in silent awe
At the tuso smokes rising high up in the air
Holding hands in
mingled ecstasy
spirits riding the valleys of peace.

a) Explain ‘as the villagers smoked the lover’s body’.
b) Why did they watch in silent awe?
c) Pick out the antonym of the word ‘agony’.

Ans: a) By ‘as the villagers smoked the lover’s bodies, the poet means that as the villagers cremate the bodies of Jina and Etiben.

b) They watched in silent awe because they witnessed two smokey forms rising up in the air and holding hands.

c) Peace.

Read and Write

1. Etiben’s parents disapproved of the idea of their daughter marrying Jina because
a) he was poor.
b) he belonged to a different tribe.
c) he did not have a good reputation.

Ans: a) He was poor.

2. They asked him to bring a dowry if he wanted Etiben’s hand. What was the dowry that they asked for? What was their intention?

Ans: The dowry that they asked for were cows and oxen. Their intention was to separate Jina and Etiben as Jina was poor and he would certainly fail to get the dowry.

3. Briefly summarise the end of the story.

Ans: Towards the end of the story, Eitben falls gravely ill after she was beaten mercilessly by Tenyur and Jina stayed by her side throughout her illness. He gave her all the comforts he could till she died singing a song in which she asked Jina if he would marry her in the Netherworld. She said that she would wait for him there.

Jina assured her that he couldn’t help but hurry to be there together. Etiben died and Jina fell so sick after her death that he didn’t survive too. After their death, the villagers cremated their bodies together and witnessed in awe two smoky human figures rising in the air while holding their hands. Jina and Etiben were finally together.

Think and Answer

1. Look at the adjectives in the box. Some of them describe Tenyur while the others describe Jina. Select the words and make pen portraits of the two men. Substantiate your answer with suitable examples from the poem.

brave, kind, cruel, caring, suspicious, jealous, brutal

Answer: Tenyur is portrayed as ‘cruel’ and ‘brutal’ based on his actions in the poem, particularly how he treats Etiben with violence. This is evident when he beats Etiben unconscious out of anger. On the other hand, Jina is depicted as ‘brave’ and ‘caring’. He is shown to be brave as he stands by Etiben even in difficult situations, like when he comes to her aid after she is beaten. His caring nature is seen in how he continues to support and be with Etiben, despite the challenges they face.

2. Although Etiben was married to Tenyur she continued to meet Jina. Do you think Etiben was wrong in doing so? Why/Why not? Justify your answer with suitable reasons.

Answer: The morality of Etiben’s actions can be subjective and depends on various factors. On one hand, it can be argued that she was wrong, considering she was married to Tenyur, and meeting Jina could be seen as infidelity. On the other hand, her marriage to Tenyur was forced and against her wishes, and she continued to love Jina, which could justify her actions. The context of her situation, including the lack of autonomy in her marriage and her enduring love for Jina, play a crucial role in evaluating her actions.

3. Was Tenyur’s reaction justified? Why do you say so?

Answer: Tenyur’s reaction was not justified. While he might have felt betrayed by his wife’s actions, responding with violence is not an acceptable or justified response. There are other ways of resolving issues, such as through discussion, counseling, or confiding in family elders. Violence cannot be condoned as a means of addressing relationship issues or personal grievances. The use of physical force, particularly to the extent of causing harm, is both morally and legally unacceptable.


1. Etiben and Jina are popularly known as the Romeo and Juliet of Nagaland. To what extent would you agree with this? Why do such romantic tragedies appeal to readers?

Answer: I agree to a large extent that Etiben and Jina can be compared to Romeo and Juliet. Like them, Etiben and Jina were caught in a feud between their families and communities, and their love story ends tragically. Such romantic tragedies appeal to readers because of the themes of forbidden love, sacrifice, and the triumph of love over social barriers and death.

2. A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. Traditional ballads are typically of unknown authorship, having been passed on orally from one generation to the next. It is a popular form of folklore. What elements of a ballad can you trace in this poem?

Answer: This poem exhibits several elements characteristic of a ballad. Firstly, it narrates a story, focusing on the tragic love tale of Etiben and Jina. Secondly, it employs simple language and repetition, which are typical of traditional ballads. The poem also incorporates dialogue and dramatic events, further aligning with the ballad form. These elements combine to create a narrative that is both engaging and emotionally resonant, typical of ballads.

3. A tower commemorating this story is a prominent feature of the village of Mopungchuket. You have been asked to compose an epitaph for the two lovers to be put up on the tower. What would you write?

Answer: Here lies Jina and Etiben
Two star-crossed lovers, their love forever forbidden
In life kept apart, in death reunited
Their legend eternally celebrated in song

Extra MCQs

1. What are the names of the two lovers in the story?

A. Romeo and Juliet
B. Etiben and Jina
C. Akala and Augustine
D. Heer and Ranjha

Answer: B. Etiben and Jina

2. What does the line “Jina’s vice of being poor” suggest?

A. Jina was immoral.
B. Jina was not wealthy.
C. Jina had bad habits.
D. Jina had a bad temper.

Answer: B. Jina was not wealthy.

3. How does the poem describe Etiben’s physical beauty?

A. As having amber-faced
B. As having raven dark hair
C. As having sparkling eyes
D. As graceful as a swan

Answer: A. As having amber-faced

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22. The hills are said to echo like:

A. Drums
B. Harps
C. Gongs
D. Flutes

Answer: C. Gongs

Extra questions and answers

1. They made it sure to meet in the fields
When Tenyur was away from Etiben’s heels
Jina came with a piglet, just a clever front
To meet his ladylove, to have his face gaunt
Light up and fill with the brightest smile
O, for
Etiben he could cover thousand miles!

a) Where did the lovers meet?
b) What did Jina do? Why?
c) What was the hurdle on their way?

Ans: a) The lovers met in the fields, near the vales and mountains and the riverside.

b) Jina came to met Etiben with the piglet as a clever front to escape prying eyes.

c) The hurdle on their way was Tenyur.

2. Why is Jina referred to as ‘ravine-hearted’?

Ans: Jina is referred to as being ‘ravine-hearted’ because he was very strong and bold.

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40. Why did Etiben and Jina’s attempts to delay her wedding to Tenyur fail?

Answer: Etiben pretended to be severely ill and even collapsed during the wedding procession to try to delay and prevent her marriage to Tenyur. But none of their tricks worked because Etiben’s parents were determined to wed her to the wealthy Tenyur against her wishes and did not care about her love for Jina.

41. What is the symbolic significance of the two smokes rising from the lovers’ funeral pyres?

Answer: The mingled smoke from Jina and Etiben’s funeral pyres rising together in the air holding hands symbolises the union of their spirits and their everlasting love even in death. This imagery conveys the message that their powerful bond can never be broken.

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