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INTRODUCTION: The chapter “Tea from Assam” by Arup Kumar Datta describes the journey of two friends to an Assam tea plantation Rajvir’s classmate at school in Delhi is Pranjol, a young man from Assam. Pranjol’s father is the manager of a tea garden in Upper Assam, and Pranjol has invited Rajvir to spend the summer at his home. The excerpt describes Rajvir’s experience and captures his excitement and interest as he gazes for the first time in his life upon the rolling green tea plantations.
1. What are some of the legends surrounding the discovery of tea?
Answer: There are numerous popular legends surrounding the discovery of tea. Two examples are as follows: An emperor in China was accustomed to drinking boiled water. One day, a twig from the fire fell into the pot of boiling water. It gave the drink a delicious flavour. Those are said to be tea leaves.
The second tea legend is an Indian one in which Bodhidharma, an ancient Buddhist ascetic, cut off his eyelids in an attempt to control his sleep during meditations. Ten tea plants sprouted from these eyelids. When the leaves of these plants were steeped in hot water and drunk, they helped to keep sleep at bay.
2. What kind of scenery did Rajvir see as he sat on the train?
Answer: The scenic beauty of the area captivated Rajvir. On both sides of the road, there were vast green tea gardens. The tall trees in the forest behind the gardens on the rolling hills looked lovely. The women picking tea leaves resembled dolls. On his way, he noticed people drinking tea. He also noticed an unsightly structure with smoke billowing from its chimneys. Mrs and Mr Barua greeted Rajvir and drove him to Dhekiabari Tea Estate. There were acres and acres of neatly pruned tea bushes on both sides of the gravel road. It was the second germination period. Women wore plastic aprons and plucking new tea leaves to place in bamboo baskets on their backs.
3. Where were Pranjol and Rajvir going?
Answer: They were going to Assam. Assam was Pranjol’s home state. He was enrolled in a Delhi high school. His classmate was Rajvir. Pranjol’s father ran a tea garden in Upper Assam. During the summer vacation, Pranjol invited Rajvir to his house. They both took a train from Delhi to Assam.
4. What did Rajvir tell Pranjol about the discovery of tea?
Answer: According to Rajvir, no one knows who discovered tea. He told Pranjol that there were numerous legends surrounding the discovery of tea. According to one legend, tea was discovered by chance by a Chinese emperor. Before drinking water, he always boiled it. A few leaves from the twigs burning beneath the pot fell into the water one day. As a result, the boiled water acquired a delectable flavour. They were said to be tea leaves.
Another Indian legend has it that Bodhidharma, an ancient Buddhist monk, fell asleep during his meditations. As a result, he severed his eyelids. Ten tea plants sprouted from the eyelids. When the leaves of these plants were steeped in hot water and drank, they were said to ward off sleep.
Tea is thought to have been first consumed in China around 2700 B.C. ‘Chai’ and ‘chini’ are both Chinese words. Tea first arrived in Europe in the sixteenth century. It was originally used as a medicine rather than a beverage.
5. Why was Rajvir more excited than his friend Pranjol?
Answer: Rajvir was more excited than his friend Pranjol Rajvir as he was seeing tea gardens for the first time. The beautiful scenery fascinated Rajvir. However, Pranjol was not so much excited as these views were not new to him. He was born and brought up on a tea plantation.
6. When was tea first consumed in China, and when did it make its way to Europe?
Answer: Tea was first consumed in China around 2700 B.C., and it made its way to Europe in the sixteenth century A.D.
7. Describe the tea pluckers in the tea garden?
Answer: The tea pluckers wore plastic aprons and carried bamboo baskets on their backs. They harvested the newly sprouted tea leaves from the tea bushes.
8. What do you mean by the term “second flush”?
Answer: In the tea industry, flush refers to the various tea-growing seasons that occur throughout the year. The second flush is the time of year when tea bushes sprout new leaves, which are then plucked and used to make tea.
9. List three benefits of drinking tea.
Answer: Three benefits of drinking tea are:
i. Because tea contains caffeine and theanine, it helps to increase mental alertness.
ii. Because green tea contains antioxidants, it helps prevent heart disease and combats oxidative stress in the brain.
iii. Tea also has powerful anti-cancer properties and aids in the prevention of various types of cancer.
10. Write a short note on the history of tea cultivation in Assam.
Answer: Assam’s association with tea dates back to 1823, when Robert Bruce, a merchant and soldier, discovered the tea plant in the state. As a result, the East India Company developed a trade-in Assam tea. The Assam Company, founded in 1839 and headquartered in Nazira, is Assam’s oldest operating commercial tea company. Among Indians, however, it was Maniram Dewan, an Assamese nobleman, who pioneered tea cultivation in Assam. As a result, many locals began to establish their own plantations.
Following India’s independence, Indian conglomerates such as Birla and Tata entered the fray and became producers of the coveted ‘Assam Tea.’ Assam’s tea industry has come a long way since 1823. According to the Directorate of Tea, the state has approximately 28,000 small tea gardens and produces 480 million kilogrammes of tea per year on average.
11. What exactly does the term “plantation” mean? Name a few other plantation crops. Learn about the states in India where tea is grown.
Answer: A plantation is a large, artificially established forest, farm, or estate where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets. Coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rubber, oil palms, and other plantation crops are examples.
Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Bihar, and Orissa are among the Indian states where tea is grown.
12. Pranjol was from which state?
Answer: Pranjol was from Assam, a state in India’s north-eastern region.
13. What was Pranjor’s father’s occupation?
Answer: Pranjol’s father was the manager of a tea garden in upper Assam.
14. Where were Pranjol and Rajvir going?
Answer: On their summer vacation, they were going to Assam to visit Pranjol’s family.
15. How many cups of tea are consumed each day in the world, according to Rajvir?
Answer: According to Rajvir, over eighty crore cups of tea are consumed every day around the world.
16. When was the first time tea was consumed in China?
Answer: Tea was first consumed in China around 2700 B.C.
17. Why did Bodhidharma cut off his eyelids?
Answer: He had his eyelids cut off because he was sleepy during meditation.
18. How long does the second flush or sprouting period last?
Answer: May to July is the second sprouting period.
19. What distinguishes tea pluckers from other farm labourers?
Answer: Tea pluckers are not like other farm labourers. In the tea gardens, the women plucking tea leaves resemble dolls. They dress in plastic aprons and carry baskets on their backs to hold tea leaves.
20. Which tea is regarded as the best? Why?
Answer: Because it has the highest concentration of tea plantations in the world, Assam tea is considered the best tea. The weather and environmental conditions are ideal for growing tea plants here.
21. How did tea come to be such a popular beverage?
Answer: Tea is unquestionably a globally popular beverage. Every day, more than eighty crore cups of tea are consumed around the world. Every platform in India has vendors yelling “Chai-garam.” People can’t stop buying steaming hot cups of tea.
22. What did Rajvir notice at Pranjol’s father’s Dhekiaban tea estate?
Answer: Pranjol’s father managed the tea estate at Dhekiabari. Rajvir noticed acres and acres of tea bushes on both sides of the gravel road. They had all been pruned to the same height. Tea-pluckers in plastic aprons were plucking the newly sprouted leaves in groups. It was the second germination period.
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