Get summary, textual solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the chapter “The Child’s Return” by Rabindranath Tagore which is a part of Class 10 English Literature Reader syllabus for students studying under Manipur Board (BSEM).
The story begins by introducing Raicharan, a servant from the same caste as his master. Raicharan is assigned to care for his master’s infant son. He becomes deeply devoted to the boy, watching him grow from babyhood through school and college. Raicharan is the sole attendant to the boy until the master marries.
When a new mistress arrives, Raicharan loses his influence over the boy to her. This loss is compensated by the birth of a son to the master (grown boy) and his wife. Raicharan bonds closely with this child as well, playing games and speaking affectionately to him. He is ecstatic as the baby learns to crawl, walk and talk.
One day, Raicharan takes the child out in a cart. They stop near the river Padma, swollen and flooding from monsoon rains. Seeing a kadamba tree covered in flowers, the impatient boy wants to go there, but Raicharan redirects him to stay in the cart. As soon as Raicharan leaves to collect flowers, the child runs off towards the river. Returning with flowers, Raicharan finds him gone.
Despite an extensive search, the boy is not found. The grieving mother suspects he stole him because of the gold the child was wearing through his master and does not think the same. They throw him out of the house. Heartbroken, Raicharan returns to his village.
A year later, Raicharan’s wife dies giving birth to their first son. Initially Raicharan resents the baby. But the child soon resembles the master’s son in looks and mannerisms. Convinced this is the reincarnation of the child who died because of him Raicharan obsessively pampers the boy, spending all his money on finery and education.
After 12 years, Raicharan brings the boy to his old master, claiming him as the lost son. Though skeptical, the master is swayed by the wife’s immediate, emotional acceptance of the boy. But the master refuses to let Raicharan stay as he cannot trust him fully. Raicharan sadly departs after leaving his son there.
Later, when the master sends Raicharan money, it is returned with the message that no one knows Raicharan in his village. This implies that Raicharan has disappeared or died.
(A) Put (✔) marks against the correct answers:
(a) Until his master married Raicharan had
(i) no master. (ii) one master. (iii) two masters. (iv) three masters.
Answer: (ii) one master.
(b) When a child was born to Raicharan he
(i) felt resentment. (ii) felt joy. (iii) did not feel anything. (iv) knew little master was born in his family.
Answer: (ii) felt joy.
(c) Raicharan began to give too much of love to his son because
(i) he got him when he was old. (ii) he was by nature a kind and loving father. (iii) the boy had no mother. (iv) he thought it was little master born in his house.
Answer: (iii) the boy had no mother.
(d) Raicharan left Anukul’s house leaving his son there because
(i) the mistress did not want him to stay. (ii) Anukul did not want him to stay. (iii) Phailna showed no love for him. (iv) it was painful to him to see his son as Anukul’s son.
Answer: (iv) it was painful to him to see his son as Anukul’s son.
(B) Based on your reading of the story complete the following statements:
(i) When Raicharan’s master married he lost _________________.
Answer: all his former influence to the new mistress.
(ii) One afternoon the rain cleared and the little _________________.
Answer: master climbed into the go-cart, and Raicharan dragged him slowly along till he reached the rice-fields on the banks of the river.
(iii) As soon as Raicharan went to pluck the flowers the little Master _______
Answer: disappeared; no child laughed mischievously back, no scream of baby delight welcomed his return.
(iv) When Raicharan did not return the mistress grew anxious and _________
Answer: sent men out on all sides to search.
(v) Raicharan thought that the little Master could not cast off ______________
Answer: the spell of his Chan-na and therefore he had been reborn in his own house.
(vi) Raicharan’s one fault was that he kept it a secret that ___________________
Answer: the new baby was the little master reborn as his own son.
(C) Answer the following questions in a sentence each:
(i) How could Raicharan get a complete hold over Anukul’s new-born son?
Answer: Raicharan got a complete hold over Anukul’s new-born son by his unsparing attentions, such as tossing him up in his arms, calling to him in baby language, and being his sole companion day and night.
(ii) What was to Raicharan an epoch in human history?
Answer: To Raicharan, the baby beginning to toddle was an epoch in human history.
(iii) What was Raicharan doing when the search party reached him?
Answer: When the search party reached him, Raicharan was rushing up and down the field like a stormy wind, shouting the cry of despair: “Master, Master, little Master!”.
(iv) Why did Raicharan melt down his wife’s ornaments?
Answer: Raicharan melted down his wife’s ornaments to make gold bangles and anklets for the child he was bringing up as if it were the son of a rich man.
(v) How did Anukul receive Raicharan when he went to him after many years?
Answer: Anukul received Raicharan with a rush of affection but remained obdurate due to his magisterial conscience, realizing the futility of asking for proofs about the boy’s identity.
(vi) What was Phailna’s feeling when he saw that he was the son of a wealthy magistrate?
Answer: Phailna felt anger at first, thinking he had been cheated of his birthright, but upon seeing Raicharan’s distress, he asked his father to forgive him.
(vii) The money Anukul sent to Raicharan in his village came back. What does it show?
Answer: The returned money indicates that Raicharan was no longer there, suggesting he might have left the village or passed away.
(D) Answer the following questions briefly:
(i) How had Raicharan to show his ingenuity to the little Master?
Answer: Raicharan showed his ingenuity by playing the part of a horse, holding the reins between his teeth and prancing with his feet, and by wrestling with his little charge, always ensuring to fall on his back defeated at the end.
(ii) Whenever Raicharan took the little Master out for a walk what ritual Raicharan did with ceremonial pride?
Answer: Raicharan took his little Master out for walks with ceremonial pride by dressing him in finery. He would adorn the child with a yellow satin waistcoat, a gold-laced cap, and some gold bracelets and anklets before their walks. This ritual of dressing the child elaborately signified the deep affection and pride Raicharan had for the little Master.
(iii) Describe the Padma in flood.
Answer: The Padma in flood is described with a vivid intensity that conveys the river’s overwhelming power. During the rainy season, the river swells and behaves like an enormous serpent, consuming everything in its path—terraces, villages, cornfields—and covering even the tall grasses and wild casuarinas on the sandbanks. The collapse of river-banks is marked by deep thuds, and the main current’s roar is so loud it can be heard from a great distance. The swift movement of the river is further emphasized by masses of foam that are carried quickly downstream.
(iv) Why was little Master attracted to the Kadamba flower?
Answer: The little Master was attracted to the Kadamba flower because Raicharan had told him it was out of his reach, sparking the child’s determination to have it.
(v) “……….. Raicharan was at his wit’s end.” Why was Raicharan at his wit’s end?
Answer: Raicharan was at his wit’s end because he could not dissuade the little Master from wanting the Kadamba flower, which was near the dangerous water.
(vi) “The mother went so far in her wild grief as to think it possible that Raicharan himself had stolen the child.” What did the mother do?
Answer: In her wild grief, the mother accused Raicharan of stealing the child and begged him to return the baby, offering any money he asked for.
(vii) Why did Raicharan resent his child?
Answer: Raicharan resented his child at first because he saw the child as a usurper in place of the little Master, and he felt it would be an offence to be happy with his own son after the loss of his master’s child.
(viii) What are the arguments in favour of Raicharan’s belief that the little Master was born as his son?
Answer: The arguments were: the baby was born soon after the little Master’s death, Raicharan’s wife was unlikely to have a son in middle age, and the baby’s behavior and characteristics were strikingly similar to those of the little Master.
(ix) Why did Raicharan’s son not look on his father as a father?
Answer: Raicharan’s son did not look on him as a father because, although Raicharan was fatherly in affection, he still had the manner of a servant.
(x) How did Raicharan run into shortage of money?
Answer: Raicharan ran into a shortage of money because the funds from the sale of his land were exhausted, and the boy, Phailna, was continually asking for more money for clothes.
(xi) “Have you any proof.” Why did Anukul ask this question?
Answer: Anukul asked for proof because Raicharan claimed that the boy he brought to him was Anukul’s long-lost son, and as a magistrate, Anukul sought evidence to substantiate the claim.
(E) Answer the following questions in about 80 words each:
i. How was the little Master lost?
Answer: The little Master’s disappearance occurred on an afternoon when Raicharan, his caretaker, was lured away by the child’s desire for flowers from a Kadamba tree. Enticed by the river’s playful gurgling, the child left his go-cart and wandered towards the river. Raicharan returned to an empty go-cart, and despite his frantic search, the child was nowhere to be found, presumed taken by the river’s depths or possibly by passing gypsies.
ii. Bring out the mother’s reaction when she lost her son the little Master.
Answer: Upon losing her son, the mother was engulfed in a profound grief that bordered on hysteria. She was tormented by the thought that Raicharan had stolen her child for the gold ornaments he wore. In her desperation, she confronted Raicharan, begging him to return her son and offering money for his safe return. Her suspicion and sorrow were testament to the deep bond she shared with her child and the devastating impact of such a loss on a mother’s psyche.
iii. How did a change come over Raicharan with regard to his son?
Answer: Raicharan’s perspective on his son, Phailna, underwent a dramatic transformation when he began to see the little Master’s traits in the boy. Initially viewing Phailna with resentment as a reminder of the tragedy, Raicharan grew to believe that Phailna was the reincarnation of the little Master. This belief was reinforced by the boy’s similar mischievous behaviors and expressions, driving Raicharan to assume a role beyond that of a father, serving as a devoted attendant to his child with unwavering dedication.
iv. Why did Raicharan pamper the boy?
Answer: Raicharan pampered Phailna extravagantly, convinced that the boy was the rebirth of the little Master. He lavished upon Phailna all the care and attention he would have given his former charge, driven by a sense of duty and a desire to make amends for the past. Raicharan’s actions were a mix of penance and affection, as he adorned Phailna with expensive clothes and jewelry, and shielded him from outside influences, isolating himself with Phailna in a protective cocoon.
v. Why did Raicharan decide to take Phailna to Anukul’s house?
Answer: Raicharan’s decision to take Phailna to Anukul’s house stemmed from a complex blend of guilt, duty, and spiritual conviction. He saw it as his moral obligation to return the boy he believed was Anukul’s lost son. Raicharan hoped to rectify the irrevocable loss of the little Master by bringing Phailna to his supposed biological parents, thus seeking redemption for himself and fulfilling what he considered to be a divine directive.
vi. “It would be wiser to believe.” Why did Anukul decide that it would be wiser to believe that the boy Raicharan had brought was his son?
Answer: Anukul’s decision to accept Phailna as his own was influenced by several factors: the fervent and instinctive maternal bond his wife exhibited towards the boy, the recognition of the boy’s striking resemblance to their family, and the emotional atmosphere that made the quest for empirical evidence seem heartless. Additionally, Raicharan’s loyalty and the implausibility of him fabricating such a story without cause tipped the scales in favor of belief over skepticism. Anukul, faced with his wife’s elation and the improbability of Raicharan’s deceit, chose to embrace the boy as his lost son, allowing emotion and trust to guide his judgment.
(F) Complete the table by explaining the given phrases/sentences in your own words
|(i) Got a complete hold over the child
|Raicharan became the main caregiver and influencer in the child’s life.
|(ii) The disobedient wavelets themselves were running away from some greater Raicharan with the laughter of a thousand children.
|The river’s waves, personified as playful children, seemed to escape a greater authority, signifying joyful innocence.
|(iii) His faces wreathed in smile.
|Raicharan was deeply happy, his face fully brightened by a smile.
|(iv) In that terrible moment his blood froze within him.
|Raicharan felt an intense, paralyzing shock.
|(v) The magistrate in him.
|Anukul’s judicial responsibilities influenced his perspective.
|(vi) Anukul’s conscience was worse stricken than ever, when Raicharan tried to put the blame on God’s shoulders.
|Anukul felt deeply troubled by Raicharan’s attempt to attribute the child’s loss to fate.
Think and write
(i) Was the birth of Raicharan’s son really the return of the child? Justify your answer.
Answer: The birth of Raicharan’s son, Phailna, and his belief that it was the return of the child he had lost is open to interpretation. From a rational standpoint, it is unlikely that Phailna was the reincarnation of the little Master. Reincarnation, while a comforting belief for some, is not something that can be proven scientifically. Raicharan’s conviction seems to be more a manifestation of his deep guilt and longing for redemption for losing the little Master. His affection and the subsequent actions were driven by these powerful emotions rather than an actual reincarnation event.
(ii) Was Raicharan morally right in handing Phailna over to Anukul and his wife? Justify your answer.
Answer: Morally, the situation with Raicharan handing over Phailna to Anukul and his wife is complex. On one hand, Raicharan was attempting to do what he felt was righteous, guided by his belief in Phailna’s identity and his own need for atonement. On the other hand, it can be argued that Raicharan was projecting his guilt onto the situation and possibly disrupting the life of his own son based on a belief that may not have been shared by others. While his intentions were noble, the act of giving away his son without concrete evidence of the boy’s true identity could be viewed as morally questionable.
Look at these words:
waist + coat = waistcoat
corn + field = cornfield
Now combine the words in the left-hand column with another in the right-hand column to form new meaningful words:
Answer: news + room = newsroom
high + ground = highground
money + lender = moneylender
sun + set = sunset
sky + service = skyservice
river + bed = riverbed
ocean + liner = oceanliner
van + service = vanservice
team + work = teamwork
royal + palace = royalpalace
play + ground = playground
After many years Phailna comes to know the reality of his parentage. Write a paragraph about his feelings in his diary.
Answer: Date: August 25, 2043
Today I learned that I am not the long lost child of my supposed parents as I had believed all my life. The truth is that I am the biological son of their servant Raicharan.
He must have given me away to my parents Anukul and his wife out of guilt and remorse over losing their son years ago. I was too young to remember any of this.
I feel shaken to my core grasping this. I am not the wealthy magistrate’s son after all, but the child of a poor servant. It’s no wonder I never fully bonded with my father Anukul – I must have sensed something amiss deep down.
My birth father Raicharan sacrificed our relationship and gave me away, perhaps hoping I would have a better life. I wish I knew why he made that difficult choice. Most of all I wish I could have known the love of my real father before he disappeared.
This revelation leaves me rethinking my entire identity and feelings of displacement. But as heartbreaking as it is, I must be grateful to both fathers – one who raised me as his own, and the other who gave me away so I could have this privileged life. I owe it to both their memories to make the most of the opportunities I’ve been given. I will forge my own path with this new perspective on where I came from.
Extra/additional questions and answers
1. Who was Raicharan and what role did he play in Anukul’s household?
Answer: Raicharan was a servant in Anukul’s household, who came to work there at the age of twelve. He belonged to the same caste as his master and was primarily responsible for nursing Anukul’s little son. Over time, he became deeply attached to the child, dedicating himself entirely to his care.
2. How did Raicharan’s relationship with Anukul’s family change after Anukul got married?
Answer: After Anukul got married, Raicharan’s influence in the household and over Anukul diminished. He now had two masters instead of one. His focus shifted primarily to caring for Anukul’s newborn son, over whom he eventually gained complete control due to his dedicated attentions.
21. Discuss the character development of Raicharan throughout the story.
Answer: Raicharan’s character undergoes significant development. He starts as a devoted servant, becomes a loving caretaker, then a guilt-ridden father, and finally a tragic figure overwhelmed by his own convictions and actions. His journey from servitude to paternal love, followed by guilt and sacrifice, is central to the narrative.
22. What role does fate play in the story?
Answer: Fate plays a crucial role in the story, guiding the lives of the characters. Raicharan’s belief in fate and reincarnation drives his actions and decisions. The story suggests that certain events are beyond human control, emphasizing the unpredictability and inexorability of fate.
23. How are the themes of guilt and redemption portrayed in the narrative?
Answer: Guilt and redemption are central themes in the story. Raicharan’s life is governed by his guilt over losing Anukul’s son, leading him to believe that his own son is the reincarnated soul of the lost child. His attempt to ‘return’ the child to Anukul is driven by his desire for redemption.
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