The Martyr’s Corner: AHSEC Class 12 Alternative English notes

The Martyr’s Corner
Share with others

Get summaries, questions, answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF and guide of Class 12 (second year) Alternative English textbook, chapter 4 The Martyr’s Corner by R.K. Narayan, which is part of the syllabus of students studying under AHSEC/ASSEB (Assam Board). These solutions, however, should only be treated as references and can be modified/changed. 

If you notice any errors in the notes, please mention them in the comments


“The Martyr’s Corner” is a short story that highlights the thriving business of a food vendor named Rama and the detrimental effect a political riot has on his trade. The story opens with a description of Rama’s ‘establishment’, a makeshift stall he sets up at a key intersection on Market Road. Between eight and ten each evening, he sets up his stall, sells his goods, and leaves, earning ten rupees. This tidy sum of three hundred rupees a month was more than many graduates of the time earned, leading some to comment on Rama’s earnings without recognising the hard work he put in daily.

At 8:15 every evening, Rama arrives at his spot, laden with so much that it seems he has four arms. His display, primarily a variety of snacks, is so enticing that no one can pass without a longing glance. The story emphasises the prime location of his stall, which is crucial to his business success. Positioned to attract cinemagoers, it is also easily accessible to the pavement’s diverse crowd—boot-polish boys, beggars, grass-selling women, and jutka drivers. It seems as if all the local earnings end up with Rama by day’s end. His customers are loyal, drawn by the low prices and the freedom to scrutinise the items before buying. Despite flouting hygiene norms, his patrons are unconcerned. Rama also shows sharp business acumen by keeping policemen and health officials at bay with occasional packets of his snacks. In short, he and his wife lead a happy and contented life. Narayan vividly and empathetically depicts a typical small town in post-independent India.

However, Rama’s routine is disrupted by an unexpected event. One evening, he arrives to find a fight brewing between two factions. The political fight escalates into chaos as knives are drawn, soda bottles are thrown, and shops are looted. The police initially try to control the situation but eventually open fire, resulting in casualties. The next day, Rama is forced to set up his stall further away and does not foresee the worsening situation. After order is restored, Rama is prevented from returning to his usual spot by young men claiming the municipality has allocated the corner for a memorial to their leader, who died in the riot. Forced to move two hundred yards down the road, Rama loses his regular customers.

With dwindling patrons, his earnings decline, and one night, he tells his wife their business is over. He takes a job as a waiter in a restaurant, sometimes finding solace in reminiscing about his days as a food vendor.

Register Login

Textbook solutions

State whether True or False

1. Rama liked serving women.

Answer: False

2. Rama lived in a lane behind the market.

Answer: True

3. Soda bottles were used as missiles during the riot.

Answer: True

4. Rama came in time to catch the cinema crowd coming out after the night show.

Answer: False

Answer these questions in one or two words

1. What did Rama give free with every item?

Answer: Chutney

2. Whose arm searched for the perfect duck’s egg?

Answer: Wrestler’s

3. Where did Rama sleep?

Answer: Pyol

4. How much did four chappatis cost?

Answer: One anna

5. Where did Rama work as a waiter?

Answer: Restaurant Kohinoor

Answer these questions in a sentence or two

1. At what time did Rama wake up every day?

Answer: Rama woke up when the cock in the next house crowed, sometimes as early as three in the morning.

2. What did Rama sell?

Answer: Rama sold an assortment of edibles including bondas, dosais, chappatis, duck’s eggs, and coffee.

3. Who were Rama’s customers?

Answer: Rama’s customers included the cinema crowd, boot-polish boys, blind beggars, grass-selling women, and jutka-drivers.

4. Why did the riot break out?

Answer: The riot broke out over a fight regarding votes or something related, which escalated into a larger conflict.

Answer these questions briefly

1. Why did Rama’s customers like him?

Answer: His customers liked him because he provided coffee for six pies and four chappatis for an anna.

2. Briefly describe Rama’s attitude towards the boot-polish boys.

Answer: Rama had a soft corner in his heart for the boot-polish boys. He felt pain seeing their hungry, hollow eyes and the rags they wore, and he felt unhappy about their half-starved state.

3. Why did Rama have to move his stall two hundred yards away?

Answer: Rama had to move his stall two hundred yards away because young men wearing badges claimed that the corner was a holy spot where their leader fell and the municipality had handed it over to them for erecting a monument.

4. What did Rama’s wife do upon his arrival at night?

Answer: Upon his arrival at night, Rama’s wife opened the door, took all his encumbrances, pulled out his cloth bag with cash, and counted the money immediately.

Answer these questions in detail

1. Describe, in detail, how Rama’s business was finished.

Answer: Rama’s business began to decline when a political riot erupted at his usual spot. A crowd had gathered, leading to a chaotic situation where knives were brandished, and soda-water bottles were used as missiles. The police intervened, using tear gas and eventually opening fire, which resulted in several casualties. The next day, Rama found his corner guarded by police, forcing him to set up his stall at a farther spot. Even after normalcy returned, he was prevented from returning to his usual spot by young men who claimed the place for a memorial. This forced him to move two hundred yards away, out of sight of his regular customers. As his earnings dwindled and he started carrying back remnants, he realized his business was finished. Eventually, he put away his equipment and took a job as a waiter at Restaurant Kohinoor .

2. Do you think that Narayan has depicted many aspects of typical Indian way of life? Write a persuasive answer.

Answer: Yes, Narayan has depicted many aspects of typical Indian way of life in “The Martyr’s Corner.” The story vividly portrays the bustling market scenes, the importance of location for street vendors, and the daily struggles of small-time entrepreneurs like Rama. It highlights the socioeconomic diversity of the population, including boot-polish boys, beggars, and grass-selling women, all of whom contribute to the local economy. The narrative also touches on the impact of political unrest on ordinary lives, showing how riots can disrupt business and livelihoods. Furthermore, Narayan illustrates the communal spirit and the informal support systems among the poor, such as Rama’s sympathetic attitude towards the boot-polish boys and beggars. The detailed descriptions of food items like bondas, dosais, and chappatis, and the practice of giving chutney gratis with every item, reflect the cultural and culinary habits of South India.

Extra True or False

1. Rama’s establishment is located at the junction between Market Road and the lane leading to the chemist’s shop.

Answer: True

Missing answers are only available to registered users. Please register or login if already registered

21. Rama’s establishment was frequented by boot-polish boys, beggars, grass-selling women, and jutka-drivers.

Answer: True

Extra questions and answers

1. What time does Rama set up his stall every evening?

Answer: Rama sets up his stall at 8:15 in the evening..

Missing answers are only available to registered users. Please register or login if already registered

25. Discuss how Narayan portrays the socio-economic conditions of the various characters who frequent Rama’s stall.

Answer: Narayan depicts a vibrant, yet struggling lower socio-economic class through characters like boot-polish boys, beggars, and grass-selling women. These characters live hand-to-mouth, reflected in their eagerness for Rama’s affordable snacks. Rama himself represents the hardworking, small-scale entrepreneur whose livelihood is precarious and vulnerable to socio-political disruptions. The story highlights the interconnectedness and fragility of their economic existence.

Get notes of other boards, classes, and subjects

Custom Notes ServiceQuestion papers

Share with others

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Only registered users are allowed to copy.