At the High School: BSEM Class 10 English (Course) notes

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Get summary, textbook solutions, questions, answers, notes, pdf, and extras to the chapter “At the High School,” which is a part of Class 10 English (Course Book) syllabus for students studying under BSEM. The notes should, however, only be seen as references only and changes should be made according to needs.

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Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, shows the path of righteousness through his autobiography, “My Experiments with Truth.” In this excerpt, he recounts his experiences as a school student.

Gandhi says he was not considered a dull student at the high school and enjoyed the affection of his teachers. He would receive certificates of progress and character every year and even win scholarships in the 5th and 6th standards, which he attributes more to luck than merit as the scholarships were reserved for the best students from his region of Kathiawad.

Though he won prizes, Gandhi says he did not have a high regard for his own abilities and was astonished when he earned awards and scholarships. However, he was very protective of his character; even a small blemish would bring tears to his eyes. He recalls receiving corporal punishment once when in the 1st or 2nd standard, which was extremely difficult for him to bear.

There was another incident in the 7th standard when the headmaster, Mr. Gimi, who emphasised physical training like gymnastics and cricket, punished Gandhi. Gandhi disliked these activities due to his shyness and a false notion that gymnastics had nothing to do with education. He asked to be exempted from gymnastics so he could immediately go home after school to serve his father, but Mr. Gimi refused.

One day, Gandhi miscalculated the time and was late reaching school for gymnastics after it had ended. The next day, Mr. Gimi accused Gandhi of lying about being late and fined him a small amount. This pained Gandhi deeply, as there was no way for him to prove his innocence. He realised “a man of truth must also be a man of care,” and this was his first and last instance of carelessness in school.

Another neglect Gandhi regrets from his youth is not learning good handwriting, something he realised was an important part of a complete education after seeing the beautiful penmanship of others later in life.

Gandhi says that while he lost one year due to his marriage, an industrious student was allowed to skip a class to make up for the loss. So he was promoted directly to the 4th standard after just 6 months in the 3rd. However, with English becoming the medium of instruction from 4th standard onwards, he found it very difficult to follow subjects like geometry. But through persistence, he eventually understood the inherent simplicity and logic of geometry.

Sanskrit also proved tough, as Gandhi thought it required memorization, unlike geometry’s use of reasoning. The Sanskrit teacher’s affection and persuasion prevented Gandhi from dropping the subject for the easier Persian. However, Gandhi deeply regrets not gaining greater proficiency in Sanskrit, as he later realised the importance of learning Sanskrit and other classical languages like Hindi, Persian, and Arabic in India’s educational curriculum, along with the vernacular languages and English.

In conclusion, the excerpt provides an insightful glimpse into Gandhi’s formative years, his academic struggles, core values like truthfulness and character, and the importance he gave to physical education, good handwriting, and learning classical languages as part of a complete education.

Textbook solutions

Answer the following questions in one sentence

i. How did Gandhiji’s teacher treat him? 

Answer: With affection and regard for his character. 

ii. Who was the headmaster when Gandhiji was in the seventh standard? 

Answer: Dorabji Edulji Gimi. 

iii. What sort of punishment did Gandhiji receive when he was in the first or second standard? 

Answer: Corporal punishment. 

iv. Why did Gandhiji not take part in any exercise, cricket, or football? 

Answer: Due to his shyness and a false notion that gymnastics had nothing to do with education. 

v. What was the false notion Gandhiji had about gymnastics? 

Answer: That gymnastics had nothing to do with education.

Answer the following questions briefly

i. How was Gandhiji benefited by his habit of taking long walks in the morning? 

Answer: Gandhiji’s habit of taking long walks in the morning bestowed him with a fairly hardy constitution.

ii. What was the reason of Gandhiji’s dislike for gymnastics? 

Answer: Gandhiji disliked gymnastics because it interfered with his keen desire to serve as a nurse to his father, a duty he prioritised immediately after school, which compulsory gymnastics directly obstructed. 

iii. How was Gandhiji convicted of lying and what was the effect of it on him? 

Answer: Gandhiji was wrongly convicted of lying about his absence from school due to misjudging the time, a mistake he deeply agonised over, leading to a realisation that a man of truth must also be a man of care. 

iv. How did geometry become both easy and interesting for Gandhiji? 

Answer: Geometry became both easy and interesting for Gandhiji when the simplicity of the subject was revealed to him upon reaching the thirteenth proposition of Euclid, showing him that the subject required only the pure and simple use of reasoning. 

v. ‘The fear of the double discredit kept me at my post’. What was the double discredit Gandhiji referred to? 

Answer: The double discredit Gandhiji referred to was the potential disrepute not only to himself but also to his teacher, who had recommended his promotion based on Gandhiji’s industriousness, if he failed to cope with the advanced studies. 

vi. What did Gandhiji find in geometry when he reached the thirteenth proposition of Euclid? 

Answer: When Gandhiji reached the thirteenth proposition of Euclid, he discovered the utter simplicity of geometry, realising that it was a subject that required merely the straightforward application of one’s reasoning abilities. 

vii. What tempted Gandhiji to choose Persian instead of Sanskrit? What did the Sanskrit teacher say when he saw Gandhiji sitting in the Persian class? 

Answer: Gandhiji was tempted to choose Persian over Sanskrit due to its perceived ease and the leniency of the Persian teacher. When the Sanskrit teacher noticed Gandhiji in the Persian class, he appealed to Gandhiji’s cultural and religious identity, urging him to return to the Sanskrit class with a promise of engaging and meaningful learning. 

viii. ‘In fact I deeply regret..’Why did Gandhiji feel regret about leaving Sanskrit class and what did he say about learning it? 

Answer: Gandhiji felt regret about initially leaving the Sanskrit class because he later recognised the importance of acquiring a thorough knowledge of Sanskrit to appreciate the sacred texts of his religion. He lamented not learning the language more extensively, underscoring its significance for every Hindu boy and girl. 

ix. What was Gandhiji’s opinion about Indian curricular of higher education? 

Answer: Gandhiji opined that Indian curricula of higher education should include Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English, and the vernacular to ensure a comprehensive linguistic and cultural education. He believed that a scientific approach to learning one language could ease the acquisition of others, making such an extensive linguistic education both feasible and enjoyable.

Give antonyms of the following words

  • Dunce — Genius 
  • Affection — Indifference 
  • Merit — Demerit 
  • Bearable — Unbearable 
  • Compulsory — Optional 
  • Benefits — Disadvantages 
  • Exemption — Obligation

Match the words

  • psychologist – c. one who studies the working of human mind 
  • feminist – d. one who champions the cause of women 
  • philanthropist – a. one who devotes his service and wealth for the service of mankind 
  • linguist – b. one who studies languages 
  • pessimist – f. one who looks at the dark side of things 
  • physician – e. one who attends to sick people and prescribes medicine 

Write a letter

Write a formal letter to your Headmaster asking him to exempt you from attending a social service at school on Sunday because of your elder brother’s marriage ceremony to be held on the same day.

Dated March 14, 2024

The Headmaster
[School Name]
[Place Name]

Subject: Request for Exemption from Social Service on March 19


I am writing to formally request an exemption from attending the scheduled social service event at school on Sunday, March 19, 2024. This request is made due to a significant family commitment: the marriage ceremony of my elder brother, which is to be held on the same day.

The presence of every family member is both expected and valued on such an auspicious occasion, and my absence would be deeply felt. Given the importance of this event in my family, I kindly ask for your understanding and approval to be excused from the social service activities on that particular day.

I assure you that I will take the necessary steps to catch up on any missed work or assignments related to the social service. I am also willing to contribute extra hours to social service activities at a later date, should that be deemed necessary.

Thank you for considering my request. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours faithfully,
[Your Name]

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