Imitating the English Gentleman

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Get here the summary and solutions of the chapter Imitating the English Gentleman of NBSE Class 10 English or Playing the English Gentlemen. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.

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SUMMARY: The chapter Imitating the English Gentleman, which is a part of class 10 English syllabus of students studying under Nagaland Board of School Education is an account of Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle to mix with the English and the English society while he was studying law in London.

In the chapter, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi talked about how his life in London was not an easy one because he was a vegetarian and his friend did not appreciate this. His friend would find vegetarianism a hurdle in his development. One day when Gandhiji was hesitant to eat in a restaurant because he was not sure whether the food was vegetarian or not, his friend became angry and told him that he was too clumsy for a decent society. This provoked Gandhiji to take measures and make himself suitable for English society. He changed his dressing style and took a few classes, only to realise later that all these would not make him a true gentleman but if he ever would become a gentleman, it would be because of his character.

After that, he gave up his prospects of becoming an English gentleman and emphasized building a good character, reminding himself that he was there in London to study and he was not supposed to stay there all his life.

A. Reference to Context

1. ‘If you cannot behave yourself, you had better go.’

a) Who said these words and to whom?
b) Where was the speaker at this point of time?
c) What had the other person done?
d) Make a new word with ‘behave’ by adding a suffix or prefix.

Answer: a) Gandhiji’s friend said these words to Gandhiji.

b) The speaker was at the Holborn Restaurant.

c) The other person, i.e., Gandhiji had summoned the waiter to ask if the soup they had been served was vegetarian which he didn’t find fitting for a decent society.

d) Misbehave.

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B. Read and Write

1. What prompted Gandhiji to take up vegetarianism?

Answer: Gandhiji studied different books on health and hygiene like “Salt’s book”, Howard Williams’ “The Ethics of Diet”, Dr Anna Kingsford’s “The Perfect Way in Diet” and Dr Allinson’s writings on health and hygiene. He was also highly influenced by great people like Pythagoras and others who wear vegetarians. He realised that health and religion take an important place in one’s life. The above belief reaffirmed his vegetarianism.

2. Why was his friend concerned about his becoming a vegetarian?

Answer: Gandhiji’s friend thought that if he persisted in his objections to meat, he would not only develop a weak constitution but also remain a duffer in modern society. When he came to know that Gandhiji had begun to interest himself in books on vegetarianism, he was afraid lest these studies should muddle Gandhiji’s head and he fritter his life away in experiments forgetting work and become a crank.

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6. What is the ‘infatuation’ that Gandhi says lasted about three months?

Answer: The “infatuation” that Gandhiji mentioned that lasted for 3 months was his endeavour to become an English gentleman. He understood his infatuation and that he was pursuing a false ideal after reading Bell’s Standard Elocutionist.

C. Think and Answer

1. True friendship is based on mutual respect and understanding. Would you consider this story an instance of true friendship? Discuss.

Answer: No, I did not think that it was the story of an instance of true friendship. Gandhiji’s friend had no respect for the choices of Gandhiji. He was determined to make Gandhiji a non-vegetarian when Gandhiji clearly did not want that. If he was the true friend of Gandhiji, he would have respected Gandhiji and his choices. His friend also had insulted him at the restaurant when Gandhiji tried to ask the waiter whether the soup was vegetarian which he was very unlikely of a true friend.

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EXTRA QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. Why did Gandhiji eventually give up?

Answer: After reading Bell’s Standard Elocutionist, Gandhiji realised that he was pursuing a false ideal because he was not going to spend a lifetime in England. So, it was useless to learn elocution and dancing. He realised that he was a student and should go on with his studies to qualify himself to join the inns of court. He declared that a character could make him a true gentleman otherwise he should forget the ambition. Thus, Gandhiji eventually gave up.

2. What did Gandhiji’s friend do in his bid to transform him?

Answer: In his bid to transform Gandhiji, his friend made the last effort. Even they invited him to go to the theatre. Before the play, they were to dine together at the Holborn Restaurant. It was a palatial place for Gandhiji and the first big restaurant. The friend had planned to take him to that restaurant evidently imagining that modesty would forbid him from asking any question.

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5. Would you agree with Gandhiji’s view on giving up attempts to absorb the British culture? Give reasons.

Answer: Yes, I would agree with Gandhiji’s views on giving up attempts to absorb the British culture as Gandhiji was in England to complete his studies and he was eventually to return to India where the British culture would be of no use. All his attempts to absorb the British culture was indeed deviating him from his primary focus of completing his studies. Further, more than the outward show of becoming a gentleman, manners make a man. Gandhiji understood it eventually and thus his views on giving up attempts to absorb the British culture stands correct.

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