NBSE Class 10 English chapter Jina and Etiben

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SUMMARY: The poem “Jina-Etiben, A Romance Retold” is based on an Ao legend and is written by Nabina Das. In this poem, the poet tells the story of two an unforgettable lovers Jina-Etiben who despite every circumstance that was against them continued to remain in love and became the paramount example of true love.

There is an old village named Mopongchuket in Mokokchung district of Nagaland where Jina and Etiben lived. They loved each other very much and wanted to spend their lives together. Jina was ravine-hearted among all men and Etiben was amber faced and charming girl. That two lovers would meet in the mountains and near the water holes where Jina would play his Kota-Kongki and Etiben would clean her ornaments of gold. One day, Etiben’s parents came to know about their love and demanded dowry of cows and oxen from Jina for Etiben’s hand. As Jina was poor, he failed to fulfill the dowry demand of her parents.

In the meantime, a rich man named Tenyur appeared with cows and oxen and asked for Etiben’s hand from her parents. The parents agreed and Etiben got married to Tenyur though they tried all they could to stop the marriage from happening. Etiben even pretended to be ill to postpone the marriage, but all failed. The two lovers wear separated.

After the marriage, however, Etiben felt like a caged beast in her new home with Tenyur and continued to think about her lover Jina and soon they started meeting again until they were discovered by Tenyur.

After the discovery, Tenyur beat Etiben black and blue and left her unconscious in the field on the crops. Jina came to know about this and nursed Etiben very carefully. He stayed at her side secretly night after night and tried his best to console her. However, Etiben succumbed to her injuries. Jina too died soon after because of all the grief of the separation. Before the death of the lovers, they had promised each other to meet in the Netherworld.

When the villages were burning the dead bodies, they watched in awe two smokey figures rising high up in the sky holding hands that resembled Jina and Etiben.

A. Reference to Context

1. The mountains of Mopongchuket
Shining like emerald and sparkling jade
The hills of the Ao that echo like gongs
And even today call out in songs
To follow the jaunty footprints
And the eternal loving glint
In the eyes of the amber-faced Etiben
And the ravine-hearted Jina,
man among men!

a) What are the mountains of Mopongchuket compared to?
b) The hills of Ao echo. Why do they do so?
c) What do the hills celebrate and sing about even today?
d) Jina is called ‘man among men’. What aspect of his character does this refer to?

Ans: a) The mountains of Mopongchuket are compared to emerald and sparkling jade.

b) The mountains do so to follow the footprints of Jina and Etiben and their eternal love.

c) The hills celebrate and sing the songs about the lovers Jina and Etiben that they witnessed.

d) Jina is called ‘man among men’ because he was a man of his words. Regardless of the circumstances, he never left Jina.

2. They fell in love, so rich and pure
It washed away Jina’s vice of being poor
Across the vales and
hills they sang
Of an eternal wish of togetherness like swans
In love’s tide to swim forever and ever
Sharing heart’s bounty, to lose each other never.

a) Who is ‘they’ in these lines?
b) What are they compared to? Why?
c) What was their intent?

Ans: a) They in these lines are Jina and Etiben.

b) Jina is compared to a ravine because he was strong and bold. Etiben is compared to amber because her face was as bright as gold.

c) Their intent was to live together like swans.

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6. As the villagers smoked the lover’s bodies
For the last rites, they
watched in silent awe
At the tuso smokes rising high up in the air
Holding hands in
their mingled ecstasy
Their
spirits riding the valleys of peace.

a) Explain ‘as the villagers smoked the lover’s body’.
b) Why did they watch in silent awe?
c) Pick out the antonym of the word ‘agony’.

Ans: a) By ‘as the villagers smoked the lover’s bodies, the poet means that as the villagers cremate the bodies of Jina and Etiben.

b) They watched in silent awe because they witnessed two smokey forms rising up in the air and holding hands.

c) Peace.

B. Read and Write

1. Etiben’s parents disapproved of the idea of their daughter marrying Jina because
a) he was poor.
b) he belonged to a different tribe.
c) he did not have a good reputation.

Ans: a) He was poor.

2. They asked him to bring a dowry if he wanted Etiben’s hand. What was the dowry that they asked for? What was their intention?

Ans: The dowry that they asked for were cows and oxen. Their intention was to separate Jina and Etiben as Jina was poor and he would certainly fail to get the dowry.

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5. Briefly summarise the end of the story.

Ans: Towards the end of the story, Eitben falls gravely ill after she was beaten mercilessly by Tenyur and Jina stayed by her side throughout her illness. He gave her all the comforts he could till she died singing a song in which she asked Jina if he would marry her in the Netherworld. She said that she would wait for him there.

Jina assured her that he couldn’t help but hurry to be there together. Etiben died and Jina fell so sick after her death that he didn’t survive too. After their death, the villagers cremated their bodies together and witnessed in awe two smoky human figures rising in the air while holding their hands. Jina and Etiben were finally together.

Extra questions and answers

1. They made it sure to meet in the fields
When Tenyur was away from Etiben’s heels
Jina came with a piglet, just a clever front
To meet his ladylove, to have his face gaunt
Light up and fill with the brightest smile
O, for
Etiben he could cover thousand miles!

a) Where did the lovers meet?
b) What did Jina do? Why?
c) What was the hurdle on their way?

Ans: a) The lovers met in the fields, near the vales and mountains and the riverside.

b) Jina came to met Etiben with the piglet as a clever front to escape prying eyes.

c) The hurdle on their way was Tenyur.

2. Why is Jina referred to as ‘ravine-hearted’?

Ans: Jina is referred to as being ‘ravine-hearted’ because he was very strong and bold.

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6. Whose mind was ‘harsh and treacherous’?

Ans: Tenyur’s mind was ‘harsh and treacherous’.

7. Describe the meeting between Jina and Etiben.

Ans: Jina and Etiben were great lovers. They used to meet in the fields, near vales and mountains and water holes sharing their love and wishing to live together forever like swans. They were very happy with each other. Unfortunately, Etiben was married to Tenyur and they were separated. After some time they started to meet secretly in the fields like before.

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10. What were Etiben’s last words?

Ans: Etiben’s last words were she wished to marry Jina in heaven and live together because the world had denied their true love and left them in pain.

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