2nd PUC English Textbook Answers Springs Chapter 14 Water

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Karnataka 2nd PUC English Textbook Answers Springs Chapter 14 Water

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Water Questions and Answers, Notes, Summary

Water Comprehension I

Question 1.
The expression ‘generations-old strife’ suggests
a. the bane of the caste system.
b. politics of revenge.
c. differences among humans.
Answer:
(a) the bane of the caste system.

Question 2.
“It also knows the sub-caste difference between leather and spool.”
‘leather and spool’ stands for
a. pure and impure.
b. higher and lower.
c. cobbler and weaver.
Answer:
(c) cobbler and weaver.

Question 3.
How is water a witness to the humiliation caused to the Dalits?
Answer:
In earlier times, when the varna system was in practice, the ‘panchamas’ or the untouchables were not allowed to touch or fill their pots with water. Whenever a Wada girl went to collect water from a pond or a tank, the people of other varnas used to pour water from a higher level at a distance, into the pot of the Wada girl. Naturally, on such occasions, some water would invariably fall on the body of the girl. This would cause a lot of humiliation to the girl.

Question 4.
What does the speaker remember when she sees water?
Answer:
When the speaker sees water she would remember how people in her Wada would thirst all day for a glass of water.
Secondly, when she sees water she is also reminded of how they would eagerly welcome their weekly bath days as if it was a wondrous festival and also remember how the entire village bathed luxuriously twice a day.

The speaker also would recall her childhood when she would walk miles on end to go to the big canal and carry back heavy pots with the muscles and veins on her neck straining and bursting.

Finally, the sight of water would also make her recall how thatched roofs in Malapalle were burnt to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 5.
‘circus feat’ refers to
a. hardship to fetch water.
b. balancing the water pots on the head,
c. ’efforts to secure basic needs.
d. struggle surrounding water.
Answer:
(b) balancing the water pots on the head.

Question 6.
‘Water’ is a
a. a liquid called water.
b. a catalyst for a movement
c. witness to strife.
d. life-giver and destroyer,
e. mean to practice untouchability.
f. profit-making commodity.
Answer:
(c), (d), (e) and (f).

Water Comprehension II

Question 1.
Discuss the travails suffered by the Wada people to get water.
OR
How does the poet bring out the suffering and pain experienced on account of water?
OR
Discuss the problems faced by Wada people while collecting water.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Water’, the speaker recalls the ‘role’ played by water as an agent of social change. Incidentally, she uses the context of the poem to highlight the travails and tribulations suffered by the people in wadas, with particular reference to the practice of untouchability in Andhra Pradesh in the pre- and post-independence periods.

It is an age-old practice that the Dalits or the untouchables live in separate colonies situated farther away from other communities and are called ‘wadas’. Whenever the Dalits needed water they used to wait near the pond or tank until a shudra came there and gave them some water. This caused a great deal of humiliation, pain, suffering and anguish to the Dalits.

The speaker describes how an upper caste person poured water from a distance at a higher level into the pot of a wada girl at a lower level and how some water would fall on her body making her feel humiliated.

The writer also narrates a heinous incident that happened in Madigapalle in Karamchedu. It so happened that a Dalit boy tried to prevent two upper castes (Kamma) youths from washing their dirty buckets in their drinking water pond. The two upper caste youths tried to attack the boy but a Dalit woman by name Suvartamma came to the boy’s defence lifting her vessel to ward off their attack. Enraged by this protest by a Dalit woman, the Kamma landlords attacked the Dalit colony.

The speaker recalls how her wada people would thirst all day for a glass of water and narrates how people in wadas eagerly look forward to their weekly bathing day as if it was a wondrous festival while the people in the entire village bathed luxuriously twice a day. She also recalls painfully, how in her childhood she used to walk miles and miles to collect water from the big canal and carry back home heavy pots balanced on her head, with the muscles and veins on her necks straining and bursting. Finally, the speaker mentions how several thatched huts in Malapalle (a Dalit colony) were reduced to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 2.
‘For us, water is not simply H2O’, suggests
a. it’s chemical significance.
b. it is a common resource available for all.
c. it is a symbol of struggle against discrimination.
Answer:
(c) it is a symbol of struggle against discrimination.

Question 3.
What does the contrast ‘some taking bath once a week and others twice a day’ connote?
Answer:
‘Some taking bath once a week and others twice a day’ connotes that the Dalits were able to take a bath only once in a week because they had no free access to public water and only when they had stored enough water for all of them to take a bath, would they take a bath on that day. On the other hand, the village people had free access to water and so they would take a bath twice a day.

Question 4.
Why does water become a matter of dispute?
Answer:
The available quality of water differs from area to area so it becomes a matter of dispute, Some people get excess of water and some people do not get water even to drink. Water is a necessity for all the basic needs and for irrigation, for electricity, and for Industries. When the required quantity of water is not available, people will have to get it from elsewhere; When they go to other areas, the people from that area protest and agitate, so wars happen. A similar fight occurred between Karnataka and Tamilnadu. People of both states destroyed each other’s property and destroyed and damaged buses just over the question of sharing water. In this way, many quarrels have happened for the sake of water.

Question 5.
Look at the expressions ‘many a circus feat’ and ‘dances its way into the Pepsi man’s bottle.’ What contrast do you notice between the two?
Answer:
The phrase ‘many a circus feat’ refers to the Wada women walking with heavy pots of water on their heads, miles, and miles, from a big canal. This indicates the strain, the anguish, and the humiliation suffered by Dalits to fetch water for their daily needs. On the contrary, the phrase, ‘dances its way into the Pepsi man’s bottle’ refers to water being sold as a multinational market commodity. Here the phrase ‘dances its way’ shows the ease and the surreptitious ways in which ‘water’ is sold for a price when it is known all over the country that tens of thousands of poor people and Dalits even today, walk miles to fetch drinking water. For the Dalits and the poor, water is a necessity and ‘Pepsi’ is an item of luxury. This reflects how the poor become victims of discrimination.

Water Comprehension III

Question 1.
How does the poem ‘Water’ demonstrate the disparity and discrimination in our society using water as a symbol?
0R
Is water instrumental in social discrimination and disparity? Explain.
OR
Bring out the bitter instances recollected by the speaker in ‘Water’.
OR
The difference between race and agony of the panchama due to water has been effectively brought
out in ‘Water’. Discuss.
OR
‘Water is a witness to centuries of social injustice.’ Explain with reference to the poem ‘Water’.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Water’, the speaker recalls several instances taken from the life of the Dalits to highlight the disparity between the Dalits and the upper caste people in their lifestyles.

The speaker states that water is witness to the Panchama’s plight when he goes to the pond or tank to collect water. Since he does not have the right to draw a pot of water directly from a well, he waits all day near the well until a shudra arrives there and fills his pot. Next, the speaker mentions the humiliation of the Wada girl, when she receives water poured from a distance. Some waterfalls on her body and she felt humiliated.

Later, the speaker articulates the righteous indignation shown by Karamchedu Suvartamma, when she raised her vessel to ward off an attack by the Kamma youths against the Dalit boy who asked them not to pollute their drinking water. These instances illustrate how the Dalits were discriminated against using water from a public well.

The speaker recalls how people in the Wada would thirst all day for a glass of water while the villagers had a lot of water to drink and bathe as and when they wanted. On the other hand, the people in the village enjoyed the bath twice a day, because they had plenty of water, and the Dalits were made to forego water on the pretext of untouchability. Next, the speaker narrates how in her childhood they walked miles and miles to collect water from the big canal and walked back carrying heavy pots of water on their heads, with the veins in their neck straining and bursting.

Finally, the speaker recalls how several thatched huts in Malapalle were reduced to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 2.
How are the poor affected by
a. lack of water.
b. denial of water.
c. the fury of nature?
Answer:
In the poem ‘Water’ the speaker highlights how ‘water’ becomes a symbol of discrimination against the Dalits.

(a) Since the Dalits do not have free access to water, they cannot take a bath as and when they like. They can take a bath only after they have stored up adequate water for all the members of the family. Normally, this used to happen only once a week in those, days.

(b) The Dalits were prohibited from fetching water from a pond or tank in a village. Naturally, when they needed water they had to go to the pond with their pot and wait until a shudra arrived and gave them water. Secondly, when the village people gave them water, they used to pour water from a distance into the pots carried by the Dalits and some water would fall on their bodies. This caused a lot of anguish and humiliation to the Dalits.

(c) The speaker speaks about ‘water’ as a natural social agent. Water is essential for life. It can give life but also can devour lives. The water that refused to quench parched throats became the killer tsunami wave and swallowed village after village. This way ‘water’ worked as a symbol of Nature and showed its fury against people who discriminated against the Dalits.

Question 3.
Trace the journey of water from ancient times as a symbol of purity to the age of the multinational market where it is a commodity.
OR
Water that ignites struggles and strife can also be a market commodity. Examine the statement in light of ‘Water’.
Answer:
The Dalits’ age-old struggle for water has its origin in the people’s perception of ‘water’ as a source of purity and the ‘Dalits’ as ‘untouchables’. Though all living creatures have a right to share it, the upper caste society denies it to the Dalits for the only reason that they are Dalits.

The poet makes an attempt to trace the journey of water which begins as a symbol of purity in the life of the people and eventually ends up becoming a multinational market commodity. It also questions the wisdom of the people who deprived free access to water, an elixir of life, to the Dalits biasedly and eventually made it a multinational commodity and robbed them of their natural resources.

She presents a conflicting situation where Jesus, a Jew, asks for water from a Samaria woman, who is considered a lower caste woman. She also presents the instance of the Panchama, who is forced to wait with his pot all day near the well until a shudra comes to serve him.

She then presents the case of the Dalit girl, who gets humiliated by receiving water poured from above and getting her clothes drenched in water.

Next, she expresses the rage of the Dalit woman Munnangi Suvartamma, who goes to the rescue of the Dalit boy who objects to the Kamma youths washing their dirty buckets in their drinking water in Malapalle.

We learn how .the Dalits crave a glass of water to quench their thirst. We also learn that the Dalits used to have a bath only once a week whereas the other people in the village enjoyed bathing luxuriously twice a day. We then learn how the Dalits had to walk miles and miles to fetch water from the big canal and carried back home heavy pots balanced on their heads with the muscles and veins in their neck straining and bursting.

She then says that quite a few thatched huts caught fire in Malapalle and were reduced to ashes, the only reason being the absence of a pot of water to douse the fire. Then we learn how people in Mahad municipality in Mumbai, asserted their right to public water under the leadership of Dr Ambedkar. All these instances are given to trace the journey of water from that of being a symbol to that of getting asserted as a fundamental right.

The poem also narrates the journey of ‘water’ in the life of the people in the last two decades. ‘Water’, which can save ‘lives’, can also devour lives in the form of a tsunami. It can also turn villages into dry deserts and inflict a lot of suffering on the people. At the same time, in some places water can take a toll on the lives of people in many villages in the form of floods.

In the last part of the poem, the speaker attempts to trace the journey of water into bisleri bottles as ‘mineral water’, becoming a multinational market commodity. Here again, such activity depletes the groundwater and affects the poor Dalits.

Water Additional Questions and Answers

I. Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase, or a sentence each:

Question 1.
Name the village that was burnt for want of water.
Answer:
Malapalle.

Question 2.
Whohadnorighttodrawapotofwaterfromthewell?
OR
Whose agony for a pot of water is mentioned in Water’?
Answer:
The Panchamas.

Question 3.
Who opposed the Kamma landlords?
OR
Name the lady who opposed the Kamma landlords.
Answer:
Munnangi Suvartamma.

Question 4.
What, according to the speaker, is a witness to centuries of social injustice?
Answer:
Water.

Question 5.
Where did the Mahad struggle take place?
Answer:
At the Chadar tank in Mumbai.

Question 6.
When is a wada girl humiliated?
OR
Mention any one of the types of humiliation met by the Wada girl.
Answer:
A wada girl is humiliated when waterfalls all over her and touches her as it is poured from a distance into the pot.

Question 7.
What was welcomed as a wondrous festival, according to the speaker, in ‘Water’?
Answer:
The weekly bath that the Dalits take.

Question 8.
Why does the poet say that water is not a simple thing?
Answer:
The poet says that water is not a simple thing because while it can give life, it can also devour lives.

Question 9.
Who are the playthings in the vicious hands of water?
Answer:
The poor.

Question 10.
What, according to the speaker, can water ignite?
Answer:
Water can ignite struggles and strife between village and Wada, between one state and another.

Question 11.
Where does water sit innocently?
Answer:
In a Bisleri bottle.

Question 12.
Under what new name is water sold now?
OR
What is the new name given to water?
Answer:
Water is now sold under a new name, Mineral water.

Question 13.
What does the poet mean by ‘Water contains the world’?
Answer:
It means water has no boundaries.

Question 14.
Why does the poet call the water ‘omniscient’?
Answer:
The poet calls water ‘omniscient’ because it knows everything.

Question 15.
Mention one of the things to which the water is a witness, according to the speaker in ‘Water’.
Answer:
Water is a witness to centuries of social injustice.

Question 16.
What stands as a witness to the generations-old strife between the village and the Wada?
Answer:
Water stands as a witness to the generations-old strife between the village and the Wada.

Question 17.
What, according to the speaker, knows the ground’s incline in ‘Water’?
Answer:
According to the speaker, water knows the ground’s incline.

Question 18.
Generations-old-strife in ‘Water’ refers to the dispute between
(a) leather and spool.
(b) village and Wada.
(c) Samaria woman and Jesus.
Answer:
(b) village and Wada.

Question 19.
What, according to the speaker, never disappears, in ‘Water’?
Answer:
According to the speaker in ‘Water’, untouchability never disappears.

Question 20.
Who is entitled to pour water into Panchami’s pot, as mentioned in ’Water’?
Answer:
As mentioned in ‘Water’, only a ‘shudra’ is entitled to pour water into Panchami’s pot.

Question 21.
Whom did Karamchedu Suvartamma mentioned in ‘Water’ oppose?
Answer:
As mentioned in ‘Water’, Karamchedu Suvartamma opposed the Kamma landlords.

Question 22.
According to the speaker in ‘Water’, water is witness to
(a) social injustice.
(b) pollution of the pond.
(c) ground’s incline.
Answer:
(a) social injustice.

Question 23.
What is the speaker in ‘Water’ reminded of when she sees water?
Answer:
The speaker in ‘Water’, when she sees water, is reminded of how her Wada would thirst all day for a glass of water.

Question 24.
What would the speaker’s Wada mention in ‘Water’ thirst for all day?
Answer:
The speaker’s Wada mentioned in ‘Water’ would thirst for a glass of water, all day.

Question 25.
According to the speaker in ‘Water1, they never managed to win even a
(a) glass of water
(b) pot of water
(c) puddle of water.
Answer:
(c) puddle of water.

Question 26.
When does the speaker remember her childhood in ‘Water’?
Answer:
The speaker in ‘Water’ would remember her childhood, when she sees the water.

Question 27.
What was burnt to ashes for want of a pot of water, according to the speaker, in ‘Water’?
Answer:
According to the speaker in ‘Water’, the thatched roofs in Malapalle were burnt to ashes for want of a pot of water.

Question 28.
_______ are playthings in the vicious hands of water, according to the speaker, in ‘Water’?
(a) The MNCs
(b) The landlords
(c) The poor.
Answer:
(c) The poor.

Question 29.
Where does water finally become a commodity, according to the speaker, in ‘Water’?
Answer:
According to the speaker in ‘Water’, water finally becomes a commodity in the multinational market.

Question 30.
What is now a multinational market commodity mentioned in ‘Water’?
Answer:
‘Water’ is now a multinational market commodity as mentioned in ‘Water’.

Question 31.
Whose humiliation is mentioned by the speaker in ‘Water’?
Answer:
The speaker in ‘Water’ mentions the humiliation of the Wada girl.

Question 32.
Whom does the panchama wait for near the well in ‘Water’?
Answer:
In ‘Water’, the panchama waits near the well for a shudra to come and give him water from the well.

II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each:

Question 1.
Give an account of the humiliation and craving felt in the poem ‘Water’.
OR
The difference between race and agony of the panchama due to water has been effectively brought out in ‘Water’. Explain.
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ expresses the terrible humiliation and suffering caused to the Dalits, or the untouchables owing to the social restrictions imposed by the upper caste people. In India, in the pre-independence period and in the early decades of the post-independence period, the Dalits had to face the wrath of the upper caste people over allowing the Dalits to collect water from the village tanks or ponds.

Whenever these panchamas needed water they would come to the village pond and wait there until a shudra came there and gave them water. The reader can imagine the misery and the anguish suffered by the Dalits at that time.

The speaker states that whenever a Wada girl comes to a village pond to collect water, a member of the upper caste would draw water from the well and pour it into the pot or vessel brought by the Dalit girl from a distance and from a higher level. Naturally, some water would fall on her. The speaker states that only ‘water’ knows the humiliation suffered by the girl. The speaker wants the reader to reflect on the cruelty shown to the Wada girl on such occasions.

On the 16th of July 1985, two Kamma youths were washing dirty buckets in the drinking water tank meant for the Dalit community in Madigapalle. This was objected to by a Dalit boy which angered the Kamma youths. The Kamma youths became furious at being challenged and tried to beat up the Dalit boy. Seeing this, a woman named Munnangi Suvartamma, lifted her vessel and prevented the youths from hurting the boy. This act resulted in a ghastly attack on the Dalits.

The speaker states that only ‘water’ knows the righteous anger of the Dalit woman. The speaker seems to be asking the reader whether this is not known to the others and why they are keeping quiet.

The speaker states that when she sees water, she remembers how the people in her Wada would thirst all day for a glass of water. She recalls nostalgically how they eagerly awaited the weekly bath as if it was a wondrous festival and also relives the misery when she recalls that the entire village except them, bathed luxuriously twice a day.

Question 2.
How is the destructive nature of water brought out in the poem ’Water’?
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ attempts to depict the struggle, the anguish, the suffering and the humiliation suffered by the Dalits to get their rightful share of water. The speaker, having recollected all the incidents related to their humiliations and their suffering, talks about how water can be a source of retributive justice. The speaker declares that water is not a simple thing; it can give life but can also devour lives. She then declares in a vengeful tone that the water that could not serve to quench the thirst of the parched throats (of Dalits) became the killer tsunami wave and swallowed the whole village after village.

The speaker declares that ‘water’ is so powerful that it treats the ‘poor’ as its playthings. Sometimes, many villages suffer from drought and become dry deserts killing poor people. It may also come in the form of floods and drown them. Thus, the poet depicts the destructive nature of water.

Question 3.
How can water be a life-giver as well as life taker?
OR
Water can give life and can also devour lives. Examine the significance of this statement in light of ’Water’.
Answer:
The speaker talks about how water can be a source of retributive justice. The speaker declares that water is not a simple thing; it can give life but can also devour lives. She then declares in a vengeful tone that the water that could not serve to quench the thirst of the parched throats (of Dalits) became the killer tsunami wave and swallowed the whole village after village.

The speaker declares that ‘water’ is so powerful that it treats the ‘poor’ as its playthings. Sometimes, many villages suffer from drought and become dry deserts killing poor people. It may also come in the form of floods and drown them. Thus, the poet depicts the destructive nature of water.

Water is the elixir of life and without water, no life can exist on this earth. Naturally, water is a life-giver. When a panchama goes to a village tank and is made to wait for a pot of water all day long, one can imagine the misery and the hardships the Dalits have to suffer when they are denied a rightful share of water.

Like the panchama, the Wada girl is also made to face humiliation by being forced to collect the water dropped from above and getting drenched in the process. One has to imagine their need for water and the way it is given to them.

Similarly, water functions like a life-giver when we get to know that the Dalits face quite a few days without water even to quench their thirst. The speaker narrates one incident where water would have been a life-giver. In Malapalle, several thatched huts would have been saved if only there was one pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 4.
Why is water a mighty movement, according to the speaker in ‘Water’?
Answer:
According to the speaker, water is a mighty movement because the denial of water to the Dalits became the cause of a historical struggle in Mumbai. In the Mahad municipality in Mumbai, even though the municipality had passed a resolution allowing the Dalit community access to the public tank, the local upper caste people prevented them from using the water. Subsequently, Dr Ambedkar went in a rally to the tank, drank a handful of water from the tank and asserted the right of the Dalits to use water from a public place like every other person in society.

Question 5.
What personal memories does the speaker associate with water in the poem ‘Water’?
Answer:
Whenever the speaker sees water, she says that she recalls the days when they suffered from thirst as there was no water in the house to quench, their parched throats. She also recalls the days with regret as well as pleasure, how they eagerly looked forward to the day when they would get their bath of the week while the entire village bathed luxuriously twice a day.

When she sees water, the speaker recalls her childhood, when they had to walk miles and miles to fetch water from the big canal and carry back heavy pots with the muscles and veins in their necks straining and bursting. She also remembers the day when several thatched roofs in Malapalle got destroyed by fire, the only reason being there was not even a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 6.
How does the speaker in the poem ‘Water’ trace the journey of water using it as a witness?
OR
How is water a witness to centuries of social injustice?
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ by Swaroopa Rani presents the struggle, the humiliation, the anguish and the suffering undergone by the Dalits to obtain their rightful share of water, which is a natural resource. The speaker cites ‘water’ as the witness to the practice of untouchability.

Water has been a witness to the plight of the Dalits who have been fighting for their right to their share of water. She declares that this water has been witness to the age-old strife between the upper caste people and the Dalits. The speaker expresses the agony of the panchama who waits for water the whole day and the humiliation of the Wada girl, who has to collect the water thrown at her from a distance and in this act how she has to bear the humiliation caused by the water that falls on her.
The speaker mentions an incident in which a Dalit woman comes to the rescue of a Dalit boy who is about to be thrashed by Kamma landlords.

The speaker also mentions how they craved for a glass of water with parched throats. The speaker confesses regretfully and nostalgically how they awaited the day of their bath in a week while the other people in the village enjoyed the luxury of bathing twice a day.

Finally, the speaker recalls how several thatched huts in Malapalle got reduced to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse a rising fire.

Question 7.
Water is also a commodity in the hands of multinational companies. Explain with reference to ‘Water’.
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani highlights the humiliation, anguish, agony and suffering caused to the Dalits by the upper caste people denying them their rightful share of water.

Incidentally, the poet makes an attempt to trace the journey of water which begins as a source of purity, available in ponds and tanks in villages and towns. Though all living creatures have a right to share it, the upper caste people deny it to the Dalits for the only reason that they are ‘avarnas’ or Dalits, and thus impure.

In the last part of the poem, the speaker says that water, which began as a symbol of purity, has become a commodity in Bisleri bottles as mineral water, being sold in multinational markets. She mocks at the wisdom of the people who biasedly denied Dalits free access to water, an elixir of life.

Question 8.
What are the things that the water knows in the poem ‘Water’?
Answer:
In the poem ‘Water’, the speaker recalls the ‘role’ played by water as an agent of social change. Incidentally, she uses the context of the poem to highlight the travails and tribulations suffered by the people in wadas, with particular reference to the practice of untouchability in Andhra Pradesh.

In the first five stanzas, she mentions the various instances of the practice of untouchability witnessed by ‘water’. She states that ‘water’ knows that ‘untouchability’ never disappears because the quarrel over allowing the Dalits to collect water from a village tank or pond between the upper caste people and the Dalits, has been smouldering for several generations.

The speaker cites a biblical incident in which Jesus, the Jew, goes to a Samaria woman, in a town called Sychar, and asks the woman for a drink. The Samaria woman belongs to an inferior race and Jesus, the Jew belongs to a superior race. Here the speaker intends to highlight the fact that ‘water’ is essential to all, be it a Samaria woman or Jesus the Jew. The idea is reiterated in the next two lines. Even among the untouchables, there were sub-castes. ‘Leather’ refers to cobblers and the ‘spool’ refers to weavers. The speaker means to say whether one is a cobbler or a weaver both of them need water.

She next mentions the agony of the ‘Panchama’, considered an untouchable and hence not allowed to draw water from a public well. It is unfortunate that he has to wait near a well until a shudra arrives to give him water.

The speaker mentions the case of a Wada girl (an untouchable) who has to receive water poured by someone from a distance and from a higher level. On such occasions, some water is bound to fall on the body of the girl. The girl has to suffer this humiliating act for the sake of water.

Lastly, the speaker mentions the courageous act of Karamchedu Suvartamma who opposed the Kamma landlords when they were about to beat up a Dalit boy for asking them not to wash dirty buckets in the drinking water tank in Madigapalle. This act of lifting the vessel in self-defence later resulted in a ghastly attack by the upper caste people on the Dalits.

Question 9.
Describe the many things that the speaker remembers when she sees water in ‘Water’.
Answer:
In the second half of the poem, the speaker narrates her personal experiences. The speaker says that whenever she sees water, she recalls how the people in her part of the village (Wada) would suffer from severe thirst all day, not being able to get even a glass of water. She recalls sadly how they (the Dalits) would look forward to their weekly bath day, as if it was a wonderful festival day, while the upper caste people in the entire village enjoyed bathing luxuriously twice a day. Here the speaker intends to highlight the fact that while the Dalits were ‘deprived’ of water and were given water only once a week, the other people had so much water that they bathed luxuriously twice a day.

The speaker recalls her childhood when they had to walk miles and miles to fetch water from the big canal and carry back heavy pots with the muscles and veins in their necks straining and bursting.

The speaker narrates a fire accident in Malapalle. It was a locality where the Dalits lived in thatched huts. When their thatched roofs caught fire, the huts were completely destroyed in the fire for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 10.
Bring out the irony in ‘Water’ where the speaker remarks on the innocence of water.
Answer:
‘Water’ is a reflective narrative poem, which is used in the poem as a concrete witness to the practice of untouchability and as a metaphor for social injustice and oppression. In the first five stanzas, The poet mentions the instances in which water served as a witness for the practice of untouchability. Then she presents her own experience of the sufferings that she underwent to get ‘water’ for day-to-day needs. Next, she cites the incident of the Tsunami wave which swallowed a great number of villages. The poet vents her anger against the destruction caused by ‘water’. She remarks that water, which has ignited many struggles and quarrels between people of villages and people of the ‘Wada’, can cause blood to run in streams.

However, the same water can also sit innocently in a Bisleri bottle appearing very innocuous. Here, the poet tries to highlight the situational irony in these lines. The very same water which has caused centuries-old wars of attrition between people has now become a marketable commodity, which anyone can buy. Thus, this marketable commodity now seems to erase from people’s memory the practices of untouchability, for which it had been a witness for centuries.

Question 11.
Why is water not simply H20 to the downtrodden? Give reasons with reference to Water’.
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ attempts to depict the struggle, the anguish, the suffering and humiliation suffered by the Dalits to get their rightful share of water, which is an elixir of life, and a natural resource. The poem incidentally throws light on the multiple facets of water. The poem highlights instances when ‘water’ is used as the instrument of discrimination, as a life-giver, a life taker and a multinational market commodity also.

Water can be a source of retributive justice. It can not only give life but can also devour life. The water that could not serve to quench the thirst of parched throats became the killer tsunami wave which swallowed the whole village after village.
Water is so powerful that it treats the ‘poor’ as its playthings. Sometimes, many villages suffer from drought and become dry deserts killing poor people. It may also come in the form of floods and drown them.

Water is the elixir of life and without water, no life can exist on this earth. Naturally, water is a life-giver. When a panchama goes to a village tank and is made to wait all day for a pot of water, one can imagine the misery and the hardships the Dalits have to suffer when they are denied their rightful share of water.

Like the panchama, the Wada girl is also made to face humiliation by being forced to collect the water dropped from above and getting drenched in the process.

Water functions like a life-giver. The poem presents one incident where water would have been a life-giver. In Malapalle, several thatched huts would have been saved if only there was one pot of water to douse the fire.
On the whole, one can infer that water is no mean matter but an omniscient phenomenon, because it is now being sold as mineral water in bisleri bottles all over the globe.

III. Answer the following questions in about 200 words each:

Question 1.
How does the poem ‘Water’ bring out the sad plight of the Dalits?
OR
How does the poet show that water is a witness to centuries of social injustice?
OR
‘Water is a witness to the generations of the struggle of Dalits.’ Explain.
OR
Water is a witness to many struggles. Explain with reference to the poem ‘Water’.
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’ by Swaroopa Rani presents the struggle, the humiliation, the anguish and the suffering undergone by the Dalits to obtain their rightful share of water, which is a natural resource. The speaker cites ‘water’ as the witness to the practice of untouchability.

Water has been witnessing the plight of the Dalits who have been fighting for their rights to their share of water. She declares that this water has been witness to the age-old strife between the upper caste people and the Dalits. Later, the speaker expresses the agony of the panchama who waits for water the whole day and the humiliation of the Wada girl, who has to collect the water thrown at her from a distance and in this act how she has to bear the humiliation caused by the water that falls on her.

The speaker mentions an incident in which a Dalit woman comes to the rescue of a Dalit boy who is about to be thrashed by Kamma landlords.

The speaker also mentions how they craved for a glass of water with parched throats.
The speaker confesses regretfully and nostalgically how they awaited the day of their bath in a week while the other people in the village enjoyed the luxury of bathing twice a day.

Finally, the speaker recalls how several thatched huts in Malapalle got reduced to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse a rising fire.

Question 2.
Is water instrumental in social discrimination and disparity? Explain with reference to the poem ‘Water’.
OR
The poem ‘Water’ demonstrates the disparity and discrimination of society. Justify.
OR
Trace the sufferings of the people of Wada due to social discrimination.
OR
Comment on the social discrimination associated with water as presented in the poem, ‘Water’.
Answer:
‘Water’ is a reflective-narrative poem in which the speaker recalls several instances taken from the life of the Dalits to highlight the disparity seen in the lifestyle of the Dalits and that of the upper caste people. Incidentally, the speaker also highlights how the Dalits are discriminated against while using ‘water’ from a pond or a tank. The speaker states that water is a witness to the Panchama’s plight when he goes to the pond or tank to collect water. Since he does not have the right to draw a pot of water directly from a well, he waits all day near the well until a shudra arrives there and fills his pot.

The speaker mentions the humiliation of the Wada girl when she receives water poured from a distance. Some waterfalls on her body and she felt humiliated. The speaker articulates the righteous indignation shown by Munnangi Suvartamma when she raised her vessel to ward off an attack by the Kamma youths against the Dalit boy who asked them not to pollute their drinking water. These instances illustrate how the Dalits were discriminated against while using water from a public well.

The speaker recalls how people in the Wada would thirst all day for a glass of water while the villagers had a lot of water to drink and bathe as and when they wanted. The speaker recalls how they would look forward to that day in a week when they would get an occasion to take a bath.

On the other hand, the people in the village enjoyed the bath twice a day, because they had plenty of water, and the Dalits were made to forego water on the pretext of untouchability. The speaker narrates how, in her childhood, they walked miles and miles to collect water from the big canal and walked back carrying heavy pots of water on their heads, with the veins in their neck straining and bursting. Finally, the speaker recalls how several thatched huts in Malapalle were reduced to ashes for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.

Question 2.
The things that water knows imply humiliations, violence and injustice. Explain with reference to ‘Water’.
Answer:
‘Water’, by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, is a reflective-narrative poem. The speaker, in the persona of a ‘Dalit’, reminisces and chronicles a few typical but poignant situations which express the anguish and helplessness of a Dalit when he or she goes to a public pond or tank to collect water for their daily needs.

In the first five stanzas, the speaker cites ‘water’ as the witness to the practice of untouchability.
The poet states in a casual, matter-of-fact tone that ‘water’, which knows where the ground is inclined along which it has to flow, knows that ‘untouchability’ never disappears, because the quarrel or conflict over allowing the Dalits to collect water from a village tank or pond, between the upper caste people and the Dalits, has been smouldering for several generations.

The idea is reiterated citing another instance of untouchability. The poet cites a Biblical incident in which Jesus, the Jew, goes to a Samaria woman (in a town called Sychar) and asks the woman for water. The Samaria woman belongs to an inferior race and Jesus, the Jew belongs to a superior race. Here the speaker seems to say that ‘water’ is essential to all, be it a Samaria woman or Jesus the Jew; similarly, water is essential for both the upper caste people and the untouchables. The same idea is reiterated in the next two lines. Even among the untouchables, there were sub-castes. ‘Leather’ refers to cobblers and the ‘spool’ refers to weavers. The speaker means to say that whether one is a cobbler or a weaver both of them need water. This fact is known to ‘water’, but why are people so cruel to give access to water to one and deny access to the other. Here, the ‘other’ refers to the untouchables.

A Panchama does not have the right to draw water from a public well because he is untouchable. It is cruel and unfortunate that he is made to wait near the well until a Shudra arrives. Here again, it is ironical that the ‘Panchama’, who does not belong to varna, has to wait for a Shudra who is supposed to belong to the fourth rank in the social hierarchy. A Shudra, according to the ‘varna’ scheme, is an unskilled labourer and he does all the physical tasks as directed by the other upper caste people.

Naturally, only when a Shudra comes to a pond to fetch water for an upper caste person can he give some water to the Panchama. It also means that the other upper caste people who normally do not fetch water from a well will not be able to give water to a Panchama. The speaker is once again referring to the cruelty of the ‘varna system’ and the practices associated with untouchability.

The speaker cites another cruel instance of untouchability. Normally, whenever a person belonging to one of the four varnas happens to give some water to an ‘untouchable’ (here it is a girl], he/she takes care to see that the giver and the receiver stand apart from each other and pours water from a distance and from a higher level. On such occasions, some water is bound to fall on the receiver. Here, the receiver being a girl, waterfalls all over her. The speaker wants the reader to imagine the humiliation of the girl when someone throws water at her or on her. Here, the speaker is highlighting the cruel practice of untouchability.

The speaker recalls a heinous incident that happened in a place called Karamchedu. It is reported that, when two Kamma youths were washing dirty buckets (that had been used to feed their buffaloes) in the drinking water tank in Madigapalle, a Dalit boy objected to it, which angered the youth. Consequently, when the youths were about to beat up the boy, Munnangi Suvartamma, a Dalit woman, tried to protect the boy from the attackers. She lifted the vessel that she was carrying, to drive away from the attackers. This act of lifting the vessel in self-defence later resulted in a ghastly attack by the upper caste people on the Dalits.

Question 3.
The right to water is not given equally in our society. How does the poem Water’ prove this?
Answer:
‘Water’, by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, is a reflective-narrative poem. The speaker, in the persona of a ‘Dalit’, reminisces and chronicles a few typical but poignant situations which express the anguish and helplessness of a Dalit when he or she goes to a public pond or tank to collect water for their daily needs.

In the first five stanzas, the speaker cites ‘water’ as the witness to the practice of untouchability.
The poet states in a casual, matter-of-fact tone that ‘water’, which knows where the ground is inclined along which it has to flow, knows that ‘untouchability’ never disappears, because the quarrel or conflict over allowing the Dalits to collect water from a village tank or pond, between the upper caste people and the Dalits, has been smouldering for several generations.

The idea is reiterated citing another instance of untouchability. The poet cites a Biblical incident in which Jesus, the Jew, goes to a Samaria woman (in a town called Sychar) and asks the woman for water. The Samaria woman belongs to an inferior race and Jesus, the Jew belongs to a superior race. Here the speaker seems to say that ‘water’ is essential to all, be it a Samaria woman or Jesus the Jew; similarly, water is essential for both the upper caste people and the untouchables. The same idea is reiterated in the next two lines. Even among the untouchables, there were sub-castes. ‘Leather’ refers to cobblers and the ‘spool’ refers to weavers. The speaker means to say that whether one is a cobbler or a weaver both of them need water. This fact is known to ‘water’, but why are people so cruel to give access to water to one and deny access to the other. Here, the ‘other’ refers to the untouchables.

A Panchama does not have the right to draw water from a public well because he is untouchable. It is cruel and unfortunate that he is made to wait near the well until a Shudra arrives. Here again, it is ironical that the ‘Panchama’, who does not belong to varna, has to wait for a Shudra who is supposed to belong to the fourth rank in the social hierarchy. A Shudra, according to the ‘varna’ scheme, is an unskilled labourer and he does all the physical tasks as directed by the other upper caste people. Naturally, only when a Shudra comes to a pond to fetch water for an upper caste person can he give some water to the Panchama. It also means that the other upper caste people who normally do not fetch water from a well will not be able to give water to a Panchama. The speaker is once again referring to the cruelty of the ‘varna system’ and the practices associated with untouchability.

The speaker cites another cruel instance of untouchability. Normally, whenever a person belonging to one of the four varnas happens to give some water to an ‘untouchable’ (here it is a girl], he/she takes care to see that the giver and the receiver stand apart from each other and pours water from a distance and from a higher level. On such occasions, some water is bound to fall on the receiver. Here, the receiver being a girl, waterfalls all over her. The speaker wants the reader to imagine the humiliation of the girl when someone throws water at her or on her. Here, the speaker is highlighting the cruel practice of untouchability.

The speaker recalls a heinous incident that happened in a place called Karamchedu. It is reported that, when two Kamma youths were washing dirty buckets (that had been used to feed their buffaloes) in the drinking water tank in Madigapalle, a Dalit boy objected to it, which angered the youth. Consequently, when the youths were about to beat up the boy, Munnangi Suvartamma, a Dalit woman, tried to protect the boy from the attackers. She lifted the vessel that she was carrying, to drive away from the attackers. This act of lifting the vessel in self-defense later resulted in a ghastly attack by the upper caste people on the Dalits.

Question 3.
Water is a luxury for one class and a struggle for another in our society. How does the poem Water’ present this contrast?
Answer:
The poem ‘Water’, besides chronicling a few typical and poignant situations which portray the anguish, the humiliation, and the helplessness of the Dalits in their struggle for procuring ‘water’ for their everyday needs, also challenges the reader’s moral conscience and rationality by highlighting the paradoxical and biased role played by water in modern life. The speaker probably wishes to question the wisdom of the upper caste people, who have now comfortably accepted the role of water as a marketable commodity. Incidentally, the speaker highlights the self-centeredness of the upper caste people for using ‘water’ as a source of comfort and luxury.

While the upper caste people of the entire village bathed luxuriously twice a day all through the week, the Dalits who lived in wadas were given water only once a week. Only on that day, the Dalits used to take their weekly bath. Though water is the universal source of life and was available in plenty, yet the Dalits were denied water on account of the practice of untouchability. This is true even today. Thus one can argue that water is a luxury for one class and a struggle for another in our society.

Water by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani About the Poet:

Challapalli Swaroopa Rani (B 1968) obtained her doctorate at the University of Hyderabad and is currently the Head of the Centre for Buddhist Studies, Nagarjuna University, Guntur. A popular literary critic and writer, she has received several awards for her literary contributions. Several short stories and poems, essays on experiences of Dalit women, child labour and village life have been translated and published in Hindi, English and Malayalam. Her anthology of poems ‘Mankenapuwu’ has been awarded the Vimala Santhi Sahiti Puraskaram in 2006.

Some of her main books include an edited volume titled ‘Padunekkinapata’, an anthology of poetry by different Dalit poets published in 1995,-Mankenapuwu’ her first collection of poetry in 2005, ‘Neeli Meghalu’, ‘Chikkanavuthunna Pata’, a collection of essays entitled ‘Asthithvagaanam’ in 2012. She was the founder editor to the refereed Journal of Historical Research ‘Charitraka Parishodhana’. She is the chief editor of the monthly journal on Dalit issues called ‘Bahujanakeratalu’ and a member of the editorial board of the monthly journal ‘Samantara Voice’.

Water Summary in English

‘Water’, by Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, is a reflective-narrative poem. The speaker in the persona of a ‘Dalit’ reminisces and chronicles a few typical but poignant situations which express the anguish and helplessness of a Dalit when he or she goes to a public pond or tank to collect water for their daily needs.

In the first five stanzas, the speaker cites ‘water’ as the witness to the practice of untouchability. The poet states in a casual, matter-of-fact tone that ‘water’, which knows where the ground is inclined along which it has to flow, knows that ‘untouchability’ never disappears, because the quarrel or conflict over allowing the Dalits to collect water from a village tank or pond, between the upper caste people and the Dalits, has been smouldering for several generations. The poet draws parallels between this situation and the dampness on the well’s edge which never dries up. The writer uses this analogy to let the reader know that ‘water’, being the ‘elixir of life’, every living creature needs water, but it is so cruel of the upper caste people to deny such an essential ‘element’ of life to the ‘Dalits’ in the name of untouchability.

The speaker seems to say that this has been happening every day for several generations and it is ironical that only water knows it. The poet is showing an accusing finger at all those people who deny access to the Dalits to water in public places. The poet seems to ask the reader, ‘Don’t you know this?’

The idea is reiterated citing another instance of untouchability. The poet cites a Biblical incident in which Jesus, the Jew, goes to a Samaria woman (in a town called Sychar) and asks the woman for a drink. The Samaria woman belongs to an inferior race and Jesus, the Jew belongs to a superior race. Here the speaker seems to say that ‘water’ is essential to all, be it a Samaria woman or Jesus the Jew; similarly, water is essential for both the upper caste people and the untouchables. The same idea is reiterated in the next two lines. Even among the untouchables, there were sub-castes. ‘Leather’ refers to cobblers and the ‘spool’ refers to weavers. The speaker means to say that whether one is a cobbler or a weaver both of them need water. This fact is known to ‘water’, but why are people so cruel to give access to water to one and deny access to the other. Here, the ‘other’ refers to the untouchables.

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A Panchama does not have the right to draw water from a public well because he is untouchable. It is cruel and unfortunate that he is made to wait near the well until a Shudra arrives. Here again, it is ironical that the ‘Panchama’, who does not belong to varna, has to wait for a Shudra who is supposed to belong to the fourth rank in the social hierarchy. A Shudra, according to the ‘varna’ scheme, is unskilled labour and he does all the physical tasks as directed by the other upper caste people. Naturally, only when a Shudra comes to a pond to fetch water for an upper caste person can he give some water to the Panchama. It also means that the other upper caste people who normally do not fetch water from a well will not be able to give water to a Panchama. The speaker is once again referring to the cruelty of the ‘varna system’ and the practices associated with untouchability.

The speaker cites another cruel instance of untouchability. Normally, whenever a person belonging to one of the four varnas happens to give some water to an ‘untouchable’ (here it is a girl), he/she takes care to see that the giver and the receiver stand apart from each other and pours water from a distance, from a higher level to a lower level. On such occasions, some water is bound to fall on the receiver. Here, the receiver being a girl, waterfalls all over her. The speaker wants the reader to imagine the humiliation of the girl when someone throws water at her or on her. Here, the speaker is highlighting the cruel practice of untouchability.

The speaker recalls a heinous incident that happened in a place called Karamchedu. It is reported that on 16 July 1985, when two Kamma youths were washing dirty buckets (that had been used to feed – their buffaloes) in the drinking water tank in Madigapalle, a Dalit boy objected to it, which angered the youth. Consequently, when the youths were about to beat up the boy, Munnangi Suvartamma, a Dalit woman, tried to protect the boy from the attack. She lifted the vessel that she was carrying, to drive away from the attackers. This act of lifting the vessel in self-defence later resulted in a ghastly attack by the upper caste people on the Dalits.

However, the speaker states that ‘water’ knows the ’anger’ exhibited by Suvartamma by lifting her vessel (water pot) against the Kamma landlords, who asked her not to pollute the pond water. In the last two lines, the speaker asserts that ‘water’ has been the witness to centuries of social injustice.

The poet speaks in the first person and reminisces her painful experiences. The speaker says that whenever she sees water, she recalls that the people in her part of the village (Wada) would be suffering from severe thirst all day, not being able to get even a glass of water. She recalls sadly how they (the Dalits) would look forward to their weekly bath day, as if it was a wonderful festival day, while the upper caste people in the entire village enjoyed bathing luxuriously twice a day. Here the speaker intends to highlight the fact that while the Dalits were ‘deprived’ of water and were given water only once^a week, the other people had so much water that they bathed luxuriously twice a day.

The speaker recalls her childhood, when they had to walk miles and miles to fetch water from the big canal and carried back heavy pots with the muscles and veins in their necks straining and bursting.

The speaker narrates a fire accident in Malapalle. It was a locality where the Dalits lived in thatched huts. When their thatched roofs caught fire, the huts were completely destroyed in the fire for want of a pot of water to douse the fire.
The speaker expresses her opinion about the role of water in the life of the Dalits. She also expresses her view about how water is acting as an agent of social change at the local as well as at the global level.

The speaker states that for them (Dalits) water is a mighty movement itself and cites the instance of the Mahad struggle at the Chadar tank. (Mahad was a town in Colaba district in the then Mumbai state.) The Mahad municipality had passed a resolution to allow untouchables full/free access to all village waterfronts. But the local upper-caste population did not allow the Dalits to use the water and the resolution remained only on paper. On 19 March 1927, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar led a rally to the water reservoir at Mahad, drank water from that tank, and asserted the rights of the Dalits.

The speaker states that, for the Dalits, a single drop of water stands for tears shed by Dalits over several generations. She regretfully states that the Dalits had fought many battles for water in which they had shed their blood but had never succeeded in winning even a small puddle of water.

The speaker seems to hint that ‘water’ can act as an agent of social change and avenge the humiliation suffered by the Dalits. That is why she says, water is not a simple thing. It can give life but it can also devour lives. She categorically states that the water which should have been given to the Dalits to quench their parched throats later became the killer tsunami wave and swallowed village after village. In these lines the speaker seems to suggest that ‘water’ itself has acted as an agent of retribution, punishing the people for denying water to the Dalits. The theme of water as a mighty force and an agent of social change continues.

She recalls the suffering undergone by the poor people who get killed whenever there is a flood. The speaker remarks that poor people become playthings in the vicious hands of water and get killed in large numbers, often turning villages into dry deserts. Having expressed the harm caused by water to the untouchables, the speaker, in stanza thirteen, says that ‘water’ can become an issue of conflict between the village and the Wada, and between one State and another and be the cause of a bloody battle where people kill or hurt each other making the blood run in streams.

The speaker says that the very same water also can sit innocently in a Bisleri bottle appearing so innocuous. The poet traces the new avatar taken by water in the global market. She says that the very same ‘well water’ which the Dalits used to draw up from a well and carry in pots balancing them over their heads and hands now slowly and clandestinely dances its way into the Pepsi man’s bottle. Subsequently, it gets sold in its new name ‘mineral water’. The sale and origin of mineral water are also being vehemently debated. It is well known that Dalits depend on wells for their needs. But, owing to globalisation, many entrepreneurs have set up bottling plants for mineral water and other beverages. This has resulted in the depletion of groundwater which affects the Dalits directly.

The speaker seems to ridicule all those people who prevented the Dalits from polluting the water by their touch. She seems to make fun of them saying, ‘‘What happened to your social restrictions now?”

The speaker concludes declaring that ‘water’ is not an insignificant or trivial issue but is a multinational market commodity and it knows everything (omniscient). It contains the world, meaning, water has no boundaries. In the end, the speaker seems to challenge the oppressors that they can no longer deprive the untouchables of their share of water.

Water Summary in Kannada

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Glossary:

  • Wada: locality where Dalits live
  • Samaria/Samaritan woman: A benevolent woman of the town of Sychar in Samaria, belonging to a caste lower than that of Jews
  • Panchama: fifth category in the varna system

Note: Karamchedu is a village in Chirala taluk in Prakasham District. On July 16, 1985, following a petty quarrel at a tank, members of the dominant community killed six Dalits.

This is how Katti Padmarao, a prominent Dalit writer and activist, describes the incident: Two youths were washing dirty buckets they had used to feed their buffaloes in the drinking water tank in Madigapalle. This was objected to by a Dalit boy which angered the youth. They were about to beat up the boy when Munnangi Suvartamma, a Dalit woman, who had come to the tank to collect water, tried to protect the boy from the attack. She lifted the vessel she was carrying to ward off the hunters. Her act of lifting the vessel in self-defence became a pretext for the dominant community. This led to a ghastly attack on Dalits.

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