The Felling Of The Banyan Tree


The Felling Of The Banyan Tree


My father told the tenants to leave


Who lived on the houses surrounding our house on the hill


One by one the structures were demolished


Only our own house remained and the trees


Trees are sacred my grandmother used to say


Felling them is a crime but he massacred them all


The sheoga, the oudumber, the neem were all cut down


But the huge banyan tree stood like a problem


Whose roots lay deeper than all our lives


My father ordered it to be removed


The banyan tree was three times as tall as our house


Its trunk had a circumference of fifty feet


Its scraggy aerial roots fell to the ground


From thirty feet or more so first they cut the branches


Sawing them off for seven days and the heap was huge


Insects and birds began to leave the tree


And then they came to its massive trunk


Fifty men with axes chopped and chopped


The great tree revealed its rings of two hundred years


We watched in terror and fascination this slaughter


As a raw mythology revealed to us its age


Soon afterwards we left Baroda for Bombay


Where there are no trees except the one


Which grows and seethes in one’s dreams, its aerial roots


Looking for the ground to strike.



Q. 4. B. Read the following extract and answer the questions given below: (4 marks) [Feb. 2016 Set A]


1. What revealed the age of the banyan tree?

Ans. The rings in the trunk of the giant tree revealed its age.

2. How would you save the natural habitat of wildlife?

Ans. By avoiding, the cutting of trees I would save the natural habitat of wildlife. Because trees are not only home to birds and insects, but they also provide food and shelter to the wild animals.

3. Find from this extract an example of ‘Repetition’.

Ans. Fifty men with axes chopped and chopped.

4. Pick out any two lines from the extract showing pictorial quality of human action.

Ans. (i) sawing them off for seven days and the heap was huge.

(ii) Fifty men with axes chopped and chopped.


Read the following question and answer it.


Q. 1 Why were the tenants asked to leave their houses?


Ans. The tenants were asked to leave their houses because one by one their houses were demolished.


Q. 2 What ,according to the grandmother, is a crime?


Ans. The poet's grandmother used to say that the trees are sacred and felling them is a crime.


Q. 3 'But the huge banyan tree stood like a problem'.
Identify and explain the figures of speech.


Ans. Simile: As two dissimilar things "the banyan tree" and a "problem" is directly compared by using a word like.


Q. 4 What did the poet's father do with the trees?


Ans. The poet's father massacred all the trees.



About the Poet.





Dilip Chitre (1938) was born in Baroda. He writes poetry both in Marathi and English. Travelling in a Cage, from which the poem selected here has been taken, was published in 1980. Apart from poetry, Chitre has also written short stories and critical essays. An Anthology of Marathi Poetry 1945–1965 is one of his most important works of translation. He sees poetry as an expression of the spirit. He lives and works in Mumbai.


About the Poem.


The word POETRY originates from a Greek word meaning TO MAKE. A poet is thus a maker and the poem something that is made or created. No single definition of poetry is possible but some characteristic features of poetry may be mentioned. Poetry has a musical quality with rhythm, pitch, metre and it may use figures of speech such as simile and metaphor. While quite a few poems in this selection are in traditional forms, the unit also includes modern poems that are free from formal restrictions


Additional Question for practice.


1. Identify the lines that reveal the critical tone of the poet towards
the felling of the tree.


2. Identify the words that help you understand the nature of the
poet’s father.


3. ‘Trees are sacred my grandmother used to say’— what does
the poet imply by this line?


4. ‘No trees except the one which grows and seethes in one’s
dreams’— why is the phrase ‘grows and seethes’ used?


5. How does the banyan tree stand out as different from other
trees? What details of the tree does the poet highlight in the
poem?


6. What does the reference to raw mythology imply?


7. ‘Whose roots lay deeper than our lives’— what aspect of human
behaviour does this line reflect?


8. Comment on the contemporary concern that the poem echoes.


1. Most of us have had this experience of seeing trees in our
neighbourhood being mercilessly cut down in order to build a
house or a public building or to widen a road. Describe any
such experience you have had of the felling of a tree you were
attached to, with reasons for your special attachment to the
tree.


2. Find out the equivalents for sheoga, oudumber and neem in your
language and English and the equivalent of banyan in your
language.


3. The adjective ‘scraggy’ is used to describe ‘roots’ in the poem.
Find out two other items which could be described as ‘scraggy’:
scraggy…………….


4. Use the following adjectives to describe suitable items
raw aerial sacred.


More Question for Practice.


Q1 : Identify the lines that reveal the critical tone of the poet towards the felling of the tree.


Answer :


Q2 : Identify the words that help you understand the nature of the poet's father.


Answer :


Q3 : 'Trees are sacred my grandmother used to say'- what does the poet imply by this line?


Answer :


Q4 : No trees except the one which grows and seethes in one's dreams'- why is the phrase 'grows and seethes' used?


Answer :


Q5 : How does the banyan tree stand out as different from other trees? What details of the tree does the poet highlight in the poem?


Answer :


Q6 : What does the reference to raw mythology imply?


Answer :


Q7 : 'Whose roots lay deeper than our lives' - what aspect of human behaviour does this line reflect?


Answer :


Q8 : Comment on the contemporary concern that the poem echoes.


My father told the tenants to leave
Who lived on the houses surrounding our house on the hill.
One by one the structures were demolished
Only our own house remained and the trees.


Meaning
Tenants – People who live on rent
The structures
Demolished


Questions


Why did the poet’s father ask the tenants to leave?


Who lived on the houses surrounding our house on the hill.


One by one the structures were demolished


Only our own house remained and the trees.


“Trees are sacred,” my grandmother used to say.
Felling them is a crime but he massacred them all.
The sheoga, the oudumber, the neem were all cut down
But the huge banyan tree stood like a problem
Whose roots lay deeper than all our lives.
My father ordered it to be removed.


Meaning


Sacred – Holy
Felling – Cutting
Massacred – Cut down
The sheoga
The oudumber
Neem


Questions


What had grandfather think of cutting trees?


“Trees are sacred,” my grandmother used to say.


Felling them is a crime.
Who massacred all the trees?


The sheoga, the oudumber, the neem were all cut down
But the huge banyan tree stood like a problem
Whose roots lay deeper than all our lives.
My father ordered it to be removed.
The banyan tree was three times as tall as our house.
Its trunk had a circumference of fifty feet;
Its scraggy aerial roots fell to the ground;
From thirty feet or more so first they cut the branches
Sawing them off for seven days and the heap was huge
Insects and birds began to leave the tree.


Meaning


Banyan tree


Lay deeper than all our lives
Circumference
Scraggy
Aerial roots
Sawing them off
The heap


And then they came to its massive trunk
Fifty men with axes chopped and chopped
The great tree revealed its rings of two hundred years
We watched in terror and fascination this slaughter
As a raw mythology revealed to us its age.


Meaning


Soon afterwards we left Baroda for Bombay
Where there are no trees except the one
Which grows and seethes in one’s dreams, its aerial roots
Looking for the ground to strike.


Questions


How was Bombay different from Baroda?


What kind of trees are there in Bombay?

Why are the areal roots not able to strike the ground?

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