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Chapter 10: 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.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 English Chapter 10 Felling of the Banyan Tree
1. Identify the lines that reveal the critical tone of the poet towards the felling of the tree.
There are various expressions that reveal the critical tone of the poet towards the felling of the tree in the poem:
“Its scraggy aerial roots fell to the ground”
“Sawing them off for seven days and the heap was huge”
“Insects and birds began to leave the tree”
“Fifty men with axes chopped and chopped”
“We watched in terror and fascination this slaughter”
2. Identify the words that help you understand the nature of the poet’s father.
There are many words that help you understand the nature of the poet’s father in the poem. The poet’s father was a practical man. As the entire family was moving to Baroda, the father removed all the trees and demolished the surrounding property. He wasn’t emotional but was a man of actions.
“the structures were demolished”
“but he massacred them all”
“My father ordered it to be removed”
3. ‘Trees are sacred my grandmother used to say’— what does the poet imply by this line?
There were numerous legends surrounding the sheoga, the neem, the oudumber and most of all the banyan tree. In Hinduism, these trees are considered to be mythologically relevant. Old people who are religious consider cutting down of these trees to be a sin as they worshipped based on the holy scriptures. They say that cutting down a peepal or neem tree would bring ill fate. Numerous stories are present in our mythology which plague and fear our society with various superstitions. Hence, the poet is trying to convey the fears and beliefs of various religions of people like his grandmother.
NCERT Class 11 English Textbook Chapter 10 With Answer PDF Free Download