Class XII – Reading Comprehension Passages

Class XII: Reading Comprehension

READING COMPREHENSION

(As per the latest syllabus, 2017-18)

Comprehension means understanding or perception. The following points are to be carefully noted while attempting questions for comprehension.

1. Go through the passage carefully and arrive at the general idea of the subject the passage presents.
2. Read a second time to get a better understanding of the passage.
3. Arrive at the meaning of difficult words by relating them to the preceding and following sentences.
4. Underline relevant words and phrases of the passages which can help you deduce the answers.
5. Read the questions carefully.
6. Answer precisely using simple language.
7. Answers should reveal your understanding of the passage.

Class XII – Section A – Reading Comprehension – 30 Marks

(As per the latest syllabus, 2017-18)

Please Note: There will be two unseen passages with a variety of very short answer or MCQ questions to test comprehension, interpretation and inference. Vocabulary such as word formation and inference of meaning will also be tested. (11+11=22 Marks)

The total length of the two passages will be between 1100-1200 words. The passage will include two of the following:

a. Factual Passages
b. Descriptive Passages
c. Literary Passages

There will be a third passage of 400-500 words for note-making and abstraction. 8 Marks

Q1. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow: 12 Marks

1. From the ramparts of the Red Fort for some years now, our prime ministers have been promising the eradication of child labour in hazardous industries. The truth is, if the government really wanted, child labour in hazardous industries could have been eliminated long time ago; and yes, every Indian child would have been in school by 2003.

2. The government has failed to eliminate this dehumanization of childhood. It has also failed to launch compulsory primary education for all, despite the rhetoric. Between 60 and 100 million children are still at work instead of going to school and around 10 million are working in hazardous industries. India has the biggest child population of 380 million in the world, plus the largest number of children who are forced to earn a living.

3. We have many laws that ban child labour in hazardous industries. According to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the employment of children (below the age of 14) in hazardous occupations has been strictly banned. But each state has different rules regarding the minimum age of employment; this makes implementation of these laws difficult.

4.  Also, there is no ban on child labour in non-hazardous occupations. The act applies to the organized or factory sector and not to the unorganized or informal sector where most children find employment as cleaners, servants, porters, waiters, among other forms of unskilled work. Thus, child labour continues because the implementation of the existing laws is lax.

5. There are industries which have a ‘special’ demand for child labour because of their nimble fingers, high level of concentration and capacity to work hard at abysmally low wages. The carpet industry in UP and Kashmir employs children to make hand-knotted carpets; there are 80,000 child workers in J&K alone. In Kashmir, because of the political unrest, children are forced to work while many schools are shut. Industries like gem-cutting and polishing, pottery and glass want to remain competitive by employing children.

6. The truth is that it’s poverty which is pushing children into the brutish labour market. We have 260 million people below the poverty line in India, a large number of them are women. Poor, vulnerable parents, especially women-headed families, have no option but to push their little ones in this hard life in hostile conditions, with no human or labour rights.

7. There is a lobby which argues that there is nothing wrong with children working as long as the environment for work is conducive for learning new skills. But studies have shown that children are made to do boring, repetitive and tedious jobs and are not taught new skills as they grow older. In these hell-holes, like the sweatshops of old, there is no hope.

8. Children working in hazardous industries are prone to debilitating diseases which can cripple them for life. By sitting in cramped, damp, unhygienic spaces, their limbs become deformed for life. Inside matchstick, fireworks and glass industries, they are victims of bronchial diseases and TB. Their mental and physical development is permanently impaired by long hours of work. Once trapped, they can’t get out of the vicious circle of poverty. They remain uneducated and powerless. Finally, in later years, they too are compelled to send their own children to work. Child labour perpetuates its own nightmare.

9. If the government was at all serious about granting children their rights, an intensive effort ought to have been made to implement the Supreme Court’s directive of 1997 which laid down punitive action against employers of child labour (! 20,000 per child to be paid by offending employers). Only compulsory primary education can eliminate child labour.

10. Surely, if 380 million children are given a better life and elementary education, India’s human capital would be greatly enhanced. But that needs, as President Abdul Kalam says, a “second vision”. Can our political establishment see beyond the haze of shallow realpolitik?

Questions:

A. Choose the most appropriate option: 1 x 4 = 4

(a) Child labour can be eliminated if

(i) compulsory primary education is given to the poor
(ii) industries are abolished
(iii) industries are abolished
(iv) the poor children are sent behind the bars

(b) Poverty

(i) enhances creativity
(ii) encourages child labour
(iii) kills people
(iv) humiliates human beings

(c) Human capital may be greatly enhanced

(i) if child labour is abolished
(ii) if children are given employment
(iii) if children are educated
(iv) all of the above

(d) Children working in hazardous industries are prone to

(i) bronchial diseases
(ii) TB.
(iii) mental and physical impairment
(iv) all the above

B. Answer the following questions briefly: 1 x 6 = 6

(a) On what two counts has the government failed in respect of children?
(b) “We have many laws that ban child labour Even then child labour continues.” What makes implementation of laws difficult?
(c) What forces the children to work in ‘hazardous’ industries? Why do these industries prefer child labour?
(d) What are the adverse effects of ‘hazardous’ industries on children? Give any two.
(e) How can India’s human capital be vastly enhanced?
(f) How is poverty responsible for child labour?

C. Find words in the passage similar in meaning as: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) Complete destruction (Para 1)
(b) Putting into practice (Para 3,4)

Marking Scheme:

A. (a) (i) compulsory primary education is given to the poor
(b) (ii) encourages child labour
(c) (iv) all of the above
(d) (iv) all the above

B. (a) (i) Eradication of child labour in hazardous industries.
(ii) Providing schooling to every Indian Child.

(b) (i) Each state has different rules regarding the minimum age of employment.
(ii) The act does not apply to unorganised or informal sector.

(c) (i) Poverty is the main cause of child labour- 260 million people exist below poverty line in India.
(ii) Child labour is preferred due to their nimble fingers, high level of concentration and capacity to work hard at extremely low wages.

(d) (i) Children become prone to debilitating diseases (which make a person very weak)
(ii) Their limbs become deformed for life.
(iii) They become victims of bronchial diseases and T.B.
(iv) Their mental and physical development is permanently impaired.
(v) They remain uneducated and powerless. (Any two acceptable)

(e) By giving the 380 million children a better quality of life and elementary education, we can greatly enhance India’s human capital.

(f) Poverty forces parents to get their children employed so as get three times meal.

C. (a) eradication
(b) implementation

Q2. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow: 10 Marks

Many of the underdeveloped countries will promote the growth of their economies in one way or the other, no matter whether they receive substantial outside aid in the process or not. The character of that development, however, is likely to be strongly influenced by the types of and amounts of aid available. The outcome is much more likely to be favourable, from the’ standpoint of the objectives for successful development set up previously, if there is substantial international aid than if there is not.

By substantial aid I mean not only large amounts of technical assistance but also of capital. Initially, the capacity of an underdeveloped country to use capital productively may be surprisingly small, limited by lack of organisation, trained personnel, and other social obstacles. At this stage technical assistance is the main need from outside, with comparatively small amounts of capital, much of which may have to be in the form of grants for non-self liquidating projects, in education, health, access to roads to rural areas, and the like, if, at this stage, substantial capital is available from outside to supplement what can be formed internally (and to simulate internal capital formation, for it does that too) the rate of economic growth can be consistently increased, and the strains and frustrations and political risks of the development are likely to be considerably less.

It is possible for underdeveloped economies to modernise themselves with very little capital from outside. Japan imports of capital were small though some of it came at crucial times. The contribution of foreign direct investments to the advancement of technical know-how, also was greater than would be indicated merely by the size of the investment. The Soviet Union industrialised its economy with practically no aid from foreign investment capital except for the foreign owned installations confiscated after the revolution, though it imported machinery in the early days on short term or immediate term credits and hired services of foreign experts.

Both Japan and Russia achieved their development in an authoritarian political and social framework. The outcome in both cases form standpoint of the peace of the world and democratic ideals, was highly unfavourable.

In the absence of outside aid, the only way to accumulate capital, is to increase production without taking much of the benefit in more consumption or even while pushing consumption standards down. Where the people are already near the subsistence level this may mean extreme hardship. Somehow the people must be motivated to change their accustomed ways quickly, to work hard, and to forgo present consumption so that capital investment can be made.
Questions:

A. Choose the most appropriate option: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) The passage says that

(i) without foreign aid no underdeveloped country can grow.
(ii) underdeveloped country must refrain from taking foreign aid.
(iii) the economies of the underdeveloped countries are more likely to grow faster with substantial foreign aid than without.
(iv) underdeveloped countries are economically backward because their governments have not got their priorities right.

(b) Substantial aid in this context means

(i) technical assistance in the form of trained personnel.
(ii) capital, in the form of bank loans and overdrafts.
(iii) large amounts of technical assistance and capital.
(iv) a cheap and plentiful supply of labour.

B. Answer the following questions briefly: 1 x 6 = 6

(a) How does the availability of substantial capital help?
(b) How can a nation accumulate capital if it does not get outside aid?
(c) How did Japan and Russia become developed?
(d) What problems does an underdeveloped country face?
(e) What should an underdeveloped nation do to minimize risk?
(f) What was the contribution of FDI in case of Japan?

C. Find words in the passage similar in meaning as: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) substantial
(b) aid

Marking Scheme:

A. (a)(iii) the economies of the underdeveloped countries are more likely to grow faster with substantial foreign aid than without.
(b)(iii) large amounts of technical assistance and capital.

B. (a) The availability of substantial capital gives a nation a great opportunity to develop its infrastruce.
(b) The nation should increase production without taking much of the benefit in more consumption.
(c) Japan and Russia achieved their development in an authoritarian political and social framework.
(d) An underdeveloped country faces the problems of lack of organization and trained personal
(e) The nation should try to increase the economic growth to minimize risk.
(f) The contribution of FDI in case of Japan was greater than the technical know-how.

C. (a) plenty of
(b) assistance

Q3. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow: 12 Marks

Among the natural resources which can be called upon in national plans for develop¬ment, possibly the most important is human labour. Since the English language suffers from a certain weakness in its ability to describe groups composed of both male and female members, this is usually described as “manpower”.

Without a productive labour force, including effective leadership and intelligent middle management, no amount of foreign assistance or of natural wealth can ensure successful development and modernization.

The manpower for development during the next quarter century will come from the world’s present population of infants, children and adolescents. But we are not sure that they will be equal to the task. Will they have the health, the education, the skills, the socio¬cultural attitudes essential for the responsibilities of development?

For far too many of them the answer is no. The reason is basic. A child’s most critical years, with regard to physical, intellectual, social and emotional development, are those before he reaches five years of age. During those critical formative years he is cared for almost exclusively by his mother, and in many parts of the world the mother may not have the capacity to raise a superior child. She is incapable of doing so by reason of her own poor health, her ignorance and her lack of status and recognition of social and legal rights, of economic parity of independence.
One essential factor has been overlooked or ignored. The forgotten factor is the role of women. Development will be handicapped as long as women remain second-class citizens, uneducated, without any voice in family or community, decisions without legal or economic status, married when they are still practically children, and henceforth producing one baby after another, often to see half of them die before they are of school age.

We can enhance development by improving “women power”, by giving women the opportunity to develop themselves. Statistics show that the average family size increases in inverse ratio to the mother’s years of education—is lowest among college graduates, highest among those with only primary school training, or no education.

Malnutrition is most frequent in large families, and increases in frequency with each additional sibling. The principle seems established that an educated mother has healthier and more intelligent children, and that this is related to the fact that she has fewer children. The tendency of educated, upper class mothers to have fewer children operates even without access to contraceptive services.

The educational level of women is significant also because it has a direct influence upon their chances of employment, and the number of employed women in a country’s total labour force has a direct bearing on both the Gross National Product and the disposable income of the individual family. Disposable income, especially in the hands of women, influences food purchasing and therefore the nutritional status of the family. The fact that the additional income derives from the paid employment of women provides a logical incentive to restrict the size of the family.

Questions:

A. Choose the most appropriate option: 1 x 4 = 4

(a) Among the natural resources which can be called upon in national plans for development

(i) the most important is certainly human labour.
(ii) the most important is possibly human labour.
(iii) the least developed is certainly human labour.
(iv) the least developed is undoubtedly human labour.

(b) Without a productive labour force, including effective leadership and intelligent middle management

(i) no productive work is possible.
(ii) entrepreneurs will incur heavy losses.
(iii) economic development will not keep pace with national movements.
(iv) no amount of foreign assistance or of natural wealth can ensure successful development and modernization.

(c) The manpower development during the next quarter century

(i) will be adversely affected by the threat of war.
(ii) will come from the world’s present population of infants, children and adolescents.
(iii) will be taken care of by the current emphasis on free education for women.
(iv) will be adversely affected by the country’s economic losses and political instability.

(d) “women power” means

(i) giving women the opportunity to develop themselves
(ii)  giving women the opportunity to fight themselves
(iii) giving women the opportunity to dominate others

(iv) giving women the opportunity to befool others

B. Answer the following questions briefly: 1 x 6 = 6

(a) What will be the source of the manpower development during the next quarter century?
(b) During which period is the child growth maximum?
(c) Why can’t the first teacher be effective in some of the regions of India?
(d) What will happen to development if the womenfolk are neglected?
(e) How can we accelerate the rate of progress?
(f) What is the difference between an educated mother and an illiterate mother?

C. Find words in the passage similar in meaning as: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) increase
(b) important

Marking Scheme:

A. (a) (iv) the least developed is undoubtedly human labour.
(b) (iv) no amount of foreign assistance or of natural wealth can ensure successful development and modernization.
(c) (i) will be adversely affected by the threat of war.
(d) (i) giving women the opportunity to develop themselves

B. (a) The manpower development during the next quarter century will come from the world’s present population of infants, children and adolescents.
(b) The child grows maximum before he attains the age of five.
(c) The first teacher remains ineffective because of ignorance, poor health, lack of respect and recognition.
(d) There will be no growth and everything will stagnate.
(e) The rate of progress may be accelerated by educating the womenfolk.
(f) An educated mother does not beget children thoughtlessly but an illiterate mother considers children the blessings of God. Education makes one wise and practical. Those who are uneducated fail to analyze the situation critically.

C. (a) enhance
(b) significant

Literary Passages

Q4. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow: 10 Marks

1. As a medium of literary expression, the common language is inadequate. Like the man of letters, the scientist finds it necessary to “give a purer sense to the words of the tribe”. But the purity of scientific language is not the same as the purity of literary language The aim of the scientist is to say only one thing at a time, and to say it unambiguously and with the greatest possible clarity. To achieve this, he simplifies and jargonises. In other words, he uses the vocabulary and syntax of common speech in such a way that each phrase is susceptible to only one interpretation; and when the vocabulary and syntax of common speech are too imprecise for his purpose he invites a new technical language, or jargon specially designed to express the limited meaning with which he is professionally concerned. At its most perfectly pure form, scientific language ceases the matter of words and terms into mathematics.

2. The literary artist purifies the language of the tribe in a radically different way. The scientist’s aim, as we have seen, is to say one thing, and only one thing at a time. This, most emphatically, is not the aim of the literary artist. Human life is lived simultaneously on many levels and has many meanings. Literature is a device for reporting the multifarious facts and expressing their various significance. When the literary artist undertakes to give a pure sense to the words of his tribe, he does so with the express purpose of creating a language capable of conveying, not the single meaning of some particular science, but the multiple significance of human experience, on its most private as well as on its more public levels.

Questions:

A. Choose the most appropriate option: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) The passage highlights the difference between

(i) the language of science and of literature
(ii) the language of the tribe and that of a civilized man
(iii) jargon and the language of a common man
(iv) the central purpose of science and literature

(b) A literary artist purifies the language of a

(i) community
(ii) school
(iii) family
(iv) person

B. Answer the following questions briefly: 1 x 6 = 6

(a) What is the purpose of literature according to the writer?
(b) What kind of a language is used in Science?
(c) Discuss the similarities between the language of science and that of literature.
(d) What is the objective of a scientist?
(e) How does a literary figure use a language?
(f) Why does a scientist use specific technical words?

C. Find words in the passage similar in meaning as: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) not suffice
(b) side by side

Marking Scheme:

A. (a) (i) the language of science and of literature
(b) (i) family

B. (a) To report multifarious facts of life.
(b) Precise.
(c) The language of science and that of literature, each in its own way, makes for pure expression.
(d) The objective of a scientist is to be unambiguous.
(e) A literary figure uses a language to convey multiple interpretations.
(f) A scientist uses specific technical words to be intelligible.

C. (a) inadequate
(b) simultaneously

Q5. Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow: 10 Marks
I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
 
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
 
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
 
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
— William Wordsworth

Questions:

A. Choose the most appropriate option: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) Poet has compared rows of daffodils with which of the following?

(i) rows of twinkling stars
(ii) rows of glistening leaves
(iii) rows of milky-way
(iv) all of these

(b) Why does the poet become happy after seeing daffodils?

(i) they look beautiful
(ii) they will give fond memories to him
(iii) they shine brilliantly
(iv) they look like twinkling stars

B. Answer the following questions briefly: 1 x 6 = 6

(a) ‘I’ in the first line refers to
(b) What does the poet witness there?
(c) How were the daffodils dancing?
(d) When did the poet recall his experience?
(e) Why does the poet feel happy in the end?
(f) What does this poem justify?

C. Find words in the passage similar in meaning as: 1 x 2 = 2

(a) loneliness
(b) joy, happiness

Marking Scheme:

A. (a) (i) rows of twinkling stars
(b) (ii) they will give fond mem
ories to him

B. (a) The poet
(b) The poet witness the beauty of nature. He sees daffodils.
(c) The daffodils were tossing their heads and morning from one direction to the other.
(d) The poet recalls his experience in pensive mood.
(e) The poet rejoices because of his sweet experience of witnessing the daffodils dancing under the stars.
(f) This poem justifies Wordsworth’s definition of poetry. He said, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings recollected in tranquility.

C. (a) solitude
(b) jocund

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