Word Meaning, Summary, Important Questions Of Chapter 9 Bholi | Class 10

Hindi Meaning Of Difficult Words | Chapter 9 Bholi

About The Poet | Chapter 9 Bholi


This lesson is the story of a young girl, Bholi, who was considered to be a dumb cow because of her looks and inability to speak without stammering. It also describes the social stigma of child marriage and the place of a girl in a village where people lack educational backgrounds. Child marriages were banned in India but the practice never stopped, specially in remote areas. The chapter depicts the harsh reality of the society which accepts what beauty is considered to be as per the set standards. It also reflects how the downtrodden are never given a space for upward mobility.

Short Summary Of Chapter 9 Bholi In English


The story is an account of life of the central character, Bholi. Her father was Numberdar Ramlal who had three sons and four daughters. Bholi was the youngest of all and her real name was Sulekha. When she was ten months old, she fell down from her cot on her head and the narrator suggests that it might have hurt some part of her brain. Afterward, when she turned two years of age, she had an attack of smallpox which disfigured her body and left life-long marks on her face. She was judged for the same as she was called ugly and a dumb cow due to all this.

Her other sisters were beautiful and Ramlal was worried about Bholi’s future as he thought nobody would marry her. Neither was she beautiful nor intelligent. Her brothers were sent to the city for pursuing their studies. Bholi’s life took a turn when a primary school was opened in the village. Her father held a high position in the village and was asked by the Tehsildar, who came to inaugurate the school, to send his daughter to the school as it would motivate other villagers too. Even though Bholi’s mother was against it, her father sent her to the school. Her worries ended when she found a loving hand in the form of a teacher who talked to her politely and assured her of having a good speech within a month if she came regularly to school.

Some years later, a marriage proposal came for Bholi. Her parents, as were already worried about her marriage, were happy to know the same. However, the problem was that the groom. Bishamber, was middle-aged and even had grown-up kids. The mother told the father that there can be no other good proposal for her as the groom was not asking for any dowry. Bholi overheard the conversation but for the happiness of her parents, she was ready for the marriage.

During the marriage ceremony, when the groom was about to put the garland over her neck, Bholi’s face was shown to him. He stopped and said the marriage would proceed only if he was given five thousand rupees as dowry. Poor Ramlal had no choice as the whole village had gathered and in the fear of losing his izzat, he gave away the money. However, such a thing was unacceptable for Bholi and she thundered in anger at Bishamber and refused to marry him. The father thought he would be disgraceful and nobody would marry her. Bholi’s confident voice made everyone realized that she was not the same dumb-driven cow. Bholi even told her father that she would serve her parents and teach in the school she studied in. Her teacher, who was witnessing all this, was content and proud of her.



The title of the story is ironic. The real name is Sulekha but everyone used to call her Bholi. It was so because she was considered to be less than her siblings. She could not speak properly which made everybody laughed at her. The title serves an ironic purpose at the end of the story. It is not the same Bholi that we find fighting for the right thing. A small gesture of care and love from her teacher, helped her to transform and there she stood as an intelligent and powerful girl who was no more dumb-driven.



‘Never judge a book by its cover.”

This saying holds true meaning in the lesson. Bholi, who was seen to be an ugly and dumb girl because of her disfigured body, became a powerful character at the end when she was nurtured with love and care by her teacher at the school. The lesson also gives insights about the village which fails to get rid of social evils like child marriage. The harsh reality of villages where people lack education and have perceptions of beauty that pull down anyone who does not fit the standards is also depicted in the lesson.



‘Bali is a story of a simple rustic girl. She was ignored because of pockmarks on her face. She was a slow learner. She had to tie knot to a lame, old widower who asked for dowry. She refused to marry such a greedy person, and decided to serve the village. She stood firm and determined. Her strength of character made her lead an exemplary life. Her attributes might inspire society to make their girl self-confident and independent. The lesson emphasized eradicating illiteracy and spread awareness, as only education guarantees a better future.



  1. Bholi

She was the youngest child of Numberdar Ramlal and her real name was Sulekha. She had an attack. of smallpox when she was two years old and was left pock-marks for her life. She was called Bholi because of her mental-retardedness and stammering. She was a weight on the shoulders of her father as he thought that nobody would ever marry her. She started going to school at the age of seven. A new hope emerged in her when she was softly addressed by her teacher and she began to learn and get rid of her speech problems. She turned out to be a respectful and intelligent girl. She understood that it was only the money because of which Bishamber was marrying her and due to this she suddenly turned down the marriage. She wanted to be with her parents and serve them in future. She learned to have faith in herself and became independent.

  1. Bishamber

He was a middle-aged man who belonged to another village. His first wife had died and he even had grown up kids. He sent a proposal to marry Bholi. He had never seen her and was critical of her looks when he saw her just before putting the garland. It shows how hypocritical he was as he never considered his age to be of any importance, despite of which Bholi accepted him. He asked for an amount of five thousand rupees to marry her. Bholi suspected everything and refused to marry him. She said she didn’t want to marry a greedy and contemptible man.

  1. Ramlal

He was a Numberdar of the village. He was a father of three sons and four daughters of which Bholi was

the youngest. Though being from a patriarchal set-up, he had some consciousness of his actions. He sent his daughter to the school even though the mother was not in the favour of it. When the proposal of Bishamber came for Bholi, he was not joyful as he thought it to be an injustice for Bholi to marry a middle-aged man. As a helpless father, when he was asked for five thousand rupees at the time of Bholi’s marriage because of her ugliness, he did so. He was a canna father but due to society’s pressure had to succumb to its traditions.

  1. Bholi’s mother

She can be seen as a female patriarch as she advocates all the social evils of the village. She never took care of Bholi and it was only at the first day of school that she dressed her up. She was not even in favor of sending her to school as she considered it to be useless for Bholi to have education but agreed as she knew nobody would marry her and the teachers could take care of Bholi. She only persuaded Ramlal when he had double thoughts about marrying Bholi to Bishamber According to her, Bholi could never get a better match than him as he was not even asking for dowry She cannot be called a a good mother as she never tried to make Bholi independent and her only concern was Bholi’s marriage.


Stammered- stuttered:



Backward- slow learner:


Mimicked- copied;

Prosperous- well to do;

Plenty- enough;



Courage- boldness:


Grip-tight hold;

Mend- repair,

Shrunk- drew back;


Fear-laden full of fear;

Squatted-sat cross legged:

Fascinated charmed;


Scurried- ran hurriedly:

Sobbing- crying:

Soothing- comforting,

Disgrace- bring a bad name;

Patted-tapped gently:

Affectionately- lovingly;

Nodded-move head in agreement;


Astonished- surprised:


Throbbing- beating:

Blossomed- started flowering,

Ginning- separating raw cotton from seeds;

Lack- deficiency:

Witless- stupid;

Splendor- grandeur;

Envious- jealous;

Clad- dressed:

Auspicious- good and lucky;

Prompted- provoked:

Veil- cover,



Contempt- dislike;

Flung- thrown carelessly:

Started- much surprised:


Disgrace- insult;

Coward- not bold;



Contemplate- think over.



Answer the following questions:

  1. What happened to her when she was two years old?

Ans. When she was two years old, she had an attack of smallpox which disfigured her body and she had black pock-marks all over her body.

  1. Who all were there in Bholi’s family?

Ans. Bholi had a father, Ramlal, and a mother. She had three brothers and three sisters. The sisters were married and the brothers were sent to the city for their studies. Bholi was the fourth daughter and the youngest of all.

  1. What made Bholi think that she was going to a good place?

Ans. When she started crying about going to school. her father asked her mother to dress her up and make her look decent. She got a clean dress to wear and was bathed and oil was even rubbed into her hair. This made her believe that she was going to a better place.

  1. What was the first reaction of Bholi when she entered the school?

Ans. Bholi was fascinated by the walls of the classroom. She saw bright and colorful pictures of a horse, a goat, a parrot, and a cow. She found all these pictures familiar as she had seen all of them in the village.

  1. How did the village change over the years?

Ans. The village became a small town. The primary school of the village changed into a high school and the village now had a cinema and a cotton ginning mill. The trains also started to stop at the village railway station.

  1. What is the text shows that Bholi was a neglected child?

Ans. The chapter shows enough instances where one finds Bholi as a neglected child. She was never given new clothes and she always received the dresses passed on to her by her elder sisters. Her mother never cared to bathe her and oil her hair. She was probably kept like that because she was the youngest out of the seven children and also due to her physical setbacks.

  1. Bholi used to talk very little, Why do you think it was so?

Ans. Bholi developed stammering after she had an attack of smallpox. When she used to stammer, everyone used to mimic her and make fun of her. This made her talk a little so that she could avoid being laughed at.

  1. Why were Bholi’s sisters jealous of her?

Ans. Bholi’s other sisters were also married. Now the proposal that came for Bholi was of Bishamber who was a very wealthy man. Even the procession had a brass band and the groom rode a decorated horse. This pomp and show made her sisters envious of her.

  1. What reasons did Bholi’s mother give for accepting the marriage proposal?

Ans. Bholi’s mother considered her to be witless. She thought that such a marriage proposal for Bholi can actually be lucky for her as Bishamber had a big shop, his own house, and a lot of money. In addition to which was the fact the groom belonged to some other village and didn’t know about Bholi’s appearance.

  1. How did the teacher ignite a new hope in Bholi?

Ans. The teacher talked to Bholi in a friendly gesture and encouraged her to speak up. She assured her that if Bholi kept on coming to the school regularly, she would soon be able to speak without stammering and would grow up to become more knowledgeable than anyone else in the village. These words filled Bholi with a new hope.

  1. How did Bishamber react when he saw Bholi just before garlanding her?

Ans. Bishamber was shown Bholi’s face just before the garland ceremony. He was set back and stopped there only. He said to his friend that she had pockmarks on her face and if he was to marry her then her father must give him five thousand rupees.

  1. What made Bholi throw the garland into the fire?

Ans. Bholi was furious at the act of Bishamber who tried to fetch money from her father just because she was not beautiful. She had cold contempt on her face and she threw the garland into the fire.

  1. Why was Ramlal shocked when Bholi refused to marry Bishamber?

Ans. Ramlal had always seen her daughter as a dumb and witless child. However, at that time Bholi spoke in clear words that she would not marry that man who made him shocked.

  1. What reasons did Bholi give for not marrying Bishamber?

Ans. After the inconsiderate act of Bishamber, Bholi was completely disappointed and she broke her silence. She said that Bishamber was a heartless creature. She even said that she would not accept a mean, greedy and contemptible coward as her husband.

  1. Why do you think Ramlal stood with the weight of grief and shame?

Ans. Ramlal was shocked to see this new Bholi who stood in front of him. He was ashamed because the

society he lived in would never accept an unmarried daughter. He was burdened with the weight of being a helpless father who, even though money, could not see his daughter as a bride.

  1. What did Bholi say to her parents after Bishamber and his party left?

Ans. Bholi was asked by her father that what would she do as no one was ever going to marry her. She told his father that she would serve her parents in their old age and would also teach in the same school she used to study in.


Answer the following questions:

  1. Write a note on the character transformation of Bholi.

Ans. Bholi was not only the youngest child but also had a bad luck. An attack of smallpox left her with never to be removed of scars. She stammered because she was ill treated by everyone. However, a turning point in her life came when she was sent to the school in her village, though her mother thought she cannot do anything good. At the school, Bholi’s teacher came as a new ray of hope for her. Her love and affection molded Bholi. She turned into a confident and bold girl. Her individuality became so she started to understand that no one can put her strong that dignity down just because of her looks. She herself refused to marry Bishamber when he asked for dowry. This shows that the character of Bholi transformed completely.

  1. How did Bholi’s earlier fear about the school changed?

Ans. Bholi had apprehensions about going to the school as she had never seen a school and didn’t know anything about it. She was full of doubt about being thrown out of the house or sold like her cow. She was full of fear as it was natural for a child who was always considered witless. However, she realized that she was going to place when she was bathed better her mother and her hair were oiled and by her combed. She was dressed with clean clothes. All this was happening to her for the first time which made her realize that she was going to a place better than her home.

  1. What do you learn about the character of Bishamber Nath?

Ans. Bishamber Nath was a prosperous grocer with wealth and a house of his own. He was a middle aged man, about the age of Bholi’s father, who belonged to a village other than Bholi’s. He even limped. His first wife had died and he grew up with kids. He sent a proposal to marry Bholi. He had never seen her and was critical of her looks when he saw her just before putting the garland. It shows how hypocritical he was as he never considered his age to be of any importance, despite Bholi accepted him. He asked for an amount of thousand rupees for marrying her. Bholi suspected everything and refused to marry She said didn’t want to marry a greedy and contemptible man.


  1. Why was Bholi fearful of going to school?
  2. What did Bholi’s mother think about her future?
  3. How did Bholi’s teacher encourage her?
  4. Education plays a great role in the life of human beings Justify the statement in the context of the story.
  5. What changes do you observe in the character of Bholi at the end of the story? How do you appreciate her acts?


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