(a) Gandhiji said, “Freedom from fear is more important than legal justice for the poor.” What he meant to convey was that unless and until our minds and hearts are free from fear, we cannot expect to get anything we want. The same holds true for the poor, who wish for legal justice against the many atrocities held against them. First and foremost, they need to leave their fear behind and ask for their rights without any inhibitions.
The statement becomes clearer from the lesson ‘Indigo’. In the lesson we see how Gandhiji enables the sharecroppers of Champaran to shed their fear and voice their comcerns against the British landlords. He instils the freedom from fear in their hearts which provides them with a sense of self-confidence and independence. This is the only way the poor can march their way to legal justice.
(b) “He had naturally been thinking of his rattraps when suddenly he was struck by the idea that the whole world about him […] was nothing but a big rattrap. It had never existed for any other purpose than to set baits for people.”
The story, ‘The Rattrap’, is built upon several themes like kindness and trust, with the basic human need for companionship being one of them. The negative aspects of loneliness are shown very clearly, being the result of poverty, pessimism and meanness. The story also lends suitable examples to show this point.
The peddler, at the beginning of the story, lives a very lonely life. It is because of his poverty and tough regime that he is lonely. It is a result of this that he becomes so bitter in nature. The positivity comes only when there is some companionship in the form of the old man, the ironmaster and Edla Willmansson. Even the old crofter, who is not as poor as the peddler, also leads a lonely life. The two are happy enough in their brief companionship.
(c) “He and I stood together in the surf. I hung on to him, yet the waves knocked me down and swept over me. I was buried in water. My breath was gone. I was frightened.
Father laughed, but there was terror in my heart at the overpowering force of the waves.”
Douglas had a near-death experience in his childhood – an incident in which he had been swept away by a wave. Besides, another kid had bullied him by pushing him down the deeper side of the swimming pool, which Douglas survived barely. This led to the development of a fear, since his childhood days, of water and especially deep pools.
“And then sheer, stark terror seized me, terror that knows no understanding, terror that knows no control, terror that no one can understand who has not experienced it. I was shrieking under water. I was paralysed under water — stiff, rigid with fear.”
Douglas was, however, determined to overcome this fear of his which made him feel inferior. He analyses his fears, takes help from an able instructor and ventures out, with the help of his strong will, to learn swimming. He swims in a number of different pools to overcome this fear of his and is finally able to win over it.
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