Civil Service Foundation — Why should India be wary of China

January 29, 2015 at 8:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Why should India be wary of China?

India has a very long border with China, large parts of which are disputed. India and China fought a brief border war in 1962 that resulted in a very humiliating defeat for the Indian army. The scars of this defeat still remain unhealed in the minds of Indians. China has laid claim to the whole of Arunanchal Pradesh, which is a full-fledged province in India. Many rounds of official level border talks between the two sides have been held in the last few years, but there has been little forward movement. The impasse continues.

To make matters worse, stand-offs happen between the army patrols of either side largely due to the fact that there are areas which are not demarcated yet and both sides lay claim on them. Such incursions are played up by the media, particularly in the Indian side leaving the whole nation jittery. Memories of 1962, when China began a large-scale invasion in NEFA and Ladakh areas, are rekindled. It was, for most Indians, a surprise and un-provoked attack. Since then, most Indians perceive China as a totally un-trustworthy neighbor, even more vicious than China. The trust deficit seems to cast a long shadow over border talks and on the bilateral relations at large. China’s belligerence towards its other neighbours adds grist to India’s policy planners’ apprehensions.

China’s economy has moved ahead with remarkable speed in the last two decades, far outpacing that of India’s. In military spending China leaves India way behind. With formidable military power and fast modernization of its weaponry, China wants to soon stand up to America, the biggest military power on earth. China makes periodic noises about its readiness to flex its military muscles to protect its ‘national’ interests. Such assertions signaling China’s new-found confidence, offer cold comfort to Indian strategic planners.
As a manufacturing base and a huge exporting powerhouse, China dominates the world. India trails China not only in economy, but also in all other parameters that are accepted as yardsticks of development. Consequently, China’s global clout is enormous with India running far behind.

With inexplicable eagerness, China has befriended Pakistan. The motive, undoubtedly, is to extend its regional hegemony, and intimidate India. In fact, China is the only major power to embrace Pakistan – a country torn apart by internal insurgency and religious fanaticism. This relationship is deeply upsetting for India. To fuel further speculation, China issues ‘stapled’ visas to Indians hailing from Jammu & Kashmir, Arunanchal Pradesh and Mizoram. China’s reaction in this regard continues to be evasive and ambivalent.

Lastly, the burgeoning bilateral trade between the two countries has seen China’s exports soaring, with Indian exports to China bogged down by various obstacles. The trade balance continues to be increasingly adverse. So, bilateral trade grows at the expense of India. This is a problem that is not going to go away soon.

In conclusion, it can be said that India is, unfortunately, pitted against an adversarial neighbor with awesome military and economic power. The past has been bitter. The immediate future looks no better. So, India has to be wary of China.

[This is a college-level essay. If you need a simpler and shorter version, write to us.]
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NCERT English -Letter to Editor about exploitation of tourists by temple priests

January 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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To
The Editor
The Hindu
Vishakhapatnam

Sub .. Plight of pilgrims in the Jagannath Temple, Puri

Sir,

This morning, I was aghast to see three temple priests accosting a group of nearly 50 devotees from Rajasthan inside the Jagannath temple premises. The trio was making monetary demands which the hapless tourists were apparently not in a position to meet. The three priests hurled insults at the group in very hateful way. The head of the tourist group bore the brunt of the three temple priests. They tore apart his shirt, threw his head gear on the ground (a grave insult for Rajastahnis), and snatched his wallet. The victim, unable to offer any resistance to the intimidation, went down on his knees and begged the trio for some reprieve, but the abuses continued with increasing vulgarity. Other members of the group just looked on, unable to decide how to come to the aid of their headman. It was a shocking and shameful sight for the onlookers.
I understand such fleecing is commonplace in and around the temple. It has been there for ages, but in recent times, the menace has become increasingly alarming. It is nothing but thuggery – a shameful practice which is repugnant to the tenets of Hinduism. It is a scourge that needs the heavy hand of law to be eliminated. I request the temple administration and the state government of Odisha to rise to the occasion, and use coercive methods to rein in the truant priests who bring such disrepute to this pilgrimage centre considered the most paramount among the four ‘Dhams’ of Hindu religion.

Thanking you,

Regards,

—–Name——

Civil Service foundation questions – 1– Current Affairs and Vocabulary

January 27, 2015 at 1:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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a.  Answer to each of the following question in ten lines. Answers must not exceed 10 sentences.

1. Why should India be wary of China?
2. What does India gain from its space ventures?
3. How has the political landscape changed in Sri Lanka in the last few weeks?
4. In the very near future, India’s Current Accounts may show a surplus instead of deficit for the first time in seven years. How is it possible? How does it help India?
5. Why is Indo-U.S. friendship important? Give five reasons.
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b. Word –use exercise…

Select the right word for the gaps in the sentences below. List of words given in red at the bottom.

a. The Inspector of Police told his colleagues, “You must ——– patrol the streets well into the early hours of the morning, if you hope to curb night crimes.
b. My brother’s palatial house ——– mine. We agreed to have a common boundary wall to save cost. But, he built a large home, where as I managed to construct a humble 2-room house.
c. When I asked my father for an I-Pad saying that it was needed for my studies, my mother ——–, ‘You failed in two subjects last time. With an I-Pad on your table, you will double your tally!’

d. All religions ask their followers not to indulge in ———- sensual pleasures. One who does not heed the advice gets ruined by disease or bankruptcy sooner or later.
e. When an unknown cargo floating in the sea is retrieved by the Coast Guard, they ————– it for few days to avoid its possibly toxic contents polluting the environment. Similarly, astronauts returning from space flights are ———– for at least 72 hours before they come out to the open.
f. If you do not shake hands with your opponent who has defeated you after a long grueling match, it will be considered as an act not in good ———–.
g. My mother is good at cutting pineapples. When a few guests arrived in our house on a sultry summer afternoon, my mother peeled three pine apples with effortless ——-, and served them the succulent slices.
h. When Lucy mentioned her plans to go to Bangalore for making a living there, her mother reacted in a rather ———– manner.
i. Congress Party lost the elections because people did not like the way Sonia lorded over the party and the government. She treated the party as if it was her —— , acting in the most arbitrary and self-serving manner.

[Grace, Ambivalent, Fiefdom, Quip, Proactively, Ease, Quarantine, Unbridled, Abut ]
[Answers will be posted in a week.]
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Word learning exercise — Fill in the blanks

January 20, 2015 at 8:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Fill in the blanks selecting the right word from inside the bracket.

a. A person ——– his words as the liquor he had consumed began to have its effect.

b. A person ——– to his feet as the whisky tightened its grip over his senses.

c. The tears —— his vision as the as the Kashmiri Pandit narrated his owes before the gathering.

d. The accountant ——— the accounts, but was caught a few days later.

e. The patient’s heart ——— as the surgeon approached him with a knife in hand.

f. The photos of my late father on a horse back ———- my passion for horse-riding and hunting.

g. The rat ——— to the safety of its hole on seeing a vulture overhead.

h. The High Court ———– the decisions of the lower court.

[ Fudged,      Quashed,       Staggers,        Slurred,        Blurred,        Sank,      Rekindled,      Scampered]

 

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Answers …

Fill in the blanks selecting the right word from inside the bracket.

a. A person slurred his words as the liquor he had consumed began to have its effect.

b. A person staggered to his feet as the whisky tightened its grip over his senses.

c. The tears blurred his vision as the as the Kashmiri Pandit narrated his owes before the gathering.

d. The accountant fudged the accounts, but was caught a few days later.

e. The patient’s heart sank as the surgeon approached him with a knife in hand.

f. The photos of my late father on a horse back rekindled my passion for horse-riding and hunting.

g. The rat scampered to the safety of its hole on seeing a vulture overhead.

h. The High Court quashed the decisions of the lower court.

Answers submitted by Ms. Sunita Pati. She is a B.A with English Honors. She can be accessed at  spati2657@gmail.com

[ Fudged,      Quashed,       Staggers,        Slurred,        Blurred,        Sank,      Rekindled,      Scampered]

School level essay 1 — English for modern India

January 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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School level essay 1…

English in Modern India

Lord Babington Macaulay introduced formal English education in India in 1835. His motive was two-fold. First, the colonial administration needed clerical hands and junior-level officers to man the many administrative positions. The second was, of course, to ‘enlighten’ the ‘backward’ natives in the ways of the ‘superior’ British culture. No doubt, he succeeded in his objectives. However, Indians owe him a deep sense of gratitude for the many unintended benefits that accrued to India because of his energetic promotion of English education in colonial India.

If we see a strong, coherent, and united India today, it is because of the early introduction of English. Our judicial system, bureaucracy, universities, robust mainstream media, communication networks, postal system and armed forces hold our country together against centrifugal forces inherent in a multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic country such as ours. Common use of a single language facilitates trade, inter-province migration of workers, and free and frank discussion of regional issues in Parliament. Such exchange of ideas, and discourse cement the many fault-lines that crisscross our polity.

Coming back to our very modern times, we see India getting increasingly drawn into the globalized economic framework. It has brought jobs, trade, industries, technology, investment and foreign expertise to India. In the same way, there has been a reverse flow of capital, managerial expertise, skilled manpower and intellectuals to destinations outside the country. All these would not have been possible if our young men and women had been deprived of English language skill. Inside India, proficiency in this international language gives us the passport to upward mobility in our careers. The spectacular increase in IT and ITES industries, the expanding manufacturing base, increased inflow of tourism are the most conspicuous benefits of English learning in India.

Even, regional literature, art and culture have got a boost because of the fact that English is widely read and spoken in this country. Literary works of eminent authors writing in their provincial languages are readily translated to English. As a result, they become accessible to domestic as well as foreign readers. From Tagore to Amitabh Ghose, from Subramanium Bharati to Satyajit Ray, from Mrinal Sen to Adoor Gopalakrishnan, we can cite myriad names of Indian intellectuals who have got global recognition because their works got translated to English.

This is why, we see English medium schools and English speaking training institutes mushrooming all over India today. English, despite the opposition from myopic politicians like Mulam Singh Yadav, has entered the DNA of India. It will propel India to the top league of most powerful nations in the world.
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NCERT Class IX English – The Bishop’s Candlesticks (Notes)

January 10, 2015 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Bishop’s Candlesticks

It would be incomplete to read this soul-stirring drama without learning about Victor Hugo who wrote Les Miserables. The novel, written in mid-nineteenth century, portrays the poverty, insensitivity, and the economic disparity of the then French society. The book brought to public eye the extremely oppressive prison conditions in France and the brutalization of the inmates in the hands of officials who manned both the judiciary and the jails. They displayed shocking arbitrariness and an odious arrogance in handing down stringent sentences to errant inmates. When the inmates were finally released from the jail, they were reduced to beasts after long years of crippling torture and isolation. Bereft of all human feelings, and ostracized by the society, they failed to integrate into mainstream society. Broken in mind and robbed of their soul, they wandered around to eke out a living, often plunging again to the crime world.

Victor Hugo, a thinker, writer, and dramatist lived in the era of Napoleon. Fearing capture, jail and even death, he left France to spend some years in Brussels and Germany. The torment of his heart resulting from his knowledge of the infamous prisons of Paris never let him live peacefully. With his heart burdened with anguish and resentment, Hugo, through Les Miserables, drew the attention of the thinking elite of Europe to the inhuman treatment of its citizens inside the walls of the jails. This book took him nearly seven years to complete, but it shook the European conscience to its very foundation. It shattered many and sobered many others who, using their official authority, turned on the defenseless prisoners with savage vengeance.

Since its publication, Les Miserables has been translated to many languages, read by countless readers and has reformed countless human beings to be compassionate, forgiving and sensitive to fellow humans. It has been made into films by many eminent producers. Whatever may be the difference in nuance, the kernel remains the same. Les Miserables, in any form — book or film, radiates goodness, and its aura of godliness is unmistakable. It races to touch the soul of the reader, and leaves an indelible mark in it.

The Bishop’s Candlesticks is a dramatization of a part of this seminal book Les miserables. Possibly, this part marks a turning point of the story. The eminent playwright Norman Mckinnell (1870-1932) has done a commendable job in giving shape to the characters. Although he has deviated from the original text somewhat, the undertone of compassion, forgiveness and sympathy has remained loud and clear.

Characters .. The Bishop, The Convict, Bishop’s sister Persome, the domestic help Marie and the Sergeant of Gendarmes.

Short description of the characters ….

The Bishop … He is an unusual man. He has a heart that overflows with compassion and humility. Sights of suffering of any human being drive him to extreme limits of generosity. He invites ridicule from his sister, he remains undeterred.

Persome .. She oversees the Bishop’s household. She is just like any other woman, loving, caring, but has the mundane pettiness we get to see in most human beings. She disapproves of her brother’s benevolence as unwarranted and eccentric.

Marie .. As the young domestic help, she is obedient and too mindful of her duties. Perhaps because of her impoverished childhood, her intelligence is somewhat blighted. It makes her appear stupid at times.

Sergeant of Gendrames  … The dutiful police officer who hunts down shady characters on the road. He is very respectful of the Bishop.

Story …..

The drama opens with a scene of Marie making the soup and Persome chiding her for her minor follies. It is getting late in the night and the Bishop has not returned home. Persome is worried. After a brief questioning by Persome, Marie tells her that she had gone to sell off the silver salt-cellars at the master’s (Bishop’s) behest. The money was needed by the Bishop to pay off the arrear rent of Marie’s ailing mother who was facing imminent eviction from her rented accommodation. It also emerged that the Bishop had been to the ailing lady to attend to her and pray for her.

Obviously, Marie’s mother’s suffering had moved the kindly Bishop to sell off the silver salt-cellars. It was a desperate act to save a distressed soul. There was no way the Bishop look the other way when the ailing lady was at the end of her tether.

Persome, ever protective about her brother, was not a person to fathom the depth of the Bishop’s compassion. She was just an ordinary worldly woman who chided her brother for going to such extra-ordinary lengths to help a woman.

The Bishop was very caring of Marie. He asked her to dart off to her mother and gave her his woolen head muffler to save her from the cold outside.

The Bishop, despite being reprimanded by his sister Persome, remained calm and totally unruffled. He showed no irritation, no anger at Persome’s petty-mindedness.

 

Persome, prepared to go to bed. She wished her brother ‘Good Bye’ excusing him as another incorrigible eccentric philanthropist. It was midnight. The Bishop, tired after the errands he did during the day, sat down to unwind before going to sleep.

Just about then, a vicious-looking man with long hair and beard came in and grabbed the Bishop from behind. He had a dagger in his hand. With frightening sternness, he orders the Bishop not to shriek, not to move. The Bishop, in his characteristic way, remained impassive. The convict, at the point of his dagger, demanded food saying he had not eaten for three days. Far from being polite for the service he was seeking, he was quite boorish in his talk and manners.

The Bishop was not the least offended by the stranger’s rudeness. On the other hand, he was most willing to feed the famished trespasser. When he got up to go to get the key to open the food cupboard to get something for the hungry man to eat, the latter mistook it to be a ruse by the host to call in the police or raise an alarm. The stranger ordered the Bishop to sit down and not attempt any dirty trick! Instead, he told he was too hungry to wait and could wait no further. Saying this, he demanded to know where the food was and wanted to get it himself.

The Bishop speaks to the rude bearded man most lovingly and reassures him that he had no hostile intention. He further confided to the visitor that there was just one more person in the household. It was his sister.

The visitor was still not very convinced. He gave another dire warning to the Bishop. He threatened to use his dagger to rip apart his host’s heart in case the latter planned to spring a surprise.

The Bishop’s response was as cool as it was disarming. With remarkable calmness, he told his guest that losing his heart and thus his life did not bother him as much as the loss of soul of the visitor if he indeed carried out the murder. The Bishop was alluding to the sense of guilt the stranger would have to live with if he killed his benign host.

The Bishop summoned her sister Persome to see if there was any food in the cupboard that the hungry visitor could eat. Persome, in her usual way, responded rather scornfully to the Bishop’s request. She wondered if it was their obligation to feed every destitute  that passed their way at very inconvenient hours (It was past mid-night by then.). The Bishop persisted showing little irritation.

Persome soon returned, but she was aghast to see a knife in the hand of the uncouth man her Bishop was offering food. The Bishop remained unruffled. He tried to make light of Persome’s fear saying that the visitor might have brought it thinking the host’s house didn’t have it.

Persome was still shaken by the encounter, She told her brother how chillingly the traveler looked at them.The traveler had little patience for Persome’s feelings. He demanded food fast, threatening the hosts to smother them if they delayed any further.

The Bishop took the keys from her sister and let her leave.

The visitor was still not mollified. He asked the two remain where they were.

The Bishop asked Persome to wait on the guest as he ate. Persome agreed. The food that was offered was cold pie, wine and some bread. The traveler asked to stand still there as he ate. He examines the knife and fork used in the Bishop’s house hold. He blurts out the fact that he never got to use a fork in the ‘prison’.

The mention of the word ‘prison’ created a flutter in the minds of the hosts. Persome was taken aback.

The visitor started eating the bread like a hungry beast. Then he looked at the open window and the door and wondered with some trepidation as to why they remained open. Was it to let others in to nab him?

The door and windows were shut in the meantime as the visitor devours his food. The Bishop revealed that the doors and windows have been closed after a period of thirty long years.

The visitor dropped food on the floor annoying Persome. The Bishop picked up the bone from the floor and put it back on the plate.

With his hunger partly satiated, the visitor wanted to know if his hosts were not afraid of ‘thieves’.

The Bishop replied that he felt sorry for them.

The convict treats the soft comment with some hard cynicism. He is a bit amused too. He asks his host what he was.

The host said he was a Bishop.

It draws another bout of cynical laugh from the visitor. He sharpens his dismissive comment by exclaiming the Bishop to be someone associated with Virgin Mary, as if Virgin Mary was a small mean woman.

The Bishop was not ready to give up despite the hurtful words of the visitor. He wanted to have a one-to-one chat with the visitor who appeared to be frustrated to the point of a total break-down. He wanted Persome to go and leave the duo alone.

Persome was apprehensive.

Bishop clarified that he must talk to the visitor alone.

The visitor, although appearing quite disturbed, appeared amused at the prospect of talking to a Bishop.

Persome retreated to her bed.

The visitor, in utter disbelief, asks the Bishop if he was aware of his antecedents.

The Bishop, in a voice of sympathy, said that he apparently was a man who had got a very bad deal in life.

The visitor began to open up. Emotions seemed to grip his mind as began his journey down the memory lane. He said he had suffered for far too long to suffer any more. Now, he was a beast robbed of his human sensibilities. He had been reduced to a number –15279. The ten years of incarceration had been un-endurable for him.

The Bishop was all ears for the man who had suffered so much in the prison. He wanted to hear in detail about the brutalities inflicted on him while in jail.

The convict’s mind was still suspicious of the Bishop. He wanted to know why the Bishop was so keen to hear his story. Was it a ruse to hand him over to the police, he asked.

The Bishop calmly assured him that he would never be handed over to the police.

The convict replied that he believed the Bishop, but did not know why.

The Bishop was keen to know what had landed the man in jail.

 The convict agreed to open up. He told the how inhumanely the prison guards had treated him. He was chained, robbed of all freedom, given rotten food unfit for human consumption, kept with wild animals and frequently thrashed. The guards treated him with odious contempt heaping physical and mental abuses of unendurable proportions.

The convict narrated how his incarceration of ten years and the unrelenting torture had destroyed the human side of his soul and made him a beast. Then, one day the opportunity finally arrived. The guards had forgot to chain him and he fled the confines of the prison for good. That was some six weeks ago. He went out of the prison, but had nowhere to go. Since then he had gone without food. Starvation had followed him all the way.

The Bishop sighed in disbelief. He couldn’t believe that the visitor sitting before him had suffered so much.

The security police had been all over the place trying to nab him. Being on the run, and having no identification papers, the convict had to dodge the police by hiding. This made his life much more difficult. He couldn’t even beg for food. He managed to steal the rag he wore and stole food to stay alive. He had to spend his nights in odd places. He couldn’t go out and ask for work. The whole world appeared to turn its face away from him. He was a thief now.

The convict boiled in anger as he narrated his account.

The Bishop’s heart melted in sympathy for the convict as he heard the ordeal. The Bishop advised him not to give up and have some hope.

The convict was clearly incredulous and cynical.

The Bishop asked the convict to lie down on the couch for some time to beatoff the tiredness. He offered to get him a blanket.

The convict was still unsure about his safety. He feared being arrested while he was asleep.

The Bishop tried to calm the nerves of his nervous guest, addressing him as his ‘friend’. He reassured him that no one would come. Even if anyone did come, the frightened guest would have the Bishop’s protection.

This show of solidarity and sympathy came as a big surprise for the convict. Clearly, he was baffled at the kind treatment he was receiving.

The Bishop briefly goes to fetch the blanket. The convict went towards the fireplace to warm himself. His eyes fell on the beautiful candlesticks kept near the fire place. The devil in him came to the fore. Greed overtook him. The lure of the heavy silver candlestick became irresistible. His host’s kindness got drowned in the avarice that reared its ugly head in his mind. He thought it was a rare opportunity to make a windfall.

He had his greedy gaze fixed on the silver candlesticks when the Bishop stepped in. In his characteristics eyes that saw no evil, he complimented the convict for appreciating his candlesticks. The Bishop told the convict that the candle sticks were his departed mother’s gifts. He lovingly had treasured the beautiful pieces as memento. The Bishop wanted his guest to retire for the night.

The convict was flummoxed by the Bishop’s show of such unusual kindness. The Bishop continued to pacify the host, who, by now, appeared to be a bit confused. Nevertheless, the convict agreed to go and take rest, but again wanted to know why the Bishop had been so extra-ordinarily kind to him.

The simply said that he wanted the tired guest to have some good rest.

The convict had another bout of rudeness to fling at his host. He blurted out that he had no place for any more spiritual lessons in his mind. As regards, being reconverted to Christianity, said he had no intention of falling into the Bishop’s evangelical motives. He bluntly said that he ‘hated’ Church.

Bishop remained unruffled. He said that it was such a pity to see the convict hating Church, when Jesus hated none, not least the convict.

The convict didn’t stop being dismissive about Church and all that it stands for. He said he loathed the idea of religion, charity and Hope. Without showing even a faint sign of gratitude to the Bishop, the convict declared that it was futile to hope that a convict could be reformed by goodness. In other words, he asserted that he was too degraded a human being to be swayed towards spirituality.

The Bishop was not a man to give up before such blunt negativity. He said it was worth slogging for a ‘fallen’ devil’s renewal because the effort would be a service to God.

The convict was not a bit softened. He reiterated his loathing for religion.

The Bishop asked his stubborn guest to lie down and rest.

The convict was caught in double minds. He said he would rest, but the fear of arrest still troubled him.

The Bishop assured him that there was no danger of anyone coming in to nab him. After all, the convict had locked the door himself, the Bishop reminded.

The convict again went to double-check the door lock. The Bishop was beginning to lose his patience. He held the blanket in his hand to put t on the convict after he slept on the bed. Finally, the comnvict came to sleep.

The Bishop left saying ‘Good Night’ lovingly.

The convict had other intentions. His mind was riveted to the silver candlesticks. He gets up and goes to hold the candlesticks, caressing it with great greed.

A torrent of conflicting emotions was buffeting his mind. He knew he could steal the silver pieces, sell them and start life anew. But, the guilt of robbing the Bishop who had been so kind to him disturbed him. The duel swung his mind taking him to his insufferable prison days. On the other side, the prospect of a prosperous life appeared so tantalizingly close. The candlesticks were precious mementos the Bishop treasured as memories of his departed mother. Stealing the pieces would hurt his host. Momentarily, the ‘noble’ element in his mind reared its head. But, the convict brushed it aside thinking he too had a mother. It had not deterred his tormentors in the jail to detain him for ten long years! So, mother’s memory was not sacrosanct, he reasoned.

Still vacillating between stealing and not stealing, he thought that Bishops were meant to be kind and helpful to people in distress. So, his host had done what he ought to do. With such self-serving thoughts, the convict decided to take the plunge to hell again. He decided to flee with the silver pieces. The door slammed as the convict stepped out with the booty.

It awoke Persome. She shouted to ascertain the source of the sound. It didn’t take long for her to discover that the convict had decamped with precious silver candlesticks.

The Bishop entered and realized what had happened. He was totally heart-broken. From the depth of his heart he pined for the lost candlesticks. He was devastated.

Persome suggested to her brother to rush and inform the police. She chided her brother for letting in a stranger to a place where the precious candlesticks had been kept.

The Bishop conceded that he had been very indiscreet in dealing with the convict. He lamented the loss of the items that meant so much to him emotionally.

Persome was very upset with her brother whom she saw as too naïve and imprudent.

The Bishop became thoughtful, weighing carefully the consequences of informing the police. They would surely apprehend him and send him back to the prison – the dungeon that had destroyed his soul.

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Persomme was extremely angry at the way her brother, whom she adored so much, had been robbed by an odious character who was treated with such kindness. She simply could not countenance her brother’s continued softness for the convict. She was adamant on calling in the police. She sternly told her brother not to intervene.

The Bishop pondered the matter. He appeared to be reconciled to the loss of the treasured items. In fact, the resentment in his mind had ceded place to lofty compassion. He wanted the convict to own the pieces and meet his needs, which he felt, were more dire than his own.

The Bishop pleaded with his sister to let the convict be forgiven. After all, he said, his departed kind mother would have been happy to give away the silver pieces to any one with such pressing need.

Persome remained un-convinced. At this point of time, a loud knock on the door was heard.

The Sergeant and three Gendarmes came in with the Convict firmly in their custody.

Persome seethed in anger on seeing the chained Convict. The countenance on her face showed her anger.

The Sergeant narrated how they had picked up the Convict on suspicion while the latter was walking on the road. The police personnel had to grapple with the Convict really hard before they could subdue him. The silver pieces fell off the Convict’s bag. The Sergeant had seen these pieces in the Bishop’s place earlier. So, he had brought the Convict there to get the matter sorted out and restore the silver pieces to its rightful owner – the Bishop.

Around that time, Persome took the pieces from the Sergeant and carefully wiped them with her apron. She was both happy and relieved.

The Bishop’s kind eyes met the defiant glance of that of the Convict. There was not a trace of remorse in his face for what he had done.

Something very strange happened. The Bishop feigned surprise, and said the shabby-looking man in the police custody was his friend.

The Sergeant was surprised at the turn of events.

The Bishop cleared the air by further declaring that the man assumed to be a thief had been his guest for the supper that night. After the meals, the host had gifted the priceless pieces to the guest.

For the Sergeant, it was utterly baffling. But, he had little left to do when the Bishop said that he had gifted the silver pieces to the man he was holding.

The Bishop invoked the name of Virgin Merry.

The Sergeant felt sorry for the mess he had inadvertently created by dishonouring the guest of the Bishop. He had no hesitation in apologizing to the Bishop.

With some lingering doubts, he complained that the stranger had no identification papers with him.

The Bishop reiterated that the stranger was indeed his friend. With rare calm, he asked the Sergeant to set the arrested man free.

The Sergeant asked his men to back off.

The Convict was as perplexed as he was intrigued. He wondered why the Bishop had been so immensely forgiving and gracious.

Pesome gave the Convict a venomous rebuke calling him all sorts of names.

The Bishop was quite terse with her extremely abusive sister. He motioned her to leave.

Pesome feared that the Convict might do some new harm to her brother if she left, but the Bishop was firm that she should leave.

Persome insisted on regaining the possession of the lost silver pieces. Again, the Bishop put his feet down and asked his sister to leave. Persome was un-relenting, so was her brother. He, with all the authority at his command, ordered her to go. Pesome left the two behind and made her exit.

The Convict finally seemed to see reason. Some good sense was returning to him. He, with shame writ large on his face, told the Bishop that he was happy not to have sold off the pieces.

In his characteristic way, the Bishop showed no sign of any displeasure with the Convict. On the contrary, he asked the person to sleep on the bed and get some rest.

The Convict saw great risk in staying behind. He told his host that he must escape to Paris under the cover of the night’s darkness. Paris was a big enough place for a fugitive to hide.

The Bishop seemed to agree.

The Convict, by then, had his stone heart melting. He saw how gracious and good his host had been. His cynicism about the evil world was receding fast. He said he discerned some good in this brutal world. He begged the Bishop to bless him for his difficult days ahead.

The Bishop readily obliged.

Overwhelmed by the Bishop’s goodness, the Convict came to tears. He began to sob. He felt the tumultuous wind of change that was sweeping his heart. He was desperate to shed his beastly mind, and reclaim his conscience.

The Bishop was generous and loving. He assured the repentant Convict that there was still enough time and scope to retrace his steps and live a dignified life. He told his friend to remember that his body was the Temple of the Living God.

The Convict was experiencing the powerful gush of good and noble sentiments. He said he would remember the Bishop’s words – the Temple of Living God.

—————————END————————–

 

 

 

 

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