Chemmanam Chacko’s ‘Rice’ (‘Nellu’ in Malayalam) deals with the plight of the farmers in Kerala who are forced to move from food crops to cash crops. It mourns the loss of paddy fields which have been replaced by commercial plantations.
The poet pictures the nostalgic feelings of the narrator who returns to his homeland after a long stay in North India. He has earned a doctorate on making toys with husk. While in train, the bustle and excitement of farming in his homeland fills his mind. He is eager to have a meal of ‘athikira’ rice.
But to his great shock he finds that the place has changed completely. Tall rubber trees have taken the place of rich paddy fields. With the least sentiment and with great pride, his father says that they have stopped paddy cultivation as it is not profitable any more. “Only fools would turn to cultivating rice,” he says.
The narrator sarcastically concludes the poem commenting on the Chief Minister who flies high above the cash crops to the Centre to demand for allotment of more rice. He pathetically asks himself whether the state will get some husk from the Centre too.
- “…only fools turn to rice-farming for gains”
Do you agree with this idea expressed by the father in the poem Rice? Express your opinion/ suggestion in three or four sentences. You may use expressions like ‘I think., I feel., I suggest., In my opinion .’ (Score:3)
- a. The poet in Rice finds his place totally changed in four years. What are the major changes mentioned by the poet? (Score: 4)
b. Describe a place in your locality elaborating the changes it has undergone within a short period of time.(Score:4)
- Much of our water bodies are polluted by industrial waste and toxic chemicals and fertilizers from farmlands. Prepare an essay describing the increasing rate of water pollution in our state. (Hints: reason for pollution – impact of pollution – remedial measures etc.) (Score: 8)
- Over use of plastic has become a big menace in our country now-a-days. It is suggested by experts that the use of plastic would destroy the ecological balance. Considering the seriousness of the issue, prepare an essay on the topic The Menace of Plastics highlighting the consequences resulting from the overuse of plastic, possible measures to make a plastic free environment etc. (Score: 8)
- In connection with the activities of the Haritha Keralam project, the Nature Club of your school has organized a programme for planting trees in the campus. You are asked to deliver a speech on the importance of preserving nature and natural resources. Draft the speech you would like to present there. (Score: 8)
- Read the following line from the poem Rice and answer the given question.
Handloom dhoti stained with yellow mud’
What does this line imply? (Score: 2)
- The Nature Club of your school wishes to visit the Botanical Garden at Thiruvananthapuram. Draft a letter to the Director of Botanical Garden, Thiruvananthapuram seeking permission to visit the garden and to enquire about their research projects on food crop cultivation. (Score: 6)
- Read the lines from the poem ‘Rice’.
Son,we’ve stopped working on all the rice.
It was quite inconvenient.
Now, answer these questions.
‘all the rice’ means……………………………………….
What does it tell us about the farmers?
(Hints: change in attitude-lifestyle-profit motive-job preferences etc.) (Score: 3)
- The bar diagram shows the production (in tonnes) of wheat, rice, coarse grains and oilseeds of different countries. Analyse it and prepare a write-up. (Score: 8)
- Read the following lines from A Farm-Picture by Walt Whitman.
THROUGH the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,
A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;
And haze, and vista, and the far horizon, fading away.
(Ample = sufficient, Haze =mist, fog , vista= view, panorama, scene etc.)
Now compare these lines with the lines from ‘Rice’ given below and prepare a write-up highlighting the relevance of the theme in the present day world.
“It will be the planting season when I get there,
and my father—his handloom dhoti stained with yellow mud,
excited about the waters of the Varanganal canal-
will greet me from the fields below our house,
amidst the shouts of ploughing with several oxen.”
“Can we get some husk from the Centre, too,
To make toys with it? I don’ t know.”
The poem ‘Rice’ ends with these sarcastic lines. Do you think the poem is a satire? If so, what does the poet try to satirise? Consider the poem as a satire and prepare a paragraph on your views. (Score: 5)
“My little brother runs in to meet me–
I, eager to have a full meal of athikira rice.
He’s carrying the rations for the whole household–
He trips over something and scatters the wheat all over the yard.”
Here we see the narrator who is eager to have a full meal of athikira rice becoming desperate on realising that he has to satisfy himself with a ration of wheat. Do you think that the poet is satirising the change in the attitude of the people with the changing society? Consider the poem ‘Rice’ as a satire.
‘Son, we’ve stopped working on all the rice.
It was quite inconvenient. The farmer gained nothing-
only fools turn to rice-farming for gain.’
- What change of attitude and life-style, in the farmer is expressed through the lines quoted above?
- This is a pathetic situation pointed out by Prof. Chemmanam Chacko. Can you give two suggestions that will revive paddy cultivation in this state?
O train, will you run a little faster-
let me get home quickly and eat my fill.
What does the poet want to eat ?