Understanding the text
Question 1. Tick the statements that are true.
- The story is an account of real events.
- The story hinges on a particular historical event.
- Rajendra Deshpande was a historian.
- The places mentioned in the story are all imaginary.
- The story tries to relate history to science.
Answer 1. True 2. True 3. True 4. Not True 5. True
Question 2. Briefly explain the following statements from the text.
- “You neither travelled to the past nor the future. You were in the present experiencing a different world.”
Answer : These lines were spoken by Rajendra Deshpande when he was trying to give an explanation for Professor Gaitonde’s strange experience. When professor met with an accident, he was thinking about the Battle of Panipat and its consequences. His mind travelled between the history we know and what could have been. By making a transition, professor was able to experience two worlds, although one at a time. By the same theory, there must be many more different worlds arising out of bifurcations at different points of time.
2. You have passed through a fantastic experience : or more correctly, a catastrophic experience.”
Answer : Rajendra Deshpande told Professor Gaitonde that he passed through a very fantastic experience. He explained that we lived in a unique world, which had a unique history. The idea ‘it might have been’ was fine for speculation but not for reality. Due to the accident, Gangadhar Pant’s mind jumped on to another world, which could have been. In that world, history took a different turn as Marathas won the Battle of Panipat. Rajenera explained this through catastrophic theory, according to which reality has many manifestations.
Question 3. “Gangadhar Pant could not help comparing the country he knew with what he was witnessing around him.”
Answer : In his extraordinary experience, Gangadhar Pant witnessed two different manifestations of the same reality, although one at a time. The India he knew was described in the history books on the basis of the Battle of Panipat of 1761 , where Marathas were defeated. The other India that he saw was the result of the victory of Marathas in the battle. In this version, he saw India as a self-reliant ant and prosperous country.
Question 4. The lack of determinism in quantum theory.
Answer : If a bullet is fired from a gun in a given direction at a given speed, one will know where it will be later, but such an assertion cannot be made for an electron. When an electron is fired from a source, it may be here, there, anywhere. This is lack of determinism in quantum theory. This theory asserts that reality is never one-sided. Alternative worlds may exist at the same time.
Question 5. You need some interaction to cause a transition.
Answer : Professor Gaintonde made a transition, which according to Rajendra Deshpande, had happened because of the interaction happening in the professor’s mind at the time of collision. When the collision took place, professor was thinking about catastrophe theory and its role in wars. May be, he was wondering about the Battle of Panipat and its consequences. The interaction in his brain acted as a trigger to cause a transition.
Talking about the text
Question 1. (i) A single event may change the course of the history of a nation. Discuss.
Answer : In Favour The history of a nation takes long to develop but this history may, suddenly, take a new course by a single event happening in a particular moment. This can be reinstated by the Battle of Panipat. When the Maratha Army faced the troops of Abdali, there was no disparity between the two. Only the leadership could have made the difference. At a crucial juncture, Vishwasrao, the son and heir of Peshwa was killed. His uncle Bhausaheb also could not survive. For Marathas, losing their leader was a blow and Abdali won. In fact, the Battle of Panipat was the beginning of the subjugation of our country.
Against It is very difficult to believe that a single event can change any nation’s history. True, Marathas lost the Battle of Panipat and it had severe consequences on India, then. But there were subsequent factors, which made us slaves for a very long duration. The Britishers wilfully followed the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy and ruled us for years together. A single event can affect an individual’s life but to change the history of a nation, one requires a significant chain of events to happen.
(ii) Reality is what is directly experienced through sense. Discuss
Answer : In Favour Reality, indeed, is what is directly experienced through senses. It is limited to what we see. The proverb ‘‘seeing is believing’’ has taken its true flavour from this reality only. We appreciate beauty with our eyes. We hear with our ears. Because of the direct experience of our senses, we are able to decipher between good and bad objects. Gangadhar Pant had to undergo that strange experience because his mind was in the denial mode of what his senses were perceiving.
Against The mind works on different levels. It is not necessary that what we see may not be the true in reality. That is why, we have coined the term ‘lllusionistic Reality’. Sometimes, the reality is experienced through indirect instruments also. In the case of professor Gaitonde, he perceived reality indirectly. He saw reality in terms of ‘What could have been’ or ‘should be’. What his senses perceived was the reality he was seeing. That proves that reality has other manifestations also.
(iii) The methods of inquiry of History, Science and Philosophy are similar. Discuss.
Answer : In Favour The methods of inquiry of History, Science and Philosophy are similar in the sense that all the three deals with reality.
If we have to know the facts, either historic, scientific or philosophical, we have to adopt the research method. All the three have written accounts, which are proved practically. Battle of Panipat was fought and lost by Marathas. History proves that the mind can perceive two-three worlds at the same time as proved by lack of determinism in quantum theory. It is a proven scientific theory. ‘The mind perceives what it wants to perceive,’ is a philosophical theory, which is reinstated in the lesson, ‘The Adventure, through Gangadhar’ Pant’s experience.
Against The methods of inquiry for History, Science and Philosophy are not the same. What has already gone is History. Why did a few things happen and how new things can be made to happen is science. Philosophy deals with idealism, ‘‘What it should be’’. Battle of Panipat a much talked about incident is history. We read and re-read about it in History books. Gangadhar Pant’s fantastic experience and his transition to another world is the journey of his mind, which can be attributed to the catastrophe theory of science. His mind’s journey to an ideal world, where he sees India as he wants to see it is philosophy. The fundamental base of Philosophy, Science and History may be the same but the approach is radically different.
Question 2. (i) The story is called ’’The Adventure’’ Compare it to the adventure described in ‘‘We Are Not Afraid to Die.’’
Answer : The underlying theme of both the stories, ‘‘The Adventure’’ and ‘‘We Are Not Afraid to Die’’ is the same. However, the execution is very different. One deals with the adventure in a real life situation and the other one is about the adventure that was mentally experienced. In the story, ‘‘We Are Not Afraid to Die’’, the characters take a hazardous sea voyage, to overcome the odds and survive. Whatever the dangers were, they were very real. In the story, ‘The Adventure’’, the protagonist does not embark upon an adventurous journey. His collision with the truck triggers his mind to travel to a world, which is different from the world that he lives in.
(ii) Why do you think Professor Gaitonde decided never to preside over meetings again?
Answer : Professor Gaitonde realised that whatever he has experienced was based on what he was thinking at the time of his accident. Rajendra Deshpandes’ explanation satisfied him. Through his other world experience, he also understood the fact that the president in a meeting is not welcomed by the audience. They are only interested in listening to the speakers. Hence, he decided never to preside over meetings again.