Wall Summary Notes

Wall Author

D.S. Dadhalkar is a well-known Marathi poet. He has published many poems on Dalits and women.

“Wall” is originally in Marathi, translated to English by Priya Adarkar and Ashok Chakravarthy. “Wall” has both literal and metaphoric significance. The world has been divided on the basis of caste, creed, religion, race, color, etc. Man has erected artificial walls. In the name of wails, there are violence, discrimination, bloodshed, and death. The rational thinkers are against walls between human beings and have tried to demolish but the conservatives try to retain them. So, it takes revolt and revolution to demo fish the walls in order to bring world peace and harmony.

Wall Summary

The poem “Wall” was originally written in Marathi by the Marathi poet D.S. Dadhalkar. He has published many poems on Dalits and women. The poem “Wall” is translated to English by PriyaAdarkar andAshokChakravarthi.

In the poem, “Wall” has both literal and metaphoric significance. The world has been divided on the basis of caste, creed, religion, race, color, etc., Manhas built artificial walls. In the name of these “Walls,” there is violence, discrimination, bloodshed, and death. The rational thinkers are against walls between human beings and have tried to demolish these “Walls” but the conservatives try to retain them. So, it takes revolt and revolution to demolish the “Walls” in order to bring world peace, harmony, and equality.
“I recently took a contract
to demolish the walls of buildings.
It’s not only buildings
that have walls; villages do, too.
And we’ve heard of world wars
fought for the walls of nations.
For the time being, I’m just demolishing walls”
The poet begins the poem by revealing to us that he has taken up a revolutionary ‘contract’ – work, to demolish the walls of buildings. The poem implies that these are not ordinary walls built of bricks and stones.

The poet says that not only buildings have walls but even villages have walls. He says that people have heard world wars were fought to retain the walls between nations but isn’t it surprising that the poet has taken up the task of demolishing these walls.
“I don’t know how many generations have gone by
But these walls
built by grandpas
of that time
are really tough”.
The walls have been built by our erstwhile ancestors, many generations before, and have stood strong against the tests of time and have become rigid and unbreakable. The poet subtly implies that these walls are, violence, discrimination, bloodshed and death. The poet, is a rational thinker and so he chose to demolish these manmade walls.
“Did they need to be so hardened,
to protect human beings?
Many people on many occasions
raised their hands against them
For some, their hands
become bloodied”.
Here the poet poses a question. He ponders and asks ‘Did they need to be so hard to protect human beings?’ The poet means to say that these irrational narrow-minded, discriminatory manmade “Walls” have taken deep roots in our society that uprooting them has become of the far-fetched task. The poet reminds us that many people have occasionally risen against these ‘Walls’ but they were violently subdued by the perpetrators of the ‘Walls’
‘While the flags of other
Succeeded in fluttering”.
These perpetrators of the ‘Walls’ have become victorious and infallible.
“Just the other day”
reading history
I realized my eyes
had been entombed in walls.
And my organs of sense
lay mutely by those walls
like motionless refugees”
The poet now makes a critical analysis of why these ‘Walls’ have strengthened across generations. He realizes that his ‘eyes had been entombed in walls’ i.e., his vision had become narrow by following the rigid practices dictated by generations of his ancestors. His views had become entrenched in these practices. His ‘organs of sense’ had been paralyzed and had become immune to radical changes of thought and practice. His senses had become ‘refugees’ imprisoned by the barriers built by these ‘Walls’.
‘On enquiring: I found out
the walls themselves
had drugged them with opium
Maybe that’s why I see
even today,
Machinations inwalls.
What does one say to these people
engrossed in politely hiding
that they’re slaves of the age!”
The poet decides to investigate, why people had become ‘Senseless refugees. He found out that the people were ‘drugged with opium’, by the walls they had themselves built. The poet implies that the rigid practices that the people made for themselves had lulled them into a false sense of superiority. They were safe inside the walls built by themselves. The poet now understands why even in modem times, people have selfish designs, evil schemes, ulterior motives to keep people entrenched beyond these walls. They secretly plot to keep these ‘Walls’ forever. The poet is stupefied, he is rendered speechless, he is lost for words and he cannot think what to ‘say to these people engrossed in politely hiding that they’re slaves of the age!” The poet doesn’t know what ‘say to those people who project themselves as progressive yet enslave themselves to the rigid age-old man-made practices. ’ All this might be for their own selfish reasons.
“I myself
Should break down these walls
and become
a compass to them.
That’s why, with a special purpose,
I’ve taken this job:
It won’t be finished right away
But I too don’t wish
To finish right away”.
Here the poet declares that he himself should take up the responsibility, he himself should volunteer to Break down these ‘Walls’ and lead people in a new direction – “become a compass to them” i.e., the poet aspires to break down the rigid practices people have entrenched themselves and lead them up a progressive path.
‘That’s why, with a special purpose,
I’ve taken this job:
It won’t be finished right away
But I too don’t wish
To finish right away”
The poet says that he has assigned himself “a special purpose” to demolish these ‘Walls’ the poet is right in thinking that he won’t be able to finish demolishing these walls at once. He knows that it will take time, may be he should work through generations of people to complete his job. The poet knows that it is not easy to erase the entrenched practices followed by generations of people.
“Once I have smashed these walls –
new houses will take birth
spacious and lovely.
Only tho se who can endure
space wide enough to gallop in
should live – or else
they’re welcome to die.
I’ll offer a memorial prayer,
and be done with it.”
The poet is sure that once he has smashed the ‘Walls’, ‘new houses will take birth’. He firmly believes that new and progressive practices will replace narrow-minded rigid practices. ‘Only those who can endure space wide enough to gallop’ – only those people who are broad-minded, with a progressive vision, forward-thinking will be able to survive in this new environment. The poet condemns those people who still want .to live in the past, to death and he says that those who die will be offered a memorial service and will be forgotten forever.

Wall Glossary

Wall                     : Continuous right structure forming one side of a building/barrier
Walls of nations  : Barriers between countries/man – made obstacles
Generation          : Single stage in descent
Flutter                 : Move fast and horridly
Entomb               : Keep in a tomb
Refugees             : Person who has left home and seeks refiige
Compass             : A magnetic device showing directions
Gallop                 : Run away / Horse’s fastest pace
Machination       : Clever scheming

Wall Questions & Answers

Question 1.
What is the contract taken by the poet?
Answer:
The poet recently took a contract to demolish the walls of buildings.

Question 2.
The poet wants to demolish the walls of _________ also.
Answer:
Villages.

Question 3.
According to Dadhalkar, the world wars were fought for ____________
Answer:
Walls

Question 4.
Walls are built by

  1. Kings
  2. Grandpas
  3. Grandmothers.

Answer:
2. Grandpas

Question 5.
Why were the walls hardened?
Answer:
The walls were hardened to protect human beings

Question 6.
The people had raised their hands against these walls before (True/False)
Answer:
True

Question 7.
What does the poet want to learn from history? 
Answer:
He wanted to learn why his eyes had been entombed in the walls, why he followed the narrow-minded traditions blindly.

Question 8.
Mention the figure of speech in the line, ‘like motionless refugees’
Answer:
Simile.

Question 9.
What should the wall be replaced with

  1. Walls
  2. New house
  3. Gardens

Answer:
2. New house

Question 10.
Who are eligible to live in the new house?
Answer:
Only those who can endure space wide enough to gallop in should live in the new house.

Question 11.
What is the prayer of the poet?
Answer:
It is a Memorial Prayer

Question 12.
The “Compass” stands for

  1. Right direction
  2. Wrong direction
  3. A geometrical instrument

Answer:
1. Right direction

Question 13.
How does the speaker wish to demolish the walls?
Answer:
The poet wishes to demolish the walls by destroying them himself. He will follow a Broad – Minded path and discard the narrow superstitions and lead others in the right direction by making an example of himself to the others. He wants to become a ‘Compass’to them

Question 14.
What happened to those who raised their hands against the walls?
Answer:
Those who raised their hands against the walls were subdued violently.

Question 15.
What is the picture of the wall the poet had before reading history?
Answer:
The poet’s eyes were entombed in walls. He followed the dictates of the walls blindly. He didn’t have the courage or reasons to question why he had to follow the dictates of the ‘walls’. He followed them mutely.

Question 16.
What will happen after the walls are demolished?
Answer:
After the walls have been destroyed new houses will take birth which is spacious and lovely. Only those who can endure space wide enough to gallop in will be allowed to live there and the others are condemned to die. i.e., only people with broad – mind, rational and progressive thinking have a place to live in but those who are still entrenched in the narrow beliefs of superstition discrimination, oppression, bloodshed (violence) and murder will be condemned to leave or die a lonely death.

Question 17.
Explain the metaphoric significance of the wall in the poem.
Answer:
In the poem ‘WALL’byD.S. Dadhalkarthe ‘Wall’represents the division ofpeopie on the basis of caste, creed, race, color etc. Man has artificial walls and they have become hardened and entrenched over centuries of time. The protectors of this wall perpetrate discrimination and oppress the others by intimidation and violence. These walls have not only created boundaries inside the minds of people but also outside. People cannot think beyond these walls. These walls have strengthened because people have been blindly following the dictates of the walls for many centuries. Ordinary walls built of bricks and stones can be easily demolished but the metaphoric walls that are entrenched in the minds ofpeopie need a revolution to eradicate them.

These walls are not built for security, but for a sense of security. These walls are built for various reasons and they serve different purposes, but primarily they create divisions in the minds of people and prevent them for thinking progressively, and creating new ideas. Two world wars were fought with tremendous loss of lives and property and uprooted the lives of millions ofpeopie to protect these walls.

These walls, certainly, need to be demolished to protect the sanctity of the earth and the progress of its people.

Question 18.
Do you think the poet is optimistic at the end of the poem? Substantiate your view.
Answer:
Yes, I think the poet is optimistic at the end of the poem. The poet wishes to demolish the walls by destroying them himself. The poet means to say that henceforth he is determined to follow a broad-minded path and discard the narrow vision and superstitions he had always followed. He will lead the other people in the right direction by making an example of himself to the others. He ‘wants to become a ‘compass’ to them so that they will choose the right path to follow. The poet having assigned himself “a special purpose” to demolish these walls is right in thinking that he won’t be able to finish demolishing these walls at once.

He knows that it will take time, may be he should work through generations of people to complete his job. The poet knows that it is not easy to erase the entrenched practices followed by generations of people. But the poet is sure, that he will destroy these walls. After demolishing them ‘new houses will take birth’. He firmly believes that new and progressive practices will replace narrow-minded rigid practices. ‘Only those who can endure space wide enough to gallop’- only those people who are broad-minded, have the progressive vision; forward-thinking will be able to survive in this new environment.

Question 19.
The walls are usually built but here in the poem, the speaker is demolishing the ‘walls’. Explain the paradox.
Answer:
In the poem “Wall” the poet D.S. Dadhalkar declares that he has taken up a revolutionary ‘contract’ – work to demolish walls of buildings. The Paradox is that people build ‘walls’ to protect themselves. But why does the poet insist on demolishing walls. The poet implies that these walls are not ordinary walls built of bricks and stones. These walls are Physical walls. The poet intends to demolish ‘walls’ that are built up in People’s minds. He wants to demolish the ‘mental walls’ that are built-in people’s minds. The poet sees these mental walls everywhere, even between villages. Man has built artificial walls and in the name of these ‘walls,’ there are violence, discrimination, bloodshed, and death. The poet points out that two world wars were fought to retain walls between nations.

Physical walls are built to protect us. But Mental walls are built due to anxieties and fears in people’s mind. The walls are the ‘State of Minds’ of People. These walls have been built by our erstwhile ancestors, many generations before have stood strong against the tests of time and have become rigid and unbreakable. The poet is a rational thinker and so he cose to demolish these man-made mental walls. Since these walls have divided the people into caste, creed, race etc.

Question 20.
What are the reflections of the poet about ‘walls’?
Answer:
In the poem “Wall” the poet D.S. Dadhalkar has taken up a ‘contract’ to demolish walls. These walls are not ordinary walls built ofbricks and stones which are physical walls. The poet intends to demolish the ‘Mental walls’ built up in the minds of people. The poet reflects that these walls built up by our ancestors have become rigid over generations. He recalls that two world wars had been fought to protect these walls. He ponders and asks why our ancestors had to build such ‘rigid’ mental walls to protect human beings. The poet implies that these ‘Mental walls’ of discrimination, racism, casteism etc have become so rigid that uprooting them or demolishing them has become a far-fetched task. The poet remembers that many people have occasionally risen against these ‘Mental walls’ but they were violently subdued by the perpetrators of the walls.

The poet makes a critical analysis of why these ‘walls’ have strengthened across generations. He realizes that people had become safely entrenched is these ‘Mental walls’. There vision had become narrow. Their minds and vision had become paralyzed and immune to radical changes of thought and practice. They had become ‘Senseless refugees’ who were imprisoned in the barriers built by these walls.

The poet implies that the rigid practices that people made for themselves had lulled them – ‘chugged them’ into a false sense of superiority. Even in these modem times, people have selfish designs and ulterior motives and secretly plot to keep these walls ‘forever’. The poet is stupefied, he is rendered speechless, he is lost for words and he cannot think what to ‘say to these people’ engrossed in politely hiding that they’re ‘slaves ofthe age’. The poet doesn’t have words to describe the people who project themselves as progressive yet enslave themselves to the rigid old age man made ‘Mental walls’

Hence the poet has taken up the task of demolishing these ‘walls’ and he optimistically forsees that he will one day be victorious after demolishing these ‘Mental walls’.

Question 21.
What does the Wall signify? Explain.
Answer:
In the poem ‘Wall’ by D.S. Dadhalkar, the wall represents ‘Mental barriers’ which seem impossible to cross, penetrate and overcome: These are psychological barriers built to protect one’s own superiority. These walls are built to segregate the inferior from the superior. The wall segregates people on the basis of caste, creed, Race religion, colour etc.

Physical walls are built to protect people. But ‘Mental walls’ are built due to anxieties and fears in peoples mind. The walls are the ‘state of minds’ of people.

LANGUAGE ACTIVITY

Context-based Dialogues

Exercises

Question 1.
Develop a dialogue between two friends on the preparation for the final exam.
Answer:
Ramu : Hello, Nagraj, how are you?
Nagraj: Fine Thank you, and how is your preparation for the final exams.
Ramu: I have just completed revising languages and social science. But I am yet to complete revising science and mathematics. How are you preparing for exams?
Nagraj: Oh! So – So. As you know that I was laid up with a viral infection for the past fifteen days, I have yet to catch up with my studies. I hope to revise all the subjects in time for the exams. Can you come over to my house for an hour, daily, so that you can help me to catch up with my studies?
Ramu: Of course, I will. I will come at 5 pm tomorrow.
Nagraj: Thanks a lot. You are a great help.

Question 2.
Develop a dialogue between a candidate and an industrialist on the fixation of the former’s salary.
Answer:
Industrialist: Thank you, Mr. Nagraj, for answering the questions, I asked, honestly and to my satisfaction.
Nagraj: Thank you, Sir.
Industrialist: Now let us talk about the salary you expect from us.
Nagraj: Well, to be honest, sir. I am happy to be a part of your company. I was comfortable with the salary I was getting in my previous company. But after gaining experience I consider that I have to move up the ladder. I expect a lot more than I had been getting in my previous company.
Industrialist: Of course, I think you’re competent, enough to be part of our company. I will offer Rs. 60,000/- per month along with incentives. Is that OK with you?
Nagraj: Well, it falls short of my expectation. I think I deserve Rs. 75,000/-
Industrialist: Since the company is expanding its business, I think we need a person of your experience. I think I will take your offer. You are welcome to join the office whenever you please.
Nagraj: Thank you, sir, I will join the company on Monday

Question 3.
Develop a dialogue between a greengrocer and a housewife bargaining over a few vegetables.
Answer:
Lady: “How much is one kilogram of potatoes?”
Green Grocer: Fifty rupees a kilogram, Madam.
Lady: I bought potatoes for just 30 rupees a kilogram last week!
Green Grocer: “The rains have spoilt the crop madam, so the prices have gone high”.

English Summary

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