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Friday, 15 May 2015

The Lost Casket - 6th Class English

Look at the pictures and discuss the questions that follow:
The Lost Casket (www.naabadi.net)
1. What do you know about the persons in the pictures?
2. One of the above was a brave Maratha king, also known as Chatrapathi. Can you name him?
3. There are many stories about his acts of bravery and generosity.  Talk about one of them.

A. Reading

Read the following story and answer the questions that follow:

        Shivaji once attacked the city of Surat, which was under the Mughals then. The Englishmen who lived in Surat fled for safety. Though they escaped, their belongings were taken away.

        The attack shook Adam Smith and his nephew John. Adam Smith was particularly upset because he had lost what he valued most - a small gold casket, containing a beautiful picture of his dead wife, inlaid with rubies and diamonds.

        John came up with a plan to recover the casket. He decided to go into the Maratha country secretly, along with a companion.

        Many days later, they overtook a train of bullock carts carrying all the the spoils of war  to Raigarh. John and his companion were taken prisoners.

        At the durbar, the spoils of Surat had been spread out. A rich carpet was piled high with gold, silver, diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
 
The Lost Casket (www.naabadi.net)

        There, along with the rest of the loot, stood the casket. Now, John saw Shivaji for the first time. He wondered how to get a private audience with the king. Luckily for him, Shivaji was curious about the Englishman in his court.

        “What brings you to Raigarh?’’ asked Shivaji. John told him the whole story.  Shivaji listened.  He explained that everything was now the property of the State and it would be unfair to his people to give away even a part of it.  He added that he was freeing John but that he would have to leave Raigarh within three days.

        The next evening, John went to a lonely part of the fort, which overlooked the surrounding country. After watching the sunset, he turned to go back. Ahead of him, he saw a single Maratha soldier walking, head down, as if lost in thought. The next minute, John realised with shock that the soldier was being stalked by three men! All at once the three men drew their swords and rushed upon the solitary figure. But the soldier with remarkable swiftness threw off his heavy shawl, drew his sword and ran to a narrow passage between two blocks of stone. In that position, he waited and was ready for his attackers.

        John had no weapon except a stout walking stick, but he struck the last attacker with it and knocked him to the ground. The next man turned savagely on John and thrust his sword under his arm, but it only plunged into his thick overcoat. As he withdrew the sword, John fell upon him, and using all his strength, threw him down and pinned him to the ground. He then turned to the remaining two men.

        To his surprise, he found that the lone Maratha soldier was none other than the great Shivaji himself. Though his enemy was taller and stronger, Shivaji more than made up for this by the quickness of his movements and his wonderful skill with his sword, the famous Bhawani.  It flashed like lightning and he soon drove it through the heart of the attacker.

        Shivaji turned to John who rose to his feet to greet him.  The man beneath John took advantage of this, leapt to his feet, and attacked Shivaji. But he lost his balance and fell over the parapet to the rocks below.  A smile lit up Shivaji’s face as he looked at John. “ You have saved my life today and thereby prevented a tragedy. Ask what you will, for there is nothing I can refuse to one who has done so much for the Maratha people.” At the durbar next morning, the casket was waiting for John.  Shivaji also gave him a necklace of precious pearls, and arranged to send him back to Surat.

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