Passage for Exercise-88

Read of the following passage and answer the questions given below:

   The essence of Gandhi’s teaching was fearlessness and truth and action allied to these, always keeping the welfare of the masses in view. The greatest gift for an individual or a nation, so we had been told in our ancient books, was ‘abhaya’, fearlessness, not merely bodily courage but the absence of fear from the mind. Janaka and Yajnavalka had said, at the dawn of our history, that it was the function of the leaders of a people to make them fearless. But the dominant impulse in India under British rule was that of fear, pervasive, oppressive, strangling fear; fear of the army, the police, the widespread secret service; fear of the official class; fear of laws meant to suppress and of prison; fear of the landlord’s agent; fear of the money-lender; fear of unemployment and starvation, which were always on the threshold. It was against the all pervasive fear that Gandhi’s quiet and determined voice was raised: Be not afraid. Was it so simple as that? Not quite. And it fear builds its phatoms which are more fearsome than reality itself, and reality when calmly analysed and its consequences willingly accepted, loses much of its terror.


1. What according to the writer is the essence of Gandhi’s teachings?
2. What according to ancient books was the greatest gift of a leader to an individual or to a nation?
3. What did Janaka and Yajnavalka said about the function of a leader?
4. What was the dominant impulse in British India?
5. What’ kind of fears did oppress Indians?
6. Against what did Gandhi raise his voice?
7. What does one do to overcome fear?

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