Reading Comprehension L1

My most interesting visitor comes at night

My most interesting visitor comes at night, when the lights are still burning - a tiny bat who prefers to fly in through the open door and will use the window only if there is no alternative. His object in entering the house is to snap up the moths that cluster around the lamps. All the bats I have seen fly fairly high, keeping near the ceiling; but this particular bat flies in low, like a dive-bomber, zooming in and out of chair legs and under tables. Once, he passed straight between my legs. Has his radar gone wrong, I wondered, or is he just pain crazy?

Read more …

The rule of the road means that in order

The rule of the road means that in order that the liberties of all may be preserved, the liberties of everybody must be curtailed. When the policeman, say, at a road-crossing steps into the middle of the road and puts out his hand, he is the symbol not of tyranny but of liberty. You have submitted to a curtailment of private liberty in order that you may enjoy a social order which makes your liberty a reality. We have both liberties to preserve - our individual liberty and our social liberty.

Read more …

It is no longer enough for us to talk about providing for universal access to education

It is no longer enough for us to talk about providing for universal access to education. Making available schooling facilities is an essential prerequisite, but is insufficient to ensure that all children attend school and participate in the learning process. The school may be there, but children may not attend or they may drop out after a few months. Through school and social mapping, we must address the entire gamut of social, economic, cultural and indeed linguistic and pedagogic issues, factors that prevent children from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups, as also girls, from regularly attending and complementing elementary education. The focus must be on the poorest and most vulnerable since these groups are the most disempowered and at the greatest risk of violation or denial of their right to education.

Read more …

A diversity of natural assets will be needed to cope with climate change

A diversity of natural assets will be needed to cope with climate change and ensure productive agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. For example, crop varieties are needed that perform well under drought, heat, and enhanced CO2. But the private-sector and farmer-led process of choosing crops favours homogeneity adapted to past or current conditions, not varieties capable of producing consistently high yields in warmer, wetter, or drier conditions. Accelerated breeding programmes are needed to conserve a wider pool of genetic resources of existing crops, breeds, and their wild relatives. Relatively intact ecosystems, such as forested catchments, mangroves, wetlands, can buffer the impacts of climate change. Under a changing climate, these ecosystems are themselves at risk, and management approaches will need to be more proactive and adaptive. Connections between natural areas, such as migration corridors, may be needed to facilitate species movements to keep up with the change in climate.

Read more …

'Desertification' is a term used to explain a process of decline

'Desertification' is a term used to explain a process of decline in the biological productivity of an ecosystem, leading to total loss of productivity. While this phenomenon is often linked to the arid, semi-arid and sub-humid ecosystems, even in the humid tropics, the impact could be most dramatic. Impoverishment of human-impacted terrestrial ecosystems may exhibit itself in a variety of ways : accelerated erosion as in the mountain regions of the country, salinization of land as in the semi-arid and arid 'green revolution' areas of the country, e.g., Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, and site quality decline - a common phenomenon due to general decline in tree cover and monotonous monoculture of rice/wheat across the Indian plains.

Read more …

I must say a word about the Eiffel Tower

I must say a word about the Eiffel Tower. I do not know what purpose it serves today. But I then heard it greatly disparaged as well as praised. I remember that Tolstoy was the chief among those who disparaged it. He said that the Eiffel Tower was a monument of man's folly, not of his wisdom. Tobacco, he argued, was the worst of all intoxicants, inasmuch as a man addicted to it was tempted to commit crimes which a drunkard never dared to do; liquor made a man mad, but tobacco clouded his intellect and made him build castles in the air. The Eiffel Tower was one of the creations of a man under such influence. There is no art about the Eiffel Tower. In no way can it be said to have contributed to the real beauty of the Exhibition. Men flocked to see it and ascended it as it was a novelty and of unique dimensions. It was the toy of the Exhibition. So long as we are children we are attracted by toys, and the Tower was a good demonstration of the fact that we are children attracted by trinkets. That may be claimed to be the purpose served by the Eiffel Tower.

1. Why did Tolstoy disparage Eiffel Tower?

1. Man was foolish to build it.
2. Huge man-made structures did not appeal to him.
3. Men flocked to see it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

2. Why did Tolstoy believe that tobacco was the worst of all intoxicants?

  1. Man lost his intellectual abilities under the influence of tobacco.
  2. Tobacco kept man in a state of inebriation.
  3. People who commit crimes are invariably addicted to tobacco.
  4. Statements (a) and (b) above are correct in this context.

3. Why did men flock to the Eiffel Tower?

  1. Men were attracted to the castles built in the air.
  2. Men lost their wisdom under the influence of intoxicants.
  3. Men were attracted to childish things.
  4. Men were attracted to things of no value.

Read more …

Urbanization and industrialization have often resulted in whole areas of forests

Urbanization and industrialization have often resulted in whole areas of forests being cleared to gain new land and to obtain timber for the various building projects. Large areas of fields and forests have disappeared to make way for concrete jungles many of which are fitted with huge plants and chimney stacks. Industrial growth has necessitated the increased demand for fuel oil to run the machines and in doing so produces industrial gases and fumes which belch through the chimney and pollute the atmosphere. The most evident elements in the contamination of the atmosphere are dust, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.

1. The writer expresses the belief that

  1. there is plenty of scope for further industrialization.
  2. unplanned growth of industry has done more harm than good.
  3. the change from rural to urban growth is a change for the better.
  4. the timber obtained from the forests has been beneficially used.

2. The effect on forest areas produced by the activity described in the first sentence is called

  1. devastation
  2. deforestation
  3. disfiguration
  4. devaluation

Read more …

I was abruptly awakened by a noisy scuffle

I was abruptly awakened by a noisy scuffle. The sun, a mere fringe over the horizon, immediately chased away the grey half-darkness. I was too sleepy to notice what was happening. Yuri was rolling over on the ground. I ran up to him but was struck dumb. With his right hand he was holding a cobra by the neck. Two sharp fangs showed from its jaws. The battle was over in a few minutes. A hollow hissing and convulsive jerks were then only reminders of a just-ended tussle. The catcher half-opened the lid of the box and calmly put the quarry in.

1. When the writer saw Yuri holding a cobra by the neck, he was 'struck dumb'. This means that he was

  1. extremely delighted.
  2. very much helpless.
  3. rather surprised.
  4. absolutely shocked.

2. From the passage, Yuri appears to be a man who is

  1. calm and courageous.
  2. cunning and crafty.
  3. noisy and dangerous.
  4. active and jumpy.

3. With reference to the passage, the following assumptions have been made:

1. The incident took place early in the morning.
2. Yuri threw the snake away.

Which of these assumptions is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Read more …

I was lying down in a dark, lonely compartment of the speeding train

I was lying down in a dark, lonely compartment of the speeding train, trying to sleep. But, quite unusually, sleep eluded me. A vague uneasiness gripped me. It was pitch dark outside. A few points of light flashed by as we sped through a small station and in the dim light I thought I saw a hand gripping the bars of my window. Once again the train was swallowed up by the impenetrable darkness. My heart pounded. My mouth was parched. I could not get up. I do not know how long I remained thus before the train began to slow down. The reassuring bright lights of the station we were entering revealed no intruder. I breathed again.

1. The narrator could not sleep because

  1. he usually found it difficult to fall asleep.
  2. he could not find a place to lie down.
  3. he was disturbed by some unspecified thoughts.
  4. the people near him were disturbing him.

2. In the dim light he saw

  1. someone trying to climb into the train.
  2. someone clinging to the bars of the window.
  3. someone was attempting to steal his bag.
  4. someone standing outside the window.

3. Which of the following words best describes the condition of the traveller?

  1. Cautious
  2. Imaginative
  3. Observant
  4. Nervous

Read more …

Vacationing on a motorcycle, you see things in a way

Vacationing on a motorcycle, you see things in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you are always in a compartment, and because you are used to it you do not realise that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You are a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a motorcycle, however, the frame is gone. You are completely in contact with it all. You are in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.

1. The writer likes travelling on the motorcycle. What is the most likely reason for this?

  1. The motorcycle has no windows.
  2. The motorcycle does not go as fast as a car.
  3. As the traveller is used to cars, travelling by motorcycle is a change.
  4. Travelling by motorcycle, the writer feels that he is part of the scenery.

2. Which of the following statements is closest to the truth?

  1. The writer does not like TV as it gives a narrow view of things.
  2. The writer likes TV but he does not like watching it from car windows.
  3. The writer does not like TV because the picture is in a frame.
  4. The writer does not like TV because the programmes are boring.

Read more …

When Jonathan (the seagull) came, it was well after dark

When Jonathan (the seagull) came, it was well after dark, and he floated in moonlight on the surface of the ocean. His wings were ragged bars of lead, but the weight of failure was even heavier on his back. He wished, feebly, that the weight would be just enough to drag him gently down to the bottom, and end it all. But soon he came back to normal. He pushed wearily away from the dark water and flew towards the land, grateful for what he had learned about work-saving low-altitude flying.

1. The word "wearily" means

  1. tireless
  2. exhausted
  3. sadly
  4. unconscious

2. The seagull suffered because

  1. he had tried to do something that other seagulls had not done.
  2. probably he had been attacked by a stronger bird.
  3. probably he had been attacked by some strong creature in the sea.
  4. he had swooned and fallen into the water.

Read more …

Brown and his men, huddling round a fire, ate the last of the food

Brown and his men, huddling round a fire, ate the last of the food that Kassim had brought them that day. Cornelius sat among them, half- asleep. Then one of the crew remembered that some tobacco had been left in the boat, and said he would go and fetch it. He didn't think there was any danger in going to the creek in the dark. He disappeared down the hillside, and a moment later he was heard climbing into the boat and then climbing out again.

1. Consider the following statements:

  1. Brown and Cornelius sat round the fire.
  2. Cornelius lay half-asleep at a little distance from the fire.
  3. All the people sat round the fire.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 3 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 2 only

2. “He didn’t the dark.” This sentence actually implies that he

  1. was bold and adventurous
  2. would face some trouble
  3. was the only person who knew where in the boat tobacco was
  4. was addicted to smoking

Read more …

The prisoner awaited his chance. For three solid years

The prisoner awaited his chance. For three solid years he had schemed for this opportunity. Now that escape seemed to near at hand, those three years lost some of their monotony. But he would never forget the lashes, the close confinement, low diet, and worse still the mental strain of those black days. Suddenly the warden did what he had hoped. He stopped to unlock the lower padlock. With a dull thud he slumped forward with keys in his hands. Swiftly the prisoner seized his keys, unlocked the cell and ran into the courtyard. It took him four seconds to reach the rope-ladder secretly placed there by his accomplices, five more to clamber over the wall, and three more to jump into the waiting car to be whisked away to freedom. Even though he was guilty, the prisoner felt he had paid for his crime, for the man he had robbed three years ago was still a millionaire.

1. For what crime had the prisoner been punished

  1. Robbery
  2. Kidnapping
  3. Arson
  4. Murder

2. What did the prisoner suffer the most during imprisonment

  1. Physical torture
  2. Poor health
  3. Mental strain
  4. Absence from his family

Read more …

The first day out we met our first rhino

The first day out we met our first rhino, two of them, and I had the fright of my life. The pair had got our scent before we spotted them, and being bad tempered beasts, they rushed towards where they thought we were. Now it just happened that we were about fifty yards to one side of where they expected to find us - which was just as well, for I must say I did not like their look. As they thundered past, we crouched low and let them go. It did not strike me as a good opportunity for rhino photography. Anyhow I was much too frightened to have been able to hold the camera steady.

1. From the above passage it appears that rhinos

  1. stand still if they are not attacked
  2. rush to attack when they smell human scent
  3. hide under the bushes at the sight of human beings
  4. run away when they see human beings

2. The author could not take the photographs of the rhinos because

  1. he did not like the look of rhinos
  2. he was too far away from rhinos
  3. he was not carrying a good camera
  4. it did not occur to him that he had a chance to do so

Read more …

When Ibbotson returned from Pauri

When Ibbotson returned from Pauri, I told him of the leopard's habit of going down the road between Rudraprayag and Golabrai on an average once in every five days, I convinced him that the only hope I now had of shooting the man-eater was by sitting over the road for ten nights; for, the leopard would be almost certain to use the road at least once during the period. Ibbotson agreed to my plan reluctantly, for I had already sat up many nights, and he was afraid that another ten nights on end would be too much for me.

1. Ibbotson was reluctant to agree to the narrator's plan because he was afraid that

  1. the leopard would kill him
  2. the narrator would kill the leopard
  3. the narrator would become very tired
  4. the leopard might not come

2. The narrator wanted to

  1. frighten the leopard
  2. see the leopard
  3. shoot the leopard
  4. capture the leopard

Read more …

My father was passionate about two things

My father was passionate about two things: education and socialism. He was himself a born teacher. Indeed, he could never restrain himself from teaching, and as a small boy I was frequently embarrassed by his desire to instruct everybody - people in railway carriages, for instance - though I realized even then that it was an innocent desire, quite free from vanity. He was equally ready to receive instruction. Education, to men of his generation and temperament, was something it has largely ceased to be nowadays. It was the great golden gateway to the enchanted realms of the mind.

1. From the passage it is clear that the author

  1. loved and admired his father
  2. disapproved his father's love of teaching
  3. thought of him as vain
  4. considered his father's education inadequate

2. The author often felt embarrassed by the behaviour of his father because

  1. he taught badly
  2. he lost self-control while teaching
  3. he taught even at odd places
  4. he wanted to show off his learning

Read more …

A large number of people had come to attend the meeting

A large number of people had come to attend the meeting to be addressed by the gifted speaker. The organizers had a difficult time keeping the assembled people quiet as the meeting did not commence at the scheduled time. After some time the people lost their patience and began to shout and heckle. The organizers had great difficulty in assuaging the anger of the crowd when they were forced to cancel the meeting as the speaker had to be hospitalized due to sudden illness.

1. Further delay resulted in the people

  1. fighting with the organizers
  2. making noise
  3. leaving the place
  4. making the speaker ill

2. What does the word "assuaging" imply

  1. Reducing
  2. Removing
  3. Accepting
  4. Tolerating

Read more …

As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty

As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant - it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery - and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow.

1. The elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow because

  1. cows can be very dangerous sometimes
  2. unlike lions, it is a vegetarian animal
  3. it was quietly doing its work
  4. its tusks resemble the cow’s horns

2. The writer was against shooting the elephant because

  1. he suspected it to be a wild one and was afraid of it
  2. he was certain that the elephant was innocent
  3. it would amount to avoidable waste of useful property
  4. his heart was full of compassion for animals

Read more …

Nationalism is only a curse when it becomes narrow and fanatical

Nationalism is only a curse when it becomes narrow and fanatical. Like so many other things available to man, say, religion, it can easily lead men astray. Nationalism can lead people into thinking only of themselves, or their own struggles, of their own misery. It can also cause a nation to become suspicious and fearful of its neighbours, to look upon itself as superior, and to become aggressive. And it is when nationalism impels a state to become expansionist and seek domination over others that it becomes a positive curse and harmful internationally.

1. From the passage, which of the following statements most correctly reflects the opinion of the author

  1. Nationalism makes people self-centered and self-conceited
  2. Nationalism helps a nation to become superior to other nations
  3. Nationalism regulates international relationships
  4. Nationalism helps a nation to expand its territories and become powerful

2. From the passage which of the following statements can be assumed to be most likely to be true

  1. The author believes that nationalism is always a curse
  2. The author believes that it is possible for men to misuse religion
  3. The author thinks that religion always leads men astrays
  4. The author pleads for a mix-up of religion and nationalism

Read more …

A well-dressed young man entered a big textile shop one evening

A well-dressed young man entered a big textile shop one evening. He was able to draw the attention of the salesmen who thought him rich and likely to make heavy purchases. He was shown the superior varieties of suit lengths and sarees. But after casually examining them, he kept moving to the text section where ready made goods were being sold and further on to the hosiery section. By then, the salesmen had begun to doubt his intentions, and drew the attention of the manager. The manger asked him what exactly he wanted and he replied that he wanted courteous treatment. He explained that he had come to the same shop in casual dress that morning and drawn little attention. His pride was hurt and he wanted to assert himself. He had come in good dress only to get decent treatment, not for getting any textiles. He left without making any purchase.

1. The manager asked the young man what he wanted because

  1. he thought they could do more business with him that way
  2. he would give him exactly what he was looking for
  3. he thought the visitor was dissatisfied
  4. the salesman had drawn his attention to the indifferent attitude of the young man

2. The salesmen in the shop are described as people who pay attention to

  1. pretty women
  2. only rich customers
  3. only young men and women
  4. regular customers

Read more …

Many poor farmers had been compelled to take up indigo cultivation

Many poor farmers had been compelled to take up indigo cultivation when the British settlers were given the right to purchase and cultivate land in India. Many whites, therefore, either acquired land or advanced loans to poor farmers and pressurized them to forsake the farming of food-grains and other cash crops for indigo cultivation. Indigo export to Europe was lucrative for the British settlers who held a monopoly of this business. Within a few years, most of the fertile lands had undergone forcible indigo cultivation, resulting in a famine situation in Bengal. When the farmers declined to cultivate indigo, they were tortured, jailed and even killed.

1. British settlers bought land in Bengal in order to

  1. introduce cultivation of cash crops in India
  2. cultivate indigo
  3. settle down in India
  4. promote export business in Bengal

2. Indigo export was profitable for the British settlers because

  1. they could oppress the farmers
  2. they had no competitors
  3. the labour was cheap
  4. the crop yield was good

Read more …

We started looking on the ground for blood

We started looking on the ground for blood, hair, or a drag mark that would lead us to the deer killed by the tiger. We had proceeded a hundred yards, examining every foot of the ground, and going dead slow, when Mothi, just as I turned my head to look at him, started backwards, screaming as he did so. Then he whipped round and ran for dear life, beating the air with his hands as if warding off a swarm of bees and continuing to scream as he ran. The sudden and piercing scream of a human being in a jungle where a moment before all has been silent is terrifying to hear. Instinctively I knew what had happened. With his eyes fixed on the ground, looking for the blood or hair of the kill, Mothi had failed to see where he was going, and had walked towards the tiger.

1. Before Mothi screamed, the jungle was

  1. dark
  2. noisy
  3. terrifying
  4. quiet

2. In the context of the passage "kill" means

  1. a wounded tiger
  2. an animal killed by the tiger
  3. the act of killing
  4. a human being killed by the tiger

Read more …

Galileo desired to use his telescope to make more discoveries

Galileo desired to use his telescope to make more discoveries in the heavens, but his instrument was too small. He made another and larger telescope which magnified eight times, and then another which magnified thirty times, and pointed it at the moon. His heart leaped with joy, for he saw what no human eye had ever before seen - ranges of mountains, deep hollows, and broad plains! He turned his telescope on the planets, and found they appeared with disks like the moon at a quarter full. He turned it on the Milky Way, and beheld innumerable tiny stars.

1. Galileo made several telescopes because

  1. only some of them could magnify the stars
  2. he wanted to compare the findings obtained from different telescopes
  3. he needed all of them to explore the heavens
  4. the earlier ones he made were not powerful enough

2. When Galileo saw what no human eye had ever before seen he

  1. was overjoyed
  2. felt humble
  3. was shocked
  4. was very proud

Read more …