The process of ageing starts with conception in the

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CBSE Board Class 12 English Solved Passages

Chapter – 4  Reading Comprehension IV (Discursive Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

1. The process of ageing starts with conception in the mother’s womb, When we are young, we don’t recognize that there will come a time when our limbs will become weak, our eyesight less keen and our body unable to function as smoothly as before. The state, the society and the family owe a responsibility toward senior citizens.

2. Unfortunately, of late we have not been able to recognize the concept of respecting, caring and helping older generations in a systematic way as some of the countries in the West have done. This is not to suggest that our culture and history do not recognize this phase of life. There have been many practices of caring and helping old people in our system. But, with the dismantling of the joint family system the problem has assumed newer and complicated proportions. Although we have started recognizing the needs of the young when it comes to the old, we have blissfully chosen to ignore them and have let them to feed for themselves.

3. Of all senior citizens of the world one out of ten is an Indian. The population of old people in India is the 4th highest in the world. By official estimates there are over 77 million old people in the country now. There are some schemes with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. There are provisions of financial assistance for different welfare schemes.

4. There are old-age homes, residential units for lower income groups in particular districts where there. is a part time medical officer to attend to the inmates. Then there are day care centers and mobile Medicare services besides other NGOs (Non-Government Organizations).

5. Old-age homes in the country are not only insufficient but also ill-equipped to cater to old people. This should be the responsibility of the state since it needs close and regular monitoring. The social welfare department in the government have very little to boast when it comes to caring for older generations.

6. “Sarkari officials are not only apathetic to the welfare of old people but also are not imaginative, But once the need for helping senior citizens is recognized not only by the society at large but also by the government, and certain concessions are sanctioned for them, there may be some headway in this direction.

7. Society, too, has an important role to play. It must bring by respecting the aged and placing them before anyone else’s interest. In the West, if an old person is climbing down the stairs, he or she is helped. It is this kind of mindset that is the need of the hour. Offering seats to the old, helping them cross the roads, assisting them carry their bags, fetching them water, etc., are some features, which increase acceptability of old people.

8. In the family, senior citizens deserve a better deal. If they are thrown out of the family the state cannot be blamed. They have given everything to their families and have the right to be recognised as important members. Sending old parents to deposit electricity bills, asking them to fetch children from schools and to guard the house while the rest of the family is away are some of the many tasks which are thrust upon them. These become nothing short of enslaving the weakest class of people.

A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) The problem of looking after senior citizens has assumed serious proportions because:

(a) the number of old persons has increased.

(b) joint family system has collapsed.

(c) the needs of the young have been identified.

(d) interactions with them are not possible for the busy bread-earners.

(ii) The sarkari’s officials fail to render help to the senior citizens because:

(a) they are apathetic and unimaginative.

(b) they place money before service.

(c) they fail to recognize the needs of the old people.

(d) they fail to establish any bond

(iii) The old age homes in India fail to cater to old people because:

(a) people do not have to stay there.

(b) they are considered old age orphanages.

(c) they are insufficient and ill-equipped.

(d) they feel emotionally isolated.

(iv) The family is responsible for the neglect of its elders because:

(a) they recognize them as important members.

(b) they listen to them and consult them.

(c) constraints of family leave little time.

(d) they either force them to do menial tasks or throw them out.

(v) The word ‘concept’ in para 2 means:

(a) too much pride

(b) idea/principle

(c) consider important

(d) understanding

Answers:

(i) (b)

(ii) (a)

(iii) (c)

(iv) (d)

(v) (b)

B. Answer the following questions briefly:

(i) Mention any two bodily changes which come with the old age.

(ii) What in the general attitude of the people in our country towards the senior citizens?

(iii) What is the plight of old homes in India?

(iv) What should the society do to improve the condition of senior citizens?

(v) What are some of the things the family expects the senior citizens to do?

Answers:

(i) The following bodily changes come with the old age:

(a) limbs grow weak

(b) eyesight becomes less keen and our body is unable to function.

(ii) The general attitude of the people of our country towards the senior citizens is that they do not recognize the concept of respecting, caring and helping them.

(iii) The old-age homes in our country are not only insufficient in number but also poorly equipped to cater to old people.

(iv) Society, too, has an important role to play to improve the condition of senior citizens by respecting them and giving them due care.

(v) The family expects the old parents to deposit electricity bills, fetch children from school and to guard the house while the rest of the family is away.

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