Dhan Gopal Mukerji wrote short storybooks for children. He has written numerous books and stories, most of which described the life of animals in India. He was an Indian writer and interpreted Hindu folklore and philosophy.
The story of ‘Bringing up Kari’ is a narrative description of a small elephant whose name was Kari. The narrator raised the elephant and trained him the basic instincts of elephants like how to respond to certain gestures and calls. The narrator also tells the readers about the growth and habits of the elephant.
The narrator was a nine-year-old child who was given a duty to look after a five-month-old elephant named Kari. During the first two years, the boy could reach the back of the elephant with ease. Kari lived in a pavilion with a thatched roof. Kari fed on forty pounds of twigs to chew and play with. Kari was taken to a river for a bath by the narrator. He rubbed sand on Kari’s back for an hour, then he was put into the water. Kari enjoyed bathing and after a long bath, he would come out with pleasure and shining skin.
While coming back, the narrator led him by the ear to the border of the jungle. The narrator then went inside the jungle leaving Kari at the border to collect luscious twigs for his dinner. The narrator says that he had to be very careful while breaking the twigs because elephants don’t like to eat distorted twigs.
One spring day in March, when the narrator was gathering food from a banyan tree, he heard Kari’s call. He ran to the border where he had left him but he did not find Kari there. The narrator sensed that Kari was in danger. He rushed to the riverbank. First, he thought that some black creature was struggling to get out of the water. When the creature rose a little above from the water, the narrator realized that it was Kari’s trunk. He thought that Kari was drowning and so he jumped into the river. Then, he realized that Kari was trying to save a boy who got drowned in the river. They both struggled to get the boy to the shore. Kari saw the narrator was getting swept away by the current. He rushed into the water and spread out his trunk around his neck. He then pulled them both out to the riverbank.
Next, the narrator tells the readers about the mischievous act of Kari. Kari was like a baby. He was mischievous and naughty. He had to be trained to be disciplined. One day somebody fed Kari some ripe bananas and ever since then he developed a great love for bananas. For a few days, ripe bananas were disappearing from the fruit bowl, which was placed on the dining table near the window. First, the family thought that the servants were eating but when the fruits continued to disappear, the family thought that the narrator was eating. He couldn’t convince his parents that he was innocent. The elders were ignorant of Kari’s act. Then one day, when Kari was stealing the bananas slyly with his trunk through the window, the narrator saw it. Unaware of such intrusion, he felt scared. He followed Kari to his pavilion and on the investigation, he found mashed bananas in his pavilion. He pulled Kari’s ear and revealed the truth to his parents. He scolded Kari for his act and after that incident, Kari never stole any banana. Kari understood his mistake and why he was scolded.
The narrator wanted to teach Kari all signals and sounds during his childhood. Kari was a fast learner, and very soon he learnt the words ‘Dhat’ and ‘Mali’. ‘Dhat’ was a signal to sit down and ‘Mali’ meant to walk. Kari learnt the word ‘Mali’ very fast but he took almost three weeks to learn the word ‘Dhat’. The narrator says that the most difficult thing to teach an elephant is the master call. Kari took five years to learn it properly.
The master call is a signal to save oneself if one gets lost in the jungle. It is a kind of a strange hissing and howling sound as if a snake and the tiger are fighting with each other. Once the elephants hear this sound, they will pull down all trees in front of them and scare all the animals like monkeys and stags. Even the tigers feel scared of elephants. They make an easy way for home even in the wild. Kari learnt this very well.
Q1. ‘Animals are Equally Sensitive to Humans’. What do you Mean by this Statement, Keeping the Lesson in Mind?
Ans. It is a fact that humans and animals possess some common characteristics like sensitivity, understanding, compassion and consideration. Kari struggled once to save a drowning boy. Likewise, when Kari was scolded for stealing bananas, he understood his punishment and after that he never stole anything. It was an unpardonable offence for Kari if anyone punished him without being reasonable. He could smell danger and go to any extent to save his master.
Q2. How did Kari Enjoy his Morning Bath in the River?
Ans. Kari enjoyed his mud bath a lot. He lay down on the sandbank and the narrator rubbed clean sand on Kari’s back and then Kari would immerse himself in water for an hour. He washed his body and made joyful sounds.
Q3. Who was Wrongly Blamed for the Theft of the Bananas? Who was the Actual Culprit?
Ans. The bananas were stolen again and again. First of all, the narrator’s family blamed the servants for eating all the fruits. Next time, his family blamed the narrator for the theft. Both the narrator and the servants were wrongly blamed. Kari was the actual culprit. He stole bananas because he developed a great love for ripe bananas.
Q4. Give a Character Sketch of Kari.
Ans. Kari was a baby elephant of five months old. He lived in a pavilion with a thatched roof. He was fond of chewing and playing with luscious twigs. He enjoyed his sand bath and playing in the river. He was a very sensible elephant. He once made a call to the narrator when he saw a boy drowning in the river. He helped the narrator in saving the drowning boy. He was very naughty and mischievous. He took pleasure in making mischief. He had a great love for ripe bananas. He slyly stole bananas. He very obediently did not steal anything after he got scolding from his master. He very well understood his master’s signals and gestures. He was a fast and good learner. He learnt all the signals and calls that his master taught him.