Think and write a short account of what life in Rameswaram in the 1940s must have been like. (Were people rich or poor? Hard working or lazy? Hopeful of change, or resistant to it?)
In the year 1940s, the life in Rameswaram might have been very simple. From the account of Abdul Kalam, we gather that the people were not very wealthy. Though religious based segregation existed, people lived in harmony with one another. Yet there were people who did not like different social groups to intermingle. The religions were demarcated by the clothes they wore or the area where they lived. Orthodox Hindu Brahmin families were more rigid. Still, those who displayed their conservativeness and religious stringency were strongly opposed by the others.
The people of the town might have been hard working, as the author mentions how his cousin used to collect bundles of newspaper for distribution. Kalam’s family arranged for boats for the visiting pilgrims. Also, the author himself started earning at the tender age of eight years.
Besides, the Second World War might have affected the lives of the people. The author says that India was forced to join the war and subsequently a state of emergency was declared. Indians waited optimistically for independence.
(A model answer has been provided for students' reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer on their own understanding.)