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Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:            (12)
1. We sit in the last row, bumped about but free of stares. The bus rolls out of the dull crossroads of the city, and we are soon in open countryside, with fields of sunflowers as far as the eye can see, their heads all facing us. Where there is no water, the land reverts to desert. While still on level ground we see in the distance the tall range of the Mount Bogda, abrupt like a shining prism laid horizontally on the desert surface. It is over 5,000 metres high, and the peaks are under permanent snow, in powerful contrast to the flat desert all around. Heaven Lake lies part of the way up this range, about 2,000 metres above sea-level, at the foot of one of the higher snow-peaks.
2. As the bus climbs, the sky, brilliant before, grows overcast. I have brought nothing warm to wear: it is all down at the hotel in Urumqi. Rain begins to fall. The man behind me is eating overpoweringly smelly goat's cheese. The bus window leaks inhospitably but reveals a beautiful view. We have passed quickly from desert through arable land to pasture, and the ground is now green with grass, the slopes dark with pine. A few cattle drink at a clear stream flowing past moss-covered stones; it is a Constable landscape . The stream changes into a white torrent, and as we climb higher I wish more and more that I had brought with me something warmer than the pair of shorts that have served me so well in the desert .The stream (which, we are told rises in Heaven Lake) disappears, and we continue our slow ascent. About noon, we arrive at Heaven Lake, and look for a place to stay at the foot, which is the resort area. We get a room in a small cottage, and I am happy to note that there are thick quilts on the beds.
3. Standing outside the cottage we survey our surroundings. Heaven Lake is long, sardine-shaped and fed by snowmelt from a stream at its head. The lake is an intense blue, surrounded on all sides by green mountain walls, dotted with distant sheep. At the head of the lake, beyond the delta of the inflowing stream, is a massive snow-capped peak which dominates the vista; it is part of a series of peaks that culminate, a little out of view, in Mount Bogda itself.
4. For those who live in the resort there is a small mess-hall by the shore. We eat here sometimes, and sometimes buy food from the vendors outside, who sell kabab and naan until the last buses leave. The kababs, cooked on skewers over charcoal braziers, are particularly good; highly spiced and well-done. Horse's milk is available too from the local Kazakh herdsmen, but I decline this. I am so affected by the cold that Mr. Cao, the relaxed young man who runs the mess, lends me a  spare pair of trousers, several sizes too large but more than comfortable. Once I am warm again, I feel a pre-dinner spurt of energy – dinner will be long in coming – and I ask him whether the lake is good for swimming in.
5. "Swimming?" Mr. Cao says. "You aren't thinking of swimming, are you?"
6. "I thought I might," I confess. "What's the water like?"
7. He doesn't answer me immediately, turning instead to examine some receipts with exaggerated interest. Mr. Cao, with great off-handedness, addresses the air. "People are often drowned here," he says. After a pause, he continues. "When was the last one?" This question is directed at the cook, who is preparing a tray of mantou (squat white steamed bread rolls), and who now appears, wiping his doughy hand across his forehead. "Was it the Beijing athlete?" asks Mr. Cao.

On the basis of your understanding of the above passage, complete the statements given below with the help of options that follow:

(a) One benefit of sitting in the last row of the bus was that:
(i) the narrator enjoyed the bumps.
(ii) no one stared at him.
(iii) he could see the sunflowers.
(iv) he avoided the dullness of the city.

(b) The narrator was travelling to:
(i) Mount Bogda
(ii) Heaven Lake
(iii) a 2000 metre high snow peak
(iv) Urumqi

(c) On reaching the destination the narrator felt relieved because:
(i) he had got away from the desert.
(ii) a difficult journey had come to an end.
(iii) he could watch the snow peak.
(iv) there were thick quilts on the bed.

(d) Mount Bogda is compared to:
(i) a horizontal desert surface
(ii) a shining prism
(iii) a Constable landscape
(iv) the overcast sky

Answer the following questions briefly:
(e) Which two things in the bus made the narrator feel uncomfortable?
(f) What made the scene look like a Constable landscape?
(g) What did he regret as the bus climbed higher?
(h) Why did the narrator like to buy food from outside?
(i) What is ironic about the pair of trousers lent by Mr. Cao?
(j) Why did Mr. Cao not like the narrator to swim in the lake?
(k) Find words from the passage which mean the same as the following:
(i) sellers (para 4)
(ii) increased (para 7)

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CBSE Board Paper 2017

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:          (10)
1. Thackeray reached Kittur along with a small British army force and a few of his officers. He thought that the very presence of the British on the outskirts of Kittur would terrorise the rulers and people of Kittur and that they would lay down their arms. He was quite confident that he would be able to crush the revolt in no time. He ordered that tents be erected on the eastern side for the fighting forces and a little away on the western slopes tents be put up for the family members of the officers who had accompanied them. During the afternoon and evening of 20th October, the British soldiers were busy making arrangements for these camps.
2. On the 21st morning, Thackeray sent his political assistants to Kittur fort to obtain a written assurance from all the important officers of Kittur rendering them answerable for the security of the treasury of Kittur. They, accordingly, met Sardar Gurusiddappa and other officers of Kittur and asked them to comply with the orders of Thackeray. They did not know that the people were in a defiant mood. The commanders of Kittur dismissed the agent’s orders as no documents could be signed without sanction from Rani Chennamma.
3. Thackeray was enraged and sent for his commander of the Horse Artillery, which was about 100 strong, ordered him to rush his artillery into the fort and capture the commanders of the Desai’s army. When the Horse Artillery stormed into the fort, Sardar Gurusiddappa, who had kept his men on full alert, promptly commanded his men to repel and chase them away. The Kittur forces made a bold front and overpowered the British soldiers.
4. In the meanwhile, the Desai’s guards had shut the gates of the fort and the British Horse Artillery men, being completely overrun and routed, had to get out through the escape window. Rani’s soldiers chased them out of the fort, killing a few of them until they retreated to their camps on the outskirts.
5. A few of the British had found refuge in some private residences, while some were hiding in their tents. The Kittur soldiers captured about forty persons and brought them to the palace. These included twelve children and a few women from the British officers’ camp. When they were brought in the presence of the Rani, she ordered the soldiers to be imprisoned. For the women and children she had only gentleness, and admonished her soldiers for taking them into custody. At her orders, these women and children were taken inside the palace and given food and shelter. Rani came down from her throne, patted the children lovingly and told them that no harm would come to them.
6. She, then, sent word through a messenger to Thackeray that the British women and children were safe and could be taken back any time. Seeing this noble gesture of the Rani, he was moved. He wanted to meet this gracious lady and talk to her. He even thought of trying to persuade her to enter into an agreement with the British to stop all hostilities in lieu of an inam (prize) of eleven villages. His offer was dismissed with a gesture of contempt. She had no wish to meet Thackeray. That night she called Sardar Gurusiddappa and other leading Sardars and after discussing all the issues came to the conclusion that there was no point in meeting Thackeray who had come with an army to threaten Kittur into submission to British sovereignty.

On the basis of your understanding of the above passage complete the statements given below with the help of options that follow:
(a) Thackeray was a/an :
(i) British tourist
(ii) army officer
(iii) adviser to Rani of Kittur
(iv) treasury officer
(b) British women and children came to Kittur to :
(i) visit Kittur
(ii) enjoy life in tents
(iii) stay in the palace
(iv) give company to officers
Answer the following questions briefly:
(c) Why did Thackeray come to Kittur?
(d) Why did the Kittur officials refuse to give the desired assurance to Thackeray?
(e) What happened to the Horse Artillery?
(f) How do we know that the Rani was a noble queen?
(g) How in your opinion would the British women have felt after meeting the Rani?
(h) Why did the Rani refuse to meet Thackeray?
(i) Find words from the passage which mean the same as the following :
i. entered forcibly (para 3)
ii. aggressive/refusing to obey (para 2)

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CBSE Board Paper 2017

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:           (8)

The most alarming of man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrevocable; the chain of evil it initiates is for the most part irreversible. In this contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world; radiation released through nuclear explosions into the air, comes to the earth in rain, lodges into the soil, enters the grass or corn, or wheat grown there and reaches the bones of a human being, there to remain until his death. Similarly, chemicals sprayed on crops lie long in soil, entering living organisms, passing from one to another in a chain of poisoning and death. Or they pass by underground streams until they emerge and combine into new forms that kill vegetation, sicken cattle, and harm those who drink from once pure wells.

It took hundreds of millions of years to produce the life that now inhabits the earth and reached a stage of adjustment and balance with its surroundings. The environment contained elements that were hostile as well as supporting. Even within the light of the sun, there were short wave radiations with power to injure. Given time, life has adjusted and a balance reached. For time is the essential ingredient, but in the modern world is no time.

The rapidity of change and the speed with which new situations are created follow the heedless pace of man rather than the deliberate pace of nature. Radiation is no longer the bombardment of cosmic rays; it is now the unnatural creation of man’s tampering with the atom. The chemicals to which life is asked to make adjustments are no longer merely calcium and silica and copper and all the rest of the minerals washed out of the rocks and carried in the rivers to the sea; they are the synthetic creations of man’s inventive mind, brewed in his laboratories, and having no counterparts in nature.

(a) On the basis of your understanding of the above passage make notes on it using headings and sub-headings. Use recognizable abbreviations (wherever necessary-minimum four) and a format you consider suitable. Also supply a title to it.

(b) Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.

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CBSE Board Paper 2017

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:
If you are addicted to coffee, and doctors warn you to quit the habit, don’t worry and just keep relishing the beverage, because it’s not that bad after all! In fact, according to a new study, the steaming cup of Java can beat fruits and vegetables as the primary source of antioxidants. Some studies state that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in American diet, and both caffeinated and decaf versions appear to provide similar antioxidant levels.
Antioxidants in general have been linked to a number of potential health benefits, including protection against heart diseases and cancer, but Vinson, a dietitian said that their benefits ultimately depend on how they are absorbed and utilized in the body. The research says that coffee outranks popular antioxidant sources like tea, milk, chocolate and cranberries. Of all the foods and beverages studied, dates actually have the most antioxidants based solely on serving size, but since dates are not consumed anywhere near the level of coffee, the drink comes as the top source of antioxidants, Vinson said.
Besides keeping you alert and awake, coffee has been linked to an increasing number of potential health benefits, including protection against liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease, according to some recently published studies.
The researchers, however, advise that one should consume coffee in moderation, because it can make you jittery and cause stomach pains.

(a) What do doctors advise us about the habit of drinking coffee?
(b) What are the two versions of coffee that are drunk in America?
(c) State any two benefits of antioxidants.
(d) What does Vinson say about the consumption of antioxidants?
(e) Name any two popular sources of antioxidants.
(f) How does coffee outrank dates in the level of antioxidants?
(g) Mention any two benefits of coffee.
(h) What do researchers warn us about the excessive use of coffee?

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CBSE Board Paper 2016

Read the following passage carefully:

Gandhiji As a Fund Raiser

Gandhiji was an incurable and irrestible fund raiser. He found special relish in getting jewellery from women. Ranibala of Burdwan was ten years old. One day she was playing with Gandhiji. He explained to her that her bangles were too heavy for her delicate little wrists. She removed the bangles and gave them away to Gandhiji.
He used to talk jokingly to small girls and created distaste for ornaments and created a desire in them to part with the jewellery for the sake of the poor. He motivated them to donate their jewellery for social usage.
Kasturbai didn’t appreciate this habit of Gandhiji. Once she stated calmly, ‘You don’t wear jewels, it is easy for you to get around the boys. But what about our daughters-in-law ? They would surely want them.
“Well!” Gandhiji put in mildly, "our children are young and when they grow up they will not surely choose wives who are found of wearing jewellery.” Kasturbai was very upset with the answer.
Gandhiji was determined to keep the jewels to raise community fund. He was of the opinion that a public worker should accept no costly gifts. He believed that he should not own anything costly, whether given or earned. Kasturbai was a female with a desire to adorn. But Gandhiji moved towards renunciation and donated every penny earned in South Africa to the trustees for the service of South African Indians.
2.1 Answer the questions given below:
(a) How did Gandhiji create a distaste for jewellery in Ranibala?
(b) What was Kasturbai’s apprehension about their daughters-in-law?
(c) What solution did Gandhiji suggest for the problem posed by Kasturbai?
(d) How did Gandhiji serve the community?
2.2 Find meanings of the words given below from the options that follow:
(e) incurable (para 1)
(i) unreliable
(ii) untreatable
(iii) disagreeable
(iv) unbeatable
(f) motivated (para 2)
(i) encouraged
(ii) emboldened
(iii) incited
(iv) softened
(g) upset (para 4)
(i) puzzled
(ii) furious
(iii) confused
(iv) distressed
(h) renunciation (para 5)
(i) giving up
(ii) disagreement
(iii) opposition
(iv) termination

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CBSE Board Paper 2016

1. Read the passage given below :
1. Maharana Pratap ruled over Mewar only for 25 years. However, he accomplished so much grandeur during his reign that his glory surpassed the boundaries of countries and time turning him into an immortal personality. He along with his kingdom became a synonym for valour, sacrifice and patriotism. Mewar had been a leading Rajput kingdom even before Maharana Pratap occupied the throne. Kings of Mewar, with the cooperation of their nobles and subjects, had established such traditions in the kingdom, as augmented their magnificence despite the hurdles of having a smaller area under their command and less population. There did come a few thorny occasions when the flag of the kingdom seemed sliding down. Their flag once again heaved high in the sky thanks to the gallantry and brilliance of the people of Mewar.
2. The destiny of Mewar was good in the sense that barring a few kings, most of the rulers were competent and patriotic. This glorious tradition of the kingdom almost continued for 1500 years since its establishment, right from the reign of Bappa Rawal. In fact only 60 years before Maharana Pratap, Rana Sanga drove the kingdom to the pinnacle of fame. His reputation went beyond Rajasthan and reached Delhi. Two generations before him. Rana Kumbha had given a new stature to the kingdom through victories and developmental work. During his reign, literature and art also progressed extraordinarily. Rana himself was inclined towards writing and his works are read with reverence even today The ambience of his kingdom was conducive to the creation of high quality work of art and literature. These accomplishments were the outcome of a longstanding tradition sustained by several generations.
3. The life of the people of Mewar must have been peaceful and prosperous during the long span of time; otherwise such extraordinary accomplishment in these fields would not have been possible. This is reflected in their art and literature as well as their loving nature. They compensate for lack of admirable physique by their firm but pleasant nature. The ambience of Mewar remains lovely thanks to the cheerful and liberal character of its people.
4. One may observe astonishing pieces of workmanship not only in the forts and palaces of Mewar but also in public utility buildings. Ruins of many structures which are still standing tall in their grandeur are testimony to the fact that Mewar was not only the land of the brave but also a seat of art and culture. Amidst aggression and bloodshed, literature and art flourished and creative pursuits of literature and artists did not suffer. Imagine, how glorious the period must have been when the Vijaya Stambha which is the sample of our great ancient architecture even today, was constructed. In the same fort, Kirti Stambha is standing high, reflecting how liberal the then administration was which allowed people from other communities and kingdoms to come and carry out construction work. It is useless to indulge in the debate whether the Vijaya Stambha was constructed first or the Kirti Stambha. The fact is that both the capitals are standing side by side and reveal the proximity between the king and the subjects of Mewar.
5. The cycle of time does not remain the same Whereas the reign of Rana Sanga was crucial in raising the kingdom to the acme of glory, it also proved to be his nemesis. History took a turn. The fortune of Mewar – the land of the brave, started waning. Rana tried to save the day with his acumen which was running against the stream and the glorious traditions for sometime.
On the basis of your understanding of the above passage answer each of the questions given below with the help of options that follow :
(a) Maharana Pratap became immortal because :
(i) he ruled Mewar for 25 years.
(ii) he added a lot of grandeur to Mewar.
(iii) of his valour, sacrifice and patriotism.
(iv) both (ii) and (iii)
(b) Difficulties in the way of Mewar were :
(i) lack of cooperation of the nobility.
(ii) ancient traditions of the kingdom.
(iii) its small area and small population.
(iv) the poverty of the subjects.

(c) During thorny occasions :
(i) the flag of Mewar seemed to be lowered.
(ii) the flag of Mewar was hoisted high.
(iii) the people of Mewar showed gallantry.
(iv) most of the rulers heaved a sigh of relief.
(d) Mewar was lucky because :
(i) all of its rulers were competent.
(ii) most of its people were competent.
(iii) most of its rulers were competent.
(iv) only a few of its people were incompetent.
Answer the following questions briefly:
(e) Who is the earliest king of Mewar mentioned in the passage?
(f) What was Rana Kumbha's contribution to the glory of Mewar?
(g) What does the writer find worth admiration in the people of Mewar?
(h) How could art and literature flourish in Mewar?
(i) How did the rulers show that they cared for their subjects?
(j) What does the erection of Vijaya Stambha and Kirti Stambha in the same fort signify ?
(k) Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following:
(i) surprising (para 4)
(ii) evidence (para 4)

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CBSE Board Paper 2016

2. Read the passage given below :
1. To ensure its perpetuity, the ground is well held by the panther both in space and in time. It enjoys a much wider distribution over the globe than its bigger cousins, and procreates sufficiently profusely to ensure its continuity for all time to come.
2. There seems to be no particular breeding season of the panther, although its sawing and caterwauling is more frequently heard during winter and summer. The gestation period is about ninety to hundred days (Whipsnade, ninety-two days). The litter normally consists of four cubs, rarely five. Of these, generally two survive and not more than one reaches maturity. I have never come across more than two cubs at the heels of the mother. Likewise, graziers in the forest have generally found only two cubs hidden away among rocks, hollows of trees, and other impossible places.
3. Panther cubs are generally in evidence in March They are born blind. This is a provision of Nature, against, their drifting away from the place of safety in which they are lodged by their mother, and exposing themselves to the danger of their being devoured by hyenas, jackals, and other predators. They generally open their eyes in about three to four weeks.
4. The mother alone rears its cubs in seclusion. It keeps them out of the reach of the impulsive and impatient male. As a matter of fact the mother separates from the male soon after mating and forgets all about their tumultuous union. The story that the male often looks in to find out how the mother is progressing with her cubs has no foundation except in what we wish it should do at least.
5. The mother carries its cubs about by holding them by the scruff of their neck in its mouth. It trains them to stalk, and teaches them how to deliver the bite of death to the prey. The cubs learn to treat all and sundry with suspicion at their mother’s heels. Instinctively the cubs seek seclusion, keep to cover and protect their flanks by walking along the edge of the forest.
6. I have never had an opportunity to watch mother panther train its cubs. But in Pilibhit forests, I once saw a tigress giving some lessons to its little ones. I was sitting over its kill at Mala. As the sun set, the tigress materialized in the twilight behind my machan. For about an hour, it scanned and surveyed the entire area looking and listening with the gravest concern. It even went to the road where my elephant was awaiting my signal. The mahout spotted it from a distance and drove the elephant away.
7. When darkness descended upon the scene and all was well and safe, the tigress called its cubs by emitting a low haa-oon. The cubs, two in number and bigger than a full-grown cat, soon responded. They came trotting up to their mother and hurried straight to the kill in indecent haste. The mother spitted at them so furiously that they doubled back to its heels immediately. Thereafter, the mother and its cubs sat under cover about 50 feet (15 m) away from the kill to watch, wait, look, and listen. After about half an hour’s patient and fidgetless vigil the mother seemed to say ‘paid for’. At this signal, the cubs cautiously advanced, covering their flanks, towards the kill. No longer did they make a beeline for it, as they had done before.
8 . The mother sat watching its cubs eat. and mounted guard on them. She did not partake of the meal. On the basis of your understanding of the above passage complete the statements given below with the help of options that follow :
(a) To protect its cubs the mother panther hides them
(i) among rocks
(ii) in the branches of the trees
(iii) behind the tree trunks
(iv) at its heels

(b) The male panther :
(i) is protective of its cubs
(ii) trains its cubs
(iii) watches the progress of the mother
(iv) is impulsive and impatient

Answer the following questions briefly :

(c) How many cubs does the mother panther rarely deliver ?
(d) What may happen if the panther cubs are not born blind ?
(e) Why did the mahout drive his elephant away ?
(f) Why did the tigress spit at its cubs ?
(g) From the narrator's observation, what do we learn about the nature of the tigress ?
(h) Why does the panther not face the risk of extinction ?
(i) Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following :
(i) moving aimlessly (para 3)
(ii) came down / fell (para 7)

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CBSE Board Paper 2016

3. Read the passage given below:
People tend to amass possessions, sometimes without being aware of doing so. They can have a delightful surprise when they find something useful which they did not know they owned. Those who never have to change house become indiscriminate collectors of what can only be described as clutter. They leave unwanted objects in drawers, cupboards and attics for years in the belief that they may one day need them.

Old people also accumulate belongings for two other reasons, lack of physical and mental energy, and sentiment. Things owned for a long time are full of associations with the past, perhaps with the relatives who are dead, and so they gradually acquire a sentimental value.

Some things are collected deliberately in an attempt to avoid wastage. Among these are string and brown paper, kept by thrifty people when a parcel has been opened. Collecting small items can be a mania. A lady cuts out from newspapers sketches of model clothes that she would like to buy if she had money. As she is not rich, the chances are that she will never be able to afford such purchases. It is a harmless habit, but it litters up her desk.

Collecting as a serious hobby is quite different and has many advantages. It provides relaxation for leisure hours, as just looking at one’s treasure is always a joy. One doesn’t have to go out for amusement as the collection is housed at home. Whatever it consists of - stamps, records, first editions of books, china – there is always something to do in connection with it, from finding the right place for the latest addition to verifying facts in reference books. This hobby educates one not only in the chosen subject, but also in general matters which have some bearing on it.

There are other benefits also. One gets to meet like-minded collectors to get advice, compare notes, exchange articles, to show off one’s latest find. So one’s circle of friends grows. Soon the hobby leads to travelling, perhaps a meeting in another town, possibly a trip abroad in search of a rare specimen, for collectors are not confined to one country. Over the years one may well become an authority on one’s hobby and will probably be asked to give informal talks to little gatherings and then, if successful, to larger audiences.

(a) On the basis of your understanding of the above passage make notes on it using headings and sub-headings. Use recognizable abbreviations (wherever necessary-minimum four) and a format you consider suitable. Also supply an appropriate title to it.

(b) Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.

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CBSE Board Paper 2016

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