Bholi – Class 10 NCERT English Notes

Bholi Class 10 English Notes: Bholi is a story about a simple village girl named Bholi, who is neglected by all. Education gives Bholi the confidence and courage to voice her opinion. Through Bholi’s story, the author tells us how education can provide wings to an individual.

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Summary: Bholi

Broadly, Bholi can be divided into:

  • Bholi and Her First Few Years
  • Ramlal’s Worry
  • The Decision to Send Bholi to School
  • Bholi Prepares to Go to School
  • Bholi’s First Day at School
  • A Match for Bholi
  • Bholi’s Wedding Day
  • Bholi’s Refusal to Marry
  • Bholi Reassurance to Her Father

Bholi and Her First Few Years

  • Sulekha, also known as Bholi, was the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal.
  • When she was just ten months old, Bholi fell from her cot. This accident seemed to have affected her brain.
  • Then, when she was two years old, she contracted smallpox, giving her a scarred face.
  • Bholi began speaking very late and when she did, she stammered.
  • All the other children called her ugly and made fun of her stammer.
  • Bholi’s wealthy father had seven children – three sons and four daughters. Bholi was the youngest daughter. All the children except Bholi were healthy.

Ramlal’s Worry

  • Ramlal was worried about Bholi, who unlike his other children, was neither pretty nor intelligent.
  • He was worried that no one would marry her.

The Decision to Send Bholi to School

  • Bholi was seven years old when an all-girls school was inaugurated in their village.
  • The Tehsildar, who inaugurated the school, instructed Ramlal to enroll his daughter in the school.
  • Ramlal consulted his wife. His wife reacted with horror. After all, she thought, who would marry a girl if she went to school?
  • But then she considered the situation – Bholi was an unattractive child. There was little chance of her marrying someone anyway.
  • So, Ramlal told Bholi that she was going to school.

Bholi Prepares to go to School

  • He told his wife to clothe her in a decent dress.
  • Bholi was frightened. She remembered how their old cow had been sold because she was no longer of any use to the family. She thought that – just like the cow – she was being sent away as well.
  • Now, all Bholi ever wore were old hand-me-down clothes of her sisters. No one bothered to wash or mend her clothes.
  • However, on this occasion she was given a clean dress. Her hair was oiled, and she was given a bath.
  • Only then did Bholi think that she was being taken to a better place than home.

Bholi’s First Day at School

  • At school, Bholi was terrified. She sat down in the classroom corner feeling alone. She could not understand what the teacher was saying in class.
  • Instead, she looked at the pictures on the wall. She was fascinated by their colours.
  • Suddenly, Bholi realised that the teacher was standing next to her. Smiling, the teacher asked her for her name.
  • Bholi tried. But she stammered and then fell into tearful silence. The other girls, she knew, were laughing at her.
  • After class, the teacher came to Bholi’s corner and asked her to say her name again. With gentle encouragement, Bholi was finally able to say her name.
  • The teacher then told her to overcome her fears. She also gave Bholi a picture book.
  • She promised Bholi that she would soon be more learned than everyone in the village.
  • Bholi felt hopeful for the first time in her life.

A Match for Bholi

  • Years passed. Ramlal had arranged a match for Bholi.
  • When he consulted his wife, his wife stated that Bholi would be lucky to have such a well-to-do man as her husband.
  • Bishamber Nath, who was a widower almost Bholi’s father’s age and had children, came with a big party of friends and a wedding band. Ramlal was overjoyed to see such wealth and splendour.
  • Bholi’s sisters were envious of her good fortune.

Bholi’s Wedding Day

  • Bholi was led to the auspicious fire to be garlanded. A woman pulled her veil back from her face.
  • Bishamber was surprised to see marks on her face.
  • Turning to her father, he demanded a dowry of five thousand rupees.
  • Ramlal tried to reason with him, but Bishamber was adamant. With his honour on the line, Ramlal tearfully accepted.
  • Triumphant, Bishamber ordered the garland to be brought to him.

Bholi’s Refusal to Marry

  • As Bishamber proceeded to garland Bholi, she flung the garland into the fire.
  • In a clear voice, she told her father that she will not marry Bishamber.
  • Her father begged her to think of their family’s honour.
  • In return, she told him that it was for the sake of his honour that she was ready to marry Bishamber.
  • But now she refused to have a greedy man as her husband.
  • Everyone was shocked to hear Bholi’s voice. They all thought she was a stammering, dumb fool.
  • The wedding party and the villagers left.
  • Her father who had remained rooted to his spot in shame, now turned to Bholi. He was certain that no one would marry on her now.

Bholi’s Reassurance to Her Father

  • Bholi reassured her father. She told him that she would look after him and her mother in their old age.
  • She would also teach at the same school where she learnt so much.
  • She turned to her teacher – the only person who hadn’t left – for confirmation.
  • Her teacher smiled in satisfaction. Bholi’s education was now complete.


The major themes of the chapter are:

  • Impact of Family on Children
  • Importance of Education

Impact of Family on Children

  • Bholi’s family looked at her as a liability due to the smallpox scars on her face and her stammering. They were disappointed in her for no fault of her own and that made Bholi insecure.
  • Bholi was deprived of parental love and care, which made her silent and more vulnerable.

Importance of Education

  • When Bishamber, the greedy old widower, asked for dowry to marry Bholi despite the scars on her face, Bholi stood up for herself and refused the marriage. This courage and confidence came to her only because of education and the support of her teacher.
  • Nobody in the entire village thought that naïve and stammering Bholi could ever do such a bold thing.

Character Sketch

The main characters in the story are:

  • Bholi
  • Ramlal
  • Bholi’s Mother
  • Bholi’s Teacher
  • Bishamber


Insecure: Due to her scarred face and her stammering, Bholi could never be a confident child. She was pitied for her appearance and state not only by others but also by her family.

Keen learner: Although unconfident, Bholi took up the challenge of attending school. With the support of her teacher, Bholi evolved into a bold, confident and independent girl.

Dedicated: Bholi was determined to continue her education at school despite her vulnerable experience on the first day of school.

Courageous: On her wedding day, Bholi stood up for herself against the greedy groom and his family.3 of 6

Ramlal (Bholi’s father)

Narrow-minded: A prosperous father to seven children, Ramlal only cared about marrying his daughters. He only considered allowing Bholi to go to school because he thought she was too ugly to get married.

Desperate: Ramlal was so blinded by the desire to marry Bholi that he ignored the fact that Bishamber was an older widower and limped.

Bholi’s Mother

Conservative: Bholi’s mother was orthodox in her thinking as she believed that if Bholi attended school, nobody would marry her.

Careless: The ten-month-old Bholi fell from the cot and also suffered small pox at an early age. She needed special care that her mother failed to provide her.

Insensitive: Bholi’s mother ignored her because of her shortcomings. She did not give her clear clothes to wear and did not comb her hair.

Bholi’s Teacher

Encouraging: Bholi’s teacher encouraged Bholi to overcome her fears. She promised Bholi that she would soon be more learned and made her hopeful.

Compassionate: When everyone else had left when the wedding was called off, Bholi’s teacher was the only one who stood there by her side and comforted her with a smile.

Supportive: The teacher stood by Bholi through her journey and even on her wedding day. She never gave up on Bholi.


Greedy: Bishamber was a greedy and selfish man who demanded five thousand rupees as dowry when he realised Bholi’s weakness.

Shallow: Bishamber believed that Bholi and her family were at his mercy. In his opinion, nobody would agree to marry Bholi for her weakness and thus he demanded a dowry at a time when Bholi’s father could not refuse it.

Selfish: Bishamber saw flaws in Bholi. However, he overlooked his own age, limp and the fact that he was a widower and had children.

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