The story ‘Bholi’ revolves around a girl who due to accidental fall and disease in her childhood, faces the
problem of being dull and ugly. Everyone always targets her for not looking good and not being intelligent.
Her life turns when she joins a nearby school where her teacher encourages and helps her to become a
confident person. Later in the story, circumstances arise when Bholi has to give acceptance to the marriage
with an unequal match but rejects it when she sees her father pleading to the bridegroom when he demands
dowry. The story shows the rise of a girl against social injustice.
Summary – Bholi Class 10
Bholi, the Simpleton: Bholi was the fourth daughter of Numberdar Ramlal. She had fallen off the cot when she was just ten months old. Perhaps some part of her brain was damaged. Out of all children, only she remained backward. Therefore, she was called Bholi, the simpleton.
Smallpox Attack leaves Pop- Marks on Her Body: At birth, Bholi was very fair and pretty. When she was two years old, she had an attack of small pox. Her eyes were saved but her entire body was disfigured. She had deep black pock-marks all over the body. Little Sulekha (iiholi) learnt how to speak at five. She stammered. Children often made fun of her. So, Bholi talked very little.
Ramlal’s Family: Ramlal had seven children–three sons and four daughters. Bholi was the youngest. It was a prosperous family. There was plenty to eat and drink. Every child was healthy except Bholi. The sons were sent to study in the city. Radha was already married. Mangla’s marriage had been fixed. The third one was Champa. All the girls except Bholi were good looking and healthy. There was no difficulty in marrying them. Ramlal was worried about Bholi. She had neither good looks nor intelligence.
Bholi Goes to School: Once the Tehsildar came to inaugurate a new primary school in the village. He asked Ramlal to send his daughters to school. Ramlal could not say no to him. His wife objected that no one would marry the girls if they went to school. But then she felt that Bholi was ugly and it would be difficult to get her married so they decided to send only Bholi to school.
Bholi Prepares for School: Bholi was fearful of going to school at first. Then, she was given new and clean clothes to wear. She was given a bath and her hair was oiled. Now, she felt better. She thought of school as a nice place. All these years no one has taken so much care of her.
Bholi’s First Day at School: Bholi found the classroom full of girls like her. She was afraid and sat in one corner. She was attracted to the colourful pictures on the wall. She was much impressed by the realistic pictures of birds and animals.
Her Kind-Hearted Teacher: The teacher came to her and asked her name. She stammered again and again but could not pronounce her full name. The teacher encouraged her. She decided to make another effort. And this time she succeeded in pronouncing her full name. ‘‘Bh-Bh-Bho – Bholi.’’ The teacher patted her affectionately. She assured her that she would be able to speak like everyone else soon. She asked her to come to school every day. She said, ‘‘Ye-Ye-Yes.’’ Bholi herself was surprised that she had been able to say this. The teacher assured her that within a month she would be able to read the picture book. In time, she would be more learned than anyone else in the village. Then none would be able to laugh at her. Bholi’s heart was throbbing with a new hope and a new life.
Bholi’s Marriage Proposal: At last, an offer came from a well-to-do bridegroom for Bholi. He had a big shop, a house of his own and several thousands in bank. He was not asking for dowry. The bridegroom was almost the age of Bholi’s father and he also limped. The children from his first wife were quite grown up. These things didn’t matter to Bholi’s parents. They were happy that she was, at least, going to be married.
Bholi’s Wedding Day: Bishamber Nath, the bridegroom of Bholi, was a prosperous grocer. He came with a big party of friends and relatives. A brass-band was playing a popular filmy tune. Ramlal was overjoyed to see such a pomp and splendour. Bholi’s elder sisters were jealous of her luck.
Garlanding Ceremony Reveals body Marks: The bridegroom lifted the garland of yellow marigolds. A woman slipped back the silken veil of Bholi. Bishamber took a quick glance. The garland remained poised in his hands. He cried that she had pock-marks on her face.
Demand of Dowry: If he was to marry her, her father must give him 5000 rupees as dowry. Ramlal placed his turban at Bishamber’s feet. He was ready to pay two thousand rupees. The bridegroom didn’t budge from 5000. At last, Ramlal went in and opened the safe and counted the notes. He placed the bundle of notes on Bishamber’s feet. The greedy Bishamber had a triumphant smile on his face. He was ready to garland the bride.
Bholi Throws Away the Marriage Garland into the Fire: Before Bishamber could garland her, Bholi’s hand struck out like a streak of lightning and the garland was flung into the fire. She got up and threw away the veil. All her relatives and her parents were stunned to hear her speak without stammering. Bholi asked her father to take the money back. Ramlal called her crazy and she wanted to disgrace the family. Bholi replied that she would not have such a mean and greedy man as her husband. Bishamber Nath started to go back with his party.
Ramlal Questions about Future of Bholi: Ramlal turned to Bholi and asked what she would do as no one would ever marry her. Sulekha (iiholi) said in a firm voice that they didn’t need to worry about her. She would serve her father and mother in their old age. She would teach in the same school where she had learnt so much. Bholi’s teacher had been watching the drama standing in a corner. She said, ‘‘Yes Bholi, of course’’. Her education had changed her outlook.