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Akbar was the son of humble parents. His father was a schoolmaster. There was never very much money in the house, so he didn‘t enjoy any luxuries. All he wanted was to learn more and more. Books were not easily available then as they were handwritten and very expensive. Akbar read all the books he could lay his hands on. In due course, he mastered Arabic, Persian, Philosophy and Astronomy and dreamt of getting a position at court. 

But for this, one had to really excel in some field. Also one needed a patron close enough to the Emperor to recommend a newcomer. It was a few months before he could find a patron and a few more months before he could find a suitable opportunity to recommend him to the Emperor who asked what he had learnt and what work he could do. On hearing the same, he said, ―We are pleased to give the young man a chance. Let him take charge of the royal poultry house! When he heard the news Akbar was heartbroken. 

He, a scholar, capable of debating with the most learned men, was asked to look after chicking hens! All the same, he got down to work with great determination. His only concern was hens. He saw to it that they were well fed and had clean water, that their living quarters were clean and if a fowl took ill that it was separated from the others and given proper treatment. Meanwhile, the Emperor had forgotten about the scholar he had packed off to mind the hens.

 But one day while his Finance Minister was reading out the palace accounts to tell the Emperor how much money had been spent on the royal household, he mentioned such a low figure that the Emperor sat up. ―Have most of the hens died? he asked. ―No, your Majesty was the reply – ―The hens are not only alive but are plump and fit.”Send for the scholar, the Emperor demanded. When Akbar came to the palace, the Emperor demanded ―Aren‘t you feeding them properly? ―I am, sire, only the food is different – I‘m feeding them what cannot be used in the royal kitchen, vegetable peels and dough used to seal the vessels while cooking for your Majesty. 

The hens not only enjoy it but it is also very good for them. ―Good work, we hereby promote you to the rank of royal librarian. Akbar was bitterly disappointed. He had spent the first thirty years of his life gaining knowledge. How he wished to gain that knowledge and help people. Instead, as head of the royal library he would be seeing only books and no people. But he buckled down to organizing the library. A year later the Emperor came to visit the library. He was surprised to find each book covered with a packet of silk, velvet or brocade.

 There were hundreds of books and not one without a cover. ―You have used expensive material to cover the books but have not charged us. Surely you are not spending your own money? Akbar bowed low, ―Your Majesty, these covers did not cost anything. Everyday dozens of people come to the court with humble grievances on sheets of paper which are folded and placed inside a bag of the most expensive material that they can afford. I have used them. The emperor was very pleased and gave him a bigger responsibility.

  • Which of the following can be said about Akbar‘s family?
    (1) They were poor and uneducated.
    (2) They discouraged him from becoming courtier.
    (3) He was ashamed of them and did not introduce them at Court.
    (A) None (B) Only A
    (C) B and C (D) Only C
    (E) All of these
  • Which of the following is TRUE in the context of the passage?
    (A) Akbar was aged when he was finally made a courtier.
    (B) Akbar excelled at whatever job the Emperor assigned him.
    (C) The Emperor did not value a person‘s education but his family background.
    (A) All of these (B) Only B
    (C) A and B (D) B and C
    (E) Only A
  • How many years of Akbar‘s life was spent gaining knowledge?
    (A) 50 (B) 20
    (C) 10 (D) 30
    (E) None of these
  • Choose the word which is OPPOSITE in meaning to the word BITTERLY as used in the
    (A) Sweetly (B) Angrily
    (C) Sourly (D) Freezing
    (E) Gladly


  • How did Akbar handle his appointment as royal librarian?
    (A) He was angry and was waiting for an opportunity to tell the king so
    (B) He was thrilled since he loved books.
    (C) He was disappointed but put his best efforts into the job
    (D) He considered it a good opportunity to learn more
    (E) He was very happy since he preferred reading to interacting with people.
  • How did Akbar manage the cover for books?
    (A) He used the used-sheets of papers (B) He spent his own money for this.
    (C) He borrowed covers for books
    (D) He was not aware of it.
    (E) None of the above
  • Why did the Emperor send Akbar when he was in charge of poultry?
    (A) To test Akbar‘s knowledge of poultry.
    (B) To see if Akbar was worthy of higher responsibility.
    (C) To understand why the poultry was thriving despite reduced expenditure on them.
    (D) To scold him for feeding the poultry leftovers instead of healthy food.
    (E)To demand an explanation for the poultry being overweight and unfit.
  • What lesson can be learnt from the story?
    (A) Patience and hard work will help one achieve success.
    (B) Pursuit of riches and wealth is all that matters
    (C) One should use any means of possibility to attain a promotion.
    (D)One should be satisfied with whatever job one gets and not much more.
    (E)It is very difficult to get something in life without bribing.
  • Choose the word which is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word LOW as used in the
    (A) Small (B) Gentle
    (C) Unhappy (D) Short
    (E) Soft
  • Choose the word which is most nearly the SAME in meaning as the word CLOSE as used in
    the passage.
    (A) Shut (B) End
    (C) Neighbouring (D) Dear
    (E) Careful

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