Karma by Khushwant Singh

“Karma” By Khushwant Singh (L.A.Q) Long Questions and Answers, Class XI, WBCHSE

Karma by Khushwant Singh Long Questions and Answers

Karma by Khushwant Singh

Karma LAQ

Karma by Khushwant Singh LAQ Questions and Answers

1)How did Sir Mohan Lal feel when he saw two Englishmen coming towards his coupe? [5] [Annual Exam XI – 2014]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s “Karma,” Sir Mohan Lal felt delighted when he saw two Englishmen coming towards his coupe. He always admired English culture and language. He had adopted Western manners and dress, and he felt ashamed of his Indian heritage. He felt himself as not less than an Englishman. When he saw the compartment empty, he was disappointed. Now his face lit up and heart warmed up to see the two English soldiersat the prospect of having a good conversation with them. He talked to the guard and thought of welcoming them into his compartment though they were entitled to travel only in the second class.

2)Give a brief description of the appearance of Lady Lal? [5] [Annual Exam XI – 2015, 2018]


“I am only a native woman.” – Give a short estimation of the speaker’s character in the light of the above comment. [Annual Exam XI – 2022]

Ans. Lady Lal, Lachmi is the wife of Sir Mohan Lal in Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma”. She is a simple and a typical Indian woman. She is in her middle forties and in terms of her physical appearance, Lachmi is short and and fat. She is dressed in an unclean white sari with a red border. A diamond nose ring is seen on her nose. Her arms are adorned with several gold bangles. She enjoys chewing betel leaves. She is a down to earth woman. She loves gossiping. She talks to the coolie and the bearer at the railway platform. Quite unlike to her husband, She is uneducated and doesn’t know the English manners. She prefers travelling in zenana compartment. She timidly follows her husband’s orders and has accepted that she would never receive sufficient appreciation from him. Yet, she has a really endearing personality and is unquestionably a good representation of native women in India.

3) Bring out the significance of the title ‘Karma’. [5] [Annual Exam XI – 2016]

Ans. The word ‘Karma’ in Sanskrit means an action, work, or deed, and its effect or consequences. “Karma” by Khuswant Singh deals with Sir Mohan Lal and his wife Lachmi and as they are treated by their fate. In this story, Sir Mohan admires British culture and manners. He hates Indian culture and manners. He feels ashamed of being an Indian. He even hates his Indian wife. But at the end of the story, Sir Mohan is humiliated by two British soldiers whom he considers to be his fellow traveller. While his wife, Lachmi, on the other hand, is a down to earth woman who doesn’t know the English culture and manners, makes a peaceful journey in her inter-class Zenana Compartment. The story thus reflects and old proverb: “Pride comes before a fall”. In this way, the title of the story is appropriate and just.

4)”You are a bit of all right, old chap” – Who is the speaker? Who has been referred to as ‘old chap’? What picture of the person’s character here spoken to is revealed in this line? [1+1+3 = 5] [Annual Exam XI – 2017]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma”, the speaker of the quoted line is the mirror of a first-class waiting room in a railway platform.

Sir Mohan Lal has been referred to as ‘old chap’.

Sir Mohan Lal looked at himself in the mirror of the first-class waiting room and felt pity for it’s wretched condition. As the mirror was made in India, he considers it inefficient, dirty, and indifferent like everything else in India. On the other hand, Sir Mohan appears to be distinguished, efficient, and handsome. He is dressed like an Englishman. He follows the English culture and manners. This scene reflects Sir Mohan Lal’s thoughts and nature who wants to copy the Englishmen. His hatred towards his motherland is also reflected here.

5) Sketch the character of Sir Mohan Lal. [5] [Annual Exam XI – 2017]

Ans. In Khuswant Singh’s short story “Karma,” Sir Mohan Lal serves as the main character. Although being an Indian, he respects English culture, behaviour, attire, and language. Besides being a lawyer, Sir Mohan is a vizier. He had lived in England for five years, where he picked up upper-class manners and views.

He seldom ever used Hindustani. He despises his fellow citizens and views them as ineffective, filthy, vulgar, and apathetic. Even his wife’s poor family members are neglected by him. He always shows off his love for the British and loves to chat with them. The aristocracy is represented through his opulent dress, whisky, The Times, and English cigarettes.

The Englishmen he loves the most ultimately punish him for his haughty attitude and conceited behaviour. He neither develops into a true Hindustani nor an Englishman.

6) “Preposterous, preposterous! he shouted” – Who shouted and why? What was the result? [1+2+2] [Annual Exam XI – 2019]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma”, Sir Mohan Lal shouted in anger.

The English soldiers who entered the compartment started misbehaving with Sir Mohan and flung his luggages one after another on the platform. They even called him a ‘nigger’. To express his shock, Sir Mohan shouted the quoted line at them.

The two English soldiers grew extremely angry when Sir Mohan shouted in harsh voice. One of the soldiers, Jim, struck flat on his face and then they threw him out of the train.

7) “He was dismayed” – Who was he? When was he dismayed and why? What did he do then? [1+2+2 = 5] [Annual Exam XI – 2020]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma,” Sir Mohan Lal was dismayed.

He was dismayed to see the first-class compartment was empty when he went inside because he had assumed there would be Englishmen in the compartment to have a good conversation with them.

He was disappointed and with a sigh, he sat down in a corner. He opened the copy of The Times which he had read several times before. Then he looked out of the window down the crowded platform.

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7) What is the role of irony of fate in the short story of “Karma”? [5]

Ans: Irony plays a very important role in Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma”. Sir Mohan travels in the first class. He follows the English culture and manners and is confident that he knows the British ways of life. In spite of everything, it is ironical that Sir Mohan is insulted and humiliated, and thrown out of the compartment by two Englishmen whom he admires the most. On the other hand, his uneducated wife, Lachmi who doesn’t know the British ways, gets respect from the poor Indians and travels comfortably in the Zenana compartment. So, fate, ironically, plays an important role in the short story, “Karma”.

8) “I am with my master”- What is the significance of the line? What did Lachmi come to know about the condition of the trains in the route? [3+2]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s short story”Karma,” Lachmi, the wife of Sir Mohan uttered the quoted line. Sir Mohan who admires British manners looks down upon his uneducated Indian wife, Lachmi. He stays inside the first class waiting room while Lachmi remains outside. In the train, Sir Mohan travels by first-class while Lachmi in the Zenana compartment. Sir Mohan commands over his wife and Lachmi obeys him faithfully. He is more of a master than a husband to her. It revealed a typical husband wife relationship in a male dominated social system.

Lachmi came to know from the railway coolie that the trains in the route were mostly crowded. It was difficult to get a seat. But the zenana compartment was relatively less crowded, and one could easily get a seat there.

9) “Nor was he loud, aggressive and opinionated like them”- Who is referred to as ‘he’ and ‘them’? In what context are the words spoken? Does Lachmi feel more at ease with common people? [2+1+2]

Ans. In Khushwant Singh’s short story “Karma”, ‘he’ refers to Sir Mohan Lal and ‘them’ refers to the average Indians.

Sir Mohan Lal wanted to have an impressive conversation with an Englishman. But he did not show any eagerness to talk to the Englishmen like an average Indian. He was not even ‘loud, aggressive and opinionated’ like them.

Being an ordinary woman, Lachmi felt comfortable with common people. This is clear from the fact that she continued chatting with the bearer and then with the railway coolie. This demonstrates that she felt more at ease conversing with these commoners than with her aristocratic husband.


Written by Koushik Kumar Kundu

Koushik Kumar Kundu was among the toppers when he completed his Masters from Vidyasagar University after completing his Bachelors degree with Honours in English Literature from The University of Burdwan. He also completed B.Ed from the University of Burdwan.



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