Unseen Passage: Einstein

The sage of science, Einstein, was sitting in a depressive and pensive mood one evening. His eyes were brimming with tears. The pain was evident on his face. He peeped out of the window of his room. The sun had set a few minutes back. The sky was filled with a reddish glow. At this sunset, he felt that it was humanity that had sunk into devilish darkness and the reddish glow in the sky was the blood of humanity spilling all over the sky from earth. With tired steps, he walked back to his chair and settled down. It was the 9th of August 1945. Three days back, he had felt the same agony as if someone had tom him apart. He was deeply hurt and depressed when he heard on the radio that America had dropped an atom bomb on the Japanese city, Hiroshima. Today, within three days another bomb was dropped on another city, Nagasaki and lakhs of people had been killed.

He had heard that the blast released so much energy that it had paled all past destructions in comparison and death had played out a pitiable dance of destruction. The flames that broke out of the bomb were burning, melting and exploding buildings. Scared of the heat of the bomb, people had jumped into lakes and rivers, but the water was boiling and the people too were burnt and killed. The animals in the water were already boiled to death. Animals, trees, herbs, fragrant flowering plants were all turned into ashes. The atomic energy destruction had just not stopped there. It had entered the atmosphere there and had spread radiation that would affect people for generations to come and would also bring about destructive irreversible biological change in animals and plants.

As the news of the atomic attack reached Einstein, and he became aware of the glaring horror of the abuse of atomic energy, his distress and restlessness knew no bounds. He could not control himself and picked up his violin to turn his mind on to other things. While playing the violin, he tried to dissolve his distress in its sad notes, but couldn’t. He was burning on the embers of destruction; his heart was filled with an ocean of agony and tears just continued streaming uncontrollably out of his eyes. Night had fallen. His daughter came up and asked him to eat something as he had not taken anything for the last four days. His voice was restrained and he said, “I don’t feel like eating.”

He could not sleep that night. Lying down, he was thinking how he had drawn the attention of the then American President Roosevelt towards the destructive powers of an atomic bomb. He had thought that this would be used to scare Hitler and put an end to the barbarism that Hitler was up to. However, Roosevelt kept him in the dark and made false promises. Eventually, he had abused Einstein’s equation of E = mc2 that resulted in the destructive experiments. His actions had made science and scientists as murderers. Einstein kept on thinking for a long time. Eventually, he slipped into sleep. When he woke up at dawn, there was a new dawn in him too. The atomic threat had transformed his heart.

The next day, he decided to disassociate himself from the scientific policy of the government and all governmental institutions. He decided to open educational institutions for children, adolescents and youth—institutions where along with science, spirituality will be compulsorily taught.

To inaugurate this institution, he had invited two great philosophers, Bertrand Russell and Albert Schweitzer. Ten other great scientists who had own Nobel Prizes in different fields were also invited. They all saw a different Einstein, not a great scientist but a sage in him. The institution was opened by garlanding a photo of Mahatma Gandhi. While garlanding the Mahatma, he became emotional and said with a lump in his throat, “I bow down to the great man who fought for the independence of his country through non-violence. He could do so because he was a truthful man and true spiritualist.”

Those who teach science should be taught, spirituality too. Without harmony between science and spirituality, the destruction would continue unabated. A few years after this institution was built, a Japanese delegation came to meet him. Einstein broke down in the meeting and said. “You can give me any punishment and I will accept it. Anyway, I have decided to lead my life in penitence.” The Japanese were moved by this sincerity and forgot their grief.

Q. On the basis of your understanding of the above passage, answer each of the questions given below by choosing the most appropriate option:

  1. Besides two great philosophers how many other scientists were invited by Einstein to inaugurate the institution where spirituality would be compulsorily taught?
    1. Five
    2. Ten
    3. Eight
    4. Fifteen
  2. Which musical instrument did Einstein play when he was in grief?
    1. Harmonium
    2. Guitar
    3. Violin
    4. Flute
  3. Einstein came to know that America had dropped an atom bomb on the Japanese city, Hiroshima through
    1. television
    2. newspaper
    3. radio
    4. a telephonic message
  4. Which American President was told about the destructive power of an atomic bomb?
    1. Kennedy
    2. Bill Clinton
    3. Lincoln
    4. Roosevelt
  5. Einstein said to the Japanese delegation,
    1. “You can give me any punishment and I will accept it.”
    2. “I am not at fault.”
    3. “What could I do?”
    4. “The President didn’t agree to my advice.”

Answer

  1. Ten
  2. Violin
  3. Radio
  4. Roosevelt
  5. “You can give me any punishment and I will accept it.”

Q. Answer the following questions briefly:

  1. What did Einstein do to overcome his distress after getting the news of the atomic attack?
  2. Which event in 1945, according to Einstein, turned science and scientists into murderers?
  3. What did Einstein do to show his displeasure over the atomic attack?
  4. Whose photo was garlanded at the inauguration of Einstein’s institute for children, adolescents and youth?
  5. Name the philosophers that Einstein invited to inaugurate the new institution.
  6. Why did Einstein want harmony between science and spirituality while teaching in educational institutes?

Answer

  1. Einstein was extremely distressed after getting the news of the atomic attack. To distract his mind from this serious news, he picked up his violin and began playing sad notes on it. He did not even eat for four days.
  2. In 1945, America had dropped atom bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The bombs made to scare Hitler and put an end to barbarism had been misused to kill many innocent lives. This event according to Einstein, turned science and scientists into murders.
  3. To show his displeasure over the atomic attack, Einstein decided to disassociate himself from the scientific policy of the government and all its institutions. He decided to open educational institutions where science and spirituality would be compulsorily taught to children, adolescents and youth.
  4. The photo of Mahatma Gandhi was garlanded at the inauguration of Einstein’s institute for children, adolescents and youth.
  5. Two great philosophers, Bertrand Russell and Albert Schweitzer were invited by Einstein to inaugurate the new institution.
  6. Einstein’s fear of destruction due to the atomic bomb attacks transformed his thinking. He felt the need for bonding between science and spirituality to bring about harmony. This could bring a decrease in destruction of life and peace would prevail in the world.

Q. Answer the following questions in 25-30 word each:

  1. What did Einstein feel while looking at the sunset from his room’s window?
  2. Give a brief description of the disaster when the atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city, Nagasaki.
  3. What did Einstein think of Mahatma Gandhi?
  4. What was Einstein’s reaction when the Japanese delegation met him?

Answer

  1. Einstein with tears brimming from his eyes and pain evident in his face, peeped out of the window of his room. Looking at the sunset, he felt the sinking of humanity into a devilish darkness and the reddish glow in the sky felt like human blood spilling all over the sky from the earth. He was tom apart.
  2. The explosion at Nagasaki caused death, burning, melting and exploding of buildings. The water in the lakes and rivers was boiled hot leading humans as well as aquatic animals to death. All living and non-living things were turned into ashes.
  3. Einstein thought of Mahatma Gandhi as a great man who used non-violence as his tool while fighting for his country’s independence. Einstein referred to the Mahatma as a truthful and spiritualist man.
  4. Einstein, on meeting the Japanese delegation, broke down and announced that he was ready for any punishment given to him. He also spoke of his decision to lead the rest of his life in penitence.

Q. Find words/phrases from the passage which are similar in meaning to each of the following:

  1. mental pain (para 1)
  2. agreement (para 7)
  3. regret/remorse (para 7)

Answer

  1. agony
  2. harmony
  3. penitence

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