The elixir of life by C V Raman
1. Throughout history, people have been on a quest to find a magical potion called the divine amrita. They believed that this potion could make them live forever and never grow old. But you know what? We don’t need a special potion to stay healthy and strong. The true secret lies in something we already have: water! Yes, plain water is the incredible elixir of life that keeps our bodies happy and helps us grow. Isn’t that amazing? So remember, drink water every day and you’ll have your very own elixir of life!
2. Once upon a time, I stood on a special line that separates two amazing places in Egypt. On one side, there was a vast desert filled with nothing but sand as far as the eye could see. It was hot and dry, and there wasn’t a single living thing there. But on the other side of the line, oh boy, it was a completely different story! It was a land full of vibrant greenery, with plants and trees growing everywhere. It was so lush and alive!
Now, do you want to know the secret behind this incredible difference? It’s all thanks to a very special river called the Nile. You see, the Nile River flows all the way from faraway sources, thousands of miles away. And as it makes its journey, it brings precious water to the land, just like a lifeline. This water nourishes the soil and gives life to all the plants and animals that call this place home.
Imagine, all that greenery and life is possible because of the water from the Nile. It’s like a magical gift that turns a dry desert into a flourishing paradise. So next time you see a river or a lake, remember the amazing power of water to create beauty and bring life to our world.
3. Did you know that the land of Egypt is like a special gift from the river? Geologists, who study the Earth, have discovered something fascinating. They say that the entire soil in the Nile valley was actually brought by the river itself! How incredible is that?
You see, when the Nile River floods, it carries with it something called “silt.” Silt is like really fine soil, almost like powder. And this silt comes from faraway places like Abyssinia and Central Africa. Over a very long time, the river has been depositing this silt along its path, creating rich and fertile soil in the Nile valley.
This fertile soil is like magic for the people of Egypt. It helps them grow crops, like wheat and barley, which they use to make bread and other delicious food. It’s the reason why Egypt has been able to have a flourishing civilization for thousands of years!
The river’s waters, flowing down from the mountains and bringing this special soil, have shaped the land and made it perfect for farming. The people of Egypt depend on the river’s life-giving waters, which come every year without fail. It’s like a natural cycle that sustains their way of life.
So, you see, Egypt owes so much to its amazing river. It’s like the river has been a friend to the people, providing them with the resources they need to thrive and build their incredible civilization.
4. I want to share with you an important lesson about something we often take for granted: water. This simple substance that we use every day is not just ordinary—it’s extraordinary! In fact, it is the most powerful and wonderful thing on our planet.
You see, water has played a remarkable role throughout the history of our Earth. It has shaped our planet in ways we can’t even imagine. From carving magnificent canyons to shaping the landscapes we admire, water has left its mark everywhere.
Think about the great oceans, rivers, and lakes that cover our Earth’s surface. They are all made up of water. And did you know that our bodies are mostly water too? Water is the source of life. It nourishes plants, animals, and humans alike.
But its significance goes even deeper. Water has the power to change the course of history. It has played a leading role in shaping the world we live in today. From ancient civilizations that relied on rivers for agriculture and trade to modern cities that depend on water for their existence, the influence of water is undeniable.
Water is not just important for human life; it’s essential for all living beings. Animals, plants, and even microscopic organisms rely on water to survive. Without water, life as we know it would not exist.
So, my young friends, let’s take a moment to appreciate the wonders of water. Let’s cherish every drop and use it wisely. Let’s remember that water is not just a common substance—it is the essence of life itself. As we continue our journey on this beautiful planet, let’s respect and protect this incredible resource that plays the leading role in the drama of life on Earth.
5. There is something truly magical about water and how it enhances the beauty of the countryside. Whether it’s a small stream gently flowing over rocks or a peaceful pond where animals gather to drink, water brings life and charm to the landscape.
In South India, we have these special rain-fed tanks that are an important part of our agriculture. When these tanks are full, they become a delightful sight. Though they may appear shallow due to the silt in the water, the reflection of light creates a mesmerizing effect, making it difficult to see the bottom. These tanks are not only practical but also breathtakingly beautiful. Imagine witnessing the sun rising or setting over one of these expansive tanks—it’s a sight to behold!
Water in a landscape is like the eyes in a human face. Just as our eyes reflect our emotions, water reflects the mood of the hour. When the sun is shining, water sparkles and dances with joy. But when the sky is cloudy and the day turns gloomy, water takes on a darker, more somber tone.
So, my dear friends, let’s appreciate the beauty of water in nature. Let’s observe how it transforms the landscape and how its presence can bring peace and tranquility to the countryside. Whether it’s a tiny stream or a grand tank, let’s treasure these water bodies and cherish the way they reflect the world around us.
6. Water possesses an amazing ability to carry tiny particles of soil or silt with it. This is why the water in rain-fed tanks has a distinct color. The color can vary depending on the type of soil in the surrounding area and is especially vibrant after rainfall when fresh water flows into the tanks.
Even though water can carry larger and heavier particles when it flows swiftly, it still has the power to keep the finest and smallest particles suspended within it. These particles, despite being denser than water, remain floating within the liquid. Although they are incredibly tiny, their sheer number is significant.
This ability of water to carry and suspend particles is fascinating and plays a crucial role in shaping the appearance and characteristics of water bodies. It shows us how water can transport and interact with its surroundings, creating unique colors and textures that make each body of water truly special.
7. The movement of water has had a significant and beneficial role in shaping the Earth’s surface. It has contributed to the formation of soil by breaking down rocks and carrying sediment. This process, known as erosion, has played a crucial part in creating the fertile soil that sustains agriculture.
However, water can also become destructive when the conditions are not favorable. Unchecked water flow can lead to soil erosion, where the valuable top layer of soil is washed away. This erosion can have disastrous effects on the land and the people who depend on it for their livelihood.
Soil erosion is a serious issue faced by many countries, including India. It is important to understand the conditions under which erosion occurs and to study effective measures to prevent it. By studying and implementing strategies to control soil erosion, we can protect the foundation of agriculture and ensure the sustainable future of our land.
Preserving the soil and managing water flow are essential for maintaining a healthy environment and securing the well-being of communities that rely on agriculture. It is a topic that requires careful attention and dedicated efforts to find sustainable solutions for a better future.
8. Soil erosion is a process that occurs gradually, and its initial stages can often go unnoticed. However, as it progresses, the effects become painfully evident. The cutting up and washing away of the earth can lead to the formation of deep gullies and ravines, rendering agricultural activities impossible in those areas.
Excessive and intense rainfall is a primary factor that contributes to soil erosion. When there is a sudden downpour and an excess of water, it leads to runoff, where the water flows over the surface, picking up soil particles and carrying them away. Several factors contribute to the severity of soil erosion, such as the steepness of the land, the removal of natural vegetation that acts as a protective cover, the presence of ruts or channels that allow water to gather momentum, and the absence of measures to control the flow of water.
It is alarming to think that vast quantities of valuable soil can be washed away if these conditions exist, which unfortunately is often the case. The loss of soil due to erosion is a significant concern because it depletes the fertility of the land and affects agricultural productivity. Therefore, it is crucial to implement measures that prevent and control soil erosion, such as terracing, contour plowing, planting vegetation cover, and constructing check dams to slow down the flow of water.
By understanding the causes and consequences of soil erosion, we can take proactive steps to protect our land and ensure its long-term sustainability for agricultural activities and the well-being of our communities.
9. Soil erosion poses a serious threat to successful agriculture in many parts of India, and it demands immediate attention and preventive action. To address this issue, several measures have been suggested. Terracing the land, which involves creating level steps on steep slopes, helps to slow down the flow of water and prevent it from washing away the soil. Constructing bunds, which are barriers made of earth or stones, can also help in controlling the flow of water and reducing erosion.
Another effective practice is contour cultivation, where crops are planted along the contour lines of the land. This method helps to trap water and prevent it from flowing downhill, allowing it to be absorbed into the soil gradually. Planting appropriate types of vegetation, such as grasses, shrubs, and trees, can also play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion. The roots of these plants help to bind the soil together, making it more resistant to erosion.
The key objective is to intervene at the earliest stage possible before the water gains significant momentum and destructive power. By implementing these measures, we can effectively control the flow of water and minimize the harmful effects of soil erosion. It is essential for farmers, policymakers, and communities to work together and prioritize preventive actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of agriculture and protect the fertile soil that is vital for our food production.
10. Water is essential for all forms of life. Whether it’s animals, plants, or even humans, water plays a vital role in their existence. Our bodies are made up of a significant amount of water, and without it, our physiological functions would be impossible. Similarly, plants and trees rely on moisture in the soil to grow and thrive.
Water is not only necessary for individual organisms but also crucial for human welfare as a whole. The preservation and proper utilization of water resources are fundamental to our well-being. While artesian water sources exist, the primary source of water is rain or snowfall. In India, agriculture heavily relies on seasonal rainfall, making it sensitive to any deficiencies or irregularities in precipitation.
The challenges of soil erosion and insufficient or unpredictable rainfall are closely intertwined. It is clear that adopting techniques to prevent soil erosion would also contribute to conserving and retaining water where it is most needed—on and within the soil. These techniques serve a dual purpose: protecting the soil from erosion and ensuring the effective utilization of water resources.
By implementing measures to prevent soil erosion, we can help conserve water and maintain its availability for agriculture and other essential purposes. The interconnection between soil erosion and water conservation highlights the need for integrated approaches that address both issues simultaneously. Through responsible water management and sustainable agricultural practices, we can secure the well-being of both the land and its inhabitants.
11. In a country where rainfall is seasonal, a significant amount of rainwater naturally runs off the ground. This poses a challenge as a vast quantity of valuable water is lost, flowing into streams, rivers, and eventually reaching the sea. It is crucial to focus on the collection and utilization of this water to ensure its maximum benefit for the country.
The task of harnessing our rivers, which currently largely go to waste, is a pressing national issue that demands attention and action on a national scale. By effectively managing and utilizing the waters of our rivers, we can address water scarcity and unlock tremendous potential for development. Many areas that are currently covered in scrub jungle could be transformed into fertile and prosperous land through well-planned and courageous initiatives.
Taking a holistic approach to water management and river harnessing requires coordinated efforts at the national level. It involves designing and implementing comprehensive strategies that not only conserve water but also channel it to areas where it is needed the most. By doing so, we can make significant progress in transforming barren lands into productive agricultural fields and creating a prosperous future for our nation.
It is essential for the government, communities, and individuals to work together, promoting sustainable practices and undertaking projects that maximize the collection, storage, and utilization of water resources. By addressing this national challenge with determination and foresight, we can unlock the potential of our rivers and pave the way for a more prosperous and water-secure future.
12. The conservation of water supplies is closely linked to the issue of afforestation. It is imperative to engage in systematic tree planting in all feasible areas, even in seemingly impossible ones. Developing well-maintained forests, different from wild and untamed jungles, is a pressing requirement for India. These plantations would bring both direct and indirect benefits, becoming a source of immense wealth for the country.
By strategically planting trees, we can effectively address soil erosion and prevent the wastage of rainfall. Forests act as natural barriers, holding the soil in place and preventing its erosion by water runoff. They also play a crucial role in conserving water by allowing it to seep into the ground and replenish groundwater reserves. As a result, afforestation would contribute to the sustainability of water resources and help mitigate the adverse effects of droughts and water scarcity.
Moreover, the development of civilized forests has numerous additional advantages. They provide habitats for diverse flora and fauna, supporting biodiversity and ecological balance. Forests act as carbon sinks, mitigating the impacts of climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases. They also offer opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, such as timber production, non-timber forest products, and ecotourism.
The urgent need for afforestation calls for concerted efforts from the government, communities, and individuals. It requires identifying suitable areas for tree planting, selecting appropriate tree species, and implementing sound forest management practices. Public awareness and participation are crucial in nurturing a culture of conservation and fostering a sense of responsibility towards our natural resources.
By recognizing the value of afforestation and taking collective action, we can safeguard our water supplies, protect our environment, and create a sustainable and prosperous future for generations to come.
13. Controlling the movement of water and conserving its supplies not only benefits water availability but also serves additional purposes that are valuable to rural areas. One such benefit is the development of internal waterways through canals and rivers, which can provide the most cost-effective means of transportation within a country. While we often hear about the construction of railways and roads, the potential of internal waterways in India is often overlooked. By investing in the development of water transport infrastructure, we can create efficient and affordable transportation networks, facilitating the movement of goods and people, especially in rural regions.
Furthermore, water conservation measures often involve the harvesting of water supplies, which can also unlock the potential for generating hydroelectric power. The availability of electricity would bring about a transformative change in rural areas, improving various aspects of the rural economy. It would enable the implementation of modern irrigation systems, allowing for greater utilization of underground water sources. This, in turn, would help overcome the challenges posed by irregular or inadequate water supply from other sources.
Hydroelectric power not only provides a sustainable and clean energy source but also brings about economic opportunities. It can support the establishment of small-scale industries, enhance agricultural productivity through mechanization, and improve the overall quality of life in rural communities. Access to electricity enables the use of modern technologies, such as water pumps, electric machinery, and lighting, which contribute to increased productivity and improved living standards.
Therefore, in addition to addressing water-related challenges, the development of waterways and the harnessing of hydroelectric power have far-reaching benefits for the rural economy and the overall well-being of rural communities. It is essential to prioritize these initiatives alongside other infrastructure projects to ensure comprehensive and sustainable development across the country. By integrating water management, transportation, and energy generation, we can create a more prosperous and resilient future for rural India.
14. Water is indeed a remarkable substance that holds a dual nature. On one hand, it is the most abundant and ordinary liquid found on Earth, essential for the existence of all living beings. On the other hand, water possesses extraordinary properties that make it truly unique among liquids. These exceptional properties contribute to its vital role in sustaining animal and plant life.
The scientific exploration of water, its nature, and its properties is a subject of great importance and ongoing research. Despite our understanding of water’s fundamental characteristics, there is still much to discover and explore. Scientists continue to delve into the intricate details of water’s molecular structure, its behavior under different conditions, and the fascinating phenomena that arise from its interactions.
Water’s ability to exist in three states (solid, liquid, and gas) at relatively narrow temperature ranges is just one of its remarkable properties. Its high specific heat capacity allows it to absorb and retain heat, regulating temperature changes in both the environment and living organisms. Water’s unique density behavior, where it expands upon freezing, prevents bodies of water from freezing completely, thus protecting aquatic life.
The surface tension of water gives rise to capillary action, allowing it to be drawn up through narrow channels and play a crucial role in the transport of nutrients in plants. Water’s solvent properties enable it to dissolve a wide range of substances, facilitating chemical reactions and making it an excellent medium for biological processes.
The study of water extends beyond its physical properties. Researchers explore the intricate relationship between water and life, investigating its role in biological systems, ecological processes, and even its potential for supporting life beyond Earth.
In conclusion, water, despite being the most common of liquids, possesses extraordinary properties that make it essential for the existence and sustainability of life. The scientific exploration of water continues to be a fascinating and active field of study, offering countless opportunities for discovery and advancing our understanding of this remarkable substance.
II. COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS :
A. Answer briefly the following questions.
- What is the imaginary elixir of life?
Answer:The divine amrita which can make man immortal
2.What according to the writer is the real elixir of life?
Answer: According to the writer the real elixir of life refers to Plain water.
3.What is the ‘wonderful difference’ the writer talks about in paragraph 2?
Answer:The Libyan desert and the Nile Valley the sea of billowing sand without a speck of green on the side of the Libyan desert and the green, fertile, densely populated area on the valley of the Nile in Egypt.
4.What brought about this wonderful difference?
Answer: The water of the river Nile flowing down to the Mediterranean from its sources a couple of thousands of miles away was the wonderful difference.
5.What is the ‘cheering sight’, mentioned in paragraph 5?
Answer:The ‘cheering sight’ to the writer is the filled rain-fed tanks that are so common in South India.
6. What does the writer compare water in a landscape too?
Answer:The writer compares water in a landscape to the eyes in a human face.
b.Why does he make this comparison?
Answers: He makes this comparison because water reflects the mood of the hour, being bright and bay when the sun shines, turning to dark and gloomy when the sky is overcast.
7.How does the water in rain fed tanks get its color?
Answer:The silt or finely- divided soil in suspension. This color varies with the nature of the earth in the catchment area and is most vivid immediately after a fresh inflow following rain by this the water in rain fed tanks get its color.
8.What is the main cause of soil erosion?
Answer:Sudden bursts of excessively heavy rain resulting in a large runoff of surplus water are the principal factors causing soil erosion.
9.What other factors add to the erosion of precious soil?
Answer:Contributory causes to the erosion of previous soil are the slope of the land, removal of the natural protective coat of vegetation, the existence of ruts along which the.water can flow rapidly gathering momentum, and the absence of any checks to such flow.
10.How can soil erosion be prevented?
Answer:Soil erosion can be prevented by terracing of the land, construction of bunds to check the flow of water, the practice of contour cultivation and the planting of appropriate types of vegetation.
11.How does the prevention of soil erosion serve a double purpose?
Answer:Adoption of techniques preventing soil erosion would also help to conserve and keep the water where it is wanted, i.e., on and in the soil.
12.What are the two sources of water mentioned in paragraph 10?
Answer: The two sources of water mentioned in paragraph 10 are Rain and snowfall.
13.The land formed of silt in alluvial areas is always fertile (Say whether the statement is True or False).
_________ Takes place when water carrying silt mixes with the saltwater of the sea (Complete the sentence with the appropriate word).
15.Planting of the appropriate type of vegetation will result in _________
a. the continuance of successful agriculture.
b. the terracing of the land.
c. preventing environmental pollution.
d. reducing the momentum of the flow of water.
Answer:(d) reducing the momentum of the flow of water.
16.What does the writer mean by ‘civilized forests’?
Answer:Forests created by the deliberate planting of saplings by human beings, as contrasted with wild and untamed natural jungles.
17.Mention any two advantages of civilized forests.
Answer:Civilized forests would, directly and indirectly, prove a source of untold wealth to the country. They would check soil erosion and conserve the rainfall of the country from flowing away to waste.
18.How will the development of hydro-electric power help to overcome the inadequacy of water supply?
Answer:The development of hydro-electric power would enable underground water to be tapped to a greater extent than at present, and thus help to overcome the difficulties arising from irregularity or inadequacy of other sources of supply.
19.Complete the following sentences with appropriate details:
a. The Nile Valley is the creation of ________
Answer:The river itself. It was brought down as the finest silt in its floodwaters, from the highlands of Abyssinia and from remote Central Africa, and laid down through the ages in the trough through which the Nile flows into the sea.
b. _____ are a ‘cheering sight’.
Answer:Rain-fed tanks in South India when they are full.
e. __________ the foundation of all agriculture
Answer:The upper layer of soil.
f. Ruts are formed by __________
Answer:rapidly flowing rainwater.
g. Terracing of lands helps in _____________
Answer: preventing soil erosion.
h. Indian agriculture depends heavily on _____________
Answer: seasonal rainfall.
i. Farmyard manure should not be used as ____________
j. ____________ would enable the overall development of the rural economy.
Answer:Availability of electric power.
B. Close Study:
Read the following extracts carefully. Discuss in pairs and then write the answers to the questions given below them.
1.Much of the Indian agriculture depends on seasonal rainfall and is therefore very sensitive to any failure or irregularity of the same
a. In what context does the writer say these words?
Answer:The writer talks about soil erosion and the importance of conservation of water. Conservation of water would help agriculture at times of irregular or inadequate rainfall. The techniques of conservation of water would prevent soil erosion which is of great importance to agriculture.
b. What does “same” refer to?
Answer:“Same” refers to rainfall in India.
c. Why is Indian agriculture “very sensitive”?
Answer:Since Indian agriculture depends on seasonal rainfall and does not have many other sources of water, it is “very sensitive” – easily affected by inadequate or irregular rainfall.
2.They would check soil erosion and conserve the rainfall of the country from flowing away to waste and would provide the necessary supplies of cheap fuel, and thus render unnecessary the wasteful conversion of farmyard manure into a form of fuel.
a. What does “they” in the first line refer to?
Answer:Vegetation like shrubs and trees grown in order to check soil erosion.
b. What is the cheap fuel referred to in the passage?
Answer: The cheap fuel referred to in the passage is Dried branches and leaves of trees grown to prevent soil erosion.
c. How would cheap fuel help the farmer?
Answer:He could preserve the farmyard manure to enrich his farmland.
III. Paragraph Writing:
Discuss in pairs/groups of 4 each and answer the following questions. Note down the important points for each question and then develop the points into one paragraph answers.
1.How does C.V. Raman show that water is the real elixir of life?
Answers:As long as we know water is the only thing that made earth a place for life to sustain and survive. In the context of the title C.V. Raman felt the importance of water once he had a chance to stand between the line that separates the Libyan Desert and the Nile Valley of Egypt.
On the one side he saw a vast desert where there is no sign of life to live in. On the other side he saw the Egyptian civilization that is greatest of all living at the valley of Nile River. He felt the importance of water and the changes it had brought over the civilizations.
C.V. Raman is know for his works on spectral lines and more precisely known for his Raman Spectra which had an influence of water for its discovery. He believed that water has the power to solve all the world mystery. According to him water is the true elixir of life. we humans need to protect it rater spending time on finding the elixir of immortal life.
2.What are the various causes of soil erosion? How can we prevent it?
- Heavy rain
- Slope of land, removal of vegetation, ruts which enable water to flow faster and absence of my barriers to check flow of water.
- preventive action would be terracing of land, consumer action sounds to check flow, contour cultivation, planting of vegetation.
- Crop Rotation: Rotating in high-residue crops — such as corn, hay, and small grain — can reduce erosion as the layer of residue protects topsoil from being carried away by wind and water.
- Conservation Tillage: Conventional tillage produces a smooth surface that leaves soil vulnerable to erosion.
Paragraph: C.V. Raman tells that soil erosion is a major problem in India. Soil erosion happens due to several reasons: Firstly, a sudden downpour of heavy rain can result in excess water carrying topsoil into the sea. Secondly, the slope of the land and the removal of the natural protective coat of vegetation, and the existence of ruts along which water can flow rapidly can give to erosion. Thirdly, the lack of bunds to prevent water from flowing forcefully can lead to erosion of soil.
3.What does C.V. Raman say about rain-fed tanks?
- Rain-fed tanks common in South India.
- Beautiful when full.
- Shallow but bottom does not show up.
- Play a vital role in agriculture.
- Are surprisingly large in size.
Paragraph: C. V. Raman tells us that rain-fed tanks are common in South India and they are beautiful when they are full. But they are not well maintained. These tanks are shallow. The water in these tanks is full of silt. These tanks play an important role in South Indian agriculture. Some of them are large and look beautiful when the sun rises or sets over them.
IV. Vocabulary Exercises:
A. Match the Following with answers
|1. teeming with||Full of|
|2. precipitation||Separation of solid matter from liquid|
|3. harnessing||Controlling and using|
|4. alluvial||The area created with matter deposited by rivers|
|5. catchment||An area from which rainwater flows into a particular drive|
|6. civilized forests||Man-made forests|
|7. afforestation||Systematic planting of suitable trees|
|8. artesian||Spring /underground water|
|9. successive||Coming one after the other|
|10. erosion||e. wearing away gradually|
B. Fill in the blanks with the antonyms Of the words underlined.
- The rain-fed tanks are shallow, not deep.
- The authorities who talk about afforestation are actively engaged in deforestation
- The rural students have fared better than their urban counterparts.
- It is a big tragedy that fertile minds are engaged in a barren debate.
- The fruits were fresh, but the cream was stale
- Ancient monuments are aesthetically displayed in a modern setting.
- In his writings, it is difficult to segregate fact from fiction
- The joy in the new-found prosperity made them forget their days of poverty/adversity
- When he saw her courage he felt ashamed of his own cowardice
- We need to overcome our temptation, not succumb to it.