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Note‒taking - Tight Corners: Reading Activity | 11th English : UNIT 4 : Prose: Tight Corners

Chapter: 11th English : UNIT 4 : Prose: Tight Corners

Tight Corners: Reading Activity

English Prose: Tight Corners by Edward Verrall Lucas.



It is very essential for everyone to know how to take notes while listening. This is a skill involving listening and writing. Notes are commonly taken during an oral discussion at a meeting, or a lecture (notes of a meeting are usually called minutes), in order to keep track of what was said, what happened or what decisions were taken.


As and when your teacher teaches, take notes and jot them down for future reference.


Given below are steps for effective note–taking.



Take and keep notes in a large, loose-leaf notebook; use only one side of the paper.



Sit close to the source, if you can. There are fewer distractions and it is easier to hear, see and attend to important details.



Be selective; don’t try to write down everything you hear, for that is not possible always.



Write legibly and use abbreviations.


Identify general ideas and listen for cues.


Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow:


The Stationmaster’s supreme sacrifice by Sanchari Pal (Adapted)


1. Thirty-three years ago, on the night of December 2, 1984, Bhopal was hit by a catastrophe that had no parallel in the world’s industrial history. An accident at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal had released almost 30 tons of a highly toxic gas called methyl isocyanate, turning the city into a vast gas chamber. The result was a nightmare; more than 600,000 people were exposed to the deadly gas cloud that left thousands dead and many more breathless, blind and in agonizing pain. Few people know that during the Bhopal gas tragedy a heroic stationmaster risked his own life to save others.


2. On the evening of December 3, 1984, Ghulam Dastagir was settling down in his office to complete some pending paperwork. This work kept him in his office till 1am in the night, when he emerged to check the arrival of the Gorakhpur Mumbai Express. As he stepped on to the platform, the deputy stationmaster felt his eyes burn and a queer itching sensation in his throat. He did not know that poisonous fumes leaking from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory were stealthily enveloping the railway station.


3. Beginning to choke, Dastagir did not know then that twenty-three of his railway colleagues, including his boss, station superintendent Harish Dhurve, had already died. It was later reported that Dhurve had heard about the deadly gas and had immediately tried stopping the movement of trains passing through Bhopal before collapsing in his office chamber. His suddenly worsening health and years of experience told Dastagir that something was very wrong. Though he did not fully comprehend what was happening, he decided to act immediately when he did not get any response from the station master. He alerted the senior staff at nearby stations, like Vidisha and Itarsi, to suspend all train traffic to Bhopal.


5. However, the jam-packed Gorakhpur-Kanpur Express was already standing at the platform and its departure time was 20 minutes away. Listening to his gut instinct, Dastagir summoned his staff and told them to immediately clear the train for departure. When they asked if they should wait until the order to do so came from the head office, Dastagir replied that he would take complete responsibility for the train’s early departure. He wanted to ensure that the train left immediately, without any delay. His colleagues later recalled that Dastagir could barely stand and breathe as he spoke to them. Breaking all rules and without taking permission from anyone, he and his brave staff personally flagged off the train.


6. But Dastagir’s work was not done. The railway station was filling up with people, desperate to flee the fumes. Some were gasping, others were vomiting, and most were weeping. Dastagir chose to remain on duty, running from one platform to another, attending, helping and consoling victims. He also sent an SOS to all the nearby railway offices, asking for immediate medical help. As a result, four ambulances with paramedics and railway doctors arrived at the station.

It was winter and the gas was staying low to the ground, a thick haze poisoning everything in its path. Besieged by hordes of suffering people, the station soon resembled the emergency room of a large hospital. Dastagir stayed at the station, steadfastly doing his duty, knowing that his family was out there in the ill-fated city. That day all he had for his protection was a wet handkerchief on his mouth.


Ghulam Dastagir’s devotion to duty saved the lives of hundreds of people. However, the catastrophe didn’t leave him unscathed. One of his sons died on the night of the tragedy and another developed a lifelong skin infection. Dastagir himself spent his last 19 years shuttling in and out of hospitals; he developed a painful growth in the throat due to prolonged exposure to toxic fumes. When he passed away in 2003, his death certificate mentioned that he was suffering from diseases caused as a direct result of exposure to MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) gas. A memorial has been built at platform No.1 to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty on the fateful night of December 3, 1984. However, Ghulam Dastagir, who died later, is not one of them. A forgotten hero whose sense of duty and commitment saved countless lives, Dastagir’s story deserves to be recognized and remembered by our fellow countrymen.


i. Why was the accident at Union Carbide unparalleled in the world’s industrial history?

The accident at Union Carbide released 30 tons of a highly poisonous gas called Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC). More than 600,000 people were affected. Thousands of them died. Many more thousands became blind and suffered from several diseases. So the accident is unparalleled.

ii. How was Dastagir affected by the poisonous gas?

On the evening of 3rd Dec. 1984, when the tragedy occurred, Dastagir came out of his room and he began to choke. He found, breathing hard. But he did his duty and helped others. Later he developed a painful growth in the throat and spend 19 yrs in and out of hospitals.

iii. What was the action taken by the station superintendent?

Harish Dhurve was the station superintendent. He had heard about the poisonous gas. He tried his best to stop the trains passing through Bhopal,} but he was affected by the fumes and he collapsed in his office room.

iv. How did Dastagir and his staff break rules?

The Gorakhpur-Kanpur express was standing at the station. It had 20 minutes for departure. But Dastagir and the staff broke the rule and flagged off the train immediately to save the passengers from the poisonous gas.

v. What was the cause of Dastagir’s death?

Dastagir did not think of his health or safety. He was going around the station to help other. He was exposed to toxic gas for a long time. This prolonged exposure resulted in his illness and death.

vi. Find words from the passage which mean the opposite of the following.

a.        safeguard (para 1) - expose

b.        common or familiar (para 2) - queer

c.         prompt (para 4) - delay

d.        cause (para 6) - result

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