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The Ghat of the Only World Class 11 English Notes

Please refer to The Ghat of the Only World Class 11 English Notes and summary provided below. The following summary and solved questions have been designed as per the latest syllabus and books issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. By going through and learning the below notes for Class 11 English you will be able to understand the entire chapter and easily solve questions in your exams. Also, refer to the Class 11 English Chapter Summary for all chapters in your textbooks.

Class 11 English The Ghat of the Only World Summary and Questions

The following The Ghat of the Only World Class 11 English Notes and questions answers will help you to easily learn the entire chapter. You will be able to solve all questions in upcoming Class 11 English exams and score better marks


Agha Shahid Ali was a Kashmiri, settled in the US. He was a cancer patient. He had been under treatment for 14 months. But he was still on his feet and cheerful. Only sometimes he became unconscious, lost his memory and his eyesight for a short while. On 25 April 2001, he spoke to the writer about his approaching death. The writer tried to console him, but he was cut short. Shahid, however, made a request. He wanted the writer to write something about him after his death.

Shahid and the author had studied together at Delhi University. But they had never met. In 1998 and 1999 they had several conversations on the phone and also met a couple of times. But the acquaintance could not grow until both moved to Brooklyn, US. They were in the same neighbourhood. Shahid lived in a building some eight blocks away. He had his sudden blackout in February 2000. He had a malignant brain tumour. So from Manhattan, he moved to Brooklyn, where his youngest sister Sameetah lived. When Shahid spoke about his approaching death, he laughed but he was dead serious. He entrusted a great responsibility to the author. ‘You must write about me,’ he said. And the author promised to grant his wish. Since that day he started noting down all his conversations with Shahid. And that record helped him keep his word.

Shahid was a poet who wrote in English. The author had read his 1997 collection The Country without a Post Office. He was greatly impressed also. Once they became neighbours at Brooklyn, they began to meet very often for meals. Shahid’s condition was serious but that illness did not depress him. The author and Shahid had many common friends. They also had a shared love of rogan josh and liking for Kishor Kumar’s songs. Both disliked cricket and loved old Mumbai films. They began to meet regularly.

One day the author went along with Shahid’s brother and sister—lqbal and Hena – to fetch him home from the hospital. It was on 21 May. Shahid had already been through several operations that failed. A hospital orderly arrived with a wheelchair. But Shahid sent him back. He thought he was strong enough to walk out of the hospital on his own. But his knees buckled after only a few steps. The hospital orderly was summoned again with the wheelchair.

Shahid loved company, partying and shared meals. He didn’t have time to be depressed. His apartment was on the seventh floor. But it was worth going all the way up. There was the fragrance of rogan josh and songs to welcome the visitor. Shahid would open the door and clap his hands joyously. There were poets, students, writers and relatives in the house. Even though his health was failing, he loved to talk, laugh, eat and, of course, enjoy poetry. His deep interest in kitchen matched with his skill as a poet. James Merrill had great influence on his poetry. He dreamt that he was at the ghat of the only world.

Shahid was not a fanatic. He regretted that Pandits had left Kashmir, and he expressed that feeling in his poetry. He loved Bengali food also. He loved the poetry of Begum Akhtar. His repartees were equally sharp. Once at Barcelona airport, the security guard, a woman, asked him what he did. His answer was he was a poet and his vocation was to write poetry. Finally, that woman asked if he was carrying anything that could be dangerous to the other passengers, Shahid cried ‘only my heart.’

He was very popular as a teacher. He taught at several colleges and universities. He was appointed a professor in 1999, and he had his first blackout in Feb. 2000. After 1975, Shahid lived mainly in America where he joined his brother and two sisters. His parents continued to live in Srinagar. The political violence in Kashmir had a great effect on him. But he was not a political poet. He was true to his art form of language. His vision was all-embracing. He had a secular outlook. In his childhood, he once created a small Hindu temple in his room in Srinagar. His parents never stood in his way.

On 4th May, he had gone to the hospital for a test to discover whether the course of chemotherapy had the desired effect or not. The next day he told the author that the doctors were going to stop all his medicines and there was not much hope. He wanted to go back to Kashmir to die, to be with his father. But for certain reasons, he changed his mind. He died in the US and he was laid to rest in Northampton. He died peacefully in his sleep at 2 p.m. on 8th December.

Important Points

  • Writer Amitav Ghosh and poet Shahid Ali were friends for a little while.
  • Shahid was dying with blood cancer and their friendship bloomed when one of them was dying.
  • One day Shahid asked Amitav to write about him, his poetry and about his Kashmir after his death.
  • It was an unusual request and quite confused pained, Amitav agreed.
  • Shahid died, better say, his soul left his body at 2 A.M. on December 8.
  • An unbridgeable emptiness filled the author’s mind.
  • “So brief a friendship” resulted in “so vast a void”.
  • Both Sháhid and Shahid – “witness and martyr” – mingled and melted into eternity.
  • The author kept his promise. He wrote this article on Shahid Ali – “Ghat of the Only World.”

Short Questions

Question. How did the writer feel after Shahid’s death?
Answer: Amitav felt the loss of his friend Shahid deeply. His friendship with Shahid was brief, yet Shahid’s death created a vast void in his life. He missed his great friend and his memories haunted him time and again.

Question. Comment on the title of the lesson The Ghat of the only World.
Answer: The title of this article has been taken from a poem of Shahid. It sounded as his farewell to the world. He knew for certain that his death was near. So he regarded himself like a loner standing on the bank of the only world. He wrote—”I dream I Am At The Ghat of the Only World.”

Question. When and where did Amitav and Shahid become friends? How did their friendship grow?
Answer: Shahid and Amitav became friends in Brooklyn, US. They lived a few blocks apart. But they began to meet for occasional meals. By that time Shahid’s condition was already serious. But that did not stand in the progress of their friendship.

Question. What responsibility did Shahid entrust to the writer? How did Amitav keep his promise?
Answer: The first time Agha Shahid Ali spoke to the writer about his approaching death was on 25 April 2001. He had been under cancer treatment for some 14 months. He had already suffered a few lapses of memory. He requested Amitav to write something about him after his death. And Amitav kept his promise.

Question. What do you know about Shahid’s likes and dislikes? Which things were most dear to him?
Answer: Shahid was a wonderful friend and brilliant poet. He was fond of Kashmiri food, of partying at his house, of music and of Mumbai films. He loved the camera, the rogan josh and the songs of Kishore Kumar as well as Begum Akhtar. He had no interest in cricket.

Question. Describe the incident of the wheelchair at the hospital.
Answer: On 21 May, the writer went to fetch Shahid from the hospital. Award boy arrived with a wheelchair. Shahid sent him back. He declared that he was strong enough to walk out of the hospital on his own. But his knees failed after a few steps. The hospital orderly had to be called again with the wheelchair.

Question. Where did Shahid want to die? Was his last wish fulfilled?
Answer: Shahid loved his homeland although he, along with his brother and two sisters, had spent many years in the US. He wanted to go back to Kashmir to die. But for some reasons. he changed his mind. He died in America and was laid to rest in Northampton,

Question.What information do you gather about Shahid from this lesson?
Answer: Shahid was a Kashmiri by birth. He had migrated to the US. He was a man of letters, a poet and professor. But he contracted cancer there. He was under treatment for 14 months. He was operated upon thrice for a brain tumour. But no treatment could save him from his untimely death.

Question. How did the author come to know of Shahid’s approaching death?
Answer: Once while scanning and thumbing through his engagement book Shahid spoke that he could not see a thing. He added that he hoped he did not mean that he was dying. This telephonic talk between Shahid and the author gave the author a feeling of Shahid’s approaching death.

Question. What do you know about Shahid’s love for cookery?
Answer: Shahid was an expert in cookery. He used to spend days over the planning and preparation of a dinner party. He stuck to traditional methods and recipes. He had a special passion for Kashmiri dishes. He could tell from the smell alone which stage the rogan josh had reached. He did not like shortcuts while cooking a dish.

Question. Which English poet influenced Shahid’s poetry most?
Answer: Shahid’s poetry was at once lyrical and disciplined. While in Arizona, he met James Merill. This American poet changed the direction of his poetry. No one had a greater influence on Shahid’s poetry than Merill. After his encounter with him, Shahid started experimenting with metrical patterns and verse forms.

Question. Shahid was no mean practitioner of repartee. Recall the occasion at Barcelona Airport.
Answer: Shahid had so many stories to tell about Begum Akhtar’s sharpness in repartee. He himself was no less witty. He was good at the art of giving sharp and clever answers. At Barcelona airport, the woman guard asked him what he did and if he was carrying anything which could be dangerous to other passengers. He said that he was a poet and was carrying only his heart with him.

Question. How can you say that Shahid was gregarious and sociable?
Answer: Shahid’s gregariousness or love of company had no limit. Almost every evening his friends used to gather in his living room. They sang songs and shared food. He enjoyed their company and was always ready to serve. This showed his spirit of festivity.

Question. Shahid’s vision was secular and all-inclusive. Give an instance from his childhood to support the statement.
Answer: Shahid had his roots in Kashmir. He kept a constant watch on his native state. He was deeply pained to see violence there. But he was never a political poet. He did not believe in mixing politics with religion. In childhood, the had set up a small Hindu temple also in his room. He condemned fanatic people.

Question. How did the development in Kashmir affect Shahid in the USA?
Answer: The political situation in Kashmir was full of violence. It affected him greatly. But he was not a political poet. He respected his art of writing more than what he was writing about. He respected religion but believed firmly in its separation from politics. Development in Kashmir pained him a lot.

Question. Describe the last moments of Shahid’s life. What was his supreme consolation?
Answer: Shahid struggled with cancer for over 14 months. Even during the last days of his life, Shahid was the centre of a perpetual carnival, always surrounded by his friends, food, laughter and of course poetry. He wished to return to Kashmir to die. But he couldn’t make it to his homeland. He died in America and was buried in Northampton. He had made his peace with the approaching death. His greatest consolation was that he would meet his mother in the afterlife.

Question. What was Shahid’s profession? How much success did he become in his field?
Answer: Shahid was a poet and a teacher. His first collection of poems was The Country without a Post Office. No one had a greater influence on his poetry than James Merill. He taught at Baruch college in 2000, the University at Amherst, and finally the University of Utah. He was very popular among the students who almost adored him. He was all success.

Question. In what spirit did Shahid receive his approaching end?
Answer: Shahid had his first blackout in February 2000. By 21 May, he had already undergone several unsuccessful operations. He had a malignant brain tumour. But he had no time to be depressed. He remained lively, sociable and a food lover till the end. He spoke about his approaching death to Amitav on 25 April 2001.

Long Questions

Question. Give a brief character sketch of Shahid. What were the things he was most fond of?
Answer: Shahid was born in Kashmir but settled in America. He had his education in Delhi. He was a brilliant poet. He taught literature at several colleges and universities. But his life was cut short because of a brain tumour. He suffered from cancer for about 14 months. But all operations and therapies failed to do any good. In spite of his approaching death, he remained lively and cheerful. He was by nature fond of Kashmiri dishes and a fan of Begum Akhtar. He was broad-minded and secular. In childhood, he had set up a Hindu temple in his room. He loved Kashmir but hated violence. He had made peace with his approaching death and died in sleep on 8th December.

Question. Who was Shahid? Trace the story of his painful struggle through life.
Answer: Shahid was a young Kashmiri who had migrated to America. He studied in Arizona and later taught at various universities across the U.S. But he was deeply attached to his parents in Kashmir. He used to visit his homeland off and on. He was a poet who wrote in English. His poetry was greatly influenced by James Merrill. His brother and two sisters were also settled in America. His destiny played a cruel joke on him. He had a blackout in 2000. Tests revealed that he had a malignant tumour in his brain. Several operations were performed but to no avail. His friendship with Amitav in Brooklyn consoled him a little. He knew his end was approaching. He made his peace with it. He requested Amitav to write something about him after his death.

Question. Give a few instances of Shahid’s liveliness, gregariousness and sharpness in repartee.
Answer: Shahid never accepted defeat even after knowing that his death was approaching. He tried to be cheerful, lively, witty and sociable. His gregariousness had no limit. He loved company. His house was the meeting place of his friends. Even during the last days of his life, Shahid surrounded himself with friends and laughter. There was always food, tea and poetry being discussed in his living room. He also had a sharp wit. Once at Barcelona airport, he was stopped by a woman guard for questioning. She asked about his vocation. His answer was that he was a poet who wrote poetry. The woman finally asked him if he was carrying anything that could be dangerous to other passengers. He declared that he was carrying only his heart. This was an instance of his repartee.

Question. How did Amitav, the writer, come in contact with Shahid? How did he fulfil his friend’s last wish?
Answer: Amitav first came to know about Shahid through his collection of poems “The Country without a Post Office”. The two had studied in Delhi but had never met. They had a few common friends and they talked on the phone. Then in February 2000, Shahid moved to Brooklyn where Amitav also lived. His condition was serious. He had a sudden blackout. He lived some eight blocks away. Their casual acquaintance changed into friendship. Amitav and Shahid had common likes and dislikes. They met at Shahid’s house regularly. Other friends also joined them. In 2001, Shahid requested the writer to write something about him after his death. And he promised to oblige Shahid.

The Ghat of the Only World Class 11 English Notes

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