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12th English – Lesson 1 – Supplementary – God Sees the Truth, But Waits

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12th English – Lesson 1 – Supplementary – God Sees the Truth, But

Warm Up:

If you are punished for a prank your classmate played, how would you react to
the situation?

I will not be quick to anger. I will keep quiet and will quietly let my friend
know that, I did not relish his act. If he values my friendship, he will
certainly apologize. If he doesn’t, I will forgive.


While many would seek vengeance or feel sorry for themselves, some may put
their trust in God, forgive others for the wrongs done to them and move on in
life. What is your take on this? Discuss.

I believe anger, self-pity and hatred are negative emotions. Anger is a
punishment we give ourselves for others wrong doing. I would not be in a hurry
to express my anger or displeasure. I will focus more on the business of living
ignoring the pain. If the relationship is really good for me, the person who
had hurt me knowingly or unknowingly will come back to me. Otherwise, I will
understand that he/she was not destined to be my lifetime friend. So, I will
move ahead in life leaving the weight of hurt and disappointment behind.


1. Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each, based
on your understanding of the story.

Why did Aksionov’s wife stop him from going to the fair?

Aksionov’s wife had a very bad dream about him. So, she stopped him from going
to the fair,


What is the importance of Aksionov’s wife’s dream?

She had dreamt that he had returned from the town. When he took off his cap,
she saw that his hair was quite grey. This was a bad omen.


What made Aksionov leave the inn before dawn?

Aksionov was an early riser. He wanted to travel when the air was cool. So, he
left the inn before dawn.


What were the circumstances that led to Aksionov’s imprisonment?

Aksionov had left the inn at the dawn. He was intercepted by the police. A
blood-stained knife was found in his bag. So, the police arrested him accusing
him of murdering the merchant who stayed in the same inn where he had stayed.


Why did Aksionov give up sending petitions?

Aksionov’s wife came to visit him. She informed that her petition for clemency
had been turned down. She asked him if he had done it. Realizing that his wife
also suspected him, Aksionov gave up sending petitions to the Tsar.


Why didn’t Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant?

Makar’s disclosure would have given the police the chance to arrest him and
convict him. So, he did not disclose his guilt.


Did Makar feel guilty when he heard Aksionov’s story?

No, Makar did not feel guilty. Instead, he casually said that it must be the
person in whose bag the knife was found.


What made Aksionov think that Makar was the real murderer?

Makar asked who could put the knife in Aksionov’s bag when it was kept under
his head. This made Aksionov understand that it was Makar who had killed the


What was Aksionov’s realization by the end of the story?

Aksionov realized that vengeance will get nothing. God knows the truth and
God’s will happen. He forgave Makar and felt light at the end.


Why did Aksionov’s wife suspect him of involvement in the murder?

Mrs. Aksionov had dreamt that her husband’s hair had turned grey on his return
from the fair. As Aksionov used to drink occasionally, she suspected that her
husband may have killed the merchant in a drunken brawl which also correlates
with the dream she had the same morning.


2. Answer the following questions in three or four sentences each.

Did the police officer have sufficient evidence to convict Aksionov?

Yes, the blood-stained knife was found in Aksionov’s bag. When interrogated, he
turned pale and started shivering. He did not have much to say to prove his
innocence. Thus, the circumstantial evidences were sufficient to convict


What impact did the book “The Lives of Saints” have on Aksionov?

Aksionov read “The lives of saints” when there was enough light in the prison.
He became a religious person. He sang in the choir. He was resigned to his
fate. The fellow prisoners realized that he was innocent and unjustly condemned
and hence respected him. They called him grandfather.


Pick out the clues that convey that Makar Semyonich recognized Aksionov.

When Makar Semyonich heard the story as to why Aksionov has been kept in
Siberia, he became excited. He said, “It is wonderful that we should meet
here.” Aksionov asked anxiously if he knew who had murdered the merchant. He
blurted out, “how could anyone put a knife into your bag while it was under
your head? It would have surely woken you up.” From this Aksionov got the clue
that Makar was the murderer and he recognised him clearly.


3. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of about 150 words

Compare and contrast the main characters, Aksionov and Makar Semyonich, in the

Aksionov, a handsome man, full of life, enjoyed music. He loved his family and
did honest business. He is innocent to the core. The very sight of
blood-stained knife found in his bag sends chill down his spine. He is deeply
sensitive. When he realizes that his wife too suspected him, he gives up
petitioning to the Tsar for mercy. He recognized Makar Semyonich the person who
had murdered the merchant and had him framed in murder charges and unjustly
punished for twenty six long years. When an opportunity presents to wreak
vengeance on him, he keeps quiet. He does not show any interest in his belated
freedom and restoration of justice. He seeks refuge in God.


Makar Semyonich is a cold-blooded
murderer and scoundrel. Knowingly, he hides the blood-stained knife in
Aksionov’s bag and tips off the police. He doesn’t confess his guilt on the day
he meets Aksionov. It is only when he realizes that Aksionov is a noble soul
and does not want to expose his plan to escape from the prison that he changes
his attitude to Aksionov. He is haunted by guilt that he had wronged a noble
soul. He confesses but it is in vain. The pardon arrives but Aksionov passes
away in prison before release.


How did Aksionov react when his wife suspected him?

Aksionov had deep love for his wife. He wanted to petition to the Tsar for
clemency. But his wife said that the petition already sent had been rejected.
She asked, “Vanya dearest, tell your wife the truth; was it not you who did
it?” It was too much to bear for Aksionov. He was devastated. He buried his
face in his hands and sobbed. When he recalled what his wife had said, he was
shocked. He said to himself, “It seems that only God can know the truth; it is
to Him alone we must appeal, and from Him alone expect mercy.” He gave up all
hope. He only prayed to God.


Describe the life of Aksionov in prison.

In prison, Aksionov leamt to make boots and earned a little money, with which
he bought the book “The lives of saints”. He read the book when there was
sufficient light in prison. On Sundays, he read the lessons and sang in the
choir. The prison authorities liked him for his meekness. Fellow prisoners,
having realized that he was innocent, respected him and called him grandfather.
He was made their spokesperson to petition their genuine grievances in the
jail. When there were quarrels among the prisoners, they brought their cases to
Aksionov for settlement. The jail authorities respected him for his exemplary


Why did Aksionov decide not to reveal the truth about Makar Semyonich?

Aksionov was quite aware of the gravity of the offence done by Makar Semyonich.
He had tried to make a hole in the prison compound wall and escape. Aksionov
found this out accidentally. Makar warned him that he would kill him if he
testified against him. Initially, the anger welled up in his heart demanding
revenge for the 26 years of prison life. But slowly he made up his mind to keep
quiet and let God punish him for the crimes he had committed. He thought, “why
should I screen him who ruined my life?” When questioned by the Governor, he
kept quiet. He knew deep at heart, if he disclosed the truth, they will flog
the life out of him.


Discuss the meaning and importance of the saying “God sees the truth but


Ivan is tongue-tied
when the police finds knife in his bag. The moral shock he undergoes as an
innocent victim of circumstances allows him to have faith in justice. But the
moment his wife expresses her suspicion over his involvement in the murder, he
loses all hopes. It is then that he starts believing in God and divine justice.
Tsar can’t give him freedom. His judgement is based on evidences given by
crooked people.

God need not be
given any evidences of innocence. He knows the truth but his mills of justice
grind very slow. Ivan loses interest in escaping dr leaving the prison. He had
no one to go back to. At this juncture, Semyonich confesses his guilt of
murdering the merchant. When the pardon arrives as a cruel joke, Ivan is dead.
So, ‘God knows the truth but waits’ is the most appropriate title for this


Forgiveness is the best form of revenge. Substantiate the statement with
reference to the story.


There are two
important conflicts which help the reader understand Ivan Aksionov’s character.
He is condemned for a murder he had not committed. He is hurt more when his
wife also suspects him. He submits himself totally to God and expecting mercy
and forgiveness only from him. But when he faces another enquiry within the
prison, he is forced to tell the truth about Makar. But instead of exposing the
sinner Makar, he allows God to take over and keeps quiet. Remorseful Makar
seeks his forgiveness in prison. There is a debate with his conscience

“To forgive or
not”. Then he tells Makar, “God will forgive you. May be I am hundred times
worse than you. Both Makar and Aksionov come to an understanding that God’s
forgiveness and mercy towards humans are incomprehensible. If Aksionov had
exposed Makar and got him punished, Makar would never have felt guilty and
asked for Ivan’s forgiveness. It is true “Forgiveness is the sweetest form of


4. Using the mind map given below, write a brief summary of the
story in your own words.

4.2BUsing2Bthe2Bmind2Bmap2Bgiven2Bbelow252C2Bwrite2Ba2Bbrief2Bsummary2Bof2Bthe2Bstory2Bin2Byour2Bown2Bwords Tamil Mixer Education

Aksionov was a
businessman. He lived with his wife and children. He was full of life. He sang
and played the Guitar and occasionally drank too. Once he got ready to go to
the fair. His wife tried to stop him saying that she had a bad dream. On his
return from the fair, his hair had turned grey. It was ominous. But Ivan
ignored his wife’s warning and went to the fair. As he liked cool weather, he
left the inn early. He was intercepted by the police who searched his
belongings. Finding a blood-stained knife in his bag, he was arrested on
charges of murder. His wife’s petition for clemency to the Tsar was turned
down. His wife’s unwillingness to trust him was more devastating than Tsar’s
rejection of mercy petition. He was flogged. After the wounds healed he was
sent to work in the mines of Siberia.

Staying 26 years in
Siberia he grew a long beard. He became grandfather to the prisoners. He read
“The lives of saints” and was found praying and singing in the choir. He was
respected both by the fellow prisoners and the jail authorities for his gentle
behaviour. Everyone in the jail believed in his innocence and unjust
condemnation. One day a new convict namely Makar Semyonich came there. When
Makar blurted out how the knife went to his bag kept under his head, Ivan
recognized Makar as the real murderer of the merchant. Ivan had a chance to
expose Makar to the jail authorities. But he kept quiet. Makar became
remorseful and asked Ivan’s forgiveness. He forgave him. Makar confessed to the
authorities. The order of pardon came but then Ivan was dead.

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