The Power of Music Question Answers| ICSE Treasure Chest - Evergreen



Sukumar Ray's "The Power of Music": A Hilarious Ode to Awful Singing

Sukumar Ray's "The Power of Music" isn't your typical love letter to music. This witty poem takes a humorous jab at the power of truly terrible singing.

The poem centers around Bhisma Lochan Sharma, a character with a voice that could shatter glass and a complete disregard for the misery he inflicts on his audience. His singing, described as booming and forceful, reaches from Delhi to Burma, leaving a trail of discomfort in its wake. People plead with him to stop, but Bhisma, oblivious or determined, continues his excruciating performance.

The poem's humor comes from its exaggeration. The sheer distance Bhisma's voice travels and the effect it has on everyone from humans to plants and animals paint a picture of a truly awful singer. Ray's use of metaphors and similes further emphasizes the unpleasantness, comparing Bhisma's singing to torture and punishment.

The poem's climax arrives with a rather unexpected hero: a goat. Unable to bear the torment any longer, the goat delivers a well-placed kick, silencing Bhisma and bringing much-needed relief to the poem's world.

"The Power of Music" is a delightful example of satire. While it highlights the joy music can bring, it also reminds us that music, much like power, can be misused. The poem is a great choice for those looking for a funny and thought-provoking read, especially if you've ever been subjected to ear-splitting singing!

1. Text-based Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

  1. c
  2. b
  3. a
  4. c
  5. c
  1. c
  2. b
  3. a
  4. b
  5. b
  1. d
  2. d
  3. a
  4. b
  5. c

2. Comprehension Passages 


When summer comes, we hear the hums|
Bhisma Lochan Sharma
You catch his strain a hill and plain from Delhi
down to Burma
He sings as though he's staked his life, he sings
as though he's hell-bent;

(i) Who is Bishma Lochan Sharma? How does he sing?

Ans: Bhisma Lochan Sharma is a singer. His songs are unpleasant and irritating. He sings with great passion and intensity, as if his life depends on it.

(ii) In Lines 3-4 the poet uses a hyperbole. What is its purpose ?

Ans: The poet in lines 3-4 uses hyperbole, exaggerating the reach of Bhisma Lochan Sharma's singing from "Delhi down to Burma."  Its purpose is to amuse the readers and also to indicate how the songs of this person spread far and wide. It highlights the idea that Sharma's music is not confined to a specific location but resonates across vast distances, showcasing the power and universal appeal of music.

(iii) What kind of person is Bhisma?

Ans: Bhisma is a stubborn and irritating person.  He is described as someone who experiences intense emotions and is deeply connected to the music he listens to. Bhisma seems to be passionate about music, and it has a profound impact on his soul.

(iv) How are people affected by his song, as revealed later in the context?

Ans: People are adversely affected by his songs. They feel dazed and have turned pale. 

(v) What do they plead with Bhisma? Does he listen to them? If not, why not?

Ans: They plead with Bhisma to stop singing because they find his singing irritating and disruptive. However, Bhisma does not listen to them because he is so absorbed in his singing and passionate about it that he is oblivious to their pleas.


The people, dazed, retire amazed although they
know it's well-meant.
They're trampled in the panic rout or languish
pale and sickly.
And plead, "My friend, we're near our end, oh
stop your stinging quickly !"

(i) What has confounded the people?

Ans: The people are confounded by Bhisma's shrill and unpleasant song, which causes them distress and discomfort. They are amazed and bewildered by his persistence despite their pleas for him to stop.

(ii) What do they plead to Bhisma?

Ans: They plead to Bhisma to stop singing as his song is causing much trouble to them, expressing that they are near their breaking point and cannot endure his singing any longer.

(iii) How does Bhisma's music affect them?

Ans: Bhisma's music affects them negatively, causing them distress, panic, and sickness. They feel dazed and confounded due to the impact of his relentless singing.

(iv) What do they want?

Ans: They want Bhisma to stop singing order to relieve them from the distress and discomfort caused by his music.

(v) Who else besides humans are affected by Bhisma's singing? How?

Ans: Besides humans the others affected by Bhisma’s singing are animals, fish and birds. Their behaviour has undergone a change because of Bhisma’s singing.


The bullock-carts are overturned, and horses
line the roadside;
But Bhisma Lochan, unconcerned, goes
booming out his broadside.
The wretched brutes resent the blare the hour 
they hear it sounded,
They whine and stare with feet in air or wonder
quite confounded.

(I) How are people affected by Bhism's singing?

Ans:  People are dazed by Bhisma’s singing. They feel sick and confounded because of his songs. 

(ii) What happens to bullock-carts and horses?

Ans: The bullock-carts are overturned, and horses line the roadside due to the disruptive effect of Bhisma's singing.

(iii) Who are wretched brutes? Why do they behave abnormally?

Ans: The ‘wretched brutes’ are the animals affected by the song of Bhisma Sharma. They behave abnormally because of the impact of the singing by Bhisma. 

(iv) Explain the last two lines.

Ans: The last two lines present an amusing scene created because of the impact of Bhisma’s singing on the animals. The horses whine and look confounded. Their feet are turned upwards in the air and they look wonderstruck. 

(v) Even fishes ion the lake are affected by Bhisma's singign? What do they do?

Ans: The fishes are so affected by Bhisma’s singing that they dived into the deep waters of the lake in search for silence. 


The fishes dived below the lake in frantic search
for silence,
The very trees collapse and shake you hear the
crash a mile hence.
And in the sky the feathered fly turn turtle while
they're winging.

(i) What exaggerated situations ahs the poet depicted earlier  in the context? What affect do they create?

Ans: The exaggerated situations depicted by the poet are of the animals turning their feet upwards in air, and fishes diving into the lake in search for silence. They create a comic and amusing effect. 

(ii) Why do the fishes dive below the lake?

Ans: The fishes dive below the lake in search for silence as the singing of Bhisma has troubled them also.  

(iii) What happens to trees?

Ans: The trees fall down on the ground or shake violently because of the effect of the unpleasant singing by Bhisma Lochan Sharma. 

(iv) What is amusing about the images of the flying birds in Line 5-6 here?

Ans: What is amusing about the images of the flying birds in lines 5-6 is the depiction of them turning turtle while they're winging. This imagery is humorous because it portrays the birds flipping upside down in mid-flight, which is an unnatural and comical sight.

(v) Which, according to you, is the most absurd situation depicted in the poem?

Ans: The most absurd situation depicted in the poem is  fishes diving below the lake in a frantic search for silence. Fishes, being aquatic creatures, do not have the capacity to perceive sound in the same way as land-dwelling creatures do. Therefore, the idea of fishes diving underwater to escape from noise is quite absurd and fantastical.  

Moreover horses whining with their feet turned upwards in the air. The cart they are yoked to is also upside down. are also absurd situation in poem.


Again we cry, 'we're going to die, oh won't you
stop your singing?'
But Bhisma's soared beyond our reach, howe'er
we plead and grumble;
The welkin weeps to hear his screech, and mighty
mansions tuble.

(i) Who are 'we' ? Why have they plead repeatedly with Bhisma to stop singing?

Ans: The word ‘we’ here refers to the people who are forced to hear Bhisma’s singing. They have to plead Bhisma to stop singing as his singing is unmusical, irritating and unpleasant. 

(ii) Who are badly affected by Bhisma's singing?

Ans: People in general and the sick people in particular are badly affected by his singing. Even the sky seems to be weeping due to the screeching sound of his songs. 

(iii) What is personified in the extract? What is the purpose?

Ans: In the extract, the welkin (sky) is personified. The purpose of personifying the sky is to emphasize the magnitude of Bhisma's singing and its disruptive impact. It has been done to show how adversely the shrill sound of the songs has spread and created an amusing effect. 

(iv) In what way are you affected when you read about the fate of humans, animals and even non-living things impacted by unpleasant voice of the singer?

Ans: Reading about the fate of humans, animals, and even non-living things impacted by the unpleasant voice of the singer can evoke empathy and discomfort.We feel amused and happy on reading about the way unpleasant songs of the singer have affected humans and animals. 

(v) Who ultimately stops Bhisma from singing and how?

Ans: A billy goat stops Bhisma from singing by producing an equally discordant sound. This clash of sounds, described as "blast of brutal violence," forces Bhisma to stop singing, thus granting the world the golden gift of silence.


But now there comes a billy goat, a most
sagacious fellow,
he downs his horns and change straight, with
bellow answ'ring bellow.
The strains of song are tossed and whirled by blast of brutal violeance.
And Bhisma Lochan grants the world the golden
gift of silence.

(i) Who have failed to stop Bhisma's song? Why are they unhappy?

Ans: The people suffering due to the screeching and shrill singing of Bhisma try to make him stop singing. But they do not succeed. They are unhappy as Bhisma does not relent and continues troubling them with his unpleasant singing. 

(ii) How is the billy goat presented here?

Ans: The billy goat is presented here as a welcome power that forcibly stops Bhisma’s irritating and shrill singing. The goat has been called ‘sagacious’. 

(iii) In what way does the goat hit the singer, and to what effect?

Ans: The goat hit the singer with his strong horns and brutal force. The result of this hitting was that Bhisma Lochan’s singing stopped altogether.

(iv) What do you mean by the 'golden gift of silence'?

Ans:  The golden gift of silence here implies a release from Bhisma’s singing that was causing havoc to the people. The silence here is highly valuable for the poor victims of Bhisma’s incessant singing. 

(v) What is meant by, "bellow answering bellow".

Ans: "Bellow answering bellow" refers to the exchange of sounds between Bhisma Lochan's singing and the bellowing of the billy goat. Bellow answering bellow means that the goat responded to Bhisma’s loud singing by producing equally raucous and loud sounds.