Wednesday 16 December 2020

The Making of the Earth


The Making of the Earth


[Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) was a prolific writer. He was an original thinker and had great insight. His famous books are ‘Glimpses of World History’ and ‘Discovery of India’ This small piece is an extract from Nehru’s ‘Letters from a Father to His Daughter which he wrote to his daughter Indira in the summer of 1928 when she was at Mussoorie. This bunch of 30 letters contains essential facts of evolution of man beginning from the making of the earth to the great age of The Ramayana and The Mahabharata. In this letter Nehru begins by defining the solar system to which our earth belongs. He goes on to differentiate between a planet and a star. He later talks of the breaking away of the earth from the sun, the breaking away of the moon from the earth, the gradual cooling of the earth and the moon, the condensation of vapours on the surface of the earth and the formation of the great oceans.]

You know that the earth goes round the sun and the moon goes round the earth. You know also perhaps that there are several other bodies which like the earth go round the sun. All these, including our earth, are called planets of the sun. The moon is called a satellite of the earth because it hangs on to it. The other planets have also got their satellites. The sun and the planets with their satellites form a happy family. This is called the solar system. Solar means belonging to the sun, and the sun being the father of all the planets, the whole group is called the Solar System. At night you see thousands of stars in the sky. Only a few of these are the planets and these are really not called stars at all. Can you distinguish between a planet and a star? The planets are really quite tiny, like our earth, compared to the stars but they look bigger in the sky because they are much nearer to us. Just as the moon which is, in reality quite a baby, looks so big because it is quite near to us. But the real way to distinguish the stars from the planets is to see if they twinkle or not. Stars twinkle, planets do not. That is because the planets only shine because they get the light of our sun. It is only the sunshine on the planets or the moon that we see. The real stars are like our sun. They shine of themselves because they are very hot and burning. In reality our sun itself is a star, only it looks bigger as it is nearer and we see it as a great ball of fire. So that our earth belongs to the family of the sun – the solar system. We think the earth is very big and it is big compared to our tiny selves. It takes weeks and months to go from one part of it to another even in a fast train or steamer. But although it seems so big to us it is just like a speck of dust hanging in the air. The sun is millions of miles away and the other stars are even further away. Astronomers, those people who study the stars, tell us that long-long ago the earth and all the planets were part of the sun. The sun was then as it is now a mass of flaming matter, terribly hot. Somehow little bits of the sun got loose and they shot out into the air. But they could not wholly get rid of their father, the sun. It was as if a rope was tied to them and they kept whirling round the sun. This strange force, which I have compared to a rope, is something which attracts little things to great. It is the force which makes things fall by their weight. The earth being the biggest thing near us, attracts everything we have. In this way our earth also shot out from the sun. It must have been very hot, with terrible hot gases and air all around it, but as it was very much smaller than the sun, it started to cool. The sun also is getting less hot but it will take millions of years to cool down. The earth took much less time to cool. When it was hot, of course, nothing could live on it – no man or animal or plant or tree.

Everything would have been burnt up then. Just as a bit of the sun shot out and became the earth, so also a bit of the earth shot out and became the moon. Many people think that the moon came out of the great hollow which is now the Pacific Ocean, between America and Japan. So the earth started to cool. It took a long time over it.

Gradually the surface of the earth became cooler although the interior remained very hot. Even now if you go down a coal mine it becomes hotter and hotter as you go down. Probably if you could go down deep enough inside the earth you would find it red hot. The moon also started to cool and because it was much smaller than even the earth it cooled more quickly than the earth. It looks delightfully cool, does it not? It is called the “cold moon”. Perhaps it is full of glaciers and ice fields. When the earth cooled all the water vapour in the air condensed into water and probably came down as rain. It must have rained a tremendous lot then. All this water filled the great hollows in the earth and so the great oceans and seas were formed. As the earth became cooler and the oceans also became cooler, it became possible for living things to exist on the earth’s surface or in the sea ….                                                                                                                            JAWAHAR LAL NEHRU



planet: (n) a heavenly body that rotates round the sun, e.g. Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc. Earth is a planet. Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system.


satellite: (n) an electronic device that is sent into the space and that moves round the earth ; a natural object that moves around a larger object in space. Moon is a natural satellite of the earth.


speck : (n) a small piece A speck of dust irritated her eye.


astronomer : (n) a scientist who studies sun, moon, stars etc. An astronomer uses a telescope to see the heavenly bodies.


hollow : (adj) having a hole or empty space inside. The tree trunk was hollow inside.


condense : (v) become thicker Water condensed into snow with the fall in temperature.


tremendous: (adj) huge and remarkable A tremendous amount of hard work is required to finish this project.




A. Comprehension Questions

I. (i) Answer the following questions:


1. What are planets?

Ans.  Planets are heavenly bodies that move round the sun.


2. Define solar system

Ans. Solar means belonging to the sun. The earth and other planets belong to the sun. They were once parts of the sun. The sun, its planets and their satellites are known as the solar system.


3. How can you distinguish between planets and stars?

Ans. The real way to distinguish planets from the stars is to see if they twinkle or not. Stars twinkle at night, planets do not.


4. Why do the stars twinkle?

Ans. The stars are very hot and burning. They are balls of fire. They are millions of miles away from us. So they twinkle and not shine like the moon.


1.     How was earth formed?

Ans.  The planets earth was once a part of the sun. It broke away from the sun. It was as hot and burning as the sun at that time. After millions of years, the earth cooled down and life appeared on its surface and in the sea.


6. How were oceans and seas formed?

Ans. When the earth cooled down, water vapours appeared on it. They rose in the sky and came down in the shape of heavy rain. This filled hollows on the earth. These hollows became seas and oceans.


(ii) Answer in 50-60 words:


1.     Write a short note of about 100 words on the making of the earth.

Ans. Millions of years ago, the earth was a part of the hot and burning sun. Somehow, this part separated from the sun and become its planet. At that time, the earth was as hot as the sun. But gradually, it cooled down. Water vapours appeared on it. They changed into rain. The rain filled hollows of the earth. These hollows became seas and oceans. Then different forms of life appeared on the planet earth.


2. Write a few words on the happy family of the sun.

Ans. There was a time when earth and other planets were parts of the sun. Somehow, these parts broke away from the sun begun to move round it like planets. Then small parts of different planets broke away from them and became satellites. The Satellite began to move round planets. The sun, its planets and their satellites from a happy family. They are called the solar system.


B. Vocabulary Exercises

(i) Look at the following sentences:

The moon is called the satellite of the earth because it hangs on to it. In this way our earth also shot out from the sun. The italicized verbs followed by prepositions are called phrasal verbs.


Now fill in the blanks with the given prepositions making appropriate phrasal verbs:

   Into                     off                out                on                      down

a. He lived on milk for two months.

b. Please turn off the lights before you sleep.

c. The thieves broke out of the prison.

d. The thieves tried to break into the house to steal.

e. She fell down and broke her leg.


(ii) Fill in the blanks selecting suitable words from the given list:

fraction                             centre                                              beginning

extends                            comprehension                                calculation

including                         advancement                                    entire



Everything exists in space. But what exactly is space is something beyond human imagination

and comprehension. It is also beyond mathematical calculation. We do not know for sure how far space extends. It does not have a beginning. And it does not have an end. It was earlier believed that the earth was the centre, of the universe and that all heavenly bodies, including the sun, revolved around it. With the advancements of science and technology, it was known that the sun was the centre of the solar system and that the entire solar system occupies just a tiny fraction of space in the entire universe.



C. Grammar Exercises

(i) Fill in the blanks using the correct infinitive or participle:


1. Do you regret failing your exams? (to fail/failing/to failing)


2. Would you like to go to the theatre with me? (to go/going/to going)


3. Would you mind going to the theatre with me? (to go/going/to going)


4. The soldiers get used to living in the jungle.(to live/ to living / living)


5. He used to live in the jungle. (to live / to living / living)


6. Do you mind waiting until I have finished my work? (to wait / waiting / to waiting)


7. Do you want to visit the new shopping mall? (to visit / visiting / to visiting)


(ii) Fill in the blanks with suitable articles:

So the earth started to cool. It took a long time over it. Gradually the surface of the earth become cooler although the interior remained very hot. Even now if you go down a coal mine it becomes hotter and hotter as you go down. Probably if you could go down deep enough inside the earth you would find it red hot.


D. Pronunciation Practice

The past morpheme – ed is pronounced in three ways

a.      / d /

b.     / I d /

c.     / t /

Read the following words now with the correct sound at the final position.

a.         Bagged                   b.    wanted                     c.     pushed

                played                           headed                              laughed

                tried                              heated                                passed

                clubbed                         waded                                hushed

                breathed                       waited                        booked


E. Creative Writing and Extended Reading

1. Read Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s ‘Letters from a Father to a Daughter’. How do you find it ?

2. Read the biography of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and describe Pt. Nehru (i) as a political leader  (ii) as a scholar and          (iii) as a humanist.

3. Name all the planets of the Solar System.

4. Write a paragraph on: An Imaginary Trip to the Moon.




Just a little fun:

There once was a girl of New York,

Whose body was lighter than cork;

She had to be fed

For six weeks upon lead,

Before she went out for a walk.