NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’: Notes and Solutions (Free PDF)

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NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 'The Treasure Within'

In NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’ is an excerpt from an interview with Hafeez Contractor, a Bombay-based architecture. The interview was conducted by Bs Bela Raja, the editor of Sparsh, a newsletter by the Resource Centre. To learn about the life of one of India’s leading architects, you can go through the summary section of the blog. Thereafter, you get the brief of the interview and important words and phrases with meanings. Let’s start learning!! 

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

Summary of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’

NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’ is a story about Hafeez Contractor, an eminent architect. 

Who is Hafeez Contractor?

Here is a brief about this genius:

Hafeez Contractor, born in 1950, pursued his Graduate Diploma in Architecture from Mumbai in 1975 before completing his graduation from Columbia University, New York, with the support of a Tata Scholarship. He began his career as an apprentice architect with T. Khareghat, eventually becoming an associate partner in 1977. During this time, between 1977 and 1980, he served as a visiting faculty member at the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai.

An active member of various architectural committees including the Bombay Heritage Committee and the New Delhi Lutyens Bungalow Zone Review Committee, Contractor’s architectural practice began modestly in 1982 with only two staff members. Over time, it has grown significantly, now boasting a workforce of over 350 employees comprising senior associates, architects, interior designers, draftsmen, civil engineering teams, and support staff.

Throughout his career, Contractor’s firm has been involved in diverse architectural projects encompassing urban planning, railway stations, bungalows, hospitals, educational institutions, townships, civic development initiatives, and recreational and sports facilities. His portfolio reflects a wide spectrum of architectural endeavours, showcasing his expertise and versatility in the field.

‘The Treasure Within’ Summary

Now, let us look at the summary of the story ‘The Treasure Within’ by Nissim Ezekiel:

The conversation between Ms Bela Raja and Hafeez Contractor highlights the pivotal role of school experiences in shaping one’s career path. Contractor, initially inclined towards sports and pranks over academics, transformed his approach after a conversation with his principal in eleventh grade. Encouraged by his principal, he dedicated a year to studying and achieved a respectable 50 per cent, a turning point in his academic journey.

Despite facing caning from teachers, Contractor remained undeterred, prioritising play and creative distractions. His interest in architecture was sparked when he observed a flaw in a drawing at an architect’s office and effortlessly corrected it. Encouraged by the architect, he pursued architecture despite lacking the required grades, eventually excelling in entrance exams with the architect’s support.

Throughout his school life, various experiences, including a teacher’s recognition of his sketching talent, contributed to his eventual career choice. Contractor attributes his success to his unconventional school experiences, which fostered street smarts and problem-solving skills.

In his current architectural practice, Contractor relies on an intuitive understanding of clients, combining design with psychology and sociology to create personalised sketches. This approach, influenced by his varied school experiences, represents a fusion of instinct and arithmetic, ultimately leading him to embrace a subject he initially disliked.
Source: Mannu Ka Gyan

Important Words and Phrases and Their Meanings

Now, let us learn word meanings in NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’. 

NightmareHaunting dream
As far as my things are concernedThe author is referring to things apart from materials and their details
AcademicsAnything related to education
Incurred the wrath of your teacherMade your teacher angry
Eat to my heart’s contentEat as much as I wanted
Chor PoliceIt’s a game in which a kid plays a thief and hides. Another child plays a police officer and finds the kid who is hiding.
DistractionSomething enjoyable that deviates our mind
StrategiesMethods to do something or win
CallingWork of one’s choice
BookReserve something in advance to buy it
Stumbled onGot into something by chance
CakewalkSomething easy
InfluenceEffect or impact of someone (used his influence to get him admitted)
Street smartA witty person who knows how to get things done
CurriculumModules or syllabi prescribed for an academic course or class
CopeDeal with
GiftednessPossessing special abilities
InstinctivelyInvoluntarily or naturally 
DefiedGo against
Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8

NCERT Solutions Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’

Lastly, we have important questions with answers in the Comprehension Check and Exercise sections of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’ for you. Here we go!!

Comprehension Check I (Page No. 28)

Ques 1. What did Hafeez Contractor have nightmares about?

Ans: Hafeez Contractor had fearful dreams of appearing for a Mathematics exam without preparation.

Ques 2. What did the Principal say to him, which influenced him deeply?

Ans: The Principal said Hafeez’s mother worked hard to raise him and paid his fees on time, even though his father was not around. He mentioned Hafeez was capable of getting good grades with a bit more focus on studying. The Principal encouraged him to prioritize his studies over sports for a while and rise to the challenge.

Ques 3. “… that year I did not step out onto the field.” What was he busy doing that year?

Ans: Hafeez was an active sportsperson who took part in a majority of the sports in the school. However, when the Principal influenced him to focus on his SSC exam, he renounced playing that year and stopped playing games. That year, he only offered prayers, ate, and prepared for SSC. 

Ques 4. (i) What “distraction” did Hafeez Contractor create one day?

(ii) Would you have liked to participate in the “distraction” had you been with him?


(i) One day, Hafeez created a distraction by playing chor police at school for sixty minutes.

(ii) Yes. I would have liked to participate in distractions like this as it offers a break from the daily routine of work.

Comprehension Check II (Page No. 32)

Ques 1. Hafeez Contractor wanted to join the police force. Why didn’t he?

Ans: Hafeez Contractor wanted to join the police force but he did not because his mother was against this prospect. She asked him to complete his graduation. After her advice, he joined Jaihind College in Mumbai, Maharashtra.  

Ques 2. In the architect’s office, Hafeez Contractor was advised to drop everything and join architecture. Why?

Ans: In the architect’s office, Hafeez Contractor noticed someone drawing a window detail incorrectly. He pointed out the mistake, explaining that the window wouldn’t open as drawn. Although the person initially disagreed, they soon realized Hafeez was right. When Hafeez’s cousin’s husband witnessed this, he was amazed. He asked Hafeez to draw other things, like designing a house and was impressed by his skill. He immediately suggested nurturing Hafeez’s talent and pursuing architecture as soon as possible.

Ques 3. (i) What was Mrs Gupta’s advice to Hafeez Contractor?

(ii) What made her advise him so?


(i) Mrs Gupta was Hafeez Contractor’s school teacher when he was in Class 2 or Class 3. She was the one who advised Hafeez to pursue architecture as a career. 

(ii) She frequently said he was not good at much else except for his beautiful sketches. Because of this, she believed he should focus on nurturing his hidden talent and eventually become an architect.

Ques 4. How did he help fellow students who had lost a button?

Ans: When his classmates lost a button while playing or fighting, they would often come to him for help. He would assist them by cutting a button from chalk using a regular blade.

Ques 5. Which rules did he break as a school boy?

Ans: Hafeez broke numerous rules during his school days. He copied during exams, wandered around without purpose, and played pranks and jokes on others. He also participated in gang fights and strategised with his peers. Often, he created distractions by playing chor police games during study hours.

Ques 6. (i) What is Hafeez Contractor’s definition of mathematics?

(ii) How would you want to define mathematics? Do you like the subject?


(i) As per Hafeez Contractor, Mathematics is the quintessential tool to make designs as it puts together sociology, construction, and psychology.

(ii) Mathematics is the study of numbers, shapes, patterns, and relationships. It helps us understand the world through problem-solving, calculations, and logical reasoning, making it an essential tool in everyday life. 


Ques 1. Is it likely that someone who is original and intelligent does not do very well at school? Should such a learner be called a failure? If not, why not?

Ans: It is possible for someone who is original and intelligent to not excel in traditional school settings. Intelligence comes in many forms, and some individuals may struggle with standardized tests or conventional teaching methods. Calling such a learner a failure would be unfair because success can be achieved through different paths. Recognizing and nurturing their unique abilities can lead to great accomplishments outside of school.

Ques 2. Who, in your view, is an ‘unusual’ learner?

Ans: An unusual learner is someone who approaches learning distinctively or unconventionally compared to the majority of their peers. They may possess unique learning styles, preferences, or abilities that diverge from traditional norms. This could include unconventional problem-solving methods, alternative perspectives, or non-linear thinking patterns.

Ques 3. What can schools do to draw out the best in unusual learners? Suggest whatever seems reasonable to you.

Ans: Schools can empower unusual learners by embracing diversity, offering flexible teaching methods, and creating personalized learning plans. Encouraging creativity and providing a supportive environment through mentorship and counselling can help these students thrive academically and socially, enabling them to reach their full potential.

Source: Magnet Brains
Chapter 1: The Best Christmas Present in the World
Chapter 2: The Tsunami
Chapter 3: Glimpses of the Past
Chapter 4: Bepin Choudhury’s Lapse of Memory
Chapter 5: The Summit Within
Chapter 6: This is Jody’s Fawn
Chapter 7: A Visit to Cambridge
Chapter 8: A Short Monsoon Diary


Q1. Who is the author of NCERT Class 8 English It So Happened Chapter 4 ‘The Treasure Within’?

Ans: The lesson is an excerpt from an interview by Ms Bela Raja, Resource Centre, The Valley School, Bangalore.

Q2. Who is Hafeez Contractor?

Ans: Hafeez Contractor is one of India’s leading architects. 

Q3. Who interviewed Hafeez Contractor for Resource Centre, The Valley School, Bangalore?

Ans: Ms Bela Raja interviewed Hafeez Contractor. 

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