Through his eyes – 39

= * = * WINDING UP * = * =

Suddenly newspapers became a great attraction as they started reporting several arrests. There was news about the arrest of the founder of the Naxal movement and all its leaders, all of them were arrested in an interval of one or two months. Of all those leaders who were arrested, Proloy had seen only one, Sadhan Sarkar. He was from the same village. He lived in a small, most ordinary looking single story brick-house. His wife was a home maker; they had few daughters and only one son. All his children were in school.  He had a very distinguished look – complete bald with a thick moustache. He wore prescription glasses; spoke in a soft, sweet but firm voice. But the most important of all, he used to judge everything in the light of communist philosophy.

Naxal movement had not yet started. One day few young men were engaged in a discussion sitting on a street side bench discussing about Homeopathic system of medicine when Sadhan Sarkar was passing by. He stopped in front of them. He was welcomed by those young men and he reciprocated in his usual polite manner and requested them to continue their discussion. He listened to the discussion for few minutes. According to those young people, Homeopathic treatment was the best as it had no side effect. In no time Sadhan Sarkar took complete control of the discussion in his very natural manner, proved using communist philosophy that since the Homeopathic medicines had no side effect on a patient it could not have any remedial effect as well as it violated the core principle of communist philosophy which is “dialectical materialism”, an universal law, which according to him – every action must have a reaction as a corollary if there is no reaction there was no action. He concluded by saying – the remedial effect of Homeopathic medicine which sometimes people might experience is nothing but placebo effect. Poor villagers, who never used to hear even one English word in a day, were completely out of their wit when they had heard so many English words in rapid succession along with a ‘very intelligent’ interpretation, which was beyond their comprehension. So Sadhan Sarkar, in his usual manner, proved his intellectual superiority over the rest.

Few months after his arrest, he was brought home by the police to spend time with his family for an entire day. It was a Sunday; there were more than hundred police men who came in more than 10 police cars of different sizes. Armed policemen formed a ring surrounding his house and the entire neighborhood was kept under close watch which made everyone think that something would happen, may be some Naxals would suddenly appear and take him away. People were glued near his house from morning till evening, when he was taken back to the jail. Even at the zenith of Naxal unrest so many police cars and policemen were not seen at one time. Few people, who knew him for a long time started smelling conspiracy, it was thought that authority was trying to understand how popular he was among the people and based on that they would decide if he could be eliminated by slow poisoning or some other means that would look like a natural death.

Two weeks after his first visit he was brought again to unite with his family, for an entire day, but there was only one police van with only few policemen. Hardly anybody showed any interest to look at his house during that visit. Since then he was brought home to unite with his family, number of times, almost once a week but people hardly noticed. Then there was a rumor that he was released from the jail but he was not seen anywhere for some time.  After few months he started moving around, initially after dark but after a month or so he transformed himself into a normal diurnal being.

It was heard that he was no longer with his old political party, CPI(ML). It was confirmed when he formed a political party, like the old one, and started selling a bi-weekly Bengali publication having the name “Lal Jhanda” (red flag). The title “Lal Jhanda” was printed in bold read on newsprint. He used to sell it to those people who had provided material support during the Naxal movement. But people hardly read a single line from his publications as nobody had the habit of reading anything. He also used to sell his publications to his “proletarians” who were green grocers, fish mongers &C. and they used to use those pages for business purposes like wrapping their merchandises like green chilies, ginger, garlic and other vegetables for their customers or arresting the dripping of gum from freshly cut green jackfruits. He used to catch hold of elderly people on the streets and explain to them that the “revolution” would continue; it was not even a “set back” but just a false propaganda by the “capitalists”. Without any exception his discussion with people used to be monologue. Sadhan Sarkar, during his discussion would identify the problems of the country and would provide the solution. He had solution for every single problem, which was printed in the books which he always used to carry with him. But there was always some unknown fear in the mind of people whether there would be murders and bomb blasts again, which they had not witnessed for quite a long time and would be the last thing they would like to see again.  Soon people started to avoid him. Whenever they would see Sadhan Sarkar on the street approaching from a distance they would take a by-lane to avoid talking to him. They knew that something went wrong, so many lives were lost, futures of thousands and thousands of students went into jeopardy and still no one explained what went wrong and whose fault it was. But due to their very limited power of articulation and having no knowledge about world affairs, they did not know how to ask him specific questions or to challenge his ideas. There were few, very small in number though, whose children were studying in good schools in the city, who had much higher education than the rest and were working in responsible positions whom Sadhan Sarkar used to avoid all the time; he was never seen to even exchange greetings with any one of them. These were the people who left the village at the onset of the Naxal movement and returned when peace returned.

Email: mintughoshal@gmail.com

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