= * = * Expose * = * =
It was a late Sunday morning. Proloy was looking for the venue where Dulal Majumdar was having a discussion with few young men where he would be discussing about their ‘revolution plan’ and everybody hoped that he would also explain why the Naxal movement had failed. The place of the meeting was little far from his house. When he arrived he found many young men had been sitting in a secluded place, having many trees creating enough shade for the comfort of everyone. There were at least 20 young men listening with undivided attention. From where he was standing he could not see the faces of the speakers clearly. On approaching further he could recognize Dulal Majumdar among one of the speakers, as he had expected. As he walked closer, he could see two new faces sitting with Dulal Majumdar and the rest were local young people facing Dulal Majumdar and the two men. Proloy arrived late; the discussion had already started. After listening for few moments he became sure that the two men who were sitting next to Dulal Majumdar were his ‘comrades’ and the discussion was like an eye opener, to educate the assembled youth about how wrong education is getting imparted due to an erroneous system of education.
He heard one of the ‘comrades’ talking:
“People like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Raja Rammohan Roy who are called ‘social reformers’ and about whom we are taught in our schools are ‘nothing but dogs’. They were the agents of British and in the pretext of reforming Bengal they actually thwarted the freedom movement which was taking shape during their time. Students are taught about ‘Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’ and his ‘fancy’ freedom movement but how many of our school students know anything about Sidhu Murmu and Kanhu Murmu, the two great Santhal leaders?”
Proloy looked at the assembled faces. Everybody was giving blank look. Probably like him they were also hearing those last two names for the first time. Everybody had heard about Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who started schools for women and worked hard to change the mindset of people so that widows could get married and restart new life. Name of Raja Rammohan Roy was also not unknown; he was the one who risked his own life and became successful to abolish Sati, a very old custom where widows were burnt alive. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, often called the greatest freedom fighter, was not unknown to anyone in India. But nobody probably knew that they were ‘so filthy’ that they should be compared with ‘dogs’.
In their neighborhood only one family had an electric radio, that looked like a huge wooden box. There were only few families who could afford to buy daily newspaper. The primary source of information for them was when members of their families returned from the city where they worked and talked about the processions organized by the political parties or about some road accident followed by the outpour of anger of common people culminating into burning of trams, buses, shops &C. Generally they believed whatever they were told to believe and if they received contradictory information or interpretation about anything, they believed the most recent one and ignored the previous.
“Give me blood, I will give you freedom”, started the other ‘comrade’ quoting the famous line of the freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, “when I hear this I feel he was not a freedom fighter but an extremely proud individual who was born with all the privileges and thought his countrymen as dirt.”
“We feel so proud about Swami Vivekananda for his lecture in the World Congress of Religions in Chicago”, continued the ‘comrade’ “but how many of us had ever realized that ‘religion is the opium of the masses’.”
“The great Mahabharata”,Dulal Majumdar sounded sarcastic, ” and the story of the birth of Pandu, Dhritarashtra and Vidur – the book should be categorized under pornography and not an epic story.”
“Sir, what is the first thing that comes into your mind when you see the toothless smile of a child – pure joy or the carnal activity that the child’s parents were once engaged whose outcome is the child?” Everybody turned his face at the young man who asked the question. He was sitting almost in the middle. Proloy had seen him before. The young man had friendship with a local young school teacher. Few years later when Prooy started using the reading room of the National Library, Calcutta he saw the same young man in the reading room. Proloy also knew that the young man lived in ward no. 3 where Dulal Majumdar’s family lived. The way everyone was looking at the stranger made Proloy believe that no one knew anything about him, probably not even his name. But his question was remarkable for another reason – the entire discussion was expected to be listening to what Dulal Majumdar and his ‘comrades’ would say and the audience was only expected to nod their heads as it always used to be. Another thing which probably surprised everyone was the language he used while questioning – it was a well formed question having no ambiguity.
“It would be a pure happiness, only a perverted mind would think the other way” Dulal Majumdar replied almost instantly.
“I am sure that everybody who is here knows the entire Mahabharata and Ramayana. Can you ask anyone, who is present here, if he experienced any erotic pleasure when he had learnt about the birth of Pandu, Dhritarashtra and Vidur?”
Proloy, like every other young man, who was there knew the two epic stories by reading their abridged versions and also had heard those stories many times from the recitation of bards. According to the story of Mahabharata, Vichitravirya, the king of Hastinapura died of tuberculosis leaving no heir. His two young widows Ambika and Ambalika had never conceived. Satyavati, the widow mother of the deceased king was anxious about the continuation of the royal lineage; she summoned her ascetic son Vyasa whom she had given birth, before her marriage with king Santanu of Hastinapura, by secretly cohabiting with an ascetic named Parasara while she was working as a boatwoman. When Vyasa, her ascetic son appeared she ordered him to cohabit with Ambika and Ambalika to produce sons who would continue the royal lineage. Her ascetic son, who was living in a hermitage, having long hair and beard and hair all over his body and either probably wearing nothing or at the most a small piece of cloth below his waist line, met Ambika at night in order to cohabit with her. Next day morning, when anxious Sayavati asked her son if her wish would be fulfilled, she was told by the ascetic that a blind son would be born because Ambika had kept her eyes closed out of fear during the cohabitation.
Satyavati ordered her son to cohabit with the second widow, Ambalika. Next day Satyavati came to know from her son that the child that would be born would be pale because Ambalika got so scared after looking at Vyasa that she turned pale.
Satyavati ordered her son to restart the process with Ambika and asked Ambika not to be afraid of her son.
Next day morning Satyavati came to know from Vyasa that a pious son would be born but the child would not be conceived by Ambika but by a servant girl who was sent by Ambika to cohabit with him. The girl showed deep reverence to the ascetic, washed his feet, served him food and sought his blessings.
In due course Ambika gave birth to a blind son named Dhritarashtra, Ambalika gave birth to a pale looking son named Pandu and the servant girl gave birth to a normal, healthy child called Vidura, who grew up to become the epitome of righteousness.
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