Dulal Majumdar and his ‘comrades’ could not speak for a moment, which was quiet contrary to their usual habit. The stranger, who had suddenly become the center of attention, started talking again.
“Sir, you seem to have convoluted interpretation of many things. It appears that you communists are not open to ideas or not even open to any discussion. You possess some fixed ideas and try to force your ideas on others and whoever disagrees with your ideas you use derogatory words to alienate them and in the countries where communists came into power and whoever had dared to disagree with their ideas were brutally massacred. How do you expect people to accept your idea that – Chairman of China is the Chairman of India, when it was well known that it was China that attacked India during the Sino-Indian war?”
Proloy noticed that everyone had turned their face; their heads were not facing Dulal Majumdar and his two ‘comrades’ any more, their visions were fixed at the young man. It appeared that at last they found one who could challenge these communists. People had the habit of listening, believing but never asking any question. The young man, who had suddenly become the center of attention, appeared to be in his mid-twenties, probably his family also left the village when the Naxal movement had started and returned later.
“China did not attack India, it was India who attacked China” one of the ‘comrades’ shouted. It appeared that the ‘comrade’ took the stranger’s statement about China attacked India as an ad hominem attack on him as if someone had blamed him of stealing some valuable.
“Of course I cannot speak with so much of confidence about who attacked whom because I was not present at the border” the young man told in a very calm manner.
“You communists seem to have real difficulty in dealing with facts. You seem to have a preapproved list of things and anything that does not belong to that list or any idea that does not fit into your preapproved set of ideas you ‘ha’ them out, blaming them as ‘conspiracy by the capitalists’”. Proloy looked at the faces of Dulal Majumdar and his comrades. Their eyes, jaw muscles clearly showed that they were not happy at all. Five years before, when they were roaming with arms, people found all their explanations perfectly logical and satisfactory and nodded at everything they told. But after five years even though everything remained the same except that people were little more informed and they were unarmed, the table had turned.
“Just now your colleague has mentioned”, the stranger continued “that religion is the opium of the masses. But how many of those families, who were providing you food and shelter knew that if you could have come into power in your first attempt people had to abandon practicing their religion, that you would have locked the door of every single temple in this country.” Proloy looked at the assembled faces, they looked totally surprised. Few incidences of the past flashed into his memory. Every year his mother used to perform several ‘Pujas’ into their house and the food that was offered to God was distributed to everyone present. Dulal Majumdar always remained present during those occasions, because he liked the food, which was prepared by her mother for the religious occasions using special care. To Proloy and his brothers, Dulal Majumdar became like a big brother, a member of the family. Even though Dulal Majumdar was never seen to fold his hands in front of the idol but that did not surprise anyone because many people in their village did not believe in God and never folded their hands in front of an idol but they always provided full support when God was worshipped by members of their families. People knew that a communist does not believe in God but they never knew, until the stranger told, that practicing of religion is forbidden. It became clear that those Naxals, who were receiving all kinds of help from them and were pretending to be one of them, had a hidden agenda which they had kept secret.
“How many of you knew”, the stranger started directly addressing the assembled, “that if these Naxals, whom your families had provided food, shelter and money could ever have come into power they would have dictated how many children a married couple could have, which colored dresses people could wear and which colored dresses they could not, which books people could read and which books they could not and the second list would have far outweighed the first one. If they ever came into power they would have remained in power forever because in a communist country only one party rules, always – a perfect situation for abusing power. There would be nobody to defeat them as there would never be an election again. Any opposition, whatever small that could be would be nipped in the bud by using extreme brutal means which you could not even imagine.”
“Gentlemen, I know what you wanted to achieve in the disguise of a friend of the proletariat” he addressed his last sentence to Dulal Majumdar and his ‘comrades’ and walked out.
One of the ‘comrades’ passed a bad remark behind him. Everybody, except the two ‘comrades’ left without saying a single word. Proloy could not leave, even though he wanted to. He knew Dulal Majumdar for a very long time, for more than five years and had always held him with a very high esteem. He got food and shelter in their house as well as in many other houses in their neighborhood. But till that day, nobody knew precisely what they actually believed and what they wanted to achieve, list of things they supported and list of things they did not. So many times Proloy’s mother, when she was alive, had given her own food to feed a ‘comrade’. She was the one who used to eat last in their house after finishing all her house hold chores followed by her daily prayer. Dulal Majumdar, who was just one or two years older than her eldest son would suddenly arrive, asking if she could give some food because one ‘comrade’ had just arrived from ‘somewhere’. She always gave her own food and as a result she had to starve throughout the day because it was not easy to fire a coal oven again and cook food for one person. It suddenly became obvious that Dulal Majumdar and his comrades had accepted so much favor from them and from all the families in their village but at the same time secretly made mockery of their values and faiths with an intention to destroy those when they would come into power.
He wanted to leave but could not, something from inside resisted him from leaving. Soon the two ‘comrades’ left by saying ‘long live the revolution’.
They remained seated for a while. Nobody was seen anywhere except some boys playing cricket at a distance, in a vast open land, with a makeshift wooden bat and makeshift brick wicket, made by placing one brick on the top of another till it attained the desired length. It being a late Sunday noon, people were probably at home taking rest after having their mid-day meals. A crow, sitting on a tree was making relentless effort to break the deafening silence.
“Do you have some money, I am hungry, I have not eaten anything since morning”, suddenly Dulal Majumdar asked.
Proloy knew that Dulal Majumdar would no longer be a welcome guest for food or for shelter in any house; what had transpired about an hour ago would spread like forest fire. They went to a road side tea stall where the owner used to sell bread and red hot potato curry along with tea. They ate and returned to the same place, sat under the same tree and both fell silent again.
Proloy realized the mistake he had made; he should have left with the others. Dulal Majumdar had become alone, all of a sudden, no place to go, nobody else to talk.
“How you became close to Sadhan Sarkar” suddenly Proloy asked. The absolute silence made him feel very uncomfortable. What Proloy heard from him as the answer to his simple and benign question was beyond his imagination.
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