Dulal Majumdar was a lathe machine operator. He was also a devotee of a Hindu Goddess. Whenever he was not working in the factory he used to sit inside a temple, sometimes closing his eyes and sometimes staring at the idol. He was the eldest son of his parents, who were aged by then. He also had many younger siblings. Before he could finish his high school education he had to start working to support his family. Their house was at stone’s throw distance from Sadhan Sarkar’s residence.
It was a time when Naxal movement had just started. Sadhan Sarkar, who had joined the newly formed Naxal party, spoke to him multiple times, tried to convince him to join the party. The new political party, having the acronym CPI(ML) did not believe in democracy but believed in snatching political power by arms struggle. It was created by breaking away from another communist party having the acronym CPI(M), which believed in democracy. The rancor between the two parties developed from the day CPI(ML) was born and it only grew. Dulal Majumdar did not show any interest to join any political party, he was a devotee of a Hindu Goddess and politics meant nothing to him.
When Sadhar Sarkar realized that Dulal Majumdar had no intention to join his political party, he started using coercive means. Sadhan Sarkar and few of his young ‘comrades’ started taunting him whenever they found him walking on street, he was physically abused, couple of times, by Sadhan Sarkar’s ‘comrades’ with some pretext or the other and during every single episode of physical abuse Sadhan Sarkar appeared at the spot and mediated to prove how much he cared for Dulal Majumdar. When that technique had also failed they brought an allegation of stealing some valuable against him. First he was beaten in public and then to add insult to the injury he was stripped naked but Sadhan Sarkar did not come for his rescue. He felt helpless in front of very powerful Sadhan Sarkar and decided to join the Naxal movement to escape from any further humiliation. His indoctrination was very simple, almost like taking an oath of allegiance. He learnt everything about the communist ideology while working as a party worker. Sadhan Sarkar trusted him the most and he played a major role in bringing new workers into the party. When the Naxal movement had flared up Dulal Majumdar left his job as a result of which his family went into a huge financial stress.
When Dulal Majumdar finished the story the Sun was already in the western sky where it would be for not more than another half an hour. More number of boys and girls had started playing in the open fields. All the birds which lived on the nearby trees started returning to their abodes and creating relentless noise.
Dulal Majumdar, who looked very disturbed, supported his hands above his knees, he was about to leave.
“After joining the communist party have you ever visited any temple?” suddenly Proloy asked.
“No, I whole heartedly believe in revolution, communism is the only way and there is no other way” he replied instantly.
Proloy was about to ask – had he not yielded to coercion, what would he be, a pious man or a communist? But he did not ask; he figured it out by himself.
Communism was just another faith for him, which replaced his old faith without leaving a trace and he did bite his new faith so strong that everything else went into oblivion.
Lack of ‘honest questioning’ is its root, outright rejection of any contradictory idea that could demand introspection works like a fence, convincing people who are neither capable of asking questions nor capable of throwing challenges works like a favorable rain, being in the association of like-minded people works as fertilizer, coming into contact with people who could either ask questions or throw challenges is as harmful as untimely rain during the harvesting time.
Dulal Majumdar left after saying “Long live revolution.”
For the next few days Proloy lived in a state of uneasiness, something was bothering him from inside. He was not able to figure out why Dulal Majumdar, who became a communist in order to avoid harassment, became so loyal to Sadhan Sarkar and his party. Gradually the question almost died out and it occurred into his mind once in a while and lasted only for few brief moments. But after many more years he was able to find a satisfactory answer to the once intriguing question.
When a person is forced into a situation from which there is no escape, he not only would accept it but would accept it with so much sincerity that he would not have to compromise with his self-respect.
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