THE POETIC JUSTICE
Suuu….Suuu…, Ruuu…Ruuu.. Binayak babu is trying to call the names of his daughter- in- laws in slurred voice. The infirmity he suffers from today is not congenital but he acquired the disability five years ago due to a brain stroke that made him paralized. As his muscles are not functioning well he always seeks the help of his family members to do the needful for him in his debilitating physical condition. But everybody in the family is throwing their deaf ears to escape from their moral liablity His two sons two daughter -in- laws even his grand sons and daughters to whom he loved most are reluctant to come to the aid of him when he desperately needs their help. They put him in a dark, unventilated room located in a corner of their house where he eats and gives up stool and urine on the same place as animals do, spreading foul odor around the living surrounding. The situation makes others to turn their back deserting him to hoot like an owl and bark like a dog to suffer for his previous sinful actions. At present he is paying the price for his every act of ommissions and commissions done in his past life. The pains of old age, present
sickness and fear of future death make his life worse than the suffering itself.
His own sufferings remind him of the sufferings of others meted out by him when he was placed in favourable position in his life. The panorama of events flashed before him beginning from the day of his arrival into this village along with parents and two brothers and two grown of sisters, till this moment passing through the eleventh hour of his life The early days in the village were full of torments, turmoils and tortures. They had to struggle hard to get a two times meal in a day. Most of times the family had to depend on the mercy of the villagers for sustenance by engaging themselves in house hold chores at different houses and acting as a hired priest for different people from own community through receiving alms on their behalf. But day by day their miseries multiplied throwing them into the state of despair. . Their mother died a premature death due to physical and mental strain. The father had no other source of income except receiving grains and vegetables as alms from the donors. But money is an indispensable thing to get his daughters marry off. So his father made up his mind to receive daan offered by donors suffering from incurable diseases. As receiving donation had disastrous effect on the life of the receiver so no brahmin was interested to risk his life for wealth. But to raise the family income and to see the smiles in the faces of his children the father ventured to receive the donation offered by the donors. One day afternoon he was seen sitting on a walking buffalo’s back garlanded by flowers on his neck with his forehead marked by cinnabar, coins wrapped in gamcha hanging over his shoulder just arrived receiving daan from a rich merchant who had been suffering from unknown and incurable disease since last five years. The donor had given away the distress his valuable possessions to redeem his lost health. Miracle happened as expected by the donor and unexpected by the receiver. The aftermath of the ritual witnessed the far reaching effect on the lives of both donor and receiver. The donor recovered from his sickness whereas, to great dismay of all, the receiver died of the same disease the donor was suffering from. The sad demise of their father made them orphans at their early age.
As the eldest son of his family It was time for Binayak to shoulder up the responsibility of his family members who were subordinate to him. Instead of sticking up to the ancestor’s profession of receiving alms he preferred to do other jobs that could carry highest reward and remuneration. But his eighth class drop out educational qualification had sealed the every opportunity of entering into any pretty job of his choice in his own country. One day his Rangoon returnee uncle called near him and wanted to know about his future plan from his mouth. . He said in choked voice, ” Bina, my son I am very sorry for the suffering the family is enduring with. It is not possible on my part to look after your entire family whereas I have to look after my own. I am undone. Do something to rear up your brothers and sisters so that they can survive. ” He continued, “If you are interested I can arrange a petty job for you if you are willing to come with me to Rangoon”. “I want to do any job except receiving alms” Binayak replied in submissive tone. “Let us see which type of job they decide to employ you after an interview”.
Binayak’s initial life
in Rangoon was full of struggle for survival. The menial job did not fetch him the good income . So he was unable to send money for his brothers and sisters living far from him in abject state of proverty. He decided to quit the job for new one carrying handsome salary. As the dead end jobs did not satisfy him. . At last he applied and got a supervisor post in a construction company headed by an Indian, retired chief engineer. His name was Amarendra Ghosh, a calcutta resident migrated to Rangoon to seek his fortune there after the first World War. He was out and out affable, amicable, considerate and caring to the core of his heart. In course of his association with him Binayak learnt all the basics of civil engineering from him. He became adept at the skills of construction of building and bridge with the knowledge of mathematical calculation, estimation, drawing and designing and billing essential to run a company. Binayak’s quality of adaptability won the heart of Bengali babu. Out of good faith he entrusted the financial power of the company with him. As fate would have it, after some months he passed away from this world after making a will of all the moveable and unmovable properties in Binayak’s name. By the twist of fortune he turned into millionaire from slum dog. He was thrilled to see the wealth was raining cats and dogs on the roof under which he was sleeping. After becoming the master of huge fortune he went on spending money lavishly as if there were no tomorrow in his life. He imitated the English way of life from the British officers who came in contact with him. He became well versed in writing English flawlessly and speaking English fluently. His close contact with the officers benefited him to get his work done without delay and difficulty. His business flourished by leaps and bounds so also his attraction for easy and luxurious life. He used to wear new costly dress everyday to cope himself with the aristocratic society living in the town. He embraced the existential mentality in him to establish his own identity in life defying the moral order defined by God and.religion. But all days are not same. No one knows what will happen next moment. During the World War 2 Rangoon was capital and major port of Burma. In December 1941 Japan entered the World War 2 by attacking United State’s territory and Far Eastern colonial possessions of Britain. It was quaint Tuesday morning the Japanese bombed Rangoon in a series of air raids The raid shocked the public and caused a heavy influx. The flow of refugees began soon and increased to mass exodus. The population of Burma fled to India fearing both Japanese and hostile Burmese Large number of people fled from Rangoon crossing treacherous mountain terrains on foot facing dangers on the way. The influx that took place during Burma campaign reminds today of the recent exodus caused due to present pandemic situation. Both exodus have phantasmal similarity to each other. . Against the backdrop of fear arisen out of the out break of war Binayak Babu left Rangoon for India leaving all his immovable properties behind him. As he was man of affluence and influence it became easy for him to arrange a travelling ticket in a ship exclusively meant for Europeans and rich Indians responsible for deporting them from Rangoon to Calcutta.
On the ship he met a man listening to Odia songs over radio. Binayak went near him and introduced himself in courtesy manner as an English gentle man. . He began to talk “I am Binayak Dash from Odisha. I have been here for last ten years working as CEO of my own construction company. It is my pleasure to be with you as co passenger .” The stranger looked him from tip to toe and replied with a sense of cordiality. I am a king of Mandassa under British regime. My name is Harihar belonging to Singha Burma royal dynasty. I have come here to negotiate a matrimonial alliance for my nephew. But I have to go back with the matter unsettled” Their discourse continued for long time on the deck without the presence of King’s retinue. It was friendly one all over. It continued till the late night. In the mean time they drank and dined together like childhood friends. They had been in close quaters throughout the discussion. Before going to bed the king offered a proposal before Dash Babu. The king said in his usual unique voice. ” I am looking for a man like you who can manage the present crisis the kingdom is besetting with.The kingdom spreads over 338 square kilometer radius having 166 revenue villages But the revenue collection is very low. The British Administration is expecting more and and trying to impose more tax collection from my kingdom. In this situation I am in fix and my position is at stake. I want you to be the revenue collector of my estate. You can boost up the tax collection as well as negotiate with the white officers with your British accent. Dash Babu accepted the proposal heartily with a condition that he would assume the office after his proposed marriage completed at his village.
On appointed day Dash babu arrived at the palace with his newly wed wife. . He was welcomed to his office with much respect and dignity. He became synonym for regal authority enjoying all royal powers and privilages. As a first step towards economy reformation he hiked the then tax amount into double in order to boost up the royal exechequer. He did not take anybody’s advice into consideration as he was directly empowered by the king to do anything needful he deemed fit. Sometimes he had to make tour to the agency areas of the kingdom across the inaccessible mountain ranges carried by the porter. He remembered how he flogged them relentlessly inflicting pain on their legs with a whip to urge them to go forward if they faltered on the way. His cruelties against men and animals were immeasurable in kind and degree itself. Apart from it he was a love rat. He had habit of biting his own hand that f ed him. His lecherous look fell on the beauty of the queen. He attempted to seduce her in the absence of king. But his attempt was foiled by a single call from the queen. Her security personnel came to her aid and saved her from loosing her chastity. After this incident Binayak stealthily escaped from the palace at that night to his village leaving all his belongings behind him obsessed with the fear of being punished by the king. But the kings men followed him to trace him out to present him before king when he would arrive. But he escaped from the sight of soldiers throwing dust into their eyes.
The following day king arrived at the palace. The queen narrated everything before him what had happened in that previous night The king went off the deep end when he heard the matter from his sweet heart. He at once ordered his soldiers to fetch him at any cost dead or alive before him for final for befitting punishment. . A band of cavalry comprising more than half century was prepared for operation within few hours. They were instantly ready for search out operation. They entered the village, encircled the village, digged round the village and ransacked every house to trace him out. The villagers were panic at military presence in their village that disturbed their peace. All the entrance and exist points of the village were sealed by the soldiers. But the operation failed as they could not find him out. At last the soldiers returned to their kingdom without success. The incident belittled his image before the villagers. He felt ashamed of his lustful action and did not show his face before villagers for some days. Later he came out of depression and began to regain his strength after independence of nation. . . In the mean time the king had lost his power. The twist of situation averted an inevitable punishment to him by the king. Binayak’s life was no more at stake then. Gradually he began to lead his normal life without fear. . Though he grew in years his mentality remained intact and same as it was. As he was spending beyond his means so he became more foxy than before. He tried to hoodwink others by showing voluntary hospitality t them for his profit and pleasure to which the innocent village people never tried to study his inherent motif he carried behind it. .
He, in the last moment of his life. was counting the days for his final journey. His pretty body turned into a garden lizard due to decay of his health Wrecked by the incurable disease. He recounted everything he committed, his doings and misdoings,. , goods and evils during his life time. He showed ungratefulness to Maguni, his immediate neighbour who saved his life from Kings Men’s capture by hiding him on the ceiling under the thatched roof of his house. In return he always tortured him reminding him of his nature of profession and family background he hailed from. He failed to recognise the heart of Maguni who bore a noble soul to feel for others. For his humbleness Maguni died a peaceful death like a bird. getting proper justice for his action. The virtue was rewarded in the long run. On the other hand the time came in the life of Binayak to experience the pain of punishment for his vicious actions. Surely he would be going to be punished shortly for his past evil actions. He was waiting for that moment to come to redeem his life. . Nobody would save him from that. In desperation he was wailing, weeping and lamenting lonely but no savior came into his sight to save him. At last his eldest son rushed to him in rage and rebuked with heart wrenching words, ” You are not dying but killing us. We have no joy, no peace, no rest in our lives. We have been tired of attending you every time at your call. Shut your mouth up and get asleep. ”
The midnight Moon was sinking down in the cloudy Sky. The flickering stars were out of view in a few moment
Next morning Dash babu didn’t see the day light of the rising Sun.
Written by Dr. Santanu Kumar Dash @ India