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The Village Keeper's Wife. (I)


In March 20, 1930 Gandhi Ji started Salt Satyagragha, and whole country was risen against the Raj, so was Bandhu of Banadurga village, the tall man in his fifties and the most respected among the modern thinking high castes, although he himself was a lowborn. Bandhu along with his peers went to Erasam cost of Bay of Bengal and proudly collected the salt of his land, which by his right can never be taxed by an outsider. "Who taxes the Salt?!!". Bandhu was filled with the thoughts of Gandhiji, he was happy that slowly the boundaries of caste is going to vanish and proudly coveted himself as "The Harijana" the new name the Mahatma had bestowed for the low- born as the "Men of Hari (GOD)". He thought at least, his children will get refrain for being referred as "Kandara" the derogatory local name of his caste. But his son, Bhagwan had a different opinion, "Why Harijana?" why not referring as similar to others as "SamaJana?". Bagawan, was hardly fifteen or sixteen, a young man who always wanted to lead a life of self respect and  give away the submissive way of living, which society then had demanded of him every now and then. He hated the way his father thought.

"Son, they are big people, Mahajans and Sudhijans, we should be submissive towards them."

But Bagwan rejected by saying,

"Baba, I agree, but I expect same respect from them which I give to them. It is not just an one way business"

Bandhu would reluctantly agree to his young son. New age, new Minds!. He would remember of someone saying in the village meeting, that some "Babasahaib" is spreading similar views in the minds of the people.

When Bandhu shared his concerns to his wife about their Son's way of thinking. All she had to say "Marry him off, he will be in line".

 Bandhu was popular among in his community. He was respected by many. It was a prestigious affair to have matrimonial ties with Bandhu's Family. A sweet pretty fair bride was chosen from village of Telibasanta. Her name was "Sakuntala". She was the younger daughter of the Village Keeper of Telebansant.

It was just with the arrival of the beautiful maiden in the life of Bagawan changed a lot. As said by his mother, he was forgetful of worldly affairs. Begawan had a little world of own to be taken care of.  All he did is, waited when his wife would return back to him in "Puani" (A tradition when child married bride come to her husband's house after attaining physical maturity). Bandu was happy of about everything.

It was on the day of Sakuntala's Puani. A man from the nearby Thana along with Sakuntala's father came as the guest. He said Bandhu that he has a good news for him. With the recommendation of Bhangwan's father-in-law, they are appointing Bhagwan as Village Keeper of four Villages which includes "Karsahi, Bramhin Sasan, Garam and Bandurga". The job came as a boon to the family.

But the joy was short-lived. Bandhu never knew, this would anger the higher castes of the village. They could not digest the fact that, the submissive Bandu's son would police the activities of the village and pass on the information to the Thana. The Pro-freedom movement advocators and  the Mahajans, rebuked Bandhu,

"You Low born, shall remain as low born, you marched with us for the Salt, but your son happily accepted to live on salt of the non - Patriot!. How a pig will understand the taste of ripen banana!. We respectfully called you "Harijan" and instead you people want to be called as Choukiya (The Village keepers) "

Bandhu was confused!, it was difficult on his part to realize what is correct what is wrong!

But for Bhagwan the later was lesser offensive! and there was no other option than these two.


In My Mind....Will Publish Soon...Do share your Views


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