Nonviolent Revolutionaries

30 September 2019
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Nonviolent Revolutionaries

 

 

-Tareq Samin 

Revolutionary Chuni Lal Dutt's house was in Chittagong. During the independence movement of British Indian sub-continent he was jailed on numerous occasions. He was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, during non-violent movement. He was talking while sitting relax on a sofa made of cane:

“During 1913. I was a final year student of Presidency College, Calcutta. My elder brother's daughter 'Indu' was nine years old when she got married. Indu was immature, lien and thin, with short hair on her head, innocent face, child like behavior. She tell me, “Uncle, my little doll’s wedding. Please buy Sarees for my doll from Kolkata”. She had a great tendencies of drawing picture. On the ground, on trees, on paper, she draws beautiful pictures. The wedding was a massive festival. Candle light and sound cracker, guests noise and her parents ware hectic. I like a lot of befuddled, doing what are being told. Child marriage, was a social norms at that time. From time immemorial that has been there. Our family was outset Brahmin. A little alteration of the scriptures, can erupted a colossal conflict.

In early youth, I was also willing to sacrifice my own life to protect the glory of traditional Hindu religion and it’s principle. At my youth therefore whatever books I got; stories, novels, poetry, science, economics, history, politics, philosophy. I studied them. After vast reading a self-vision and humanism awoke within me. Gradually my own weaknesses and the loopholes in our society has exposed in my eyes. I felt, Child marriage as filthiness. Alas! a child, her marriage, family and conjugal life! Further Indu was not my daughter. My elder brother was in charge of our property and assets. He carry out my reading costs. So I do not talk over them. I came back to Calcutta with sorrow and grief. An young face always appears in my mind. My heart felt enormous pain while passing children’s doll store. At that time a letter came. I have to go to Madras for party work.

The village ‘Perambur' was two hundred miles away from Madras. Some Hindu families living in that tribal villages. At that time, women did not wear any clothes in their upper part of body. Most of the village huts were built of straws and soil. All around there was huge greenery of forest and jungles. Lots of ponds, rivers and canals. At first sight the village was very nice. Four of us, me, my friend Satyananda, Mukul Roy and Saravanan.

Saravanan was born and raised in Madras. That time he was 28 years old. A young man of medium height with muscular body and curly black hair. He did not know how to speak Hindi or Bengali. He spoke in English with laughter. He was a doctor of Madras Medical College. We went there for his sake.

Saravanan called us through Party, for the purpose to stop ‘sahamarana*’ (an ancient Hindu custom of, burning widows alive with the body of her dead husband).

The villagers seems to very short-tempered. They have bulk body, thick eyebrows, wide shoulder. We were little bit panicked when they start talking in loud voice. But Saravanan has a very good reputation as a doctor. Many people far and wide knows him. As we were activist of Indian subcontinent independence. So it was difficult to get help from colonial British administration or the police.

I told Saravanan, "We must proceed with the help of local people."

Saravanan replied, “The local young men are uneducated, illiterate and covered with superstitions”.

I said, “In adolescence I was also like them. You can not change them by hurting. Instead Love them”.

Another fellow and friend of us, Mukul Roy. Young Barrister. Studied law in England. He said, 'Let's say Europe, America or our Indian subcontinent, in any society speaking against bigotry is as dangerous as scratching ears with Cobra snake's tail”.

Satyananda added, “Also remember Sahamarana is a vital part of the Hindu religion. If someone willing to take that path. therein we tried to resist. What will be the consequences, I know better!"

The story he told us than if I remember; still makes me pale.

Satyananda said: "In 1896 AD., when I was nine years old. At that time, once I went to see sati practice*.

the girl who was willing to co-death. would be between nineteen to twenty years old. chubby face, fair skin, medium height, slim body. Big black eyes. Head full of thick black hair. Sindoor  (vermilion) on  the hair part. wearing ornaments of gold bracelets, necklaces, and legs painted with red. Just like a bride .

The priest was sitting on a wooden bed while chanting mantra.* ( in Hinduism a word repeated to aid concentration in prayer.) Beside the dead body of the women’s husband. Her husband was a landlord. Died at the age of 59. The young women had been married ten years ago. Her husband was Lascivious by nature. He was suffering in many diseases. Rumors were in village, that he possibly had infected in gonorrhea. such a lascivious man, had a beautiful wife like her. Even will burnt her alive. I was surprised by that.

Two wooden bed. In one the deceased landlord, and the other is for his beautiful wife. lifting the two bier up. eight to ten young men went to the crematoriums ghat below the large banyan tree, along the village way to the bank of the river. Then the woman took a bath on the bank. At a little hide she wore white widow's clothes. A wooden ladder is there to climb up to the crematoriums altar with front curtains. Beside that; two wooden piles, fuels, ghee, sandalwood and more miscellaneous objects.

When flames burns up, curtains had removed, she jumped on it. Her frightened face! In a moment the flame of fire consumed her. quickly, few people lay down heavy wood on her body and began to hit by stick. I saw blood marks on their stick. I thought; due to the drums sound and priest chant, no one did not heard the girls screaming. I lost consciousness at the moment.

For few days I could not eat anything. I vomit when I remember that. Satyananda stopped talking for a little. Watching great sadness on his face, we all were silent.

Again Satyananda said, “After that an young man argue with society leaders to stop sati practice.

That young man, was beaten to death by villagers in broad daylight. allegedly insulting religion. Police came to arrest those responsible for his death and funeral arrangements. This erupted a big riots. The three who died in police firing, villagers funeral them as heroes. Thousands of people come from far distance to pay homage to the martyrs. And the unfortunate young man, who had been urged to stop burning widows alive. His family deny to accept his dead body”.

After hearing of the incident, none of us was not able to sleep at night.

In the morning I told Saravanan, to continue talks with the heads of the village.

Mukul Roy, also told Saravanan, 'Be careful. foolish, stupid or prejudiced person can do any heinous work. For the greed of heaven in afterlife. But the real religious person never become extreme in the name of religion. And have firm faith, God will never defeat true and honest person”.

I prayed to God to help us.

A couple of hours later Saravanan came with a heavy heart. Villagers are not interested in stopping widow burning. Therefore everyone sat down with an upset mind.

Next morning a village doctor known to Saravanan, gave us a proposal for boat trip. To boost our mind, everyone went out together with him. Walking few distance from the village, the river is along the way. On the bank of river, a beautiful boat was there. It was similar to large boats in our villages. Nearly thirty feet in length. Two storied; therein nice doors and windows. Entirely made of wood and cane. Shiny polished inside. Just like a swan, floating over water. Bedroom, bath and dining facilities are Inside there.

Saravanan and I sat in at the boat’s window. And caught many fish angling with a rod. Prepare and cooked with spicy masala and coconut milk. Everybody ate well with white rice, fried fish, vegetable curry and coconut cooked with lobster. There was fun, music and singing until we returned in the evening.

In the river bank we meet with the village Panchayat chief Venkatesh Sharan. Healthy tall man with wide shoulder. Three white lime stains on his forehead, bracelets on the hands, thick mustache, and curling hair. He was wearing white shirt and a white lungi folded in half over his knees.

This time he was speaking too courteous with Saravanan in local language.

Saravanan told us, “Chief of the panchayet has one son and one daughter. The little girl, age of seven was very sick. He have to go with the head of Village panchayats. For medical treatment of his daughter”.

Our host rural doctor Mr. Nisanatan. also went with him. Bullock cart waiting near the bank. Everyone sat down, then bullocks start running. We would not let Saravanan leave alone. We all wanted to go. But he forbid us. Saravanan never return that night. And no one came with news. We all remain anxious for unknown danger.

Saravanan and village Doctor Nisanatan arrived in the early morning. Fatigue in their face and eyes; for sleepless night.

“The girl had stomach illness, vomiting and fever. She repeatedly lost her sense. Probably food poisoning and diarrhea. Still weak but the girl is recovering rapidly. Before this, another daughter of village chief died in of same illness. Baidya and Ojha’s of the village blames ghost for this. And beaten the little girl in ruthless way”, Saravanan said in sighed.

A great doctor's tireless human service, made my heart wiggle.

In the afternoon, Panchayat chief came along with fifteen to twenty men. gladly told us, all the head of the village had been agreed to abolish widow burning practice.

Also they ask for our help, to establish a school and hospital.Happy and emotional we all hugged everyone. Now 1966 AD. In 78 years of in life I did not get the same joy second time in nonviolent movements”.

After saying this, the great revolutionary looked at everyone.

He told us in generous voice, “All battles do not require guns. But some battles can not be win without guns. Sometimes in life is to look back. How far we came! How the progress of science, art and literature has changed our minds. Now millions of people no longer die in infectious disease tuberculosis, smallpox, or malaria. Communications from one end to the other end of the world becoming easy. Child marriage, polygamy and widow burning has been abolished. Yet this is man's character, he is afraid of new innovation. By creating all around strong shields of fallacy, he try to ignore the changes. Only proper education can create enlightened people . Great humans like Dr. Saravanan”.

 

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