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The great priest Rajamantran had finished his practicing of the last asana of yoga. He opened the small window opening of his room and looked outside into the large compound spread into many acres. He noticed the mammoth crowds were beginning to gather outside in the big lawns. The disciples and other volunteers from the shrine were making sitting arrangements for people. They had been requesting people to take their seats in the separate queues meant for men and women. The people attending the ritual of annual worship were coming into the enclosure. They will bow in front of the Holy Scripture. They will also pay their respects to others present in the audience. And finally they were proceeding to take their respective seats in the arena meant for them.

The office of the great priest Rajamantran had sent invitation to all and sundry through the public address systems fitted in all the shrines located in the area. The shrines in surrounding villages too had made public announcements on their public address systems in very loud tones, “Dear brothers and sisters, the great priest Rajamantran of our parish will be addressing all of us on the important religious, social and political issues that concern all of us. The congregation will take place on the Holy day. You must reach the shrine one and all and make the religious gathering a grand success. The right time has arrived to contribute your might to the protection of your religious, cultural and ethnic heritage. The sect needs your services. Please, do make all efforts to come one and all. You must come to listen to the preaching of the great preacher and great Priest. You must imbibe his golden saying in your life, and adopt them to lead a better life. Teach it to your young ones. Bring them along to the grand occasion; so that they can be baptized in the great traditions every single one of us have followed all our life. Remember ultimately it is the religion commemorated by our great Priest that will outlast all of living beings. We owe it to our future generations to perpetuate the greatness of our mighty faith, so that they live with their heads held high in the times to come”.

The villagers came; the ladies and women came with the kids in their arms and toe. The townsmen arrived in groups. They came in Lorries, trucks, tractors and animal driven vehicles. Some came on foot walking many miles overnight in groups, singing their prayers and hymns on the way. After all this occasion comes once and twice a year and such ostentatious festivity should be shown to the children too. Their caravans were coming in from all directions dressed in their festive best.

The great priest Rajamantran looked through the small opening in the door and saw faces all around. He saw human frames everywhere, waiting patiently yet expectantly to listen to his sermon. “Now is the time to make my imposing entrance”, he thought to himself.

He beckoned to the first contingent of armed guards to lead him, two of the armed guards will walk in the front, two on the side on to his left and the other two on his right, six of them will follow him in the rear. They will walk with their guns pointed towards the sky and no sooner he reaches the Dais, the guns numbering eleven will fire their guns salute to him.

The speaker on the public address system using numbers of loud speaker fitted into the congregation premises on the poles erected all over was making the ostentatious announcement. He began the minute he saw the great priest Rajamantran coming out of his room. “The savior of the mankind, the reincarnation of all gods, the Almighty personified, the leader of all the leaders, the brave of the braves, and the greatest Priest of the great Priests is here to give you his blessings. Bow before him the big and the mighty, bow before him the young and the elders, bow before him the rich and not so rich He is here to lift you all from your daily grinds of life. Make sure no one turns his back towards him; one momentary look of the great will charge your entire existence. Savor his Presence and get the heavenly bliss showered upon your near and dear ones”.

The entire assembly like the regimented march past of the soldiers of a well-disciplined army turned their faces towards the door from where the great pontiff made his entry. They all bowed before him, some were lying prostrate on the floor to seek his blessings. He raised both his hands in sanction to bless all of them. Contingent of the gunmen prevented people from going near him; the entire public was overawed by his majestic presence. He walked on to the left of the crowd. People turned their heads in the direction in which he moved; like the shadow of the Sundial. He reached the end of the congregation; crowd had also turned half circle by then. People had gone hysterical and they were raising slogans “Long live the great Priest, long live the god”.  They were chanting the hymns composed by him. By now he had reached the right side of the pandal, the worshippers moved their faces in the same direction. He picked up a bunch of flowers from the baskets being carried by the devotees, and threw them back at the crowd, who had become delirious by now “God bless our soul. We are lucky to have witnessed his holy presence”, some of the old ladies were singing. He stopped midway, lifted a small child from a woman’s arms and kissed him on the forehead “Have you given a   name to this child of god?”

“I am here at your feet your lordship to seek a blessed name for him, me poor human being can not decide. Please bless him and baptize him”.

“In that case let him be known as the unvanquished. I name him Ajay”. The woman took the child back from him and lay face down on his feet. The gunman picked her up and moved her to aside “Let the great priest Rajamantran move, make way for him” they told parishioners.

The great priest Rajamantran took the left turn again reaching near the podium.  The people in the audience had taken three hundred sixty degree turn by now, as they considered it sacrilegious to show their back to the messenger of god. He climbed three steps to reach the stage. The entire gathering of people present there had put their foreheads on the floor. They were worshipping him. They lay down there completely prostrate on the ground with both their hands folded in the form of greetings while they were paying their deference to him.  The great priest Rajamantran enjoyed the sight. He absorbed the entire scene of people lying on the ground to worship him (for a few seconds) and thus he began their discourse “Rise my children, rise from the depths of   abyss. You all must rise to the new awakening, grow to the new dawn. The novel Sun of spiritual knowledge beckons you to keep the blindfolds of ignorance away that you have been wearing for centuries”. The multitude rose from the floor and stood in reverence. He mentioned them to sit.

A few musicians on the stage started playing their musical instruments of harmonium and tabla.  The young girls who accompanied these choirs sang the ode to the Goddess of Power, “Oh mother, and Dear mother! Bless us; bless us to face the good deeds of life. Bless us to lay down our lives for the resurgence of our great nation. Empower us to sacrifice our life for the good of our religion. Bless us to give up our all worldly possessions for the common cause of society. Oh Mother! We are but the mortal souls.  We beseech you to bless us with immortality so that we depart this life for the greater cause and live a pious living for ages thereafter. Bless us to drink the nectar of your eternal power to make us become fearless, courageous and truthful”. The group recited the hymn resonantly.  All the people present at the congregation joined in and sang. The great priest Rajamantran lent his voice in between to lead the chorus.

He asked the microphone to be brought to him once all the singing groups had paid their ode to the goddess.

“ Bang”,  the first gun fired the salute,’ Bang’, ‘Bang’; ‘Bang’ the third, the fourth, the fifth and finally the eleventh gun fired the salute from their guns  towards the skies . Having emptied their cartridges the gunmen moved behind the stage to take their positions. The participants of this serious gathering looked at their great priest very reverentially. There was an apprehensive   pin drop silence in the jamboree of men, women and children.

The cleric cleared his throat and started speaking, “Dear Children of God! The Society of the wisest, May the wiser counsel prevail amongst this noble audience? We all are gathered here today to commit to our memory the sacrifices made by our great forefathers to perpetuate the faith that we live with today. This faith has been the bane of our lives through many ages. This faith has kept the bonds of our society strong. This faith that has seen the survival of our religion through the atrocities the Mughal and the British committed on our people. The strong bonds of our community kept our trust alive in the tenets of our religion during the worst of trying times. I pay my tributes to the tenacity and faithfulness of a great nation of braves”, the great priest Rajamantran bent downwards and rubbed his forehead against the floor of the platform, as if he was paying homage to the unknown and unsung braves of the faith. People echoed in a single chorus, “You are the greatest of all, may you live long to lead us to the glory of our religion always”.

The great priest Rajamantran raised him to the level of the microphone again and continued his sermon,” However we find a weakening of the centuries old faith today amongst our younger age group. Our youngsters are being misled by the flawed social norms of modern society. Our very organism of heritage and culture of century’s old richness is getting vitiated by the misleading propaganda propagated by the enemies of our faith. There are many instances that have of late been the main cause of consternation to our mental peace.

The education policy adopted by the governments successively both in the state and the centers have been the cause of our children getting astray. They have today been moved away from us by this ill equipped education system. Those nincompoops and frauds who devised the new and modern education syllabi and study schemes have a scant knowledge of our rich traditions and culture, or our vast inheritance. We are being herded like the sheep of the same flock with other communities. Some of our brethren were wise enough to ask for and insist on a separate native soil for themselves after moving away from the British. They fought for a place of their own; they stood their ground and won it. Their leaders had the foresight to see that if they do not get a separate homeland, there community may not retain their distinct political identity and will get submerged into the vast ocean of other cultures. They maintain their independent nation today based on their religion, their scriptures, their faith and their way of living.

Look at yourself! Can you say that the enriching, social, and ethnic individuality of your families’’ has been preserved by you. Has it been allowed to flourish by the regime that we got for ourselves? Our learning institutes, religious shrines and so much so our means of living are all being subject to the rules and regulations adopted by the voice of vote.  That obviously will always be in favor of the majority community. They did not relish our landed assets hence they had cut the arms of our peasant community by introducing the draconian laws related to the land holdings. They cut short the size of our fields by the mandate in the name of distributing excess territory to the landless. In this process they diluted the very social and cultural milieu of our society. We have become losers today in our own homes, because the political set up have been devised to benefit the numerous. The religion has moved from our hands to the politicians of questionable allegiance. They owe their loyalty to vote banks and not to the great preaching enshrined in our holy scriptures. Do you really want to be a part of such an immoral society?  Please answer me” he exhorted the audience to build up a sense of frenzy amongst them.

“I want your feedback to the conditions and atmosphere in which our agriculturists are laboring. What do they get out of their toil? They cannot arrange proper food, shelter and clothing for their wards. The free trade is curbed by the lollypops of governmental procurement systems and crutches of support price. Our farmers’ brothers cannot decide the price of their own produce. Our brethren are forced to sell their produce from their farmlands to the government agencies and brokers patronized by these agencies.  You will all bear with me that the poor tiller was much better off during the Mughal regime, even after paying the jajia (revenue on land holdings imposed by some of the Mughal kings)   on land. What have our fate come unto?  I want you to be aware of your own worth. Self sufficiency of the economy can be attained if we have our own separate nation, our own separate laws, social traditions, and our very own religious and ethnic culture not polluted by the ills of the other communities. We are a race of the wisest; a race of the purest. Raise my children, rise from the ashes of oblivion, and throw away the curtains of slavery that are blinding you. It is your own motherland that seeks a separate state, a homeland of your own. Defy the draconian police rule; defy the laws that do not permit you to maintain an exclusive identity”.

He helped himself to a few sips of water offered to him by one of his bodyguards. He surveyed all around him. The gathering of the people were sitting with their hands folded in reverence to him, he carried on with his communication, and “In the institution of marriage ceremony too we have been clubbed with the jurisprudence of the community that enjoys their numerical majority.  We refuse to admit this kind of treatment at anyone’s behest. From today onwards our ethnic community   will devise our own laws. We will have our own social code of conduct to govern our institutions of social living.  We will have our own trading and commerce agencies that will lay down the norms for all our business activities. We will have our own jurisprudence.   We will have our own security agencies. We have always sent the highest numbers of our boys to the defense agencies of this country. What for? Does the government want them to use and direct their guns on us only? We will not provide any more hands to hold these guns”.

He looked through the corner of his eyes; three young peasants carrying the bundles of the sugarcanes on their heads were approaching towards the stage. He knew in these bundles they were carrying the guns used to eliminate and massacre innocent bus passengers. He told one of the armed guards to let the boys come in. They put their bundles of sugarcane they were carrying on their heads down on the earth.  They climbed on the dais to touch his feet and seek his blessing thereof.  He knew his boys have dug the first nail in the coffin of the ministry lead by Pratap. He blessed them by raising both his hands and continued with the delivery of his sermon “Let us declare this day as the day of an absolute freedom. I want you all to raise your fists and repeat with me ‘death to the traitors of truth and religion! Let the true values of our community rule! Let there be new awakening amongst all sections of our pious society!”  The crowd that had been enraptured by his utterances suddenly woke up like a giant. They repeated three times, “death to the traitors of truth and religion! Let the true values of our community rule! Let there be new awakening amongst all of us!”

The armed guards who had refilled the cartridges of their guns by now once again raised their guns heavenwards and fired constantly till the last bullet had been spent. The great priest Rajamantran got up from his royal throne. He came to the front of the podium and affirmed “The sound of these guns herald the onset of our freedom. We declare our own rule; the representatives of the draconian rulers can go and report to their lords.  They can come and join us. It is ultimately their choice. We will praise the God again”. He witnessed the crowd rising on their on their feet and he shouted loudly “long live the faith”; all the people echoed in one breath “long live the faith”.

The great priest Rajamantran climbed down the stairs. A surge of humanity was wailing “Long lives our great Priest, long live our savior and long live the savior of our nation.” Armed guards had moved forward to cover him from all sides. None could reach him. He moved towards the door from which he had emerged in the morning. The crowd did finish anti clock movement of their heads once again.

The young boys who had brought in the sugarcane bundles as offerings were lost in the huge assembly. The offerings of the canes along with other presents and gifts were sent inside the shrine.

 

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