Archive for July, 2012

Maddening Corridors of Intrigues . Chapter-22

General Durjan took him to a street leading out of the main town in a jeep and he himself drove the vehicle to a farmhouse, a few kilometers away from the last octroi post. Ranjit sat in the front seat along with General Durjan. As soon as the vehicle took off two boys came running towards the open jeep and jumped into the rear seat. They too were carrying similar weapons, “may be, they are also on the familiarization and shooting trip”, thought Ranjit.

A cut out of the targeted person had been placed before each firing stand and the instructor will exhort each one of the shooters while practicing target shooting, “you warriors you have to remember that it is either you or the target that will come out of this mission alive. If you miss, then it is you who will die. You are not looking at the card boxes but the traitors and the exploiters of society. They are your enemies.  They are not the dummies. Look at them as real faces and then fire”. If some one hit the flag, he would personally go to him and congratulate.

The training in the art of escape from the place of attack made it clear to him, “we value your life; so long as you do not get caught; hence you must try to come out alive from the enemy’s fort. Should you fail to come out bite the chocolate tied to a thread on your neck; this will give you instant relief, which will save you from the torture, pain, and humiliation at the hands of the enemies. Each on of you will have a cover up following you; to ensure he kills the one who gets captured. The cover up process is adopted as a back up exercise to ensure elimination of either the target or the missionary who fails to achieve the mission assigned. The mission is supreme to all of us. You know the reward after accomplishment will take care of you and your family for generations to come at the same time though the family will be taken care of even after failure but you may not be there to share the booty with them”.

General Durjan himself who elaborated on the great sacrifices of their predecessors and preachers handled the period in theology. The perpetrators of the atrocities on the believers of faith and the trials and tribulations of the faithful to religion; had to undergo; taught them about defiant and relentless fight carried by the braves in all ages. “This training is only an introduction to the intense and the deeper training to be followed at the other side of the frontiers which will make a complete, fiercer and stronger warrior out of you as compared to the ones created by the armed forces of any country”, General Durjan would often tell them.

He briefed them about the intended target’s movements, his location advantages, and disadvantages, possible proximity they could attain to the target or the improbability of achieving the given task were all explained to them at the intensive training schedules. “Remember the task will have to be finished at the first go. There will never be a second chance. In case you are not confident of cent percent success, you must have the patience to wait for precise moment.  You should always remember that it is you have who have decided the hour and the minute of death of your target when he is put on the list of defaulters. This minute of his death will definitely come. Your courage from within will give you desired results”, General Durjan maintained.

“The minutes for accomplishing the task should come to me sooner than expected”, thought Ranjit. Two boys were assigned the job of keeping surveillance on his movements all the while lest he wanted to give it all up and run away. He had resolved to give it a try to lead his life as suggested by the seer.  Yet many a times he wondered if the promised wads of foreign currency will ever be used by him.  “What if he fails to get at the target? What if the return fire of security forces kills him?  Even the boys from the shrine who had been deployed to keep an eye at him can finish him to remove all traces of his connections back to the pontiff. At least his family will be able to come out of the rigmaroles of day-to-day pangs of wants and shortages in their life, he thought to himself. This will also tell his father that he was not a worthless son after all”.

“If he comes out of the task successful he will be able to get married to the girl of his choice. How can the parents of the girl refuse if the shrine puts pressure on them?  Otherwise also till date they have all fallen to his charms.  This girl will be no exception”. He could feel the closeness of her warmth even today. He remembered the day she agreed to accompany him to a walk through the lawns of the university gardens. She was coming out of the classroom when he accidentally met her on the way. He was in no mood to go to the university but a sense of idleness was eating into him and out of sheer boredom he drove to the building that housed her classroom. He did not expect she will agree to accompany him but still he took the chance to ask her out for a cup of coffee.

“No I do not relish it much “, she had told him.

“In that case if you have some time, can we walk through the lawns? I am sure a walk in this nice weather will do well to both our moods. I am not able to sit through the class out of sheer boredom”, he told her.

During walk through the botanical gardens he tried holding her softly on her lower waist. She trembled at the first touch. He let it go after a while. But a few minutes later had put his hand again on her waist and finding no resistance continued placing it there all through the walk. He desperately wanted to hold her still closer and give her a big hug. The scent of her body was having a strong aphrodisiacal effect on his mind and heart. He knew that she was equally affected the way he had been. A few more seconds of this heavenly togetherness could have made them forget about the worlds around them. But They had hardly walked through for an hour or so when a group of boys and girls from her class appeared on the scene. She had to go with them to attend the next class. A little of her company was enough to convey to him that she too was interested to make friends with him, but the fear of betraying her parents’ confidence in her was holding her back.

“They have sent me to complete my higher education with so many expectations. I will never ever be able to let them down”, she told him.

He felt her priorities were completely different from other girls he came across earlier. Those girls were always too eager to find out if he will marry them and take them abroad with them.  She had always refused to keep the small gifts brought by him for her.

She will say “I do not use any kind of cosmetics or perfumes hence they will be of no use to me “. He was always at his wits end to understand as to what could impress her till one day she herself suggested, “I am too fond of reading. Please see if you can come across some old fiction and novels.  I shall of course pay for the same. He had not read any such book in his life and had to seek the help of the shopkeeper to select a few books on English fiction for her.

“I hope you have already gone through these “. Her question had put him in a little discomfort him but he felt relaxed when she said, “now do not tell me the stories, I will not be able to read if you unravel the whole thing in advance. I always like the eagerness to find out what happens next. Yes I do not have the money right now and will pay it to you when I get my pocket money next month”. It was her simplicity and honesty that was getting to him besides of course her untouched and unexplored beauty.

“She carried a whiff of heavenly fragrance around her, like the first shower of the monsoon. She was like the only rose bud that raises its head when the spring breaks after a long autumn season” he told himself. She is meant for me only and I will never ever tell the boss about her, what if the gang ever comes to know about her and want me to do the same to her that I have done to other girls, “I will tell them she is my actual wife and not the pretended one like all others were”, he convinced himself.

Once or twice it did occur to him to talk it out with the boss, and settle once for all that she was meant for him and only him. “I shall do that when the necessity arises”, he had always thought.  “And now with the support of the seer, no boss ever will be able to touch what is rightfully my own”, he removed the fear on his mind.  He dreamt of the luxurious life he would be able to lead staying abroad with the love of his life Koena.

The little doubt still persisted, “what if her parents will not agree to their matrimony, have not the parents of other girls agreed to, whenever he proposed”. He had by now lost the count of the number of marriages he had embarked on. He started counting and recalling the names of the girls he had dumped in different countries. After a few of the names he lost count and gave up the effort.

“Koena was different; she will remain as my wife and bear our children. She will stay with me all my life. I will not travel to the places where I have taken the other girls”.







Maddening Corridors of Intrigues – Chapter 21

The much-anticipated invitation to Ranjit for a meeting with the seer Rajamantran came late in the evening. Ranjit had taken his dinner at the common feast organized at the community kitchen. He was impatiently waiting for the summons

from the pontiff since he had sent a message across that he should wait for his call.

 “You can not leave until the saint orders you to do so. He wants you to have your dinner at the common feast. You must wait for an audience with him” the boy had told him.

Ranjit was led to a room upstairs for the interview. The saint Rajamantran was sitting on the floor with both of his legs spread in front of him. The gun brought by Ranjit was lying on the right of seer. Two boys standing behind the seer looked quite ferocious. They had their fingers on the triggers. Ranjit knew the volley of fire could kill many people if boys put little more pressure on those fingers. He was trembling.  His fear had engulfed all other persons sitting in room. Ranjit touched the feet of Rajamantran. He stood with head bowed and hands folded. Ranjit had been expecting some kind of reprimand and admonishment from him.

Instead the pontiff spoke to him in most endearing tone, “you should relax young man. I know you are the son of this soil. Every son of the  soil has to pay a price for having been born in the toughest of times. You’re taking to drugs smuggling initially. Thereafter you have been betraying the young women around every where. Finally you have been employed in the act of bringing in arms from across borders and beyond seven seas at the cost of your life and freedom. It points to only one fact that the country has not been administered in right manner. The young ones of this country cannot find their bearings.  They do not quite know how to live a pious life.  They do not quite know what is right or what is wrong. They are desperately searching in the dark for all the answers…. The politicians have not been able to ameliorate the masses from the shackles of poverty.   Their filthy greed and hunger for the lucre has brought in them their overwhelming sense of servitude towards the capitalist countries of the west. Even today they want to remain the stooges of foreign powers through the pawning of the agriculturist, the industrialist, the educationist, the banker and so much so the common citizen to the alien powers by the economic policies dictated by big financial muscles of awful domination. I believe the time has now come to turn the tide. Our religion teaches us tolerance but not at the cost of subservience. Our self-respect, our human self-esteem and above all our right to independent thinking must not be subject to any cause. I beseech all rightful thinking people esp., young blood in the countryside to come and join our movement.  That will take our nation to new heights of independent edict. As for you young man we are not sure of your intentions. You are free to go back to the life of making a few dollars cuts from the contrabands. One-day you will fall into the net of the lawmakers.  That will be your sure ultimate end. On the other hand should you desire to join our fight for survival of faith which I believe you are; you have to prove your allegiance to the faith.”

“And how do I do that my lord!” he heard his voice getting hoarse due to excitement. Rajamantran the seer beckoned to one of the boys to bring forward the small urn kept in one corner of the room. The urn was decorated with fresh flowers. Ranjit remembered having seen this pitcher at the shrine where he had gone along with his mother to pay obeisance to the seer on his grandmother’s last rites. “Do not worry your mother has reached home “, he told him.

Ranjit looked at the pot, and wondered if “it contained some one’s ashes and saint wanted him to immerse them some where.  May be he wants him to make some monetary contribution in the decorated vessel for the faith”.  He did not count how much money he had in his wallet, when he left home along with his mother, besides he had to pay for the tickets on the way.  There will hardly be any amount left. But a pontiff of his status, who can bring the entire state machinery to its knees, will hardly be looking forward for an offering from a small time courier. The young boy kept the urn at the feet of the seer.  He addressed one of the elderly gentlemen, “General will you do us this favor please”?  The Gentle man named General Durjan got up from his seat, picked up the pot and brought it to Ranjit “you will take out one slip out of the many slips available in this container pot. The mission wants you to prove your loyalty, pledge your willingness to join the faith by punishing the person whose name appears on the slip, within seven days from today. And in case you fail to do so within stipulated time our boys will take your life. So before you really take one slip out you better make up your mind; because once you have seen the name written on this piece of paper, you either eliminate the man whose name is scribbled or you pay with your life in return”.

“But why should I kill any innocent human being “, Ranjit asked General Durjan and wondered if the pontiff knew about grandmother as well.  “We can assure you their names in this warrant list are added only after we are fully convinced that these people are not innocents. They are the enemies of our faith, the nation and the community. Any one who opposes the system of belief of our society does not have a right to live. Let me tell you further that in case you are successful in this mission the riches will be yours for the asking. We plan assigning you the task of organizing arms procurement for the mission on such a large scale that you could take home sacks full of dollars “.

There was a pin drop silence in the room. Ranjit had put his left hand in the urn and took out a slip that contained death warrants for some one. Ranjit handed over the piece of paper to pontiff. He asked General Durjan, “Let the boy read aloud the name.  Let the august audience gathered here realize that we do not forgive the betrayers of faith, nor do we kill innocents”.

The name announced threw a pall of fear on some present but it also made some of them ecstatic. If this could be achieved, their mission will become a force to reckon with in this country.

General Durjan took Ranjit away,” come young man, let us initiate your baptism and training thereafter”. The initiation took place by sprinkling holy water and tying a new bandana on him. “You can select any of the guns from the lot available and accordingly we will train you in the use of fire arm. Though I feel as a courier you must have had the opportunity to play with a few of these. I will suggest you need to get familiar with these two main weapons initially”. He picked up a long-range rifle with binoculars and the other was a smaller gun similar to the one that had been brought by Ranjit. Ranjit wondered how many couriers were operative in the country. He was looking at the number of arsenal displayed there.

Maddening Corridors of Intrigues Chapter 20

Security forces had put up large barricades of iron railings and other steel fortification just outside the main building of the secretariat where the procession lead by the cleric for laying down their arms was to be stopped.
“The entire group can not be allowed to go inside the chief minister’s office. I shall request that you along with few of your trusted lieutenants can come with us. The others will remain in our protection formally till the government holds parleys with you and decide the final outcome”, chief of the state police had not bargained for what the civil administrator had brought upon him through his wily manipulations and he wanted to avoid another fiasco at this stage lest they were made to prove fools again in the eyes of the entire world watching them through the lens men of the media. .
“Yes, but that tantamount to putting all of us under arrest, which violates the very agreement that it is surrender and not the capture? We are not going inside that macabre construction. You can call the chief minister right here on the road and the rendezvous can be arranged in front of the media, the press and the other public; otherwise you can take us to the place where this administration wants to keep us as captives” the holy man knew that he now had the government by the neck and nothing could prevent its faltering once again.
At exactly the same time the Home Secretary who had gone to the shrine to negotiate was briefing Pratap. Pratap was exasperated at the way things had been handled at the shrine. He did not want to have the seer on his hands, not where the world media could expose the helplessness of his government. The law of the land had been turned into a mockery by the evil machinations of his predecessor, through the Home Secretary. He understood the faux pause created by the bureaucrat’s agreement of surrender. The chief of the state police had briefed him in advance of the home secretary’s return from the shrine, on the wireless network while he was traveling back. He did not want the seer along with his goons to enter the state head quarters.
“The state police have virtually become a pawn in his hands, they could neither let him get away scot-free absolving him of all the explosive utterances nor could they take him as a prisoner without glorifying his sacrifice. The public sentiment can flare up and cost heavily in the elections of the local bodies”, thought Pratap. He called in two of his senior colleagues to deal with the situation. Brahma could not be sent to meet the saint, whose abhorrence and hatred for the party Brahma represented was well known over all political circles. He often referred to the party as the party of traders and shop keepers, who have always exploited the poor peasantry of the nation either through the religious superstitions and blind beliefs or through the malpractices of the trades adopted by the neo literate traders of the state, since most of the peasants were illiterate. The seer often referred to them as “the leeches stuck to the body figurate of the farming society”. Yet he called him in to get as divergent views as possible for coming out of this imbroglio.
The finance Minister Dhanwan represented the same area as that of the seer. In fact he comes from the same tribe the great priest Rajamantran belonged to. His forefathers at some stage were directly associated with the shrine the pontiff controlled, but ever since one of the granduncles of Dhanwan had gone abroad for higher studies their family had gradually drifted away from the shrine. The spread of education brought a new awakening to the family whose members carved out a name in various fields. Dhanwan’s, father was a judge of the supreme courts. Dhanwan himself was highly educated; his interest to develop the backward areas in his district brought him into state politics. A highly respected member of different committees of various shrines and social institutes can help in easing out the crisis and could possibly influence the way a great Priest thought.
“The irrational clairvoyant is determined to achieve martyrdom at the cost of our government, Chief, as any sane man can see, it is a deliberate act instigated by the powers at the centre. The home department has not failed to handle; they have definitely allowed the situation to get out of hands, in order to make your government a scapegoat. The game on this chessboard has reached a point of no further moves. If we send him to the gallows; the public outcry will become difficult to control, at the same time if let him go scot-free from here his temerity will increase. One day he will take the entire state and the community down with him, the centuries of brotherhood, the thread of communal harmony, and the sacrifices of all the greats of our nation have been put to test by the negation of people’s will power. The erstwhile chief minister and his mentors at the central government have gone too far this time. This proverbial camel will throw every one out one day, you mark my words “, Dhanwan had remarked.
They saw the swords and guns being raised by the boys on the ground in a distance as they looked out of the windows in the chief minister’s room. The seer was exerting pressure on the police outside to take a decision.
Brahma suggested, “But you can have him sent to the government guest house and put him under house arrest. May be you can release him later through a magistrate on a mild charge of creating public nuisance”.
“And become a laughing stock for the entire media and the opposition”, Pratap wanted to retort, but this was not the time to show resentment. He needed the support of his allies as much as he needed the support of his own party members to diffuse the situation created by the pontiff.
Dhanwan came to his rescue, ‘I do not think it is necessary for you to go down and meet him, Incase he is not interested to come upstairs alone. Nor will I suggest he should be allowed to go scot-free and without a charge. Since the surrender technically took place to the police at the shrine, he should be released from the police custody through a magistrate who will have to be brought to the scene outside your office. In order to take care of the political compulsions, I shall personally go down on your behalf to meet the pontiff. I will accept the memorandum if he has any, or even if there is no written memo I shall speak to him on behalf of the government. If I have to sacrifice my position for letting him go off the hook that will at least save the state from getting deprived of your leadership. The people of the state need you at this stage. The poor peasants of the state cannot afford another election at such short intervals, nor can the state exchequer bear the load of these elections if our ministry is dismissed by the central government. The governor’s report will not be able to make you a scapegoat if you seek my resignation for letting the seer and his goons off”.
The magistrate who was literally hauled from the court in session knew that he had to carry out the directions of the state administration. He was too happy to go along to do what was directed by the finance minister Dhanwan. After all it is not every day you get a chance to oblige a politician of his repute. The magistrate was fully aware that the favor done will be definitely paid back without even asking. He was asked to “order release of the seer and his boys out side city limits under the maintenance of public peace act. He was asked to ensure they were delivered from the judicial custody on the spot. This act of capitulation by the state government (which was managed by the home secretary on the intriguing orders of the big man) should not be mentioned in the court order. That will also make sure that the big man and his people in the shrine will be given the least possible publicity advantage”.
The jubilation of the unconditional release by the sub divisional magistrate outside the city territory was celebrated by the firing of the guns into the air by the boys. Ranjit was all along overawed by the drama unfolding till now. He was too stunned to see the state government agencies kneel down in front of the seer. This was virtually abandonment and surrender of the public authority by the police and the politicians alike.
He knew that “The seer Rajamantran certainly has some other plans beyond merely showing down the state agencies. His vision possibly can show me the way to my life. It is likely that my rudderless life may find a direction and an anchor in him. It is probable that I could lift myself in the eyes of my family and most of it in the opinion of my father, in whose mind I am still a good for nothing fellow, a progeny who has brought a bad name to the family”. He thought of Koena, “with the blessings of the great seer if I could attain even a percentage point of self respect while working for his mission, the respect thus gained can get me the love of my life. I must open up my doings to the saint and seek my way through in my future life”.
He started moving himself closer enough to where pontiff was seated in order to catch his attention. In the melee he started inching his way towards the throne on which he saw the seer had been standing in a regal posture. The seer Rajamantran had raised both his hands towards the sky. He was seeking the blessing of the lord Almighty. The pontiff was addressing his disciples. He threw a glance at Ranjit, who was completely hypnotized by the mesmerisation of the seer.
“We all should know that the battle has not been won as yet. It is the only beginnings of making these non-believers see the strength of our powers. We have the powers that are drawn from the Holiest seat of our faith. We shall visit the Sanctro Sanctorum to pay our obeisance and gratitude for this victory. We shall organize special prayers in the Sanctro sanctorum in order to extend our thanks to the common people. We must show our gratitude to the innocent multitude that has stood by us in this hour of trial. We will seek blessings from the greats of our religion, whose teachings are enshrined in the fountainhead of the Holiest of the Holiest scriptures. We shall further seek direction to our movement from that holy place only. Are you all willing to join me in this crusade”?
“Yes” the crowd shouted at the top of their voice. Ranjit could hear his voice was the loudest in that chorus.
“God we pray you to lead us to the destiny decided by you”, Ranjit uttered these words along with all others present there.
The cavalcade of the jubilant saint and his followers began its march towards the grand trunk road once again. The policemen were now walking at a distance behind the march past very reverentially. The chief of the state police Nirbhaya did not think it prudent to accompany them. His presence had been replaced him by Tanwar. Tanwar too maintained a discreet remoteness from the main entourage. Ranjit had by now managed to reach quite near enough to the pontiff. The great seer Rajamantran kept his hands on Ranjit’s shoulders to alight from the throne he had been standing on. He looked at the young boy and recognized him at once.
“You are the police inspector’s son. Where is your mother? Have you sent her back home safe with some one?” Ranjit was touched to find the saint’s concern for his family.
“You must have an audience with me when we get back. I am sure our social order can make use of your skills in meeting and countering the moves of the enemies to the faith”.
The Statement by the seer completely stunned him. He never expected such blunt and to the point description of his activities by the religious head.
“Does that mean he has been spying on me through someone? Is it possible he is also in touch with the suppliers of armaments from abroad?’
The saint spoke again “you should not burden your brains so much? We shall have answers to all of your equerries after we have reached the sanctum sanctorum “.
The welcome to the entourage lead by great seer Rajamantran at the Sanctro sanctorum was a grand affair. The leaders of the community garlanded the pontiff ….. They lifted him on a palanquin to carry him around the boundary of the Sanctro sanctorum. After having finished this ceremony they delivered him on the inner boundary of the sanctum sanctorum. The crowd that had thronged all corners of the Sanctro sanctorum was shouting the slogans eulogizing the deeds of the great seer. They wanted him to lead the prayers of the evening at the altar. Some of the devotees handed over the baton of religious authority to him to begin the proceedings. The evening prayers to the lord had begun in the most solemn atmosphere. All the People listened to his sermon in a very enraptured silence. They stood with their heads bowed in reverence and they prayed with both their hands folded in front of their chests.
He was the God personified once again as he spoke, “We have drawn our powers from you the great God! We have declared a war of emancipation of our trust from the perpetrators of crimes against our faith. Please deliver us to the altar of truth. Let the victory be with us. Let the children of truth win. The brave must be able to reinstate them. We bow before you. We take an oath in your presence today. We will fight all oppression of our faith and community till we have our last breath in our body. We will fight for the cause of our nation. We will not stop till we attain full freedom for our brethren. Be it economic, political, personal or even religious. Dear God all your children standing in front of you and also those of you who are not present here in your kingdom need your holy light for their path. Please lead all of us from path of the darkness to the openness of your light. We seek the light of your greatness. We seek your generosity. We seek your goodwill dear lord”, the pontiff Rajamantran was praying at the altar “oh god you must have mercy on your children. Please let your blessings are present with us all in these difficult times!”
After the prayers Rajamantran moved over to the eternal throne of religious authority. He sat over it.
“I have today attained, with the master stroke; the highest seat of religious authority”, he thought aloud, “The mortals who have been controlling this seat prior to me dare not stop me from this day onwards. It is time I should reinforce my authoritative claim to the fountainhead of all sanctions”.
And he declared to the surprise of many, “from today onwards the war against the nonbelievers will originate from the place where I am sitting right now”, he beckoned to the boys accompanying him, “this is our fortress henceforth. I advice you to ensure that reign of our movement is run from this supreme spot”. He virtually found no resistance from the earlier occupants. “They better not show any unless they do not wish to live “, seer was quite sure about it, “the boys are prepared to eliminate any resistance to my plans”. He smiled at the realization of his dream of” controlling the right power wing of his dream destination. “The left power poll of the legislative will also soon be taken over by me. It is possible to do it from where I am sitting,” the saint said to himself.
He was issuing his instructions clad in the form of a powerful sermon “The common devotees who shall be coming to this place to pay their obeisance however will not be harassed by any of us. We want to create a rule based on the authority flowing from the supreme seat. It is essential that the commoners are encouraged to throng the place in large numbers. The coffers will be filled by the offering of these people who will always remain faithful to the highest seat, irrespective of who the occupant is”.
“I must some how get access to treasury”, he was again talking to himself. “The committee members can be won over by creating a rift amongst them. The moderates will always remain with the government. It is only the extremists whom I must win over to my reason. We have already initiated this process of disintegration by challenging the might of the popularly elected legislature. I have won over religious power. If only bullets can create necessary scare. The ballots are bound to go in our favor henceforth “.