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 “.