Ranjit did not expect the kind of reception being accorded to him on his return from Mirpur. He was staring at the bunch of garlands covering his neck and face up to the nose. The flower petals were still strewn around the dais, which were showered upon him by the delegates to the conference called by the sage in his honor. The unit heads of the movement of freedom had been invited to the sanctum sanctorum to introduce him to all of them. Hassan the man in charge of training of the new recruits in the camps across the frontiers of the country was speaking on the mike “our great seer Rajamantran the savior of the nation has found a gem and a diamond in you. The sharp mind exhibited by you in getting the big consignments of arms and ammunition through the air route while the security agencies looked for them elsewhere is a master stroke. No amount of praise can be sufficient to pay for the services rendered”.

The speaker kept eulogizing Ranjit’s feat, “The manner you have solved our problem is unprecedented.  I am sure you will be able to find a way to take our young recruits out of the country for training across the borders and bring them in. Now that fake chief minister Pratap, the stooge of the nonbelievers will find his way out soon. Our boys will use the arms to kill the ones who voted for that goon. We will take the flight out of the reach of the security forces. His own people will force Pratap to step down; when the violence escalates”.

“That will not be possible” General Durjan spoke up, “ The air route one day will definitely become known to the forces and we do not want to risk the life of our boys by making them sitting ducks at the mercy of the security forces. Just remember the land provides enough coverage to escape. The aircraft this time has been able to hoodwink. Who knows the next time it may not be possible to”; General Durjan had come to his rescue.

Ranjit sat amused listening to the views expressed by different speakers on the stage. Each of them made Ranjit a hero against the incumbent Chief Minister. None of them ever touched the thoughts of gaining freedom from this country. To them the word freedom was restricted to only bringing in their own man as the next chief minister. They wanted to exploit the fruits of the power to their benefit and advantage. He looked towards the sage to see his reaction to the statements issued by different speakers.  Ranjit was expecting him to clarify his stand on the kind of freedom the great sage had ever wanted his people to attain. And none came forward.

General Durjan was addressing the members who had been highly elated on the feat achieved by Ranjit. “First of all I do not want the fact to be publicized like the way it is being done by most of us now. The secrecy of operations is always the major factor behind its success or failure. I am overwhelmed by the praises thrown by all of you on this young boy. However I do believe he has done some thing special. The blessings of our great seer Rajamantran are always with all of us and with the pious well wishes of the god in persona that nothing seems to be impossible to our people”. The small hall resounded with clapping from the gathering of people.

He continued, “Our great mission of freedom is known well to our neighbors across the frontier too. They are all willing to extend their help and cooperation for the attainment of liberty of our greater nation. We all should know that it is a dream of our great sage are to attain complete freedom for us. We are not merely fighting a man who just happened to win an election. The great sage wants all of you to challenge the very system of being ruled by the constitution of an alien community.  Hence I do not think our fight is against one politician.  It is against the bunch of them who have exploited the election system to their advantage since they controlled the majority sentiments.  They have devised the voting system to suit their needs. He wants all of you to come out of the clutches of these manouverists.  I really think that the time has now come for taking up the struggle to the international level. Our war is similar to the wars of the Palestinians and the Irish, the Afghans and the Afrikaans. So far we have been fighting the battle with a mere politician of the local standing. We have been asking for the emancipation from the misrule of the local government. But if the dreams of the great sage Rajamantran are to be realized then we need to wage a full scale war against our enemies for which our friend Ranjit has just brought in the first lot of arsenal.  It is possible he will have to bring in many more of such consignments. May we all seek the way to our destination through the good advice of our great pontiff who shall lead us to the victory”? They all loved his speech.

Some one shouted from the rear portion of the hall from amongst the audience, “Make Ranjit the in charge of the international wing”. The voices of “yes, yes, you must do it” welcomed it back.

The pontiff Rajamantran raised his hands to let people know he wanted to speak. A pin drop silence had fallen into the room.

“There is no iota of doubt the young man here has done a good job.  But we should not get carried away by small little successes. There is need to concentrate on the bigger job ahead of us. We have woken up the conscience of our nation for dreaming bigger things. Like my young brother has said we need to ask for freedom from the very constitution. We must devise our own systems. We musty have our own laws and the constitution for the nation that we are dreaming of. We shall not only fight the battle at the doorsteps of the local government but the arms will also be drawn at the world forums to get the international attention and sympathy. I welcome the sentiments expressed by all present here. We propose to make Ranjit the in charge of the international wing. He will be representing your sentiments through lawful and if need be through unlawful activities to gain the attention of the world freedom fighters to our cause”.

Ranjit felt as if a brick had hit him on his head.  He had not wanted to hold the reigns of the horse of terrorism he has been riding directly like this.  It was a different thing to act as a hit man, a courier, a go between amongst the parties wanting to bring in the contrabands, but to lead a movement at the forum suggested by the sage, belied his faith in his capabilities. He looked protesting towards General Durjan and then at the sage. They just ignored his eyes contact.  The sage continued with his speech. Ranjit could not pay attention to what was being said further until every one got up to honor him with garlands and flower petals for the second time that evening again. He felt as if he was being worshipped before being led to alter of the sacrifice … soon some one will come to chop his neck off.

The opportunity to lodge his disagreement to the proposal appeared in the next day when he was meeting General Durjan alone in the evening.  “I do not think I am fully prepared to shoulder the responsibility you all want me to. I have not ever been a part of any kind of political activity in all my life, nor do I intend to get me burdened by any such task in the near future. I have always led a life away from the public eye. That has always helped me in achieving whatever I wanted to, be it handling the drugs deliveries or the procurement of arms for your movement. Once I come into the limelight, the incognito role that I have played in these tasks will lose its advantage. I will be no longer useful to your movement nor will I be able to earn my bread the way I have always been doing. I will pray to sage to let me live the life in the free way that I am used to”, he told General Durjan.

“On the contrary I think we are giving you an opportunity to expand your portfolio from that of a mere courier of arms to that of an international negotiator of armaments.  You will be representing our movement to the entire world. Imagine when the world over the strugglers for freedom will look upon you as their icon. Your foresightedness has impressed the sage tremendously. He is fully convinced that you and only you can make the world see our point of view. Our nation is spread in almost all countries of the globe but it lacks cohesion and direction.  Because there has not been any concerted effort to let the universes feel our presence. We want you to carry out some specific tasks abroad to awaken the world to the birth of the new nation. Let the world know that though our nation had lost its glory it has not died and merged itself with others in the volatile times. We have to tell the current generation that we are still a force to reckon with”.

General Durjan’s sermon would have gone on and on, had the sage not personally walked into the room. They both got up from their seats and bent down to touch his feet. The pontiff was followed by a group of boys carrying a wooden chest. The sage Rajamantran ordered them to put the wooden chest down on the floor.  He bade them to leave the room. He opened the chest and took out a musket. The handle of the firearm was ornate with gold and precious diamonds.  The valuable stones studded on the top of the muzzle were shining like the stars. It created an aura of lights around the hand of the sage holding the gun.

“This treasure here belongs to one of our forefathers who had waged great battles against the foreign invaders. History has been witness to his soldier like loyalties to the then Indian rulers. He had never ever lost a battle. He had helped the kingdom of his times expand in all four corners of the universe. This musket has ever been his most favored arm. He carried it with him in all his conquests. We want to present this to you as a token of lucky mascot.  That will inspire you to serve and expand our small shrine into all four corners of the world. We have no intentions to spill any bad blood any where. But the times have ordained that we create a dread of our might amongst the developed nations too. That will make them force the rulers of our country to grant us the freedom that we are seeking. You will have to organize such assault as can draw the international media attention to write about our existence. Such acts of international destabilization will convey the representatives of the world forums to talk to us. We have devised a strategy, which will be explained to you by General Durjan later. I had seen a doubt lurking somewhere within you at the function organized yesterday hence I thought it prudent to talk to you in person. This musket is being presented to you as a token of the high honor we accord to your dedication to our mission.  We expect you will still be stirred to lead us to the future victories like our forefather had done”.

Ranjit overwhelmed by the love and affection showered upon him by the sage accepted the gun by both of his hands.  He raised the musket to his forehead as if acknowledging the piece of firearm to be a gift from lord the almighty. He had tears in his eyes and fell on the feet of the great sage.

The hypnotist was smiling at General Durjan. They had been sharing the joke he played on the vulnerable boy. They knew this   young man will henceforth never ever think of going against their cause.  They knew they have won over this boy’s unquestionable loyalty and blind faith forever.

“And by the way it is time you settled down in your life too. We believe the family life is as important for the individual as it is the spiritual life he leads. Mr. Kumar has agreed to our request to marry off his daughter to one of our brave soldier. He shall be calling on you. He wants to seek your nod for his daughter’s hand in matrimony. We will organize your wedding in our own special way”.

The sage had left the room a long time ago. Ranjit still sat there looking admiringly at the musket. He was completely in a trance. He had never been blessed so much in his life.  He did not want to get up from the chair he was sitting into lest the dream was snatched by any movement of his body.

General Durjan nudged him awake, “Will you not like to call on your lady love after a gap of so many days? She must be waiting for you”.

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