Aug 7, 2010

GoodBye






This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.



 
February 1901-


In the small Midnapore district of Bengal in British India was born a little brown girl with intelligent beady eyes.
The mother used to work as a maid with the wealthy Mukhopadhyay family in their district. She had enjoyed listening to her mistress recite Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry, as she fanned her, one lazy afternoon. So when her own little brown daughter was born she knew what they would call her.
She would be Khanika, a beautiful girl rightly named after Tagore’s beautiful poetry.

“Eta Lakshmi Maa!”
Her family soon began referring to her as the goddess of wealth because no sooner had she arrived that The Railway Company came forward and offered jobs to the local unemployed men along with other additional incentives. Her family could dream of rising above the poverty line, finally. Construction of the bridge over the Kosai River was also completed by June 1901 and the Midnapore district was soon connected by railway lines.

Once little baby Khanika was wrapped tightly into a bundle, by her mother but soon the child had managed to free herself and was wailing away, flailing her hands about.
“Look! She’s waving her right arm like a flag.” Her granny had observed with pride. Little did the old lady know that her observation was, in fact, a prediction of sorts!

March 1917-

The mother continued to work with the Mukhopadhyay household and the mistress grew very fond of Khanika. At home, though a very bright child, Khanika was only the 5th daughter of her parents while the Mukhopadhyay’s house was full of sons. Thus Khanika’s talents were better appreciated over there and she was treated as one of the family members.

Surbhi Mashi, as Khanika was taught to address Mrs. Mukhopadhyay, took personal interest in her schooling and grooming. Khanika was pulled out of the village school after primary education and was soon attending The Hamilton School at Tamluk in a well-tailored uniform. Khanika had a bright future written in bold on her cards and that’s what everybody talked about when she passed through the by-lanes, back from school to the Mukhopadhyay Haveli into her Mashi’s arms.

Surbhi Mashi was everything a girl could ask for.
“Bauso!” She’d sit Khanika down before her on the queen-sized four poster bed. Skipping her own afternoon siestas she would lovingly take to oiling Khanika’s already quite neatly kempt hair, combing and braiding them into neat plaits. All the while she would be humming one or the other of Shri Rabindranath Tagore’s poems. The poems written in fluent Bengali appealed to the masses, especially to Khanika since she felt a great connect with them, for many reasons.

“What is the meaning of that?”
Khanika would butt in now and then and her interest always received a favorable response from her Mashi. She would lovingly oblige and explain the deep meaning and philosophy of the words woven together into a song. Khanika’s growing years were thus steeped in Rabindranath Tagore’s poems rich in Indian thoughts, Indian culture and Indian ethos.

“Have you seen Shree Rabindranath Tagore?”, the curious teenager had inquired with Mashi once.
Within the next fortnight she was initiated to the Eden-like gardens of Shantiniketan. Studying in the idyllic environs of Patha Bhavana was what shaped Khanika’s life.
The day Rabinranath Tagore had come to Shantiniketan and Khanika saw him from close quarters for the first time she ran all the way home and bursting into the kitchen, she’d almost deafened Mashi with,
“Se ese chilo! Se ese chilo!”
“So what if he’d come to Shantiniketan?” Mashi’s eldest son Shiben had tried to cut down the excitement in irrepressible envy.
“It was like a dream come true!” Khanika tried to explain the beauty of Rabindranath Tagore's personality in words.
“The smooth flowing beard and long silvery hair… that handsome and well proportioned face….
Oh Mashi! Gurudev has a large forehead, shining eyes and a shapely nose. Intelligence is written in every pore of his skin. He wears a long robe which reaches to his ankles showing only the slippers. His skin was of the colour of ivory. Every inch of him emanates his love and compassion. His calm appearance makes him look almost like a RishiMoni, a sage!”

April 1919-

Khanika heard her Mashi’s perturbed voice inquiring of Mr. Mukhopadhyay,
“Kagoz te ki lekha aachche?”
It was all over the newspapers.

In one of the streets of the Punjab city of Amritsar, an Englishwoman had supposedly been molested. The local commander of the British Raj, Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, had immediately issued an order that all Indians passing through that lane had to crawl the length of that street on their hands and knees. He’d also ordered the indiscriminate public whipping of all natives coming within the British Policeman’s Lathi length. Following this the legislation placed restrictions on a number of civil liberties, including freedom of assembly, banning gatherings of more than four Indians.

On April 13, 1919, a multitude of Punjabis gathered in Amritsar's JallianWala Bagh as part of the Sikh Festival ‘Baisakhi’ celebrations and to protest against the extreme measures. 50 British Indian Army soldiers, under the command of General Dyer, opened fire without any warning on the unarmed gathering of men, women and children. The firing lasted for 10-15 minutes, until they ran out of ammunition. Official British Raj sources placed the fatalities at 379, and 1,100 wounded while Civil Surgeon Dr. Smith indicated that there were 1,526 casualties.

“I can only quote from Tagore’s Gitanjali , Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”, said Surbhi Mashi sighing in resignation.

Mr. Mukhopadhyay recited yet another line from the Gitanjali,
“ Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might."

Khanika’s teenage blood was boiling with rage and the air was rife with patriotism.
Just then Shiben burst into the room wildly waving a copy of the weekly Young India and crying, “Gurudev has given up his knighthood in protest!”

Soon after, Gandhiji began The Non-cooperation Movement and Shantiniketan was not impervious to it!

August 1941-

In Shantiniketan, Khanika had not only obtained a degree but also acquired huge knowledge in various types of arts and cultures. She shone amongst all the students and was affectionately called Kanu by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Khanika was immensely influenced by Tagore’s principles of life, views of education and patriotism. By the age of 40, Khanika was completely immersed in conducting adult education programmes in the surrounding villages and had also joined The Indian National Congress.

After ages she decided to visit her Gurudev at Shantiniketan one day but Tagore was unfortunately severly ill then. Nandababu who was taking care of Gurudev at that time told her,
"He is rather weak nowadays and receives but a few visitors. However he will certainly feel happy to see you."
Though her disappointment showed on her face, Khanika had immediately replied, “No, no. I do not wish him to waste his energy in talking to me.”
"Tell Gurudev," she said before leaving, "His Kanu is working towards fulfilling his wish. I am going to strive for winning back the country, not from the British, but from apathy and indifference. Gurudev as you’d dreamed our country will attain salvation for now it is truly pulsating with a passion for the recovery of our motherland. This time the British will have to say a final GoodBye to India! ”

Tagore unfortunately passed away on the 7th of August, 1941.
Khanika’s grief knew no bounds when she received the news, “Although Gurudev has sadly said GoodBye to this material world, his beauty, creative genius and excellence will continue to live through his work and will remain deep-rooted within the soul of his people!”

August 1942-

The Quit India Movement was launched nationwide in August 1942 in response to Gandhiji's call for immediate independence. This Independence Movement was a revolution empowered by the people of India to battle the British Empire and force them into giving India complete political independence.

The Quit India movement wasn’t a controlled volunteer movement like Gandhiji's previous movements and wasn’t conceived like a traditional Satyagraha. This time it was to be a 'fight to the finish', an 'open rebellion'. This was designed to be 'short and swift' and exhibited the capacity to plunge the country into a 'conflagration'. Foreign domination was to be ended at whatever cost.

Khanika ferociously led the procession of six thousand supporters, mostly women volunteers, with an aim of taking over the Tamluk police station in the Midnapore district. Taking over various police stations and government offices was a strategized step to overthrow the British government in the district. This would in turn contribute towards establishing an independent Indian state.

Khanika’s procession had reached the outskirts of the town when they were ordered to disband under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code by the British Raj. The police began firing at the crowd again. Khanika continued to lead the procession from the north of the criminal court building even after the firing commenced. The police shot her three times and despite the severe wounds in the forehead and on both her hands she marched ahead!

She still kept chanting Vande Mataram.

A Bengali policeman of the British Raj came up to her and mocked at what he thought was utter stupidity, “Eta ki uttor?”

“Etai uttor!”, replied Khanika unperturbed and determinedly continued to advance with the tri-colour flag, leaving all the volunteers behind.

“You think the British are going to be scared of you?” he persisted to ask.

Though in excruciating pain, “Ha, nischoy!” was Khanika’s quick replay again.

Khanika bade a GoodBye very soon too but she had firmly laid the foundation to the fall of the British Raj. The population of millions of Indians had been motivated like never before to claim independence as a non-negotiable goal, and every act of defiance and rebellion from the British only reinforced the nationalist sentiment.

August 15, 1947-

India achieved complete freedom when the British Raj had to bid the Indian shores GOODBYE for good, leaving us singing Rabindranath Tagore's words with pride!
Jano Gano Mano Adhinaayako Jayo Hey,Bhaarato Bhaagyo Bidhaataa
Panjaabo Sindhu Gujaraato Maraathaa,Draabiro Utkalo Bango
Bindhyo Himaachalo Jamunaa Gangaa, Uchchhalo Jalodhi Tarango
Tabo Shubho Naamey Jaagey, Tabo Shubho Aashisho Maagey
Gaahey Tabo Jayogaathaa
Jano Gano Mangalo Daayako, Jayo Hey Bhaarato Bhaagyo Bidhaataa

Jayo Hey, Jayo Hey, Jayo Hey,Jayo Jayo Jayo, Jayo Hey





Facts in the Fiction:

1. Construction of the bridge over the Kosai river was indeed completed by June 1901 and the Midnapore district was soon connected by railway lines.

2. The Tamluk Hamilton School in Midnapore is the oldest school in the district. This school produced a lot of jewels, but was made famous by Kshudiram Bose, the first martyr, who sacrificed his life to free the nation from the hands of British rule. He was a student of this school from 1900 to 1903.

3. The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and The Quit India Movement

4. This story is largely influenced by the lives of Indian Freedom fighters Malati Choudhury and Matangini Hazra.

5. The 1942 Quit India Movement in Midnapur, Bengal was indeed led by local Congress leaders.

6. The local populace of the Tumluk subdivision of Midnapore were thoroughly successful in establishing parallel governments


Glossary:

Khanika: Moments

Eta Lakshmi Maa: This is Goddess Lakshmi

Mashi: Aunty (Mother’s sister)

Bauso: Sit Down

Se ese chilo: He had come

RishiMoni: A sage

Kagoz te ki lekha aachche? : What is written in the newspaper?

Vande Mataram: Hail to our motherland

Eta ki uttor?: Is this the answer?

Etai uttor!: This IS the answer.

Ha, nischoy: Yes, Definitely!

Jano Gano Mano: Oh! the ruler of the minds of people, Victory be to You, dispenser of the destiny of India!
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,Dravida(South India), Orissa, and Bengal,
The Vindhya, the Himalayas, the Yamuna, the Ganges,and the oceans with foaming waves all around
Wake up listening to Your auspicious name, Ask for Your auspicious blessings,
And sing to Your glorious victory.
Oh! You who impart well being to the people!
Victory be to You, dispenser of the destiny of India!
Victory, victory, victory to Thee!







The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.



46 comments:

magiceye said...

this is brilliant!

coincidentally on my mumbai blog have posted a pic of a tableau in mani bhavan which depicts mahatma gandhi giving the call for quit india movement!

Vivek Nanda said...

Hello again, one again I'm so impressed by your writing skills. Even though its a lengthy post, but not once I lost interest in the superb narration presented by you and yes the true spirits of India are very well flashed in your post. Good luck!!

Samadrita said...

The last bit about taking the bullet shots and yet marching forward convinced me that Khanika's character was modelled along the lines of Matangini Hazra.
A 'goodbye' to the greatest poet and philosopher of all times and a 'goodbye' to suffering under the colonial rule!
Great narration Vibhuti!

sushobhan roy said...

wonderful narration. Kept me glued all along.. A fitting tribute to one of the great patriots of this country.. :)

Btw u know bengali very well i guess.. :)

Vibhuti B said...

Hey MagicEYE,
Just checked ur post of the photograph. WHat amazing coincidence it is! Indeed intelligent minds think alike..:D

Vibhuti B said...

Hey Vivek,
am really very thankful that my blog enjoys ur constant readership.
And you are very generous with praise too. Am happy to know that this story though lengthy successfully kept you interested in it. Keeping up with the modd of this month and week..Jai Hind! :D

Vibhuti B said...

hey Samsdrita,
looks like you know ur history well too...:D
thankyou for your kind words of appraciation. Yes it is sad that we had to wish Goodbye to one of India's greatest poets of all times..

Vibhuti B said...

thankyou so much Sushobhan..
Im so happy to see that a Bengali has enjoyed this post as much as others. And I must confess that I only have some very good Bengali friends but I personally dont know the language very well..Have only heard them speak..
I have put in a lot of pain to make this tribute as real as possible! :)
Thanks again..

cutedevilmeg said...

blooddy brilliant one Vibzyyy... ekdum dhinchakkk.. love your narration.. poora scene bana diya yaar dimag mein :)

Leo said...

wow.. a patriotic take Vibz.. well researched too.. loved it...

ATB for BATOM..

Vignesh said...

It was a good coincidence that,BAT 13 fell on 7th of august.An outstanding post.Hats off for your research.. Awesome work :)

RGB said...

Enjoyed reading your story, which had facts nicely interwoven into it. And in the process actually learnt part of our history otherwise ignored or forgotten.

Rumya said...

Wow Vibzz!!

A very patriotic and an unusual historical take for a goodbye theme.
You have taken great pains to research and write this post.
Very many situations where the goodbye theme has been handled well in your post.

Keep up the good work...

ATB for BAT 13!! :D

Viyoma said...

Hey Vibz, with your participation i can never win a BATOM...Heeheee (just kidding))

Lovely narration...keep up the awesome work!!

Dreamer said...

Am mighty impressed by the amount of extensive research you've done. Fiction rooted in fact is always the best sort, I've always felt. Great story, well told. Wish you all the best for BAT 13

vivek said...

HI Vibhuti,

Thats a great imaginative work ...a master piece .. very well composed ..and paced...rhythm is very nice..

Great post..Liked it..

ALL THE BEST


take care

Keep smiling :)

rise-of-the-pheonix

Karan Agrawal said...

Amazing creation... your thought process and execution is too good... Thnx for revisiting history and enlightening souls like me! ;)

pushpee said...

a well-researched narration...thumbs up!!! Brlliant!! ATB!!:))

Tweety said...

lovely...u make me again feel proud of my heritage and country...

Vibhuti B said...

Megz, Leo, Vignesh, Rumya, Viyoma, Vivek, Karan, Pushpee and Tweety..
Thankyou soo much guys for taking time out to read my post. I appreciate it a lot and am also obliged by your kind words of praise. Really motivates me to write on! Being a young mum I am hard pressed for time so please pardon my not resopnding to each of your beautiful compliments individually..Thanks again my blogger dost!

Rajlakshmi said...

well researched and beautifully narrated... thanks for enlightening us with the story of Khanika...
something we all shoudl be proud og.

Karthik said...

This post comes up just when aug 15th is few days away. Timing couldn't have been better.
Very nicely done. But one small suggestion. You should have let the story and the protagonist grow in their own time and space. Felt like you've cut it short hastily. More importance should've been given to the protagonist's work post 1940.
Overall it was a wonderful read.
All the best! :)

Vibhuti B said...

Hey Rajlakshmi,
Thanks for visiting my blog and appreciating my work. Its a fiction story based in some facts though. :D

Hey Karthik,
Thanks for your comment once again.
:) You may be right that I should have written more abt Khanika's contribution Post 1940 as an Indian Nationalist congress memeber..But that I leve to the imagination of my readers. I prefer to make this more of a death centenary tribute to Shri Rabindranath Tagore and a post that refreshes our patriotism during this month!
And of crs what better platform than BAT to have this tribute a wide audience??
:D
Thanks once again!

Meher....all out to explore..!! said...

Vibhuti..its a beautiful piece.
Very well thought.very well written.
It had a lovely concept.
All the best for BAT.
cheers.

Tavish{Sensible Bakwas} said...

Hey buddy, damn good post u have here... very different and a patriotic take on the topic... and its well researched too... all the best for BAT :)

Vee... said...

you connected facts and fiction very well. i so loved your post. you are the winner, nischoy! :D

Phoenixritu said...

Wow! This was almost press report type in the speed of events unfolding. The narration kept me going, and the addition of Bong phrases. I love the way you've integrated patriotism and the prompt word. ATB Vibz

Amity said...

Hi Vhibs...

you've done your homework and yeah you have the grit and the patience!

i wish all writers are like that! :)

a unique take on the prompt, too!

all the best dear!

love,

Amity

Dil se said...

As expected, loved your masterpiece !! Absolutely loved bengali lines in between and the way it blended to the BAT topic. all the very best for BAT.

Someone Is Special said...

Wow! Very well narrated... almost like a movie it went on.. Great Vibz.....

All The Best for BAT 13.

Yours Frendly,
Someone Is Special

gkam said...

Wow! A truly patriotic post and the Jana Gana Mana gave me (and always gives me ) goosebumps.
Awesomely written!

ATB for BAT13
Gkam - Goodbye

Vibhuti B said...

Meher, Vee, Tavish, Amity, Ritu Di,Dil Se, SIS and Gkam...
your comments and compliments truly mean a lot..Am so happy to know that you'll have found the story that I penned upto your expectations. And am all the more happy to know that there are intelligent patriots in this country..India surely does have hope!

Happy Independence Day my fellow bloggers and countryfolk!!!

Keerthi P said...

A very patriotic post in sync with the Independence weekend. Also a well written tribute to Tagore. Loved it.

All the best!

Shahid Mukadam a.k.a Shady West Side said...

this is probably the best post in BAT 13...a gr8 work vibhuti...gr8 work!!!

Gyanban © said...

This has got to be right up there with some of our better works.
The research and Bengali adaptation was a strong point. You are getting into that zone of churning out posts each being better than your previous work. Quite impressed.

Shilpa Garg said...

Interesting and enlightening, so apt for the independence weekend.
Great research and wonderful narration.
All the best for BAT-13!
Cheers :)

Vipul Grover said...

Hey Vibhuti, tht was anothr well researchd nd well constructed story.. totally apt for this mnth nd especially for today wn i am finally reading it.. ATB :)

mayur said...

Almost a perfect story!
Its amazing how well you were able to intersperse facts with fiction or the other way round. It blended so well together that one cant distinguish fact from fiction.

All the best for BAT!!! and today being 15th Aug..Jai Hind!

mayur said...

Almost a perfect story!
Its amazing how well you were able to intersperse facts with fiction or the other way round. It blended so well together that one cant distinguish fact from fiction.

All the best for BAT!!! and today being 15th Aug..Jai Hind!

Shahid Mukadam a.k.a Shady Wes said...

this is probably the best post in BAT 13...a gr8 work vibhuti...gr8 work!!!

Meher....all out to explore..! said...

Vibhuti..its a beautiful piece.
Very well thought.very well written.
It had a lovely concept.
All the best for BAT.
cheers.

Karan Agrawal said...

Amazing creation... your thought process and execution is too good... Thnx for revisiting history and enlightening souls like me! ;)

Rumya said...

Wow Vibzz!!

A very patriotic and an unusual historical take for a goodbye theme.
You have taken great pains to research and write this post.
Very many situations where the goodbye theme has been handled well in your post.

Keep up the good work...

ATB for BAT 13!! :D

Vignesh said...

It was a good coincidence that,BAT 13 fell on 7th of august.An outstanding post.Hats off for your research.. Awesome work :)

Vibhuti B said...

Hey Vivek,
am really very thankful that my blog enjoys ur constant readership.
And you are very generous with praise too. Am happy to know that this story though lengthy successfully kept you interested in it. Keeping up with the modd of this month and week..Jai Hind! :D

Samadrita said...

The last bit about taking the bullet shots and yet marching forward convinced me that Khanika's character was modelled along the lines of Matangini Hazra.
A 'goodbye' to the greatest poet and philosopher of all times and a 'goodbye' to suffering under the colonial rule!
Great narration Vibhuti!