(Tried a non-linear narrative. Try to visualize as much as possible)
March 31, 2007 (in Black and white)
"5000 Now. Another 5000 after the job is done". He accepted the money gleefully and thrust it in his pocket. This was indeed easy money than the job that he was doing. He never understood why politicians needed to carry out Bandhs, Processions, and burn effigies and so on. May be it was a part of their 'How-to-become-an-evil-and-successful' politician curriculum. Who cares? There is a bandh today, so everything will come to standstill. The working class people could take this opportunity to have a break and stay at house. No tuition for the kids. Only the poor get affected. But hey, didn’t they promise on TV that the bandh was for the oppressed and depressed? Ha...Even they know that it’s a lie to get hold of their vote banks. So as the streets get deserted, he was supposed to carry out his mission.
March 23, 1931(in color)
He was reading a book. There was no sign of any anxiety or fear on his face. As usual he smiled at the guards who came to pick him up. The warden appeared softer than usual. "You know that you can still avert it." Why don’t these people understand? They also know that he would never do that. Maybe they thought that in the last moment he would become afraid and would chicken out. He laughed as if the warden had told him a joke. He kept his book on the shelf and walked towards them.
"Let’s go Sir". He knew no fear.
In the political language a Bandh becomes successful only when there are riots. Some buses have to be burnt, some people should be injured and must be admitted to the hospital so that they can be shown on television as the "victims" of the bandh. Today his job was to collect some people and do some damage in the nearby areas. He had already picked his gang members and they had also chosen a spot. It would be the market in their nearby locality where a few shops would be broken and ransacked. The public and central government should remember this bandh...at least for some time.
As he walked past the corridor he could hear his fellow prisoners murmuring. Inspite of the fact that the timing was preponed, it seemed as if everyone expected it. Some of them raised slogans to hail him but he never approved of it. For him the nation was always greater than any individual. The guard accompanying him was surprised by the huge confident strides he made as if he were going collect some reward. Of course it was a reward for him and his patriotism. As he often used to quote "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas ". He was confident that his ideas would remain immortal.
He had never believed in caste. In fact in his colonies all the caste people lived together in harmony...until any riots took place. They all looked different people. The hands that distributed sweets on their respective festivals were now wielding guns and weapons to kill each another. At the age of 14 it was a hard truth for him to digest and understand. In fact even after these years he could not understand the real reason. It just reminded him that behind the facade of every ordinary man lay a savage who could go to any limits when provoked. Even this useless bandh was targeting the same emotions. Half of the protestors shouting on the streets didn’t even understand the real divide it would cause if the reservations were made for one strata of people. Then another group would ask for a share....then another group....and it would go on to break the country into a million little pieces.
Everyone thought that he would walk away from the scene of crime or run away from the jail, but he didn’t. He survived 63 days of hunger strike in prison, the British officer’s wrath and merciless beating but his fight won equal rights for Indian prisoners. There were protests condemning the British's decision to hang him, but that was not what he wanted. He wanted thousands of young men to up rise when he went down. He chose to die young and be inspiring rather than die old and having lived as just-someone. He saw his two friends join him and they were also smiling at him. How fortunate he was to have found such like minded friends? He used to say that dying in their company was an honor in itself. He looked proudly at the officer who was astonished with his resolve and pride.
There should be reservation based the economic strata instead of caste and religion. But then...who would bell the cat? Well....they opened some of the shops and broke the glasses. Some vehicles standing outside were burnt. Mission accomplished. Sometimes he questioned his conscience about rights and wrongs. He used to watch movies and laugh when the bad guys lost in the end to the good ones. It happened rarely. If that was the case then why were there communal fights? Why almost all the 500 odd MPs were corrupt to the core? Why a peon in the Government office demanded Rs 20 bribe for even the simplest query? Reality Bites. He walked towards his home when he heard the siren far away. As he ran, he saw a poster of a guy with the words Shaheed printed in bold. He didn’t bother to find out what his name was. He was looking forward to collect his remaining 5000 Rs on the next day.
What would a person facing death think about? About his family? Loved ones? Friends? Sweetheart? Happy Memories? He thought about his parents but didn’t shed any tears for them. They would not be bereaved but proud of him. His last thoughts were about his country. He dreamt of a country where one person's joy would be distributed as smiles among all and their sorrows would be divided in small drops of tears. He dreamt of a country which would be the shrine of peace and unity. He dreamt of a country where tradition and innovation would walk hand-in-hand. He dreamt of a country where the youth would resent against any injustice. With these thoughts he closed his eyes and thought about his mother...and motherland. Proudly he kissed the hangman's noose as if it was a garland and shouted for the last time his favorite cry, "Down with British imperialism...Bharath Maata ki Jai."
They thought that they killed him as he was hanged to death. Wrong. Just go and check yourself in the mirror. You can see his legacy in your eyes....in the freedom that you enjoy. As Shaheed Bhagath Singh said "It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas". Amen.