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(This work of fiction is based on the 1986 Gorkhaland Agitation led by the Gorkhaland National Democratic Front (GNLF) Supremo, The Mahamahim, The Raja of the Hills, Late Mr. Subhas Ghising in the enchanting land of thunderbolts, Dorje-ling or as we like to call in now, Darjeeling. The agitation took a violent turn in the mid ’86. This short story finds its setting in such a background of a local tea estate of the name Tukvar which constituted a fundamental population of GNLF supporters during this agitation.)
“Kahamay Katyo ni Betha ko Lauro. . . . . ”
“Oh why in the hell did I chop this useless Sal branch. . . . ” grumbled the man-butcher. He remembered the folk song which his Bajeh would sing to him whenever they were in the woods in search of firewood – a distant memory of an innocent past.
Indrajit Thakuri was born in a family of accomplished warriors who hailed their bravery in the Gurkha Regiments of Britain. Indrajit himself, however, fell short to the legacy of his forefathers. All he had accomplished in his life was that he had ordained himself the post of a local newspaper-man in the tea estate of Tukvar. Throughout his 50 years of existence, he had garnered little influence and respect in the village. But now it was not so, he was respected by all… Nah, he was feared, for it was the hour of revolt, the hour of the rapid manhunt when men looked out to capture CPIM goons and deliver them painful deaths, to be butchered and Indrajit was the man-butcher.
The inhumane act of butchering and torturing them was his. Now Indrajit was the Mahakala of the Gurkha war cry, the slaughterer, all in the name of equal exchange of blood: the blood shed by the Gurkha martyrs versus the blood shed by the CPIM. The lives of innocent men crushed down in the rampage of a mass homicide, all under the banner of patriotism and the desire for independence from the tyrannical Bengal rule. Blood had been shed for an independent Gorkhaland within the Union of India. But was this bloodshed the only solution? How Indrajit became so vile and inhumane is a story for some other day.
Nevertheless, he enjoyed this period.
“Angoore ko banai katerah….”
For now, he wiped his blood-drenched hands clean on the end of his daura. It wouldn’t be long before they would become bloodied again.
Last night, the young goons Gyaney and Karatey Kainla of Tukvar had already caught a CPIM supporter hiding in the densely overgrown plantation garden. The boys had sent the CPIM to Indrajit to settle the debt between the two parties. He was to be tortured, then butchered.
Indrajit presented himself at the bamboo and mud hut where the damned was awaiting execution. The damned already knew the fate in store for him, for he knew well about the hospitality that his own kith served to their foes.
The rascal in a bloodied shirt was reciting the Gayatri mantra. The Devil leaned forward into the sight of the Damned.
“You’ll find no refuge in mantras, boy. Your fate is sealed.”
The Damned knew it too.
“Kahamay katyo ni betha ko lawro. Have you heard this tune before?” asked the Devil.
The Damned wet his pants.
”The one before you was a wimpy fellow,” the Devil explained. ”Two swings he took to his neck before it was cut down by my Khukuri. A Strong lad he was. What do these Bangaalis feed you to make you so strong? Fish Heads?”
“Our hill lads! Without pork meat, we don’t even go to shit! You scoundrels, you sell your dignity and loyalty to these Bangaalis!“
The Devil spat on the face of the Damned. The Devil then took him by the hair and dragged the Damned soul towards the corner of the hut and latched the door before returning to his victim. He pulled out his khukuri from the khapat on his waist and aimed it at the Damned.
“One swing or just a slit on your throat? Tell me, boy — what do you prefer?”
The Damned finally gathered the courage to speak, panicking like a goat before slaughter.
“Make it quick! For the love of Mahakal Baba make it quick!” pleaded the Damned as he broke into tears.
The Devil let out a huge laugh and then fixed his eyes on the Damned – the way he liked to stare into the eyes of his victims as he beheaded them. Fear gleamed in the eyes of the Damned. The final moments of a man revealed his personality the most. Usually, Indrajit’s victims cried and begged, but this man in front of him asked for nothing but a quick death.
Indrajit let his eyes wrinkle into a grim smile as he prepared.
He raised his arm and a loud scream echoed through the neighbourhood.
The Damned held his palms against his face and let out another agonizing scream as blood dripped out from his left eye socket.
The devil laughed, savouring the pain in which his Damned was drenched. He had cut through the left eyeball of his victim only to quench his sadistic thirst which he had gained since the riot began.
Indrajit went out of the bamboo and mud hut and returned with a large Doko, a hand-woven casket, and imprisoned his crying victim under its. He then shut close the windows and latched them tight. He locked the door on his way out. He knew what was to be done to his prisoner. The Damned was now set for torturous confinement with a cut eye enclosed inside the dark walls of the hut. Indrajit then covered the windows with sacks from the outside so that no sunlight could enter the hut.
“How evil I am! ,“murmured Indrajit to himself as he let out a faint chuckle while listening to his prisoner crying from the inside.
Indrajit walked towards Chhangey Khola, the stream that ran past the hut, to clean his Khukuri, singing a folk song as if he had returned after accomplishing something great.
The Damned cried in anguish, his heart-shaking cry filled the hut. He screamed, cursed Indrajit in the foulest language, cried out begging for water. He begged for release from his suffocating confinement. He banged the window through the sharp and narrow edges of the doko, begging for water. He lost his mind in a few moments and started begging for sunlight and fresh air, but his cry was only met by the plain walls.
Indrajit returned to the the hut and listened to his victim’s last cries. He knew that excessive blood loss would soon take its toll on his victim. The Damned begged for air and sunlight again and again. Indrajit drew his Khukuri and pierced a small opening through the wall, allowing little sunlight to enter the inside of the hut.
“Bright enough?” asked Indrajit, innocently to his prisoner.
“Let me out!” screamed the impatient Damned.
“Isn’t my hut very cosy?”
“To hell with your hospitality! Let me out! For the sake of Mahakal Baba let me out!” cried the Damned.
“Well, let me sing you a song, dearest guest! Suna Bhanana, Juna Herah na… Can you see the rising moon, oh revered guest? This is as much light you can see for now! Please accept my sincerest apologies! , ” petitioned the Devil.
“To hell with you! You shall not enter heaven! I shall make sure that I kill you and your wife as soon as I get- ”
“-You dare not talk about my wife or else!”
“-and your sister! “
“You’ve had enough! Wait till I peel your skin off your bones!” Indrajit drew his Khukuri out and rammed himself through the door of the mud-hut.
He saw the floor drenched with blood from the victim’s eye socket. The Damned had broken through the Doko but had gone blind by now and could not judge the direction from where Indrajit had come. Out of swift rage, Indrajit swung his Khukuri onto the neck of the Damned and sliced it clean with one strike.
Blood spurted out from the vena cava of the headless victim and Indrajit, cooling his rage, silently drenched his Khukuri in the blood. The body fidgeted for a minute before everything became silent. Indrajit finally cooled down and spat upon the beheaded body with disgust.
”Damned be your soul! ,” Indrajit prayed as he walked past the corpse to the window and pulled down the sack that obscured it.
Dimmed ray of the setting sun poured through the window and blanketed over the headless body. Indrajit got down on his knees and looked at the dead body.
With a sheepish grin he asked, “Is it bright enough?”