Finally, I reached the village after a long gap. This is the first time after being a part of JNU. When I get down from the bus nearly at 5:00 am, I saw my youngest uncle was waiting for me. I was bit tired so wanted to take some tea at the bus stand and met most of the village people those who came to take tea there. Some of them inquired about my studies & reason for the long gap. After this entire chit chat uncle & I headed towards home. Most of our family members were waiting for me, my mother was a bit upset with me because of long absence. I’m the pampered one between my brother & me. I hug her & ask her to forgive me. She melted immediately & hugged me back. Truly all mother of the world wants only love from her children. A strange coincidence between God & mother, both though treat all equally but love more to the weak. Anyway, I was told to get fresh & eat something. Today is Sunday, so my cousins all got ready for Sunday school. Seeing them, I remembered my Sunday school days in Bhubaneswar, those were really beautiful days of my life. I thought Kash (how I wish) I could have been a child again. A glimpse of that thought put a smile on my face. My mother told me to get rest, but instead of taking rest I told my mother that I would take a stroll around the village, and attend the Sunday service.
I remembered Lozaan’s favorite song “Back Home Again” & started walking across the streets of the village. My village composed of different caste & creed. The dominant religion is Christianity as more than 60% of people are Christian. The dominant were Pana (SC) all of them were Christians, then all the forward caste Hindus & Ghasi or Hadi or Dama (SC) the scavenging caste, who were also Hindus, then we the tribal Christians. As we are one of the founding clans of the village, all other groups were settled around us keeping us in the central part of the village.
While walking across the village I was thinking about its serene beauty & its simple life. My most of the schooling was outside my village, so always miss my village and its green pasture where we enjoyed swimming in the village pond, catching fish, stealing mangoes, and stealing hen for our small feast in the jungle. For which we had to listen to the obvious nice blame from our neighbors and kind words from my mother, occasional I mean always-extra love by teacher & kiss from his bamboo stick in our entire back. Then our group will hold a discussion for this hostile character of all the entire elders. Now it all seems to be funny, but back then it was a tragedy, hence somebody rightly said, “Tragedy plus time is Comedy”.
While walking I saw Ghasi women were sweeping the verandah of upper caste people’s homes. Then collecting the used food left over “aintha bhata” (jhoothan) or stale fermented watery rice “basi pakhal” from all the houses. Those higher caste women were pouring it from above as if they touch them then they will be polluted & the Ghasi women were collecting those, as it is their main source of food. I have seen this in my childhood but hardly thought over them because I was been loved & cared for by them played with their children among other caste children as well, though out of others sight. That was the usual case for most of the children. My mother is progressive enough to instruct us to pay respect to them by touching their feet, which we continue to do so even today as well. But today I was disturbed & felt bad thinking how this untouchability intertwined with caste system still dominates in the Hindu society even after six decades of independence. Then this independence is for whom?
I moved forward thinking when these Hindu people will come out of this cruel inhumane system. I entered in the Pana Christian sahi (colony). After two to three houses the Deacon’s house was there, I wanted to meet them but I stopped seeing again a Ghasi woman & her child of the age 4 or 5 dressed in school uniform stitched multiple times. The woman was holding the broom & shivering, she might have a fever. I heard she was requesting Deacon’s wife to give the food to her child. Instead of giving any food she told her to clean the barnyard. The Ghasi woman was not denying only requesting for the leftover food “aintha bhata” for her son. Meanwhile, the Deacon came out of the room and instead of telling his wife to give the food, he started abusing them reminding her low caste and directed her to stay as they are. And told sarcastically to her children seeing his uniform “learn scavenging or practice dance,” what we used to see in all the traffic signal of Delhi & Bombay as it is one of their profession to dance like that in marriages. While passing their house trying to avoid I saw in their wall written a Bible verse i.e. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6) I move ahead refusing their worm welcomes politely, thinking the verse, “A soothing tongue is tree of life but perversion in it crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4)”.
Then after some houses I saw Sarpanch thrashing & abusing the Ghasi couple in front of everybody. Because his son was beaten back by their daughter whose head was bleeding due to stone thrown hit her head by Sarpanch’s son. Village Doctor & nurse came to diagnose Sarpanch’s child. Ghasi couple requested Doctor to see their daughter as well but he refused saying he can’t take bath anymore, so the nurse came forward & dressed her voluntarily despite of Sarpanch’s abuse. Incidentally Sarpanch is also a Christian. I saw his wall where it was written a verse of Sermon of Mount, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Mathew 5:7)
Moving forward I suddenly heard our Pastor’s voice not preaching but scolding & abusing and arguing with a Ghasi woman, who was begging for bit more ainthaa bhata (jhoothan) as according to her what was given is very less. Pastor was angry at the Ghasi woman’s arrogance of begging for more. As she, does not even have the right to ask for more ainthaa, which was her due after cleaning their verandah. A poor old hindu lady after listening this shouting came out of her small thatch and gave the Ghasi woman her food and told her to leave. I was told that she is mad, I thought, was she? I remembered the verse, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever do not love their brother & sister is a liar. For whoever do not love their, who they have seen, can not love God, who they have not seen.” (1st John 4:20)
I was disheartened after seeing this. Was this Leader’s character what was spoken by St. Paul in (Titus Ch.1 & Timothy Ch.3). Thinking enough of this today I returned home. Here I saw one of my uncle who happens to be a teacher gave 3 days stale fermented watery rice to the Ghasi women. Her child out of hunger wanted to eat it in front of our house only. Seeing that my uncle get angry & scolded the child who was of school going age, he got up out of fear. Now this infuriated me & I started shouting loudly to uncle for his behavior to the women & her children. I recalled my childhood where our teacher taught us, “The Guru is Brahma (the Creator), The Guru is Vishnu (the Preserver), The Guru Deva is Maheswar (Shiva-the Destroyer), The Guru is Para-Brahman (Super Brahman-source of Absolute); Salutations to the Guru ” a sloka from Skand Purana.
My entire family members came out of the house but I was uncontrolled and shouting at his un-Teacher & un-Christian behavior. This is the first time in my life I was shouting, he was stunned, and all were silent. I ask him can he give that food to my cousins or me? If not then how come he is giving to them? I told him how he is and all the educated Christians and its leaders and Sarpanch are inhumanly Casteist. Does Christianity allow you to do so? Some of them were trying to stop me but I was unstoppable.
Suddenly one hand touch my shoulder telling me, “Let’s go Draven, this sermon is enough for today”. Then I realized that I was inside the Church accusing everyone of what I have witnessed in one random day. Slowly I heard my mother explaining how tired I was and Pastor smiled & told her, its okay & he went ahead to meet others. While returning home as soon as possible I saw the scripture for the Sunday service was; “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) I saw a satisfying smile of my mother at home today.
Picture Credit:- http://www.dubeat.com
PC:- Pragya Sharma
Sometimes I wish I could say I love you
But your impassioned face stops me
The feelings which I have
I had to contain it
Because you are not ready.
Your cruel innocence
Mocks me every day
Your Unprotected laugh
Stops me to go forward.
I wish I could say those cliche lines
That you are beautiful like moon
But I can not
Because I can not see you vanished
I can not say that you are just like a red rose
Because I don’t want to wither away
I want you to laugh, live and love
Even If that’s not for me
I can live just knowing that you are happy
Baby laugh live and love
If not for me then for my love.
Picture Credit:- Apila Sangtam