INTO THE PAST WITH PAIN,,,XXXIX
Prof Dr Colonel K Prabhakar Rao ( Retired)
(In heavens, Gandhi is seen lying down in a cot in a small room, ill equipped with poor lighting and ventilation. On the wall a painting of Rama is hung that has gathered dust. In a corner, a Charkha is lying and Gandhis stick is kept at a corner. Gandhi is seen occasionally coughing. He is reading a news paper. A telephone is kept on a stool close to cot… Telephone bell rings.. trin..trin..grr..grrr)
Gandhi. ( Picks up the hand set)eee…eeee… Hello. Gandhi is here.
Voice. Hello. I want Gandhi.
Gandhi. Oh Baba…Gandhi here
Voice. Which Gandhi?
Gandhi. Which Gandhi you want?
Voice. I want Real Gandhi
Gandhi. What do you mean?Are there any fake and un real too.
Voice. There are many fake and crooked pseudo Gandhis around. The real Gandhi is Bapu. Whatever are his short comings, he is the only real Gandhi.
Gandhi That is me. Bapu Speaking ( sings holding the phone while doing a jig)
Know! I am the real bald Gandhi and very real
I lived many times without a gram of gruel
I am old and sick and the real bapu of you
Yet I am here to take care of you too.
Voice. Thanks Bapu. Can I come and meet you
Gandhi. What is the problem? Can’t you speak on phone?
Voice. No. I shall come to you.
Gandhi. OK . Please do come early. I go to bed early immediately after sun set.
( From Trnasistor a song is heard)
Suno suno Oh duniya walo
Bapu kee jo amar kahani
Oh Bapu jo poojya hai kitna
Jitna Ganga maakaa pani…eee..eee..
( Gandhi listens and wipes his eyes with a hanky….sobs)
( The door opens and a stranger enters the room along with Patel. They wish Bapu)
Patel. Namaste Bapu. How are you? He is Chikoo Pant.
Pant. Namaste Bapu
Gandhi. Welcome. Patel. Welcome sir( Looks at the stranger). Please be seated.
( They sit on simple steel chairs)
Gandhi.Now tell me what is troubling you.
Pant . My name is Cheeku pant. I come from Uttar Pradesh state in India. I have come with a request that you must contest the present Indian elections .
Gandhi. How can I ? I am already dead. More over I am not the present member of Congress party. The old congress party which I led died long ago.
Patel. Indira Gandhi divided the party and the present party has a symbol of Hand i.e palm.
Gandhi. We used to have symbol of a pair of bullocks with a plough. That is gone. Now what we see is opportunistic congress. Led by members of Jawaharlal’s family
Pant. It does not matter. You are a towering figure. If you contest no one has courage to oppose you. It is time you come back and set things right in India.
Patel. Bapu. We have seen things earlier in India. We have seen the episode at Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad some time ago.
Gandhi. Look Cheekoo sahib. India is much changed now. Who wants Gandhi now? ( sings)
Look my dear Chikoo
I was popular some time ago
The party is in the hands of shady men
They only want my old Logo
I toiled day and night without rest
While my body struggled in pain
The present leaders enjoy fruits of my work
And my struggles have gone in vain.
To appease others they pray to me
In heart and heart happy that I am no more
Murkiest games they are playing these days
I am sure finally they would suffer and have bed sores
Patel. That is true Bapu. All these men are thankless lot. Look Chikoo! Why you want Bapu to enter the shit pot.
( In the mean time Bapu serves goat milk to all in small cups)
Chikoo Pant.( Sips the milk).eee…eeee… It is smelling like hell. What is this?
Gandhi. It is goats milk. I always take it
( Patel and Chikoo swallow and gulp goats milk while Gandhi smiles)
Gandhi. So you want me to contest the elections. That is fine. For the sake of countryI shall do it
Patel,. Think again bapu. You shall repent. You have to cut a sorry figure.
Gandhi. Patel. That is OK. We shall do our act. Rest is with God. Lord Krishna said so.
Patel. Ohfo. What a man? ( Holds head)
Chikoo pant. Thanks Bapu. Plesae vist congress Bhavan soon in UP at Lucknow. Thanks agin. I am going sir. Namaste Bapu. Namaste Patel Sahib
( He bows to them and touches feet of Bapu and Patel and take their blessings and goes away. Next day Gandhi and Patel land up at Congress Bhavan at Lucknow)
Gandhi. ( Looking at the building) What a majestic building? I am impressed. Let us go in
( At the gate sentry stops them and asks them to take pass from security and they go to the security officer and ask for visitors pass)
Gandhi. We want to go in and meet senior leaders.
Inspector. Sir! Whom do you want?
Gandhi. I want to meet Gobind Ballabh Pant,
Inspector. Who is he? I never heard his name
Gandhi. Strange indeed! Don’t you know him. Your Chief Minister.
( In the mean time some old and very aged people gather there and listen to them)
A old man. Look Inspector. Pant Sahib was great leader. He was the CM of UP state.
Inspector. Look old man. He has died long ago. How can you meet him? You appear to be very strange man. Any how go and meet the present leader. I shall give you pass and go to enquiry. Please leave your stick. We do not allow arms inside (He issues a pass and requests Bapu to leave the stick there)
Gandhi. Look. Is this an arm? Does it look like a rifle?
Inspector. These are the orders to us. We are helpless
Patel ( within himself) Not helpless. But Clueless nuts.
( Gandhi and Patel go inside and they find Chikoo standing there.)
Patel. Hello. Chikoo Sahib. We are here.
Chikoo. Namaste sir
Gandhi. Whom shall we meet
( He takes them to the office inside and meets the leaders who are actually deciding the seats for various people)
Leader.( Looking at Gandhi) Good. From where you have come. Where is your party membership card. It is nice. You are exactly dressed like Bapu.
Gandhi. We are not dressed up. We are real. I am Gandhi and he is Patel
Leader. Is he Jasu Patel? The cricketer who bowled Richie Benaud’s Australian team out for 108 runs at Kanpur test?
Patel ( Getting annoyed) Am I Jasu Patel? Look. I am Vallabh bhai Patel. The iron man of India. I was the first deputy PM of India.
Leader ( Talking to his aide). Poor fellow appears to be out of tune. Old age has affected him.
Patel ( Getting annoyed) Look. I am mentally sound. I am Sardar Patel.
Leader. That is OK.. Please do not get exited. ( within himself).. Poor guy. Sickness appears to be serious too.
( looking at Gandhi, leader enquires)
Leader. What do you want?
Gandhi. I want to contest parliamentary elections. I want a ticket from Congress party.
Leader ( Laughs). Haa…haa.hhaa. How can you get it? There are hundreds of guys here waiting. Some are already the members of the parliament. We have to give them. There are new aspirants. Then there are people from dynasty. We can not refuse them. What are you going to do even if you win?
Gandhi. Look Sir! That is different matter. I led the congress party before independence and got freedom. If I wanted I could have become the President or PM of India. But I did not bother. I made Nehru as PM and this Patel as Dy PM.
Leader (Getting amused). This appears to be some thing very interesting indeed. It is OK you are dressed like Gandhi, but how can you be the real Gandhi. He was shot dead long ago.
Gandhi. That you will not understand. We have divine bodies. Please touch us.
(Leader tries to touch Gandhi and he fails. He repeats several times, but fails)
Leader (Getting scared). Ok .. Ok.. But you are not members of the party since 1948 in your case and in Patel’s case since 1950. How can we give tickets to you?
Gandhi. I do not know how will you do? We want tickets.
Leader. Why don’t you contest as independents. Why hang on to us Are you not sure of winning?
Gandhi. We love Congress as we belonged to it.
Leader. Your congress is no more there. It died long ago.
Patel. Rather you guys killed it.
Leader. Look. Please do not blame us. We can not give you ticet. Plesae go away. We are sorry. Contest as independents.
Gandhi. That any how we shall do. Not only me. I shall bring all stalwarts of congress party who died long ago and were the real heroes to contest as independents. All of them shall win. You guys would look like a Hurricane lamp infront of a Tube light. Parliament will have all independents from UP. Haa…haa
Patel. heee…heee ( sings doing a fast jig)
Look you cranky guys
Looking well fed and fat
You sure to loose soon
All you guys would be on the mat
The moment the people see us
They would shoe you off
We would surely win at the ballot
And we would have last laugh
You misruled the nation all these years
And made tons of money and filled your banks
We shall come back to power
And shall send you to sleep in jails wooden planks
Leader. Enough of it. You have gone too much. I shall show you who will win now itself.( looking at party workers and bouncers who are dressed like party workers)
Come on guys . Throw these nuts out from here.
( The bouncers menacingly rush at Gandhi and Patel. Gandhi stares at them and twists his hand like Mandrake the magician and all the bouncers are thrown off 50 feet away and fall in heap. They shout Oh bapu. Margaya.. Bachao.. Ram Ram. Bacho)
( Gandhi and Patel wave at the leader and smile while the leader is in jitters and runs away leaving his shoes)
Dr K Prabhakar Rao