INTO THE PAST WITH PAIN... 337
Dr K Prabhakar Rao
(Gandhi, Patel and Nehru are seen approaching Raigarh fort entrance.. )
Gandhi. Patel. Have you seen Raigad fort earlier?
Patel. No Bapu, I had no chance to visit.
Gandhi. I was put in jail at Yerwada during freedom struggle. We were not allowed to go anywhere.
Nehru. Bapu. Prison means you are not allowed to go anywhere. You are not a guest there.
Gandhi. Dear I know that. I also did law in England. I was a barrister too. I know at least that much
Nehru. Sorry Bapu. I did not mean any thing
Gandhi. OK . Ok It happens some time.
Patel. Bapu, What are we dong here now inthis remote place?
Gandhi. I want to have Darshan of Shivaji maharaj
Nehru. Why bapu. Suddenly you remember Shivaji maharaj
Gandhi.I feel what we need today is a guy like Shivaji maharaj
Patel.Dont you think we have a better leader in India now
Gandhi. I reserve my comments
Nehru. Why Bapu, You must be happy that congress party has been overthrown lock stock and barrel.
Gandhi. I am neither happy nor sad.
Patel. Bapu, You can not be non committal.
Gandhi. It is my way.
Patel. Bapu, You know Non aligned movement pioneered by Nehru sahib with Marshal Tito,Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, President Sukarno, was dubbed by Americans as immoral.
Gandhi. I know it
Nehru. I also know it. It is their view.
Patel. American view has great value in world. It wants every country to be aligned in some way or other
Nehru. Bapu, Why dig graves? We came here to see something
Gandhi. Yeah. True . Where are we know?
Patel. We are at the entrance gate of Raigad fort.
Gandhi. Let us go inside.
( They enter the entrance of the Fort. The fort looks fearsome with lot of trees around with worn out stone walls , towers typically built.. Here and there some birds are hopping)
Gandhi. I want to see statue of maharaj Shivaji
( As they climb some stairs, they come to a high ground where they find a large statue of Shivaji maharaj seated on a throne. He is holding a sheathed sword Bhavani and majestically sitting in regal attire and Turban. The trio bow to the statue and pay respects.
Gandhi. Look. The statue is majestic
Gandhi. Why the statue is not protected from sun and rain. They should have provided a canopy befitting his status.
Patel. Bapu.This fort was much neglected. With great difficulty they improved the state. In fact after independence no one bothered to take care of our heritage sites
Gandhi. Where is the time for them? Rulers were busy consolidating their power and dynasties.
Nehru. Bapu, Are you hinting at me?
Gandhi. Why should I do that? Do you think I have no other work than this?
Nehru. Sorry Bapu.
(Suddenly they observe dark clouds enveloping the fort and surroundings. Soon the place gets dark. Some lightening also takes place with thunder too. A large flash of lightening illuminates the statue. They see some movement at statue)
Patel. It looks Maharaj (king ) has arrived.
Gandhi. I also think same
Nehru. How can it be? He was dead long ago.
(Some foot steps are heard and a voice is heard)
Voice. Who are you guys here in this dark night? Why you came here?
Patel. Sir, we are visitors. We came to see the Chatrapathi( King of kings)
(The statue comes to life suddenly and occasional flashes lighten up the statue)
Shivaji. Look guys. Are you treasure diggers?
Gandhi. No sir. We are simple people and fought for freedom of India .
Shivaji. What is this? Why you fought for freedom? It means the country was enslaved.
Gandhi. True Maharaj. The nation was enslaved by the Englishmen.
Shivaji( Angrily). How dare they are!.
( He draws and raises his sword and looks at the sky and declared in thunderous voice)
How bad the country was enslaved
Oh mother! give me life again
I shall cut the enemy men like carrots and bean
I shall speak only truth simple and plain
Patel.Sir. You need not worry. They have gone away and we are a free nation again.
Shivaji. Good.When was the war fought with them?
Patel. Sir. There was no war. It was not an armed clash with enemy
Shivaji. Then what was it? Was it a magic?
Patel. We fought with method of Satyagraha and non co operation
Shivaji. Did they leave so easily by your methods?
Gandhi. It was not that easy. It was almost a battle of 50 years.
Shivaji. That means there was no bloodshed.
Patel. There was of course bloodshed after freedom was granted
Shivaji. Why? Where was the need?
Gandhi. The country was divided into Pakistan and India. Pakistan was granted to Muslims as they were agitating for a separate nation. Areas with more Muslim population were formed into Pakistan
Shivaji. But this country was one and Muslims came from outside and settled and grew in numbers
Patel. Sad part is that Muslims staying in Hindu majority areas who voted for a separate Muslim nation stayed back and did not migrate. During transfer of populations between the two nations violence broke out and millions perished in communal riots on both sides of the border.
Shivaji. How sad. But why you allowed them to stay back in this country. Whose Idea it was
Gandhi. For me both Hindus and Muslims are like my two eyes. I wanted India to be a secular state.
Patel. Maharaj, I desired that those Muslims who stayed back in India can not have dual loyalties. No one bothered for me.
Shivaji. It was the gravest mistake done by the leaders of this country who led the agitation for freedom
Gandhi. What can I say now? Past is past.
Shivaji. So You have to suffer.
Patel. Yes maharaj, We are suffering even after 65 years of independence
Shivaji. Why cry now after doing the great damage to this country.
( The trio keeps mum)
Shivaji. Look guys, Do not get surprised if demand for further division picks up based on religion.
Patel. Maharaj , Already Kashmir is a great problem. There are plenty of minorities there who are spearheading agitation for a separate Kashmir nation. Pakistan is conniving with them.
Shivaji. Are you keeping quiet?
Patel. No Our army and paramilitary forces are fighting the separatist and terrorists since 1989. We fought three wars with Pakistan over Kashmir issue. We won in all wars. But there was no solution.
Shivaji. You guys have not fought the wars to the end for a solution.
Patel. True sir, Caring for a world opinion we had to call off wars.
Shivaji. Are you wise now? Your ill decisions have complicated the matter and you are running from pillar to post.You guys you must be knowing how I fought the powerful Aurangzeb
Gandhi. We know. But times have changed maharaj.
Shivaji. So suffer. National problems must be solved at once instead of postponing. No one is going to solve your problem. You have to solve your own.
Gandhi. True maharaj. We are at fault.
Shivaji. Remorse will not help you. The country must act and get rid off Kashmir problem once for all.Now go back and do as I said. When you fight your next war, let it be the final one. You must liberate occupied Kashmir from Pakistan and crush it once for all. The war should not be a Diwali cracker display . Better understand well. Now you may go.
( There is a great thunder and flash and Shivaji turns into a statue as usual.)
Gandhi. Oh, What a person. He took out air from us
Patel.Bapu, Unless we do as told by the Maharaj, there is no salvation to India. Better we be on this job. Let us go
Nehru ( shivering ) Let us go. I am much scared to be here
Gandhi. Let us go
( The trio starts going down the hill fort singing Ramdhun)