The lady.

Rohini's little brother

Rohini doesn't know the feeling of sitting in a classroom. She must have studied till the 5th standard and then the economic hardships prompted her to put her natural skills at weaving into practice. She worked hard, wove a mekhela in a week and a saree in two weeks. Rohini was joined by her sister Promila at the weaving center; they wove dreams in silk and golden threads. The dividends of their hard work paid off and they saved enough money to send their little brother to college. He worked hard too; a bright student in his class, he sailed through his higher secondary exams and made it to the Assam Engineering College. Rohini and Promila's little brother was the talk of the town. The sisters were happy that their hard work bore fruit and their brother was finally going to give a befitting answer to their monetary woes. They would finally be liberated from the hands of the bonded labour that they had submitted themselves to for the emancipation of their family. Tears welled down Rohini's eyes as she recounted the story to me in front of our GosainGhar.

Revolution is necessary but brings along with it unnecessary bloodshed of the meek and the innocent. There hasn't been a single second since the 1970's when Assam has heaved a sigh of peace. Romantic ideals about a utopia where we would supposedly dwell after our liberation from the clutches of the colonial Indian government, brainwashed the common man and most importantly the angry young man of our society. The bitter hatred against the Bangladeshis and a common feeling that the Assamese will be an exotic lot somewhat like the Kashmiri pandits unless the demographic change brought in by the influx of economic opportunity seeking Bangladeshi folk is checked; created such a xeonphobia that to be called a Bongal or a Bangladeshi became a bitter cussword in the colloquial language of Assam. Violence is like domino effect. This feeling overwhelms a society and when other oppressed innocent people take inspiration from your acts; all you can find in the end is rampant violence.

Rohini and Promila's little brother was the pride of that backward village in Boroma. Being one of the few engineering graduates of that place he felt a sense of responsibility for his people. However it was the 1990's when the winds of violence swept the plains of Assam. The valley that was already bleeding from numerous armed protests by the revolutionary insurgents, had another group that wanted a separate homeland for its ethnic group. It had openly announced to the public that it wanted mercenaries to join them and fight against the oppressors. Promila and Rohini fled their village. They went somewhere far away where no rebel could manage to forcefully take away their brother. The rebels had expected him to join their ranks at beck and call but the educated young man knew the futility of violence and the useless armed struggle they were venturing into. Rohini and her family kept fleeing until one day they had to come back for they could no longer hide from the omnipresent tentacles of the rebel group. Rohini's brother succumbed to the demands and agreed to trade himself against the lives of his loved ones. It was a pleasant autumn day, Rohini set out with her little brother to have him initiated into the rebel camps. She cried hopelessly in his arms, praying that he would come home soon. She sobbed, tears welling down her eyes and with a heavy heart she turned to go back. It was not very long from the time she turned her back and the moment she reached a distance of 5 meters from her brother, she heard a series of gunshots. The sound of AK-47s filled the air as she ran to see what happened she saw the bullet ridden body of her brother. He was there no more. So much for some romance filled talks. Rohini was shaken to see her brother's body;someone who was breathing and talking moments ago now lay motionless in front of her. That incident changed her, she became the local madwoman who would live, eat and work at her own whims. She would sometimes get fits or sometimes in a rage of enthusiasm for god she would run atop a hill to the Shiva temple. Medicines did mellow her down; she's much better than what she was a few years ago. She's a spinster and hopes to be so and devote her life to the service of God. She now sweeps our Gosain Ghar everyday, meticulously cleaning the brass lamps and pots and plucking fresh champa flowers for pooja every morning.
All the leaders of revolution need to see how many Rohinis they have created. She certainly has the right vested upon her by God and circumstances to land a tight slap across the faces of so called pseudo revolutionaries. Karma will determine and I think her pot of Karma will bring her to such a situation wherein she stands face to face with the perpetrators of violence and she will have a good laugh seeing them rot in hell.


Leo said…
sad story, Jenevi.. true that war creates so many Rohinis.. young relatives who've been blackmailed and forced to become rebels for the sake of their family's well being only to gift them their bodies riddled with wounds that can never heal..

ur narration is simple, yet stunning. I like it.

Leo @ I Rhyme Without Reason