2

Shashtriji arrived at the Rajasaheb's mansion. Rajasaheb, Raisaheb, and Khansaheb were there to welcome him. "Welcome Panditji, I hope you are in a cheerful mood," Khansaheb said. "By God! You are fit to be displayed in an exhibition; I am sure you must weigh no less than 350 kilograms!"

Raisaheb: In order to have 35 kilograms worth of knowledge you must have a body size ten times that weight; otherwise, how can a frail body bear the burden of heavy knowledge?

Rajasaheb: You people don't understand! Knowledge and intelligence are like cold secretions; when the secretion fills up the brain so that there is no more space, it seeps into other parts of the body.

Khansaheb: But I have heard elders say that fat people are low in intelligence!

Raisaheb: You have got it all wrong. It should have been very clear to you that intelligence is directly proportional to body weight; the fatter a person is, the greater is the intelligence he possesses.

Rajasaheb: This proves that fat people are fat-brained!

Moteram: Well, if a fat-brained person is so much in demand in royal courts and mansions, what need have I for lean intelligence?

After this playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks, Rajasaheb introduced the real issue and told Shashtriji of their plans. "You may well consider that an opportunity has presented itself to you which can shape your fortunes. I don't think anyone else has had his fortune offered to him on a platter. If you succeed in breaking the strike, believe me your future will be made and you will never have to seek assistance from anybody for the rest of your life. Just think up a good scheme which will make people sit up and take notice. The Congress has strengthened itself in the name of religion; you must come up with a plan that is certain to hurt the religious sentiments of the people."

Moteram, wearing a grave expression on his face, replied, "This isn't something very difficult. I can conduct rituals to make the sky pour with rain, end an epidemic of plague, and cause the prices of foodgrains to rise and fall at my will. It is no great matter to tame the Congress. Those who have received English education think they are superior in knowledge to everyone else. But, they don't have even the slightest knowledge of the occult arts."

Khansaheb: Then, sir, I must say you are next to God. We were not aware you had such great powers; otherwise, we would have approached you in the first instance instead of needlessly worrying our heads all these days.

Moteram: Sir, I can find hidden treasure. I can communicate with departed souls. But these things can be done only for clients who admire such knowledge; there is no dearth of experts in these arts, but there is a dearth of admirers.

Rajasaheb: So, what do we have to present to you for completing this task and to show our admiration?

Moteram: Whatever you think fit.

Rajasaheb: Can you throw some light on the plan you intend to put into action.

Moteram: There will be a hunger strike and chanting of mantras. It will be a disgrace to the name of Moteram if I fail to shake up the entire city.

Rajasaheb: So, when do you start?

Moteram: From today itself; but, first, arrange for some money to appeal to the gods.

Money was in abundant supply. Panditji received the money, and he went home with his head among the stars. When he reported the entire matter to his wife she was worried. "You have unnecessarily got yourself into a sticky situation for no reason. You and hunger strike! You will make a fool of yourself if you find yourself unable to bear the hunger. The whole town will laugh at you. Go back at once and return the money."

Moteram assured her, "I am not such a fool to go on a hunger strike just like that! First, arrange for my food. Get me laddoos and rasgollas; after I have had a good meal I will wash it down with half a kilogram of cream and top it with half a kilogram of almonds. After that if there are any nooks and corners in the stomach that still remain to be filled up, curds will do the work just fine. Then, let's see how hunger dares to come anywhere near me! I will be so stuffed that even breathing would become difficult; who will bother about more food in such a situation? Over these three days, there will be a stir in the city. My fortune is smiling upon me at the moment; if I hesitate and back out now, I will have to regret later. If I succeed in my object and the shops remain open ignoring the Congress call, I will become a rich man; even otherwise I have nothing to lose since I have already received a hundred rupees.

The sumptuous meal was immediately arranged. It was announced that Pandit Moteram will address a public meeting at the town hall ground in the evening on the current political situation. Everyone was requested to attend the meeting. The people were curious. Panditji had always remained aloof from politics in the past, but he wished to speak on the political situation today. This was unusual; he must be heard. Panditji was respected in the city; a few thousand people gathered at the town hall ground to listen to what he had to say. Panditji stepped out of his home well prepared. He was so stuffed that he could hardly walk. When Panditji reached the venue, the crowd rose to its feet and saluted him.

Moteram began his speech: Citizens, traders, merchants, and money-lenders, I have heard that you, at the instigation of the Congress, have decided to hold a strike to protest against the Viceroy's visit. This is the worst kind of ingratitude. If he wishes he can have you tied to the mouth of a cannon and have you blown off, or he could have the whole city razed to ruins. He is a king, not a clown to be laughed at. He is a lenient person and takes pity on your poverty, but you are bent upon destroying the very field that feeds you. If he wishes, the Viceroy can close down the railway and postal services; he can stop the movement of goods. What will you do then? If he wishes he can put you in jails; tell me, what will you do then? Can you run away from him? Do you have anywhere to go? When you have to live in this country under his rule, why do you want to create trouble? Remember, your lives are in his hands. There will be an outcry in the whole city if the germs of plague are released. Are you are trying to combat a storm with brooms? Beware, if anyone tries to keep the shops closed I will forsake food and water and give up my life.

One person in the audience wasn't convinced that the threat could be carried out. "Sir," he said, "it seems very unlikely that you will die of hunger in less than a month; the present agitation is a matter of only three days."

Moteram was furious. He thundered, "The vital breath is not part of the body; rather it is a part of the universe. If I want I can, through the power of yoga, give up my life this very instant. I have done my duty and warned you; it is now for you to take the correct course of action. If you heed my advice, it will be to your welfare; if you don't, you will be guilty of murder and you will be ashamed to show your face again. Well, I am spreading the mat here itself and sitting down to fast unto death.

<<PREV NEXT>>

Some useful links for
your career:


  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu