Only unexpected gifts make life worth living. What is life without such gifts? A burden, perhaps. But the existence of such moments which are totally unforseeable, make life boundlessly rich. If my lonely musings below are able to give anyone such unexpected happiness then I think my effort has been rewarded.
So, never expect, just live.
When they called me, as it was my wont, I was lying
supine on an old bed sheet spread on the floor. By now I had got used to
sleeping on the floor though it was very difficult in the beginning. On the one
hand repeated police beatings had made my bones utterly mushy and on the other,
I had led a life of comfort. Because I was used to a life of comfort, I slept
in a cot even during my days of hiding. Otherwise like others of my ilk I too
would have been hiding in some sugarcane fields. But I had told the jathedars –
group leaders – very clearly that I would be spending my nights in some dera1.
The jathedars were in great awe of my being educated and otherwise too, what
objection could they have had? Rather I only did all their work and I enjoyed a
better reputation as a junior jathedar.
was not aware at that time that owing to my fondness for sleeping in a cot, I
would land in such a trouble that today I would have to rot in the stinking,
half-kutcha hostel rooms of Arya School, lying unoccupied for years together.
was called the second time. It was
difficult to feign not having heard it, because earlier whenever I was unable
to get up because of my fractured bones, both Faqeeria and Channa havildar used
to kick me in my flanks. Since then my mind has been in such horrible dread
that now whenever a home guard or a C. R. P. F. man calls me, I immediately get
up and answer.
Natth, who had been recently promoted as head constable, stood outside. As it
is, he was a butcher in administering third degree, but otherwise he was good
to talk to.
master, the Deputy wants to see you," said he and started looking towards
me for my reaction.
have to take you with me," he said again as he saw me standing there
quietly hung the bed sheet on a hook after shaking loose the dust and after
closing the door behind me, I accompanied him.
had been interrogated four times during these six months and on all these four
occasions I was subjected to third degree for the whole of the week. On one
occasion, I had almost died but the Bengali doctor from the C. R. P. F. saved
me. Or else, by now, I too would have been inside the stomach of the Bhakra
canal fish, because the Ropar and Tarn Taran Police were hand in glove with
each other. The police had been showing me dead in the official papers for the
last five months. Now even my relatives had been released. Gaddu, the
policeman, had disclosed this to me.
we'll see now …. They may not start
torturing me again, that would be the end of me. The body is already finished.
The last time penicillin had saved me, but this time even penicillin would
loosen my bowels!" Brooding over
such thoughts, I was moving towards the interrogation cells with Channa Natth.
Channa, walking in front of me, was quiet. Ahead of the two large grounds of
the school, the deserted rooms were made to look like cellars by stacking sand
bags around them. Interrogation of all the people was done there only or those
who were to be reported as killed in police encounters were presented before
the S. P. and, in the police parlance, they were 'put on the wheels' in the night.
Except for me and Peetu Lambar, who belonged to the Babbars, all others had
been killed in fake encounters before my eyes, and had reached Guru Maharaj’s
abode. I had myself laid the corpses of Gurdip Singh Chakori, Manjit singh
Ghasitpuria, Lali Babbar, Tarsem Singh Guddi and Mahinder Singh alias Chakkar
in trucks. How many more others there were who were killed in these last six
months, I don't even recall their number! Some of those who were put on wheels
belonged to Batala area, and the others were from Ropar or Anandpur Sahib.
There were two women, sisters they were, from Chamkaur Sahib area. The two were
killed in encounters one by one. Their
families might still be looking for them in some police station in Chamkaur
Sahib. Peetu Lambar had been let off because he had lost his sanity after being
subjected to third degree. Now he keeps sitting outside Darbar Sahib, in
Amritsar. This too was disclosed by Havaildar Guddu.
"It appears that it is my turn today! I should
get ready for it." Lost in these thoughts I had reached near the
interrogation centre with Channa. There I stood propped against a pillar. None
of us could go beyond these pillars without permission. There was a row of
rooms beyond a corner a little ahead and no one was allowed to go there without
the permission of the S. H. O. Even the policeman who were allowed to go there
were those who were either well-known investigators or had been kept only for
administering third degree. Both Ajaiba Shudayee and S. P. Sharma were crazy people
and when a bhau2 did not sing or when they were beside themselves with rage
while torturing someone, they would vent their fury on some policeman as well.
Therefore, nobody, including the S. H. O. and policemen, could go there without
Deputy Ajaiba’s nod.
also Sharma S. P. and Aajaiba Shudayee could be heard talking to each other.
Havildar Faqeeria was also there chewing and spitting tobacco. He was Ajaiba's
hair started standing on end. All my limbs began to ache. Faqeeria used to come
out of his room only when some bhau had to be subjected to third degree or a
cold-blooded encounter was to be staged. Faqeeria was one of those sponges
could go on drinking twenty four hours in a day and how many men and women he
had killed, that he himself would not be able to tell. Now they wanted to
promote him as a Sub Inspector. Earlier, the Majitha police would hire him for
extracting confessions from bhaus from Amritsar, but now he was permanently
with the Amritsar Police. Sometimes his services were requisitioned by
Jalandhar and Nabha police also. I had seen him getting into or coming out
their vehicle on many an occasion…and if now, Faquiria was there, I was sure to
be thrashed or even …..
my turn come again today, brother?" with great trepidation I asked Channa
Natth standing near me. As it is, he was already going to tell me.
no master! These preparations are for welcoming your old buddy Jassa Maruti.
The Jalandhar Police had washed its hands off this sister fucker of a vermin
and passed him on to the Tarn Taran Police. The Tarn Taran Police in turn said
why they should kill this obnoxious thing….there is no reward on his head… then
let the S. S. P. himself finish him….Now Sharma S. P. and Ajaiba have been
given the duty to finish him."
it? Is Jassa still alive?" I was in a daze and asked him impulsively.
you know? Look….You know his entire story," Channa replied, as if chiding
it has been a month since he died.
Surjit, the wireless operator had told me that my old friend had
gone….Hadn't Sital of Mehta Chowk tipped him? This is what I had heard,"
Sital oye? O bhau he too is our man. The intelligence people pay him the salary
of an Inspector, although, he is supposedly an area commander of Bhindranwale
Tigers. He it was who exposed the deeds
of your your buddy Jassa. Otherwise, would anything have come to light?"
It was as if Channa had hit me in the forehead with this baton of information.
I had come to know a year ago that Sital too was working for the intelligence
agencies, I would have been surprised a wee bit. I would not have been
surprised much because during the last ten years I'd been in the hiding I had
seen many people leading a dual life. A few of them I had killed with my own
hands. Some had gone back to police. Some of their moles – black cats – had
been killed by the police themselves…This very Jassa Maruti, about whom Channa
had been talking, was once with Baba Bhindrawale. But when Baba Bhindranwale
broke his and his chosen disciple Joginder P. T’s legs, he had again become S.
S. P. Mustafa Alam’s cat. His guru P. T. had been killed inside the Golden
Temple during Operation Blue Star. Jassa had spent the next five or six years
as a cat. Supporting a flowing beard at night, he had killed and even looted
many lalas – Hindu businessmen, of Tarn Taran area. Even at that time too I had
kept getting commands from the High Command that I should put Jassa cat to
death. But every time our old friendship stood in my way to stop me from
murdering him. During the day time Jassa moved around with the S. P. as a
police cat with his mouser slung on his shoulder. And at night he looted people
or even eliminated entire families in certain areas at the behest of the S. P.
He then shared the spoils right from Chandigarh down to the S. P. City, S. P.
(D) and S. P. O. (CID)…. Sometimes he would meet me on the Tarn Taran Road, or
at Babey Sahidin, where I passed off as a cook during the noontime everyday.
Neither would he ever make a show of recognizing me, nor would I ever pretend
to evade him. We passed by each other like strangers. If there was some threat
to my life, he rather helped me by conveying this to the other cook ‘Tochi.
had done one or two things at his bidding. The big job I did on his instruction
was Ruby cat's….
why are you a bumping into the pillar again and again? Bhau where are you
headed? Don't know where on the earth are you lost? Are you in a trance?"
Channa Natth distracted me.
have been thinking about Jassa…When is he to be brought?" I asked him with
mixed feelings of fear and disbelief.
one, they were asking that lover of his sister to render accounts. As much as
thirty seven lakhs they've brought from his Ranjit Avenue kothi in Amritsar.
Four and and a half lakh rupees and two kilo gold has been unearthed from his
Batala residence. And the currency found in policewoman Gindo’s locked
house…..such huge amount as cannot even be specified!" Channa said.
is Gindo herself now?" I knew policewoman Gindo very well, therefore I
asked him out of curiosity.
first let out a volley of abuses and then spat and blurted, "This Maruti
friend of yours had killed her a year ago by setting her on fire after
sprinkling diesel on her. It was during his interrogation that he confessed to
Gindo's murder also along with that of many others. But after so many months where could the
wretched woman's dead body be found? Even her ashes were not found" Channa
was talking nonstop….
beautiful supple body, fragrant like sandalwood, swam before my eyes. I
trembled at the very thought of setting such shapely and robust body on
fire. But the next moment this idea came
to me that by now I had already seen so much that in the next seven lives even
neither would I be able to witness such barbarity nor would so many murders be
committed by my hands, then why should I tremble? The next thought brought to
me the fact that this trembling proved that the heart was still beating inside
me… that the wellsprings of humanity had not yet dried fully.
smile appeared spontaneously on my lips when I thought so gently about myself.
I became oblivious even of Channa staring at my face.
is the matter? Why are you grinning?" said Channa, looking at my face.
no brother! Where's the grin? Well, remembering the old days lifts one's
spirits…there's nothing else." I came back to myself, as it were.
I realized that I had been standing propped up against the pillar for quite
sometime. I felt as if something was dragging me down…I heard a voice from
within which said that having received repeated beatings my legs had lost all
strength and the mind too was refusing to work.
you allow me, brother, may I sit down on the floor? My legs have no strength in
them now. I can't keep standing any more." I requested Natth very meekly.
say, so far I'm concerned, you can jolly well sit down. Go ahead, sit…sit down. But the moment you
hear the Deputy’s voice, stand up immediately. You know Ajaiba’s nature,"
Natth cautioned me.
I forget Ajaiba? You stop worrying brother. The moment I am called, I would be
seen standing at attention."
Ajaiba’s name only made a shiver run down my spine.
then, sit down here. I will send a cup of tea for you. I don’t know when they
will bring their sister’s husband Jassa. It could be an hour, may be two or
even three," said Channa.
folded my hands in all humility and expressed my thanks with my eyes only.
Later on I was surprised to see my folded hands. There was a time when there
was a reward of fifty lakhs on my head. There was a time when the whole of the
Punjab feared me. Today I was a beggar: "What I have come to be from what
I was!" I kept looking at my folded hands for a long time.
I sat down with my back supported against the pillar, my mind turned towards Jassa
Maruti. The past came alive before my eyes so naturally as if I were still
living in the past.
Maruti had come into contact with the Sant at about the same time when I did.
After doing B. Ed. in 1981, I had starting teaching in the Kalgidhar Khalsa
School on the Tarn Taran road. It was a
middle school being managed by the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee and
the job was pensionable. I was a permanent employee and doing well. My marriage
plans were afoot. A year or two passed in this way. One day I had to go to the
Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, to meet the President of the School Committee. The
offices of the Shiromani Committee were located next to Guru Nanak Niwas. I was
asked to wait in a big veranda outside the Committee office. I had reached
there at the appointed hour.
were the days of Sant Bhindrawale’s ascendancy. From the Akal Guest House to
Baba Atal Gurdwara, the disciples of the Sant could be seen moving carrying
revolvers. Apart from this, armed Sikhs always remained stationed in Manji
Sahib also. The Singhs of both the factions always remained on guard. The Akal
Guest House had been in the possession of the Babbars and the Guru Ram Dass
Serai and the roof of the langar – community kitchen, were occupied by the
Sant’s men. Both the factions abhorred each other no end. The Babbars had only twelve persons on their
rolls and the thirteenth, their Chief, had fled to Germany.
some time passed as I sat there waiting. Tired of hanging around there, I came
out of the office and went to the only tea shop opposite Gurdwara Baba Atal and
ordered a cup of tea. Visible in the front on the roof tops of the tall old
houses of Amritsar were the pickets of the C. R. P. F. men. The C. R. P. F.
jawans too sometimes craned their necks out. They were not permitted to go
beyond Gurdwara Baba Atal. They were allowed to go only up to the hotel
opposite Guru Ram Das Serai. I was sipping tea and thinking about the
tug-of-war going on between the militants and the police when somebody called
me by my name. When I turned back I saw my B. Ed. classmate Joti Hundal
standing there. Clad in a long shirt and pajamas, round turban and his mouser
strap around his neck, he looked quite different from others. But I had
recognized him in the first glance. Since we had met after a gap of about a
year or two, he had a lot of things to tell me. Having been in the Sikh
Students’ Federation, he too had joined the Sant’s group with many of his
friends. The entire Sandhu group had accepted the Sant as their leader. The
other group too was of the students only, but it was with Sant Longoal under
Prof. Kandookadre. But they had hardly any weapons with them. Those who were
with the Sant had more weapons in their possession.
talking to me, Hundal accompanied me up to the Shiromani Committee office. I
told him that I had come to meet the President.
The President of our school was very close to the Committee. He laughed
at this and said, "Let me know if I can do anything for you. No one can
even urinate without our orders." Laughing thus he moved towards Guru
I came in again, I saw that the President of the school had been observing me
from a distance. I had nothing in my mind, not an iota of fear. I straightaway
went to him and greeted him. But he seemed to be a bit upset. After accepting
my greetings, he asked me bluntly, "How does he know you?"
was unnerved a little by his attitude. But I told him firmly that he was my
class mate in B.Ed. At first he kept quiet for a couple of minutes or so, and
then finally casting aside his dilemma, he said, "Master ji, what times
are you living in? You also see everything. We are the real Akalis. The
agencies know everything about us. But you are quite new to this place. By now nearly twenty eyes would have espied
you talking to him. And all those twenty eyes would be of the C. I. D. or of
the police sniffer dogs. Moreover, that Hundal, who you have been claiming be
to be your friend of the B. Ed days, the news about him that has come from Sant
Longowal is that he is a constable in Punjab Police and has been planted here
by the intelligence. And to cap it all the worst thing is that Sant
Bhindranwale never considers Longowal ji's information to be true."
legs had then suddenly started trembling with fear. If today I have been able
to withstand all the tortures it is because my mind is strong though the body
is hollow from within. At that time, the body was strong but the mind was weak.
Having heard about the intelligence and about how every second person was
working for the C. I. D., I was scared and I stood speechless before the
President. I was at a loss.
can go home now and be careful. I am apprehensive that this Hundal may not
create trouble for you," the President sent me back with these words.
could I have known then that every word of the President would prove to be
correct? And one day this very Hundal and these very sniffer dogs of
intelligence agencies would destroy my world completely?
same thing had happened. In about ten days I had started having the feeling
that I was being shadowed. But I had not been able to trace the pursuers. Just
a few days after this, Joti Hundal, accompanied by a hefty looking sardar, came
to my house all of a sudden. My mother was at home. My younger brother and
father had gone out for work. I had got scared on seeing them. But I welcomed
them formally. They left just after five-seven minutes after having a cup of
tea. While leaving they handed me a gunny sack. In this twenty kilo capacity
bag, there were only three big water melons. They must have weighed ten kilos.
They said, "The Singhs had asked for water melons, but as the police are
following us, we will come tomorrow or the day after to take back the
left but even after keeping those melons I kept wondering why they had taken
such risks in coming to my place for keeping here water melons which were worth
only a trivial amount of two rupees or so. Suddenly an idea crossed my mind
like lightening and I went into my room, bolted the door from inside and shook
the three water melons. Every time I heard a clanging sound coming out from
each one of them. Then I looked very carefully at the melons and found that all
the three had been cut open in the middle and joined again. I took courage to
open one of them. It had been emptied and dried up from inside, and bullets
wrapped in wax paper were placed within it. Under the bullets were small
pistols, all three of the same type, glistening and exactly similar…
was frightened to the very bones. I could not sleep. I feared a police raid
throughout the night. I prayed and prayed and finally the dawn arrived after a
long painful night. I remained distracted in the school. I came back from the
school fearing the worst. Mother asked me something but I replied something
else. Father and brother also returned home in the evening but I did not feel
like talking to them. We were only four of us in the family and if one of us
had even a tooth ache the other three three could intuitively discern his pain
in no time. The members of my family questioned me a little bit but I did not
tell them anything. What could I tell them after all? Meanwhile the same hefty
sardar showed up around eight thirty. He called me out after knocking on the
door and told me to give him the bag containing water melons. I did hand over
the bag to him but I told him firmly, "Tell Hundal not to put me through
such a difficult trial again and he should never come to me again." The
hefty sardar kept staring at me in a very strange manner for a few seconds; he
didn't utter a word. And then he left quietly with the water melons.
that day till today, 'Hundal curse' has been visiting me. Much after this
incident and after having been with the Sant for long, I had come to know that
this very Hundal was chopping my roots. This too I had come to know only when
at the instance of the Sant, this Jassa P.T. and that barbarian Inderjit had
killed this policeman Hundal, stuffed his body in a gunny sack after hacking it
into pieces and thrown the sack in the garden street. From there the police had
taken away his dead body without any fuss.
days after the Hundal and water melons incident, the police picked me up when I
was on the way to school in the morning. I had just stepped out of the house
and turned the street corner when five to seven well-built bulls of men clad in
white clothes lifted me and threw me into a Canter. After starting the Canter
they also got into the vehicle. They tied my hands and gagged my mouth. After
ten minutes we were in the notorious C. I. A. staff rooms in Amritsar. The job of my interrogation had been
entrusted to S. P. (D) Randhawa. He and his bullies tore the muscles of my
legs. My head spun in pain, but I bore it with fortitude.
tell us everything or else I will send you to Maal Mandi," Randhawa warned
do I deny anything? Ask me anything you want to," there was pain in my
me then, since how long has this affair of water melons been going on?"
had understood that they knew about Joti Hundal and the watermelons. Since I
was not guilty therefore I disclosed everything in detail. After listening to
me, instead of calming down, Randhawa started abusing me.
fucker…. You have still got a lot hidden in your belly. You will not spill it
so easily. You will have to be shown the Maal Mandi.’
you an S. P. or the tip of a penis? Who made you an investigator? If you know
everything about Hundal and the water melons, then haven't your sister fucking
informers told you that I have never ever hit a dog or a cat with a stick? What
else have I ever done except teaching?" All this escaped my lips in anger.
The fact is that I could not bear the obscenities.
listening to my plain speaking, Randhawa and his cronies started kicking me.
One of them broke my right leg with a long stick. I slumped writhing in pain.
Then they started beating my soles with the sticks. I started abusing them, but
I lost my consciousness after half a minute. When I came to, I was lying there
the evening my companions, my well wishers, had reached there. The prominent
people of my neighbourhood were also with them. Randhawa took away my school President
and told him, "You can take him away but we still have to extract quite a
lot out of him."
from getting medicines from a doctor up to escorting me to my place, the
President stood by me at every step. He gave me some money also from his own
pocket before leaving. He reassured my mother and my gentle father also. He
cheered up my younger brother too. But before going, he took me aside and said,
"What have you decided about the future?"
do not grieve at having been thrashed; let them break my leg again. What pains
me is that I've been beaten without any fault of mine," tears welled in my
inside story, my son, is that the government machinery is running a secret
operation to encourage the youth to become militants. You have been beaten
under the same policy. And as far as my knowledge of the situation tells me,
you should go away somewhere for some time along with your family otherwise the
Amritsar police will not let you live in peace. It is just to lure young boys
from Gurdaspur and Amritsar into this vicious cycle of militancy that the
entire police and all the agencies are making all out efforts. And if you
continue to stay here, believe me, it will not be before long that…..now it is
for you to decide…" the President insinuated and brought his talk to an
President had left, but where could we go? We could not think of anything.
After some time I started moving about in a rickshaw. Everyone at home felt
that things were normal. But a shadow lingered on.
a bomb exploded inside the Shivala Temple in Amritsar. I was in the school. The
President came to the school suddenly and advised me not to stay at home that
night. What he said was like an order for me. I went with my colleague to his
village Chabba that night. I had sent home a message that I would return the
next day. How could I have known at that time….?
next day when I reached the school, I came to know that the police had taken my
mother to the police station. Neither my father nor my brother was at home
then. They were still at their work. When they returned from the lathe factory,
the frightened neighbours told them that my wailing mother had been taken to
the police station by plain clothes policemen. Even this could also not be found
out as to which district the police was from.
distraught, the three of us, my father and my brother and I appeared before the
S. S. P. Meena. He directed us again to go to Randhawa. When we again went to
Randhawa, he made the three of us sit in the dark cells of the Ram Bagh Police
station. We remained there throughout the night. We had no cot, no bed, and not
a morsel of food in our stomachs. Nobody asked us if we needed a cot, food or
any other thing. Along with us, there were many other gloomy, seemingly
woebegone village faces. All were silent.
and D. I. G. Shukla came there at around five in the morning. I knew Shukla
since my arrest the last time. The moment they came they called us out and
pushed us into interrogation chambers. Shukla and Randhawa were sitting in the
chairs and their butchers of policemen stood ready before them. A new comer
would be terribly scared, but we were dealing with them for the second time.
is to be done with these people, sir?" Inspector Tony asked both of them.
for you, you sister fuckers, reach us before you do. What do we say to you
now?" said Randhawa.
these people President Manchanda’s men?" Shukla asked Randhawa.
sir. They are Manchanda’s men. The same one of the Longowal group…"
the sister fuckers away…." I don't know what came into his mind then, for
without any rhyme or reason he stood up clenching his teeth and started pulling
my father’s beard while uttering like a mad man, "You dog, put a leash on
him, Randhawa also kicked us twice or thrice. I endured all this for some time.
Then a small steel bucket came into my hand, which had been kept there perhaps
to wash the floor or to urinate. I picked it up and flung it at Randhawa’s
back. My younger brother, emboldened by my action, pounced upon Shukla who was
beating my father. Then all the butchers assaulted us and kept kicking and
beating us with sticks and belts till we did not lose consciousness. Shukla told
them while leaving…
out the mother fuckers after they regain consciousness. And now you will die craving to see your
that day till today…..
father has passed away. Today even the memory of his face has become hazy.
Shinty, a lathe worker had seen my brother for the last time about two years
ago in Nanakmata in U. P. He had a photographer's shop in some village where he
was living with a needy girl.
mother? The memory of her face had not become blurred even during these ten
I could never see my mother again. All three of us kept pining to see her. But
she had perhaps mingled with the five elements.
whirring sound of the canter's engine distracted me. I had returned from the
long years gone by. The canter carrying Jassa Maruti had reached. I stood at
attention immediately. In the meantime I had seen Sharma and Ajaiba coming out.
They moved towards the Canter without looking at me. In their eyes, not only I
but all other human-born were merely insects. Having lived among these butchers
I had begun to believe that God had filled their minds with rusted iron in
place of any feelings. I was standing there in silence. Channa, Faqeeria and
Shinda, the policeman, had also come near the canter.
you! what's your name? Come here you, your sister's pimp! Go and join the boys
and take this corpse to your cell. We will finish his work tomorrow,"
Ajaiba had seen me by then.
a deadpan face, I ran straight to the canter like a trained animal and started
helping policemen remove what looked like a corpse, a corpse which we once used
to call by the name Jassa Maruti.
Jassa Maruti! Where was Jassa Maruti? It was just a corpse. I used to grieve at
times when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, but on seeing Jassa I
was, as if, wrenched from inside. His right eye which had turned black was shut
and a part of the forehead just above it was broken and had sunk deep. It was
as if someone had crushed a ripe water melon! There were blood stains on his
clothes and feet. And while helping him, out my eyes had got drawn towards his
is his right hand?" In a daze I was searching for his right hand but in
place of a hand, a bandaged stump with congealed blood on it was mocking me.
him in the master’s room. Do you have the blankets you require?" Sharma
sir, yes sir," I replied mechanically.
the help of the three policemen, we laid Jassa in my room. Despite being in
such a terrible shape, Jassa was fully conscious. He even tried to talk a
little bit during this period. The policemen went away after laying him down. I
sat down on the floor near him. He was lying on my floor-bed. I sat there for
some time. Then I noticed that he was looking at me very intently. He had
recognized me and wanted to say something.
I am master, your old buddy master Karam. Have you recognized me?" I said
trying to start a dialogue.
aside my recognizing you. When I came to know from the policeman Shinda about
your being here, I myself asked for your company. I don't know if I'll live for
one or two more nights. I have been requesting Sharma the S. P. for many days
that they should allow me to be with you during the final moments of my life.
And it was with great difficulty that he could be persuaded to be merciful. But
where's the mercy in his heart! For the sake of your company, I disclosed to
him about the first floor room of Jeet Springs Co. My two lakh rupees in cash
have been lying there for about a year. The lock on the door is mine, my elder
brother. Two lakh rupees has this first meeting with you cost me" Jassa
was speaking in a high-spirited tone. I did not believe at first that with so
many broken bones one could speak so firmly and loudly! Then I remembered Baghela.
Every limb of his body Gill had got broken in front of his own eyes, but the
thunder in his voice was intact till his last breath.
"Look at your plight brother? What have you got
done to yourself? You were in the right place – a Sub Inspector and that too
with the Punjab Police. Where was the need for you to flaunt your madness here?
Hadn't you already paraded enough of it in 1984 and thereafter? What more was
left to be done?" This is all I could say with a heavy heart.
brother," he said after a long silence
I sat, having been transformed into a question mark.
is a very long story. If destiny has extended my life by a night or so, I will
tell you something before I die. But I
have to seek a favour from you, and don't say no to me. This is what I've come
to you for. Not only two lakh rupees, I would have given everything else also
to Sharma. I will leave a lot for you before breathing my last. But please
accept this request of mine which I am going to make." He was an enigma to
I need to shove the money into my asshole Jasseya? Just tell me, brother, do I
need the currency notes to make a bonfire with? As per the official records,
I'm already dead. I don’t have anybody to call my own outside the jail, neither
a wife nor mother-father. I don’t know if my brother is alive or nor. Even if
he is, he is as good as dead. You tell me about yourself." I blurted it,
as if, out of world-weariness.
You are right, big brother, yes," said he in a deeply agonized voice. Then
a very long brooding silence descended on us. We both had become very pensive.
Whether my mother had been killed by
the police or she was alive, we three were undone by this dilemma. My father
took to bed. At times my younger brother and I cooked food, ran after doctors
sometimes, and attended to our jobs now and again. Then we engaged a maid
servant. This separation from my mother was unbearable to my father. After a
while, the tidings that reached me were not auspicious. Sharma had killed my
mother. Though, deep within, I still don't believe it, but truth cannot be
falsified. The police had started harassing me and my younger brother time and
again since that very day. Whenever there was a bomb explosion in the grain
market, satta bazaar3 or outside the temples, I and my brother would be locked
up in the police station for a night or two. Sick of all this, we sent my
younger brother to U. P. to our relatives. A sizeable number of people
belonging to our carpenter community lived there. I remained in a quandary for about a month
after getting the news of my mother's death. Then having steeled my heart, I
resigned my job and on Joti Hundal's recommendation, I joined the Sant's
followers. My only request was that I should be given a weapon to kill S. P. Sharma.
But Joti Hundal had held me back by citing paucity of weapons. Besides this,
the Sant had already given his personal weapon to Baba Rode for killing Sharma.
was hanging about there as a volunteer. The news of my having reached the
Harmandar Sahib and joining the Sant had spread like wild fire. The same
police, which earlier harassed us no end, now did not look towards my house any
more. My father was living peacefully. He went to his work, but he worked just
about as much as he needed to earn his living.
Maruti had met me there for the first time. He was an old companion of the
militant P.T. of Putlighar. He had an old house in the streets near Khalsa
College. His father belonged to the village Ghanpur situated at the back of the
University. The poor jatt had migrated from the village in good old days to
settle in the Guru Nanak colony near the Khalsa College. Jassa was his only
child born to him quite late in his life. Born with a streak of wildness in
him, he had fallen into the company of smugglers and pugnacious bhaus. He had
become friends with P. T. at that time only. P. T. also had similar ideas.
Finally both of them had taken up shelter with the Sant. Fed up with P. T.’s
shenanigans, the Sant had him laid up for a month on the roof of the langar
hall after getting his his legs broken by Baba Bara Singh. At that time Jassa
had escaped the Sant's wrath by lying to him but Jassa was not liked by Baba
Manochahal. He and Baba Bara had suggested to the Sant on many occasions to do
away with Jassa but before this could be accomplished, he had run off from
there and taken shelter in Guru Nanak Niwas. It was at about this time that the
Operation Blue Star had started. Having got the wind of the impending Operation
Blue Star from the Babbars and Gurcharan lamma – the tall one, who was Sant
Longowal's follower, Jassa had already escaped through the garden street
towards Tarn Taran via Paragdas Chowk five days before the Operation. P.T. and
his companions had died fighting the army in the parikarma4 of the Golden
Temple and in Baba Sri Chand Akhara5.
myself was also outside the parikarma area during those days. The Singhs had
assigned me the duty of killing Joti Hundal, but I had declined. Then he was
killed by Jassa and P.T. and Inder, the brute. The Singhs had understood my
sole overriding desire to kill S. P. Sharma and they sent me to the Patti area.
Sharma too was working in Tarn Taran area at that time.
are you thinking big brother?" Jassa, who was lying down, asked me
I just remembered the old days," said I.
you remember Bhau that I had seen you for the first time at a function in the
B.Ed. Khalsa College. You had sung a Mukesh song and your class had rendered a
memories came back to me. A smile appeared on my face.
come you were there?" I asked him.
"I was brother an idler and loafer number
one. I used to gatecrash at each function of the college. For one, my house was
very close to the college. Secondly, I have studied in the Khalsa School. So it
wasn't difficult for me," said Jassa.
there was commotion outside. My attention was drawn towards it. The evening had
set in and it was getting dark. I came out after hearing the noise. Nothing was
visible from there. But I could get to know only this much that Ajaiba and
Faqeeria were having an argument with each other. Faqeeria had no fear of any
one. I stood there for a few moments. Meanwhile Shoki, the cook, happened to be
passing near me. I asked him in a very low voice what the whole thing was all
Faqeeria and Jaiba have quarreled. Jaiba offered Faqeeria ten thousand rupees
and a box of whisky to kill Jassa and throw his dead body towards the Mandi,
where they had been disposing of dead bodies in the past too. But Faqeeria
rather started abusing him and said that he would not kill his old friend
then," I asked him further.
Ajaiba said that the mother fucker had killed many policemen despite himself
being a policeman, where was the hitch in killing such a vermin? To which
Faqeeria replied, ‘Have I myself killed fewer men? That means you will kill me
will they do now?" I asked him. I knew that Shoki would be in the know of
everything. As it is, experience had taught me that secrets are known either to
cooks, servants or drivers.
brother, now Channa Nathh and havildar Kirpal are ready to give him a ticket
for the next world. Ajaiba has promised the same ten thousand and the box of
whisky to them."
I asked him point blank.
in the afternoon," Shoki replied and left.
returned to my room. Jassa asked me the reason for the all the hubbub outside.
In very clear words and in a very cool manner I replied, "Be prepared for
tomorrow afternoon. The time has arrived."
a long silence he said, "Then what was this noise?"
had refused," said I.
else now?" With his eyes fixed on me, he asked me candidly.
and Kirpal," after disclosing this to him, I fell silent. He also did not
say anything. After lying on his back for a while, he said, "help me turn
on my side."
got up and helped him turn on his side. All of sudden I remembered his severed
"Where's your right hand?"
"Thanedar Cheema chopped it off a week
back," he revealed..
"I had killed his son near Raiyya towards
Jharoo Nangal. At the time of his retirement Cheema had got his son recruited
as havildar in the police. He was on duty in the police post there. I knew when
the two or three of them came out at night. They were two and I killed both of
them." He then narrated the rest of the story also.
"Then?" I asked him.
"Then Cheema came to know of all this after a
year. Ajaib disclosed this to him just a week ago. He wanted my custody from
Ajaiba. Five lakh rupees is what he offered to Ajaiba for allowing him to hack
me into pieces. Ajaiba looked at the five lakhs and said, ‘Should we give this
gold mine to you for five lakhs? You can thrash him as much as you like. But
we'll kill him ourselves.’"
"Is it so?" I responded. Nothing surprised
me then because for many years I had myself worked with the meanest monsters.
Hence I took it easy.
"This entire corporeal frame has been battered
again by Cheema that lover of his daughter. While going away after torturing
me, he found a sickle somewhere and chopped off my hand. The bastard was bent
upon slicing head off, but it was Ajaiba and Nirmal who had stopped him."
After a long silence, he started speaking again.
"I am worried neither about my impending death
tomorrow afternoon and nor about this hand. There's something else which is
troubling me, my brother. I will tell you that also before I go, certainly I
will. And I have to seek something from you."
"Do you remember I had saved you from Ruby
Cat?" He said after a while.
The entire story came back to my mind. Ruby Cat was
a policeman but he had become the Jathedar of Baba Shahidan Gurdwara at
Chatiwind. I had also taken shelter there as a volunteer. Ruby came to know of
it and he reported it to the police station B. Division. Jassa was also posted
there. He immediately sent a word to Tochi the cook through his tout and Tochi
hid me away. In the evening after it had got dark, I and Jassa strangulated
Ruby to death with a towel when he was walking unworriedly near the Secretary
Garden toward Bhagtanwala. After carrying his body to a sewage nullah we buried
it in it very securely. Neither the police have been able to lay their hands on
a trace of Ruby's till date nor have I ever confessed to his murder during any
of my police remands.
"Yes, it was all because of your kindness that
I escaped death by a whisker," I said to him with heart-felt gratitude.
A little later I dozed off. But Jassa didn't sleep a
After P. T.’s death, there was no stopping Jassa.
The Sant and his companions had died fighting inside the Golden Temple. Jassa
did not establish contact with Jinda, Ginder, Baba Manochahal or Sukh who had
escaped from there. On the other hand, the police and the army were looking for
all hard-core extremists. Jassa had become Mustafa Ali’s cat with the help of
Jaswinder, a police cat from Chheharta. After a little while he joined the
police as a constable on the recommendation of the notorious police cat Sokha
Kala. We kept getting all these news. Manochahal and Gurjant were fuming at not
having killed Jassa earlier. On his part, Jassa knew all about the militant
hideouts and their ways. He killed many well-known militants, got promotions
and rose to the level of a thanedar. He had become utterly ruthless in the
company of Inderjit who was a beast. As it is, he himself had been wild and
ruthless since his childhood. After he joined hands with Sokha Kala, such
cruelty had made its way into his heart as is to be found in butchers, the
insane and the wild beasts gone berserk. Sokha Kala had lost his life at the
hands of Bhupi Jogpuria, in his own house in Amritsar, but he had helped Jassa
have good connections. The Governments in Delhi needed people like Jassa to
fuel extremism. He had come to be known as 'useful person' to all the state
"Why did the Khalsa Liberation Force people
kill Inderjit the beast?" It was the last quarter of the night when I
asked Jassa, who was continuously awake. In fact, both of us had not slept.
"Well, in fact, it so happened that we were to
kill a tout from the Varpal area there and then only after catching him. When
we were about to shoot him, Inder the beast said, 'Let's have some fun’ and he
told Jathedar Kashmir Thattha6 of Liberation Force to leave and added that they
would kill the tout on the other side of the canal. They handed over the tout to us and left.
There was a young Singh by the name Partap Singh with them. He stayed with us.
Inder the beast and I together gagged the tout's mouth and cut him to pieces on
the river bank. Whilst we were hacking his limbs, he was squirming in pain. We
took immense pleasure in killing him. Partap was scared to see all this and
that very night he fled to Kashmir Thattha. We fired a burst of AK 47 on him to
prevent him from reaching Thattha. But he escaped and narrated the whole story
to Thattha. I had a gut feeling of looming danger therefore I didn't go to Baba
Bhindrawala's durbar again after this incident. But how could mad Inder be sensible?
He went to the parikarma and from there he was picked up by Thattha and his
cronies. He was taken to Guru Ram Das Serai where he was hacked to pieces after
which his dead body was burnt with petrol somewhere in a deserted area on the
Tarn Taran road." Jassa disclosed the entire story.
"But, brother, why did you kill Gindo, the
policewoman?" I asked him hesitantly.
"She wasn't my wife. She was just like a kept
woman. But she had become too meddlesome. Whenever I went to her house in a
drunken state, she nagged me. She lived alone. The day I didn't get someone to
kill, I would go mad with rage and spill my own blood by stabbing my hands or
banged my head against the walls. She used to get sick of all this. One day she
was unwittingly fired at by me in utter fury. I took her dead body to the Mandi
area in my government jeep, and set it on fire after sprinkling diesel on it.
In the same way I had set on fire two lady teachers of Tarn Taran in the past.
There was lot of hue and cry in the papers at that time, but after sometime
everyone had become silent on their own." Jassa was opening up, layer by
"Brother…you had a wife and a child also. That
woman your father had married you to when you were very young? Don't you ever
meet them?" I drew his attention towards his past
"Brother, I had left them in 1981 only. I was
barely nineteen or twenty at that time. I left her in such a way that after
going to her parental village she too didn't look back toward me. My son was
born there only," he almost broke down.
"Do you remember them sometime?"
‘No.’ His face hardened once again.
When Barnala Government was formed in Punjab and
then fell in 1987, I was given general amnesty for a few months. I and many of
my companions had come out of our hideouts in the fields and surrendered our
weapons. My father had passed away about that time only. I stayed at home
during these days. Some of my companions had been recruited as bus conductors
by the Barnala Government, and some were inducted into the Electricity Board.
Some were given mini buses. It was abut two months after my father’s death that
the Barnala Government fell. I too had taken a loan of about twenty thousand
rupees, but I did not feel like starting any business. My brother had settled
permanently in U. P. The Barnala Government had barely fallen, when the police
started making rounds once again. The same old vicious cycle! In the end when
nothing availed, I went underground once again. This time I had joined the
Painta group. They had permanent hideouts and new weapons. Occasionally I kept
hearing about Jassa and he about me but nothing moved me to the quick in those
days. Once, at Dhand Kasel, Jassa and I had come across each other. I was going
alone on a motor cycle. Jassa stood there at a police picket. The police
stopped me and starting questioning me. Jassa had three stars on his uniform.
We both recognized each other but none of us uttered a word. Then he
gesticulated to them and said, "Let him go boys."
I too had left quietly.
The day was about to break when Jassa asked for
water. I gave water and made him lie down again. Suddenly he said, "Master
I am very sad at your mother’s death."
"Leave it now," said I. But something had
taken me by the throat at this sudden mention of my mother.
"I have made one mistake, master. I have worked
for about a year with your culprit Sharma, the S. P. Those were the days of
your ascendancy in Punjab. I could have disclosed his route to you if I had
wanted. But what do I say now? I was then obsessed with money and that's what
undid me." He was unfolding himself fully.
"Leave it now. Forget about it."
I did not want to listen to all this and about
Sharma. I put a stop to the discussion.
Channa and Kirpal arrived when the sun had risen
after an hour. Kirpal had come from his home but Channa used to sleep there
only. This Arya Samaj School was very big, but for years it had been lying
closed. A Punjab Police torture centre and a C. I. D. wing were situated here.
The rear hall was with the CRPF. But it did not interfere in the working of the
Punjab Police at all. Channa and many other police personnel like him used to
sleep there in the vacant rooms.
"Well, are you ready?" Channa asked Jassa
who was lying very calmly. Kirpal was totally silent. It was Kirpal's habit
that he kept quiet when he had to torture or put someone to death. His very
looks were fear-inspiring. When I had been brought here after my arrest from
Chabba on the information provided by Babbu, the tout, it was Kirpal only who
had tortured me the most.
‘I am ready. When are you going to issue me my
ticket?’ Jassa was undaunted.
"In the afternoon," Kirpal said and then
both of them left.
"Brother, my time has arrived. I need your
help. It wasn't for nothing that I sought your company by paying two lakh
rupees to Sharma," Jassa said the moment both of them left.
"Go ahead, tell me what help do you need?"
I said very earnestly.
‘Brother, Channa Natth and Kirpal, both of them are
quite okay with you. You tell them to kill me by running a truck over my chest.
I do not want to die of a bullet." He said to me in determinedly.
My mouth remained agape in surprise. I had never
expected that Jassa would seek such a death. Ultimately, this is what escaped
"What on earth are you talking buddy?"
"I am prepared to give you anything you ask
for. Even now, I have about one and a half lakh hidden somewhere. I will tell
the hiding place to Channa Natth and Kirpal. My brother you just bring them
around to the idea that they should kill me by running a truck over my chest.
That's it."’ He had come begging to me.
I couldn't think of anything. At last, I asked him
rather harshly, "Are you mad buddy?
Okay you just tell me, can death be had by begging like this?"
He was moving time and again as he lay there and he
started forcing me to go to Channa and Kirpal to talk to them. I got up and
went to Channa in his room. After listening to everything, Channa started
laughing loudly like a mad man and said, "The lover of his sister is now
asking for an easy death! Despite himself being a policeman earlier, he has
been secretly killing our brothers in police. And now he is scared. Ajaiba has
issued to us a very strict order for him. He has given us a steel noose he has
himself got prepared. We will put the steel noose around his neck here itself
and then drag him to the Mandi while he is groaning in pain and kill him there.
We won't let him breathe for half an hour or so and we won't let him die
either. You go and inform him."
I came back and told Jassa everything. He fell
silent. I too remained quiet for sometime. At last, I said, "Brother, why
do you seek such a death?"
He looked at me and said, "I knew you would
pose this question to me. I will also tell you before I go. I have very little
time with me now. I want to unburden myself. You are the first and last person
to whom I'll reveal this secret before I die."
"Help me take a turn on my side." He said
before starting again. I helped him turn on his side. Then I positioned myself
close to his face with my back pressed against the wall. Now I was fully
prepared to listen to him with full concentration.
"It is like this, big brother, that I have
introspected a lot during these months. I have tried to understand my
temperament and my . . . and my life from a very close angle." He was
unable to find the right words.
"Brother, you just carry on," I egged him
"It happened like this brother. Countless
people did I kill after joining the police. At the instance of the agencies I
killed journalists. I killed officers. I killed teachers. I killed patwaris. I
killed dancers, singers and eunuchs. Was there anything that I didn't do? After
committing a murder I would place there a chit sometimes in the name of
Manochahal, sometimes in Budh Singhwala's Liberation Force, or in the name of
the Babbars. We had all the letter heads with us. How could the Sikhs get to
know that all those who were looting and killing people were police dogs?
People thought that the extremists had done the job whereas most of these
incidents were the doings of the force which I and Sokha had raised."
I was silent. During these months I had come to know
everything about how the Delhi government was itself making us terrorists and
how it was then eliminating us. But today, I liked listening to all this from
"I killed, my brother, many people in your name
as well by throwing letter heads bearing your name. The Jansanghis who went for
a morning walk near the Company Bagh in Amritsar and were killed there were
actually killed by me. I had thrown there a slip in your and Master Karam
Singh's name. The ten lalas from Tarn Taran who were done to death after
dragging them out of the bus were also killed by me. And these murders were
also imputed to you." He was unwrapping himself.
"Now leave these old things, brother,"
"No! It is necessary to tell them to you. These
things are connected with what I've to tell you next." He picked up the
"The next thing my brother is that right since
my early childhood, I have been very hardhearted. It was as if a piece of
rusted iron had been placed in my chest in place of a heart. My mother had died early, and perhaps I
became so cruel because of her absence. Later on I had come into contact the
beasts like Inder. The animal within me kept growing with every passing day.
Every day I and my companions were able to find someone or the other to kill. When
we thrashed the victim we did so with great sadistic pleasure. This Faqeeria is
my old buddy. He and I must have killed perhaps more than a hundred persons. We
were very famous. Pus kept oozing out of Faqeeria's leprotic feet. In the Nabha
jail where militants charged under the TADA were kept, Faqeeria used to rub his
bandaged suppurating feet for a long time against boys' feet." He drew a
long breath and said.
"Then, what happened next?" I showed
"I will tell you." He drew long breaths.
"It happened like this, brother that I and my
companions came to know that before his death Baba Bijalwal had left his
seventy lakh rupees with the transporter Bajwa who lived about a mile away from
Batala on the Fatehgarh Churiyan Road. At that time I was on duty at the police
post on the road leading to Achal Batala. I, ASI Gurmukh Singh and two
constables of our gang, Tilku and Ram Singh, made a plan to settle accounts
with that Bajwa in the night. Our
informer had revealed that the money was still in his house and had not been
invested or deposited any where else. We explained everything to the S. S. P.
Batala and after deciding how the booty was to be shared we went there and
knocked on Bajwa's door in the middle of the night. He did not open the door
initially. We had posted six home guards towards the back wall so that no one
could flee from there. In the meantime, the four of us got the doors opened
after repeated knockings. The transporter, his wife and his two or three year
old daughter were the only ones at home. The rest of the family was perhaps in
the other house, I am not sure."
"Well master, if ever I saw somebody who was a
tough nut to crack, it was Bajwa. We broke all his bones in that deserted house
without caring for his shrieks, but he gave us no wind of money. Finally, when
nothing availed, we killed his wife. He became rather all the more audacious.
He said, "Now you can have my dick. I won’t give you anything. The one for
whom I did everything, you've killed her. Master, he just went on abusing
us." He drew another long breath.
"Then master I don't know how my mind was
turned by his abuses. Beside myself with anger, I held his two or two and a
half year old daughter by her legs and hit her violently on the floor, just
like a cloth being washed is struck on the ground. That child, dangling in my
hands, looked at me intently for the last time and . . . and then her broken
skull, blown into smithereens lay scattered on the ground."
I was stunned to hear this.
Jassa also kept quiet for a long time. He kept
looking at me. Ultimately, he said, "I knew you'd be stunned to hear this.
If you allow me, may I continue?"
"But . . . but what happened to her
father?" This is all I could say.
"He passed out on seeing his daughter die.
Finally Gurmukh shot him dead in the courtyard itself and we all returned empty
handed from there. We reported the matter to the S. S. P. In the morning he
called the press and attributed the incident to the militants' internal
"Then what brother! We just forgot about it.
But hardly a week after this, whenever I tried to go to sleep fully drunk
someone would come to me every night at around one thirty, awaken me and
frighten me. I saw it when I closed my eyes and I saw it when I opened my
"What did you see?" I asked.
"Well brother, I kept seeing the apparition of
that two or two and a half year old girl. In one hand she had khaki uniform and
fragments of her broken and crushed skull in the other. Every night I would get
up terrified. I could not sleep at night and had no peace during the day. I had
gone as if half insane. Those at Amritsar and also at Tarn Taran, the police
chiefs, would ask me what had gone wrong with me, why my face was ashen. They
offered that if Batala did not suit me, I could go to them. But what could I
say to them? I started drinking more heavily, but still where was the peace of
mind? When nothing worked, I went to the Gahlru Shah Pir of Chatiwind. Without
asking me anything, he told me that a girl was bringing death on me. I silently
abused him a million times and returned. If someone should ask that rascal,
'what could death do to me? Give me sleep for one night rather.’" He
"What did you do then?" I did not want him
to stop. To me there was something fundamentally eerie about these things.
Despite having seen such horrible hues and shades of life, all that Jassa had
told me and his own behaviour had, as if, paralyzed me.
"What happened then was that I thought that she
was seeking some sacrifice from me by showing the police uniform to me. When
pushed to the wall, what will a person not do? I had already lost my mental
balance. Every night I went out in mufti and kept a watch on the homes of the
policemen known to me, even if they were from the home guards. Whenever I got an opportunity, I killed a
policeman, or a home guard jawan. And believe me, for a day or two, the
apparition of that girl would not visit me. But on the third day she would show
up again. Ultimately, I started absenting myself from duty and wandered frenziedly
from one district to another." He said.
I was silent. He himself started again: "My
madness had got greatly aggravated. I had good contacts. I would find out which
policeman went home daily and from which police station, and which one was on
leave. I just went on killing people whenever I got the chance. Things came to
such a pass that I killed even my old friends Tilku and Gurmukh. Only Ram Sunh
escaped from my clutches. It led to a great hue and cry in the police circles;
everybody was curious to know who it was who was secretly killing police jawans
in this way."
"But weren't you caught brother?" I asked.
"How the hell could I have been caught? Nobody
even suspected me. During the day I behaved like a mad man in the police
station. Everybody thought that I was looking either for some extremist or
someone who had provided shelter to an extremist. And the needle of suspicion
never pointed towards me. It was because of the wretched betrayal by Sital Sunh
of Liberation Force from Mehta Chowk that I was caught." He said.
"How did Sital entrap you?" I asked him.
"Actually master, I had gone to kill a home
guard one night towards Dhoolke. I had definite information that he went to his
village at night on his cycle. When I was about to kill him, he said, ‘Who is
it?’ And in response to his challenge I blurted, ‘Where will you go now. I am
Sital, your sister’s husband’. I killed him, but in my drunken state I could
not see that there was another cyclist following him. He was perhaps a milkman,
who was related to Sital in some way. Well the next morning he informed Sital
that a home guard jawan of his village was killed in his name in the night
while he (Sital) had no news about it. And Sital was an under cover agent of
the Punjab police. I had mentioned his name for no good reason. He immediately
approached the S. P. and also set the C. I. D. on my trail. And the C. I. D.
didn't let a week pass when they nabbed me and took me to Ajaiba. At first it
was the Jalandhar Police which carried me off because the S. S. P. with whom I
had worked had gone to Jalandhar. He again handed me over to Ajaiba. I might
perhaps have killed nearly forty five or fifty policemen." With a long
breath he ended his story.
"But what do you want now?" I asked him.
"I only want, my brother, that a big truck
should be run over me," he reiterated.
"This can't be done at all," I told him,
fed up with all this.
"Why can’t it be done? Baghela was also killed
by Ajaiba’s men by crushing his head under a truck," he divulged to me as
if it were new information.
"Oye that was Gill’s order," I told him
"But, my brother, I myself want to be killed by
being run over by a truck. Then why should anybody have an objection?" He
demanded like a child.
"But my friend, why do you want to get involved
in all this trouble? What's the inside story?" I was sick of it.
"Now listen to me and decide for
yourself." He said. After drawing a long breath he resumed, "Ever
since I have been arrested by the police and am being tortured, I have felt no
pain, no ache whatever. I've just one pain, day and night. For the last one month or so, whenever I
close my eyes, it is as if that little girl jumps up and sits on my chest. And
she, who would weigh hardly ten or twelve kilos, her weight begins to increase.
And sitting on my chest, she starts weighing, as if, many quintals and tonnes.
She goes on laughing and goes on increasing her weight. I open my eyes so many
times, twist and turn, but she refuses to get off."
I was silent.
He made an effort to touch my feet with his left
hand. I was startled. Then like a beggar he stretched his left hand towards me
and said, "Brother, very little time is left now. I don’t want to go with this burden on my
mind. For God’s sake, tell Channa to run a truck over my chest. Perhaps it is
in this way that I may be able to get rid of the burden of that little
word dera usually refers to the abode of a saintly person where he lives with
his followers. In this sense it is like a seminary or a cloister. However, in
its secular connotations it means lodging or a place to stay.
word bhau literally means 'brother'. However, during the heyday of militancy in
Punjab, Sikh militants, especially in the Amritsar and Gurdaspur regions, were
euphemistically known as bhau and babey elsewhere. The word babey is the plural
of baba which means an old man.
bazaar refers to a financial market place where people gather for speculative
trading or for all kinds of betting and gambling in stocks.
passages around the sanctum in a temple or a Gurudwara.
Punjabi word akhara means: (1) an arena for a wrestling bout, and (2) a
monastery or an assemblage of some religious sects. There are many akharas in
and around Amritsar, in particular in the vicinity of the Golden Temple, in the
second sense of the term.
pronunciation of the word thattha is thəţţha as per IPA symbols.