To my dearest coolie girl

Long long ago, long long ago when British Raj had just took the command of India from the British east India company and Bahadur Shah Zafar,the last Mughal emperor, and a Urdu poet,had already breathed his last in exile in Rangoon, Burma When the giant Indian Railway took its first breathe from Bombay to Thane. When Swami Vivekananda was born but yet to break the barriers of ancient Indian mind divided in castes and creeds and yet to give a call for awakening from the age old slumber of social discriminations when Tagore was also born but yet to sing his nationalist songs to bridge up the nation and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was just born to sacrifice his life fighting apartheid and great Indian struggle for independence, till death When Kazi Nazrul Islam, the Rebel poet was very near to appear in our national horizon to write "jatir name bajjati sab, jat jaliat khelcho joa chole tur jat jabe jat, cheler hate nay tu moa". saying " All these social bigotries in the name of race is a foul play of the frauds gambling Touching your body your chastity is lost! chastity is not such a fragile thing". Ram, Lakhan and Rahim, Makhan and Madan Ramprasad and Hariprasad, jainul and Kasem from U.P and Bihar, from Rajasthan and Bengal from Haryana, Himachal and Madras thought it would be all better to cross Kala Pani to reach a promised land unknown where poverty won't eat their souls anymore and whips of hatred won't cause pain. They talked to each other and to their wives too and some to their old mothers and young children about a new land found, in their dreams where there is no Raja, no Maharaja no Zamindar or Nawabs ,no Badshah no war, no mutiny,no starvation, no tears. Sita, Savitri, Satyavati, Rukmini

Bali, Simran and Padmavati Ayesha, Reshma and Rucksana Suraj, Chandrabhanu, Chotelal far and near who lived of Ganga and Yamuna river dales dreamt the same dream with their sons fathers and husbands of dreaming no more but touching a real dream just crossing the sea, or a small ocean nearby. Where is there any life that Kala Pani will take? Death even waits here to come home when we starve. they told themselves,over many sleepless nights. There they promise you works and to pay it for! where have your own land here to grow crops? Maybe this is the wish of Ramji that we voyage to new land unseen to create our own Ram Raj. "Allah ki dua sath hoo tu naseeb accha hi hoga" Rahim told to Rucksana, "If blessings of Allah is with us our luck will be too good." So, it was a day within a week or sometime within a month that they cried once more but not for their own this time, rolling on the ground and pouring their hearts out they cried once and last for their dearest motherland before leaving her forever.

Tears also rolled down from Kamdhenu's eyes Ramprasad's beloved cow, as he cried for she cannot be taken to abroad. Parvati and Meera cried as they packed some treasures in a putuli like soil from their forefather's home some water from the holy river Ganga in a bottle some seeds of rice and wheat which their forefather would grow and some seeds of millets and pulses too besides carefully packing some seedlings of aromatic herbs and spices too, who knows what may not be available there across the sea! Crying they packed Ramayana and Mahabharata and Quran the holy books in putuli

and images of lord Rama, Krishna and Mohammad in their souls. "Not too much, not too much,you just can not take everything with you as you go" said someone. "Hurry up, hurry up,' the mukhia hastens to start "the boats are all waiting in the ghat, hurry up." With the break of dawn, they start,in tearful eyes, leaving behind,their hearts. Reaching ghat they get into the vessels dumped but somehow they accommodate to sit keeping their putulis beside. The more people from the nearby villages come The more crowded the gathering becomes. "Do not say no to anyone,we have no quarrel here."say some, " The more of us that reach Chinidad, the more strength we get to struggle for life and to stand beside." Some people in a group sang bhajans and some secretly cried while some did nothing but observed with great surprise from where did all the people come! As the vessel slowly moved in time a kind of silence suddenly comes. Silently saying goodbye to their motherland silently they prayed to their gods for a safe journey in this new found coolie life. O God, they had no idea where the sweet land Chinidad or lere of Arawaks was nor had any idea where the endless Kala Pani ends! But from village after village and year after year they came to board vessels, to take them there. It'd take months to reach Trinidad where they would reach at last as indentured laborers, coolies, to work in sugar-plantations expecting to add some sugar to their bitter experiences of life. Year after year they went there but while going no riches they took from their motherland except some earth in their putulis and an enchanting Ram dhun engraved in their soul "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram patit Pavan Sita Ram Sita Ram, Sita Ram Bhaja Pyare tu Sita Ram Isvar Allah tero nam Sab ko sanmati de bhagavan"

saying "Chief of the house of Raghu, Lord Rama Uplifter of those who have fallen, Sita and Rama, Sita and Rama O beloved, praise Sita and Rama, God and Allah are your names, Bless everyone with this wisdom, Lord' This is almost hundred years now that the last boat has left our ghat. Memory gets faded in such a long time And more it happens when you yourself run from place to places. More it happens when you discover yourself in a time when no one remembers. O my dearest coolie girl from Trinidad, you who ask me about Bali,a pretty girl probably from Punjab and who was married to a Gurkha boy Makhan,your grand father I feel very sorry having nothing to answer. But, O my sweet girl from Trinidad I feel so proud of your ancient Indian heart and a forgotten soul Indian which we now often find missing here or find it not singing anymore in much unison. Maybe your ancestors took it there to send it back through you for bringing our memory alive. © ® reserved Palas kumar Ray,2012 first published on

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