JAGDALPUR; Short Fiction by Stephen Gill

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(All the characters of JAGDALPUR are products of the author’s imagination. Resemblance to any person or place is coincidental. CHHATTISGARH SERIES: JAGDALPUR is about the macabre rituals of witchcraft, Maharaja Pravir, the prophecies concerning Kohinoor, and a legend that ties Kohinoor to Lord Krishna. This evocative, informative and fascinating story moves swiftly and smoothl, even with the density of detail. Jagdalpur, a worth reading tale, is set in the area known as Dandakaryana in the mythology of India)
Jagdalpur:
Whenever Reghu visited Chhattisgarh he was warned against the Nexalites and witchcraft. He was visiting its territory Bastar again, where the bustle of both was at their apex. He worried neither about the witchcraft, because it had no scientific base, nor the Nexalite groups, because they were primarily against the government. Yet, he was taking a calculated risk because of his unbridled passion that was being nourished in the backyard of his childhood memories.
These and also thoughts about the Nexalites were in his mind during his stay at a hotel in Jagdalpur, the capital of Bastar. He had heard that Jagdalpur was known for its handicrafts and for shining gold. He went out again, this time with Dr. Baghel, a teacher from the University of Bastar who was a specialist in the local history, an Advasis himself and fluent in English. They visited some jewelry shops to buy a flat pearl in a ring of 23- karat gold.
It was a strange purchase because pearls were usually set in silver rings in India. He was told that for a pearl in a ring of gold he would have to place a special order for which Reghu had no time, because he was not sure if he would be staying for even a week in Jagdalpur. He was anxious to know why the pearl was not available in a gold
ring. For the first time he came to know that pearl gives a cooling effect, as does the silver, and therefore their combination was ideal. That made sense to him. Another problem that he faced concerned the shape of the pearl. He wanted a flat one because a round pearl was easy to hit on a hard surface and break. A flat pearl in a gold ring was unheard of in Jagdalpur. After an hour’s attempts, they came back.
“Why do you want to buy a pearl?” Dr. Baghel asked, sitting in a chair.
“Because of my horoscope. Another stone of my horoscope is Alexandrite and Alexandrite is rare and expensive. One tradition that influences my decision is its use primarily by women in North America. Still, I want to wear a pearl because it does not cost much in comparison with Alexandrite. Moreover, to find a genuine Alexandrite is not that easy, not even in Canada,” Reghu said with confidence.
“It means you must know the exact time of your birth. Without that it is not possible to prepare a horoscope,’’ Dr. Baghel said.
“No, my parents did not believe in things such as horoscopes. I know Hindu families who consult astrologers to choose a name that suits the exact time of the birth of their new arrival. Personally I don’t believe in these horoscopes because all those who come in this world at the same time do not share the same fate,” Reghu argued.
“The Adivasi also do not know the exact time of their birth because there are no watches in the jungles. It seems you are somewhat superstitious? ” he asked.
“I do not believe in a ready-made fate. My conviction has a scientific base. Coincidences do play their parts. Everyone knows that on the nights of a full moon there are tides in the ocean. It is because of the gravity of the moon. A human body is eighty percent water. In addition to the moon there are several additional planets. They all affect the liquid in the body that in turn affects the mood of the person. A calm person makes sensible choices and choices shape destiny. Planets have gravity and electromagnetism. We know the moon’s gravity that causes the tides, but its magnetic capacity is almost non-existent. Then there are other planets, including the Sun, Jupiter, Mars. Christ knew the secrecy of the planets. He said about the last days that “there shall be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars.” It is said there are water elements in diamond and pearl. However the part played by human will in every day life cannot be ignored easily.
“Tell me something about the Adivasi.” Reghu asked.
After a pause of a minute, Dr. Baghel added, “It is advised to be cautious while talking to an Adivasi. This area is also known for black magic. A witch may pick up any
thread from the shirt or hair for evil intentions. He or she would focus on that hair or thread to lead the victim to a restless or a lunatic state. Their focus may affect the digestive system of the victim, leading to an acute form of constipation or cause blood in the urine.”
Reghu looked straight in his eyes to emphasize, “I do not believe in these irrationalities, even though the Prince of Darkness is also resonant. I believe that a person who drinks the water of goodwill for all receives the minerals that are essential for the mental and physical growth to ward off the impurities blowing from the domain of the darkness.”
Indo-Canadian Reghu was happy to visit Bastar, because of the irresistible talisman of its cultural heritage and the natural diversity of wildlife, temples, palaces, caves, waterfalls, forts and the overwhelming interest of its Aboriginals in witchcraft. Reghu’s unabashed eagerness in the centuries-old region was beefed up when he learnt that residents of its surrounding cities kept cow dung in front of their houses to ward off evils. This belief became so powerful that even politicians at high levels and residents of the upper-class colonies were gripped by the fear when there was a rumor that witches knock at the doors in the nights to ask for onions and chapattis. To keep evils away residents also wrote mantras on the fronts of their houses. There had been superstitions about lizards which were common sights in homes. It was believed that two baby lizards in the house indicated that any pregnant woman in the vicinity would give birth to twins. It was also said that lizards were to be respected, not feared. The victims of epilepsy and schizophrenia suffered the most because they were chained and beaten to get the evil out of their bodies. Delayed puberty, inability to conceive, and still-births are also attributed to the devil. One remedy that was suggested was to throw stones on the hut of any old woman, and better to extract some blood from her to massage the body of the patient.
There had been incidents when women were savagely killed for practicing black magic. Once the eyes of a couple were pierced with a pair of scissors and the wife’s tongue was cut off because she was branded a witch. The throats of many middle-aged women were slit. Two boys were arrested because they killed a woman, holding her responsible for practicing black magic against their fathers. One of them lost his father and the father of the other kept falling sick. A witch doctor was sentenced to death by the court for offering the head of an 11-year-old boy to a goddess to improve his fortune. The bodies of a two-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl were found in the home of another witch doctor. Both were sacrificed to a deity. A seven year-old-girl was murdered in the jungle around this region to offer her liver to a god for the growth of better crops. She was murdered in a grisly tribal ritual. A woman killed five young boys in order to conceive.
Another case is concerning a couple who was advised by a tantric yogi to offer eleven children to a specific deity for the wife to be able to give birth to a child. The couple managed to kill four. The fifth one survived the poison and reported it to police. Another tantric yogi advised a woman to kill a boy to restore her vision and cure her nightmares. With the help of her sons, she kidnapped and mutilated a boy before killing him. Police also discovered this case in which a man killed his wife and three children and stabbed himself under the spell of black magic. Many such incidents did not come to the attention of authorities because they happened in remote areas or no one ever reported them. Such incidents kept happening here in spite of laws against black magic and harassing women or labeling them as witches. Next to women, children and animals were targeted.
This region was known for godmen, called baba, who sold totems to guard against negative influences. These babas were charismatic spiritual leaders, also called gurus. Many claim to possess psychic powers to perform miracles. They employ public relations techniques for their success.
The exotic facets of the black magic intrigued Reghu, though he was firmly against killing and macabre practices. Reghu knew that witchcraft was used to seek spirits to comfort, heal, or harm others. This area, known for witches, targeted mainly older widows who owned properties. They were accused and asked to leave their villages or they were killed. In several cases children were murdered on the pretext that their mothers practiced witchcraft that had caused losses in their business or tragedies in their families. In some cases human sacrifices were made to ward off evil spells. Hundreds of women were considered witches in the province of Chhattisgarh itself. This faith in back magic had been terrifying citizens. Some healers were forced to point out a witch. Legislation did exist to punish perpetrators but the laws were toothless tigers.
“What legislation had failed to achieve, Maharaja Pravir was able to achieve with his compassion and wisdom,” said a half-naked figure that entered the restaurant and sat across the table, where Reghu was enjoying tea. He had a staff in one hand, was slender and his forehead was marked with three flat white lines made with some herbal substance. He wore a brown necklace with the bark of some tree. His ribs were visible
and he wore a bare loin-cloth. He seemed to be in his early sixties. Reghu looked at him with surprise in the dim light while outside it was almost dark.
“I know you are on a mission to understand the culture of Adivasi. I am on a mission for self-discovery,” he said with a faint smile.
“Too bad-- you have not been able to discover yourself your whole life. You look healthy. Why do you carry a staff?” Reghu asked philosophically.
“This area, called Dandakarnya in mythologies, is known for sages. Danda refer to a staff. Even Moses used to carry one. I saw him carrying one in The Ten Commandments, a classic movie,” he said.
“His staff represented his divine authority to free the Jews from the slavery of the Egyptians. The Jewish were being punished for no fault of their own. The word refers also to dand -- that means punishment. Perhaps the whole population of this area is under some kind of punishment and needs a Moses to get them out,” Reghu said. “This punishment seemed to be from generation to generation for the last five thousand years or more.”
Ignoring this statement, the figure spoke-- “You want to see the real Adivasi, but are not going to find them as you will not be able to find real Aryans who invaded India some five thousand years ago. They have been intermixed with all kinds of bloods. The establishment cannot eradicate deep-rooted beliefs of the Adivasi with only laws and enforcers of laws who generate fear, not the understanding that is the fruit of sincere dialogues.
“Maharaja Pravir knew the language and the culture of the Adivasi. He was one of them, and also educated and wise. Because of him Bastar has been largely redeemed from the influence of black magic. I am sure you have never heard of the fetus oil. We used to have tantric yogis who used this oil to torment any person of their choice.”
“How did tantric practitioners used to prepare this oil?” Reghu was curious and nervous.
“It was extracted from a fetus,” the figure whispered while his eyes twinkled in the dimness of the light. As Reghu was attempting to read the concealed significance in the twinkle facing his face, he said, “I am terrified myself. Young pregnant women expecting
their first child used to be victims. Tantric yogi cut open the uterus to remove the fetus without letting it touch the ground. The fetus was heated with rituals on a special fire using turmeric and coconut to invoke a deity. The woman was usually drugged, denuded and then flattened on the floor.”
As the figure recounted the procedure, looking out the window, Reghu felt shaken, though outwardly he appeared to be calm. After a few minutes, the figure continued, “Tantric yogis also burned a part of that fetus into ashes. Then they take out a human skull into which they pour that extract of the fetus to mix with the ashes prepared in further frightening procedures to keep it in liquid form. Young bamboo plants are used for the fire. Such potions are prepared on moonless nights.”
The figure became deeply sober. Looking around, it suddenly spoke, “Another practice is equally bizarre but less cruel. It is in the form of a dance to ward off evil if a person is sick for no apparent reason. The patient is made to sit near an effigy in the color black. The sorcerer covered with thorns, nails and feathers would dance while the drums were played loudly. It appeared as if the participants were either doped up or became possessed. Dances were diabolic. During this ritual, an animal, usually a fowl, was slaughtered slowly amidst mantras and its blood was sprinkled on the sick.
“We are happy that Bastar has been freed from many of these utter insanities, though black magic in mild form is still alive. As I said before, laws and police officers cannot eradicate them, because they spread fear and the Adivasi are already under fear from natural phenomenon and unknown faces. Maharaja was a god from the dynasty of Kakatiya who was delivering them from fear. He was also King Pandu reincarnated. I used to hear people saying.”
Reghu felt nervous when he saw two young ones of the lizard swallowing insects. That meant someone was going to give birth to twins. But there was no female around. Reghu looked at the young ones of the lizard again before saying, “It seems Maharaja Pravir was a Moses.” He became silent, looked at the young ones of the lizard and said, “How could King Pandu be reincarnated in Maharaja Pravir after five thousand years?”
“Hindus believe that a person is born again in the form of animals or human in a rich or poor family according to the person’s deeds. Most wicked people may come back as dogs or reptiles. The present life is the result of the previous life and the life after death would be the result of the present life. Early Christians also believed it.”
“Christianity advocates to keep loving everyone unconditionally. This is all what Christ teaches. ” Reghu was quick.
“Hindu culture forbids hurting anyone. It means the same,” the figure answered.
“Perhaps we both were lizards in our previous existence and kept the environment clean by eating insects. For this good work, we have been awarded human form.” The figure giggled.
“I know my previous existence,” the figure spoke.
“Impossible.”
“Even you can if you know how. All you need is perfect solitude under a very very old and a special kind of tree, sitting with deep concentration without food. It may take days but eventually you will be in your former existence. You will go into a trance.”
“How can a person come back? Is it dangerous?”
“Yes it is. An ordinary person may not like to come back if he was in his ruling position in his previous existence, enjoying luxuries in a palace. Therefore, the tantric yogi needs a guru to guide him,” he said.
Reghu became scare as he heard the wind howling outside like evil spirits he had heard in horror movies. He was badly distracted, hearing a plate from the shelf breaking and dogs outside growling at nothing, though he could see no animal through the window. He felt some surreal emptiness that was deepening whenever he looked at the shadowy figure. Reghu was growing skeptical if the figure was a human. He looked at the walls again. He heard the silence speaking when he looked around. Two persons in their early thirties, who seemed to be from China, or Tibet or Nepal or Bhutan, were drinking something quietly without raising their heads.
“They are enjoying Mua,” the figure spoke.
“I know it is a drink of the Adivasi. It is made from the flowers of Mua,” Reghu said.
The radio that broadcast melodies mercilessly in north India was quiet, as was the prevailing darkness to his right. He felt something happening. It was summer. He began to feel chilled as the image of the fetus appeared and disappeared, as well as of a young woman lying drugged. He felt something swirling around in that century-old structure and an immobilizing sensation coming over him like the thick tingling beginning from his upper part and passing through his neck and down to his stomach.
He kicked his one leg and then the other. He felt them stop when the figure said, “he was stiff because of sitting so long.
“You know to the right side of the road there was a wooded empty section that had an eerie broken statue worse than this decrepit restaurant at the edge of the town. Not far from here there used to be a scrawny woman with bedraggled black-and-grey hair and one yellow and one green eye with a thick and crooked nose. She used to heal people with her herbal remedies. No one dared to look at her eyes, fearing that their cows would go dry and chickens die and children fall sick.”
Reghu said nothing, and began to pray in his heart thinking those sensations were because of his false fear and stress. That uneasiness was around when he took leave of the figure and went to the desk to pay. The figure appeared as if it were just a torso in the dimness as the man was at the desk who took his money. He came out with the same uneasy feelings.
The hotel was within walking distance. As he came out, he heard the wind singing a strange sad song in a strange tongue that he thought was classical, coming from a distant temple. The dirge began to hit his nerves. He began to see a woman with tangled hair sitting cross-legged. As he felt like shivering, Reghu began to pray again, vigorously.
The first thing Reghu did when he entered his room was to phone Dr. Tiwari even though it was late. Reghu began to feel better when Dr. Tiwari told Reghu that he was in such a region, but need not be nervous because he was on a peace mission. He wrote about this experience, prayed and went to bed, thinking of the widespread superstitions throughout India, but those superstitions were harmless. They included selection of proper dates for marriages, even filing of nomination papers for politicians to contest elections. Some people consult astrologers to pick a date for their travels.
“Health care was the main problem in some areas because of the belief in witchcraft and superstitions. There were several stories by Bastarans who had encounters with ghosts. He had heard intellectuals pointing out that India would not rise
as a superpower in science unless it gets away from superstitious beliefs, such as in astrology.”
“I want to know more about the witchcraft. I heard such people can torture anyone with their black art,” Reghu asked Dr. Baghel the next day when he came to the hotel.
“There are professionals who work for money even if anyone wants to take revenge with their help. They suggest using a peacock to win love and if a women wants her lover to be faithful to her, she should weep in such a way that her tears fall on the lips of her lover.
“Chhattisgarh is known for its open washrooms. It is advised that when a person urinates, the wetness should be covered with the dust. If an evil practitioner picks up the mud that is still wet and takes it to a ruin where black magic is practiced or to a burial ground in the moonless night, the evil practitioner would be able to contact spirits through rituals to torture the person whose urine they use.”
“Let us talk about the Adivasi,” Reghu suggested, even though slightly nervous.
“The Gond is the main Adivasi community in Bastar. They worship their own god and make their distinctive jewellery called Dhokra Handicraft, using cow dung and the red soil mixed with beeswax. They believe in possessive spirits, worshipping dead relatives and trees. ”
“Any notable events of the Kakatiya dynasty?” Reghu asked.
Dr. Baghel began to scratch his head, and sipped tea saying, “Most of these events revolve around that famous diamond Kohinoor.”
“Kohinoor? How strange. What does the Kakatiya dynasty have to do with that most precious diamond now in the crown of the present Queen of England?” Reghu was surprised.
“We will get back to the saga of surrealism later. It is said that the Kakatiya dynasty had connections with King Pandu, who had five sons. King Pandu renounced his kingdom for killing a sage and his wife while they were making love. He took them for a deer in the jungle. The sage cursed the king to meet a similar death. Because of this curse, King Pandu did not have conjugal relations with his two wives while wandering in the solitude.”
“You said King Pandu was under a curse and therefore remained celibate to cheat death. You also say he had five sons.”
“Those five sons were fathered by different sages. Later when he wanted to be intimate with one of his one wives, he died because of that curse.
“Maharaja Pravir and King Pandu had some similarities.”
“What are they?’’
“King Pandu was a good archer, though he killed a sage and his wife while they were copulating. It was because of the leaves of the trees that had blurred his vision. King Pandu renounced the world and so did Maharaja Pravir. Like King Pandu, the Maharaja Pravir did not have any issue, though he was also married. He also killed someone with his arrow. Both were compassionate and looked after their subjects. King Pandu did not leave his people ungoverned. He asked his brother to rule even though he was blind.”
“Maharaja Pravir was not blind,” Reghu retorted.
“He was blind to the luxuries. He was simple,” Dr. Baghel replied.
“King Pandu killed a sage while copulating.”
“Maharaja Pravir killed his comforts and desires to serve the Adivasi.”
“You mean he was a lotus. The lotus flower symbolizes purity because it emerges uncontaminated from a contaminated environment. As the Buddha rose above earthly pleasures, Maharaja Pravir rose to a new world of enlightenment. I would like to know the blueprint of Maharaja Pravir to preserve the culture of the Adivasi,” Reghu asked.
“Leave the Adivasi alone. In other words, live and let live was his blueprint.”
“How?” Reghu asked.
“What the government found at his palace was an arsenal of bow and arrows. The bows and arrows symbolize a way of life, not confrontation. This way did not interfere in the ways of others. It begs to be left alone.” Dr. Baghel said.
“Did he not leave his kingdom in search of self-enlightenment as Buddha did?” Reghu posed another question.
“Not exactly like the Buddha. The only goal of his life was to serve his people selflessly. The ruler who stands out for bravery and intelligence in this dynasty is the Queen Rudrama Devi. She was the only female ruler around that time in all the princely states. She met a heroic death while fighting against Muslim rulers of Delhi.”
“Has Delhi ended this fight against the Adivasi?” Reghu asked.
“Not really. Delhi is the emblem of establishment. In those days, the rulers with whom Bastar fought were despots. Bastar’s previous ruler, Maharaja Pravir, was also killed by the establishment in Delhi. He was a democrat, a god for the Adivasi who wanted to preserve the local culture. He was elected as a member of the legislative assembly, but resigned when he realized that the government was crushing the culture of his people. He was assassinated on 25th of March, 1966 at the steps of his own palace. A truckload of dead bodies was dumped into the Indravati River at night.
“Let me share further. Bastar was awakening under his leadership. Violence stifled his voice.”
“Why?”
“Bastar is powerful, but powerless when the enforcers of law use the missiles of malicious litigation, extortions and intimidations using the shoulders of the unethical establishment. Since its creation, the entire Chhattisgarh is becoming poorer even while rich in land because of iron ore, coal, bauxite, limestone, additional undiscovered minerals and herbs. The area is rich also in water, power and human resources. There is every possibility of a considerable extent of diamond mines.
“The world-famous Kohinoor diamond was unearthed in Kollur, when the Kakatiya dynasty ruled that area. Golconda Fort, not far from there, was built by the Kakatiya dynasty in the 13th century.”
“Tell me about the surrealistic saga of agonies and extinction you talked about,” Reghu asked.
“There were alarming prophecies about this diamond. One was that the diamond ought to be worn by God or a woman. Any other wearer, even aspirants, will bleed and mourn. There is a prophecy also about the invincibility of its rightful owner. The diamond was never bought or sold. It changed hands with defeat and victory because it was a symbol of glory. According to gemologists every gem and stone does not suit everyone as we discussed earlier when we went out to buy a pearl in the ring of gold.”
“Who possessed it first?” Reghu asked.
“Leaving mythology aside, according to Baburnama, the memoirs of Emperor Babur, the diamond was in the possession of the Parmar Dynasty of Malwa in the 13th century who were fond of jewels and stones. The whole kingdom of Malwa was destroyed by Mohammed Khiliji from Delhi. Another account is more reliable. Khilji attacked the Kakatiyas in Warangle after destroying Malwa. King Prataprudera of Kakatiya battled all his life with external and internal enemies. Mohammed Khiliji let loose the reptiles of terror. King Prataprudera of Kakatiya was forced to sign a truce with a heavy tribute and Kohinoor.
“The wealth of the Kakatiya dynasty attracted the son after his father’s death. He attacked and arrested King Prataprudera. While the King was being taken to Delhi, he
committed suicide in the River Narmada by drowning himself. Khilji was able to destroy the Kakatiya dynasty for a while.
“His father, Allauddin Khiliji, is the same who had destroyed Nalanda University. Its library was so huge that it kept burning for months. He also killed students. All because the university did not have a copy of their religious book. The Khilji dynasty encouraged conversion to Islam by rewarding converts. He and his son also rewarded Muslim missionaries in Bengal.
“Shortly, the Khilijis fell into decadence because of its violence and suppression. The Sultan was killed by an Indian Muslim slave. The dynasty was also uprooted from Malwa.”
“I was at Nalanda University in 2011 as a visiting professor. I found its calm, history and beauty merging in an unforgettable setting of humanity and literature. Science, business and arts had close relations with humans as fruit has with its tree and a tree has with its roots. I believe any progress in any sphere without ethical progress is meaningless. I was overwhelmed to see the uniqueness of the university.
“It was the iceberg of religious intolerance that destroyed the centuries-old library of the University of Nalanda, where seekers from far-off nations, including China, Japan and Turkey, went for knowledge. A Buddhist centre from 427 to 1197 CE, Nalanda was the first great library recorded in history. The library that covered nine stories burnt for months when it was put to fire by invaders. That was a devastating loss to humanity.
“I wanted to write about the uniqueness of Nalanda University from the point of character building, touching the historical development of Nalanda University and comparing the modern educational system that has eroded the intrinsic values that were prized above the competitive values of today’s education. This sense of competition that excels in the financial area has killed humanity,” Reghu concluded.
Dr. Baghel looked into the vacuum to resume “In 1526, Kohinoor came into the possession of the Mughul Empire when Babur invaded India, defeating Ibrahim Lodhi, the last of the Khalijis, in the First Battle of Panipat. Babur was from Uzbekistan and was buried in Afghanistan. He mentions Kohinoor in his memoirs, in which he says it belonged to the ruler of Malwa. Apparently he made a mistake because Sultan Khiliji took it from Prataprudera of the Kakatiya dynasty as a tribute. The Mughul history is colored with blood. Most rulers were either killed or imprisoned by their own children. Brothers killed brothers in their history. Emperor Shah Jehan, who built the Taj Mahal, the seventh wonder of the world, had Kohinoor fixed in his Peacock Throne in the early 17th century. The throne was inlaid with rubies, pearls, sapphires, other precious stones and Kohinoor to symbolize the colors of the feathers of a peacock.
Nadir Shah, an insane criminal from Persia, invaded the Mughul Emperor in 1738. He built a pyramid with the skulls of the Hindus. He returned to Persia with the Peacock Throne, other treasurers, a few thousand Indian girls, and boys for his slavery, thousands of elephants, horses, and camels. Misfortune dogged him and his successors. The bands of the ascetic Sikh snatched Kohinoor from him, while his caravan passed through the mountains of India and escorted the girls safely to their homes. Kohinoor came back to India, eventually in the possession of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He suffered humiliation at the hands of the East India Company. His young son gifted Kohinoor to Queen Victoria.
“Think of four Ks. The Kohinoor diamond is five thousand years old. It was with Lord Krishna. It was discovered in Kollur when Kakatiya were ruling. Then Sultan Khilji took it from them. It went to Nadir Shah of Persia when he attacked India. The Khiljis were destroyed in India and Nadir Shah and his successors in Persia. The Kakatiya dynasty was uprooted because of this diamond. It came back to India and the Sikh kingdom was destroyed by the British because of Kohinoor. The British also suffered in the first and second world wars. Kohinoor is still with them.
“Sometimes I wrestle with a question. If the British decide to return Kohinoor, who is the right country to claim it?” Dr. Baghel asked. “A successor of Maharaja Ranji Singh asked for its return when a prime minister of England visited their temple in Punjab.”
“It is really a good question. Kohinoor was discovered in India, remained in India for centuries, and then it was passed on to a Persian king, and came back to India. I don’t know,” Reghu replied.
“It has been argued vigorously that the diamond should go to Pakistan because it was a property of Muslim rulers and the British Raj snatched the power from them,” Dr. Baghel stated.
“If it is handed to Islamabad, it would end up with the Taliban and from the Taliban it would end up in Afghanistan and the Taliban would consider it a piece from kafirs. As they smashed the carvings of Buddha, they would smash it into pieces for the sake of their life after death, which is more important to them than anything else, for obvious reasons,” Reghu answered.
“In that case, the diamond should go to the Indian government. It belonged to the Sikh kingdom and the Indian prime minister is a Sikh. It should come back to India,” Dr. Baghel suggested.
Reghu retorted, “Let it remain with the British. Gifts are not returned. Consider it as a gift from India to Britain for stopping this country from becoming entirely a Muslim nation. It would be an additional burden on taxpayers to pay for its security in a museum and to hire guards to protect it in a country where guards cannot protect whom they are suppose to. Then who is going to insure it? Indian political elites would divide it into pieces to sell and deposit the money with the banks abroad. The best is to focus on the present and the future and the problems that the country faces from enemies within. Kohinoor is just a symbol of prestige. Many nations spend their hard-earned foreign currency to produce nuclear energy for prestige. It is the result of ego and ego does not build roads, hospitals, universities, and shelters for abused children and women,” Reghu added. “Think of the joy of giving.
“The story of the universe is the story of what the Supreme Power has done, is about to do and is doing even now. The exciting climax of this journey of giving is yet to be reached. Every human is blessed with a spark of divinity. Christ has said in different ways to give and it shall be given to you. King Solomon about four thousand years ago said that one who waters will be watered. Giving is a gesture of love that heals. The joy of giving is a balm that heals the scars caused by the nails of neglect. Indian citizens are enveloped by the oxygen of concerns in the week of Gandhi Jayanti that is celebrated on October 2 from the year 2009. This day was set aside to inspire citizens to give. Gandhi Jayanti is India’s widely shared philanthropic carnival of everlasting experience. Those who have nothing can give their talents and skills or love. The gift of Kohinoor should be taken in this spirit.”
Dr. Baghel added, “According to a legend, Kohinoor belonged to Lord Krishna. It is mentioned as Symantaka in Bhagvatgeeta. Kohinoor and Symankata carry the rare luster. When Dwarka was drowned in a flood after the death of Krishna, Kohinoor was lost.”
“How did Lord Krishna get it?” Reghu asked after some awkward silence.
“Lord Krishna got it in dowry from Jambavan when he married his daughter Jambavati. Someone stole it when Lord Krishna was asleep. He found the stealer and got it back after a fierce battle. It was prophesized that the wearer, except God and woman, will suffer. The British knew the curse. Therefore it is decorated in the crown of a woman. Let me say further that until the 19th century, India was the only country that produced diamonds.”
“How did Jambavan get it?” Reghu asked.
“It is another surrealistic chain. In short, he received it from Suriya that means from the god of the sun.”
“The British also suffered. They lost their colonies one after the other. They suffered at the hands of Hitler. Before the war it was the top nation in every aspect. The Second World War reduced this mighty empire to a third or fourth position. ”
“You said Kohinoor belonged to Lord Krishna. Did he suffer?” Reghu asked.
“Dr. Baghel scratched his head and said, “Look at the Krukshetra War. It was the bloodiest war in human history. According to one estimate just close to four million perished in 18 days without any weapon of mass destruction like chemical gases and nuclear explosives. This loss was caused by arrows and spears. It is a huge number--more than the armies of the US and India combined, considering the days the war lasted. According to another estimate close to 660 million perished. It is also estimated that close to half a billion.”
“Do you mean Lord Krishna was also to be blamed for this war?” Reghu asked.
Dr. Baghel without any pause said, “Lord Krishna was the charioteer of the Pandavas and his own army fought on the side of the Koruas. Moreover, he picked up Kruksheter for the war.”
“India must have been larger in those days, around five thousand years ago.”
“Yes, it was,” Dr. Baghel replied. “Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma were part of India even when the Moguls ruled. Nepal and Bhutan were also parts of India. According to one opinion, India included even Yemen and Mongolia. There were no territorial gains in the war of Krukshetra. It was the only war that lasted for days, not for years. Survivors were seven from the side of Pandavas, and three from the side of Kuruas. Lord Krishna himself was killed by an ordinary adivasi Jarathu.”
“This diamond has been satisfying ego for centuries and ego symbolizes greed. Bloodshed creates more bloodshed and more and new problems than the war was able
to solve. Look at the special paramilitary force that came from Delhi to kill Maharaja Pravir of Bastar. The Agents of Lucifer achieved nothing. Instead they have intensified
problems. They stand for Self. The East Indian Company was destroyed because of this Self.”
“Are you referring to those paramilitary or policemen as Agents of Lucifer?” Dr. Bhagel asked.
“They are dice in the hands of the Shakuni of the elites who masterminded the destruction of the Adivasi in the war for industrialization. Gandhian philosophy is the gem of nonviolence that forced the mighty British Raj to leave India without a single bullet shot. ”
Reghu continued, “Wars are futile. Both losers and winners suffer. The Adivasi have every right to rule their region. If Kohinoor is to be returned, it should go to the Kakatiya ruler of today, Jai Deo Singh. People of Bastar have elected him as their Maharaja, though the Government of India has abolished the princely states. At the same time, think of the prophecies.”

About the author:
Multiple award winning Stephen Gill has authored more than twenty books, including novels, literary criticism, and collections of poems. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Eleven books have been released by book publishers and two more are to be released shortly on his works. (Websites: www.stephengill.ca; www.stephengillcriticism.info; Manag. Ed. www.writerslifeline.ca )

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