The ISI Hand : Mahendrasinh Parmar

Translation: Harish Mahuvakar

Such a news doesn’t take time to cross boundaries. It goes leaps and bounds to every street and square. Many heads and many tongues! ‘It’s surprising. In our city too odd things began to happen!’
‘It takes place at Ayodhya and it takes place at Akshardham. But such a thing in our city?’
‘Oye do you think our city a golden one? Just remember what had happened in our golden city during the Godhara riots!’
‘I think someone from them may want to take revenge.’
‘I say the ISI hand will come out. You see it.’
‘Oye Hard Headed, you brought them here? Do you know anything? It’s election time on way. Many have hidden their hearts! And you say the ISI hand?’
‘O, it was good that at that moment there was none on the premises. The Priest smelt something doubtful and he informed the police. Had it exploded in the evening...’
‘O My God what time we have to facenow! The idiots don’t spare even the temples!’
On such a greasy wind the city swayed. Revealed unusual abnormal stories. Amongst talk of the ‘ISI’ to ‘The CM’s hand’ the red light bearing vehicles shook the city. The local-national news channels began to cook all sorts of things. Now and then they served only a few things : on going construction of the temple, a heap of red stones, half carved idols, dining hall in the premises, cowshed, printing press, music classes etc and the interviews of the people closely associated to them, and the squad of barking dogs; from near and far, from the front and back, from the up and down, the long- mid- close shots.
It was really a different story. This and that began to come and go and it was the surprising thing for a city of the olds and pensioners. ‘It’s damn sure some body has cast evil eyes on our city.’ Discussion went on so much that the criminals would be found out even they hid into hell and be hanged publically. Even the Government sensed the ISI hand in the matter. Without any delay the inquiry was handed to the SP. The SP Mr. Singh assured the arrest of the criminals within two days only and denied to say anything further to the media.
And lo, within twenty four hours the SP Mr. Singh arrested the criminals. Everybody of the city hailed him.
-‘Didn’t I say where there’s this SP there’s the wonder!’
‘O dear he’s nothing but a Harishchandra - a man of principles. He has crossed many river passes and now he’s trying people over here.’
‘He’s not having peace with the people of this temple, the chariot bearers of the Ashadha month festival, and Navratri festival organisers. Let’s see what’s happen.’
The unexploded bomb exploded when the SP declared the names. The people couldn’t believe it as they had fetched the matter from the ISI to the Al Qaida: (I.) Ishwar Dabhi: 40 years, scrap business, Karchaliya Para resident; (S.) Sharad Joshi: 22 years, catering and paying guest business, Mahalaxminagar resident; (I.) Indrajit Dholakiya: 52 years, a Professor, Shantinagar resident. It’s true that the matter has the ISI hand but completely local one!
The remands were granted to the SP on demand. The Khaki people miss feelings and sympathy that you know. But it seemed that the SP had something special in them. It was clear from his eyes if you read. The SP who licked many bootleggers to the dust, preferred dark,and plumped Ishwar Dabhi to enjoy his ‘work’
If you think: yellow light on the head, hungry and waterless, salted water spray on the face, naked body on the ice block... then you miss all this. There’s nothing anything as you thought. It was only a simple SP inquiry. When the SP took the matter in his ‘hand’ he actually had more interest than the city people. He thought: Can a simple beggar like scrap seller explode a bomb to a temple premises? A temple premises? Unknowingly his mind went on comparing his own self with the criminal Ishwar Dabhi.
‘I don’t know anything’ was the constant response from him. It was only when he opened his mouth when the SP handled him ‘well’. The things began to flow. He had liquor business in Karchaliya Para – a local colony. It stopped with the SP arrival. He brought scrap from Alang and began to sell but depression swallowed up the Alang Ship Breaking Yard. So he had no way left but go to the streets and collect paper waste and other wastes. This was the time that the temple required services of the devotees. They were asked to offer things whatever they can. So the devotees began to pour their old newspapers and such things. So the whole city garbage was heaped at the temple. The person who offered such things was sure of getting God blessings. Dabhi and other people occupied in such works became workless. Wherever they went they retuned empty handed. They listened to all the time, ‘We give to the temple.’ Wandering Dabhi by chance if he passed by the temple he would be amazed to see tons of scraps, wastes, and newspapers. He couldn’t understand what the God would do to such things. He also noticed that the God was swaying on the dry fruit-made swing. He would heap abuses to that God and think Him in waste paper drapery. ’Ah, you continue to adore your Gods such way!’ His hard head understood only one thing: ‘This temple has made him workless.’
That much information only, along with blood vomiting was brought out with a heavy punch of the SP.
-‘Who made the bomb? How did you get it?’
- ‘I didn’t at that time know that it’s called a bomb. But I didn’t make it, Sir. I often went to Laxminagar to collect newspaper waste. It was Sharad’s house. He heard me abusing the temple people. He involved me into it. He told me let’s give them ‘work’ who took away our work. At least let’s provide once. This Sharad engaged me into it. Hell to this!’
For the SP the first question itself puzzled him. It was a strange thing. His son Aniket may be five year elder to this Sharad. His only promising son. Even though his refusal, tempted by so called Mahatmas – the Holy Priests he left his Masters of Engineering to oversee ongoing temple in the USA. They anyhow sent him back later on for one or the other reason. For Aniket it was difficult to settle down there without work. It was his desire. Right this moment sensitivity of the father returned on seeing Sharad. Aniket was trying hard to get a job and he was watching him helpless. He couldn’t do anything on the basis of rigid principles. Such things were going on his mind but the chain was broken by the PSI who stood beside him. ‘Sir, a glass of water?’
He drank it and looked at the thinly grown and yellow turned body of Sharad. As you push a big needle into the wheat bag and the grain flow out smoothly so did the Brahmin fellow...
‘Sir, born to Brahmin parents. Can I even dream to lay a bomb at a temple? But I do confess it, Sir. I was with him. The bomb didn’t explode and kill anybody but before it’s explosion this ‘temple bomb’ had already killed my father.
‘Say it clearly. What this ‘temple bomb’ is?
‘Tell you Sir, everything I’ll tell you. My Father and Mother hardly met two ends for our living. They had expected a lot from me. They wished their son study well and get an excellent job and that will be the end of their labour. They cooked and fed the government employees and students coming from out of station. That’s how they carried on their life. The Mother cooked and the Father served. Both of them insisted my study and kept me apart from the work. Sir, have a dish made from my Mother and you’ll come to know...
‘Hey put it aside. No time. Come to the point.’
‘Sir you know where there’s temple, there’s a kitchen. Such a kitchen opened in the temple too. They took only six hundred rupees for a breakfast and lunch and dinner. I have no idea how that can be beneficent to the temple? But it was started to support the temple. And where’s the religion at the bottom of the heart can you expect poor food? We had forty people but then hardly four remained.
They were puzzled. Always thought not to trouble me. Kept everything hidden from me. It was the final year examination , Sir. And only fifteen days were left. And in the continuous tension my father...
Sharad could no longer speak anything. The SP offered him water and put his hand on his shoulder. ‘...workless we were and I couldn’t do anything. The Mother had no way. What to do now. Nothing was before me. Only the temple came before my eyes. And I hated it from the deepest of my heart.’
‘It’s ok but how did the...’
‘The Professor? Professor Dholakiya. I was his final year Chemistry student. He came to know all about me and...’
Constant coughing saved Sharad from more inquiry. Both of the talks indicated involvement of the Professor. The SP treated the Professor beyond his expectation.
‘Yes, Professor. Take coffee and then tell us everything: How it happened that you left your teaching and came to this business?’
‘Taking a sip the Professor began:
‘Sir, never thought of violence when it came to my mind. Had it been so we might have selected the Sunday evening when thousands of people flock the premises. After a long confusion I had to turn on this way. I teach chemistry in the classes but the ‘chemistry’ that is taking shape over here has taken away my sleep. Couldn’t tolerate this.’
The SP lit a cigarette and asked, ‘Do you know how a serious matter, have you taken on your hands? What was it Professor you couldn’t tolerate?’
‘Right, Sir. I understand that it’s very serious matter. You’ve heard both of them. You have no idea how quickly ‘they’ are changing the economy in the name of religion.’
‘Have Professor, I do have ideas. Anyway, we’ll have to visit the place. There you tell us more.’
The four of them reached the place. In routine course if you want to stand before the God you have to cross a big front yard. There on the passage you find newly produced Ayurvedic medicines. The Professor couldn’t stop his outpouring on the people who had flocked to buy the ISI branded helmets as they faced new rule of helmet being implemented very strictly.
‘See, there you see Sir! They are doing business of medicine, business of land, business of helmets, of education, in addition to the religious one. Many more things are also following. They will devour us, Sir, full and raw; they will eat us up. People like Dabhi and Sharad have gone workless.
‘The whole day sculptors carve the stones, here and there heaps of scraps and wastes, a crane brought for temple construction, heaps of medicines to be sold, movement of people who come for dining... Sir, don’t you feel we are lost in the Ship Breaking Yard? Can you imagine that on the same place in the evening they deliverer sermons? I can’t tolerate, can’t tolerate these ‘new’ World Trade Centers, Sir. We are talking of American aggression but it’s a far away issue. Here’s before us a great ‘empire’ that can even swallow the American one. I know why you have been transferred over here and who are the people that create problems in your work. I know all Sir, I know. Even I know the story of your son as well. Actually I was to offer you this plan!’
The SP sighed heavily. ‘Professor, you don’t bring my issues in this matter. For such trivial things people like you go to the extreme end? Unbelievable!’
‘Sir this is not only the issue. The place where this temple that is being built, and the whole premises that covers the land, it is the land of my University. Sir, it was provided by His Excellency Honourable King of this city. This farsighted King had offered it with a noble aim of providing education. You were not here at that time, so how do you know?’
The whole University’s approval was to be cancelled by the UGC because of insufficient land. According to the rules it required two hundred acres of land. These people have purchased the land offering crores of rupees from those people to who the King had allotted on lease. This is a golden biscuit, Sir. In the initial stage the Conservation and Protection Committee did somewhat efforts. ‘Awakened’ civilians of the University, and the city protested for some time. Burnt profagy. But these people the Temple care takers - took ‘care’ a few people’s interests and everything scrapped. I found naked feet goers going to the temple in luxury cars. In the beginning the temple stood on the wheels so that it can be moved anytime. But now riveted like anything. Now after sometime you’ll see a huge marble temple. Sir I have seen great people submitting to the Mahatmas. You can see their cars orderly parked in the premises. It pains me deeply, Sir. It gives bleeding pain. The way Dharma –the religion is holding everything, you know Sir. I think you understand me, Sir! Know?
‘Yes I can Professor, but how it came to make a bomb? If you put everything I can help you.’
The SP’s mind screen reflected plenty of transfers, the son Aniket, and unwilling works of humbug religious leaders.
-‘TNT, Sir, Trinitron Toluene compositions. Considered as common explosives. In the laboratory it’s not permitted but for me no problem. I can create it easily. I wanted to warn the people. To such a huge mass how can I explain my feelings through a lecture? That’s why picked up this way. Sharad was handy. After a few experiments this formula was put into practice. But Dabhi proved himself a senseless fellow and everything was washed away.’
Within no time the devotees flocked the premises. They were surprised to see them and talked odd things about them. The SP doubted the crowd and he thought it may hit the criminals. So he did another thing: ‘Well Professor, take us to your Lab. Explain me your theory practically.’
The SP jeep had now Professor Dholakiya and Sharad. In the Lab the Professor began to put the designs in order and explained the whole process. The SP with a great eagerness gave his mind to the work. During his training they were also taught the explosive chemistry but his constant transfers as the ‘reward’ of his principles had made him forget.’
‘Thank you Professor for your cooperation.’
‘Sir, my Mother’s living alone. Do something that I am allowed to go, please.’ Sharad pleaded.
‘My son, I can’t do anything. I just have to submit a report. Remaining things can be decided by the Court and the Temple administrators.’
This side the temple held a prayer to maintain peace. All were asked to behave themselves. On the other side the SP found strong proofs and he saw all possibilities of punishment to the criminals. As the city waited for the trial so did he. But for the trials only dates were pronounced. And then dates after dates as usual. The Temple Mahatmas witnessed everything with a great patience. In a long duration of such a date the Mahtmas held a long meeting with some goons and the next day the Temple made an announcement:
‘Whatever has happened, not good but our religion doesn’t recommend punishment to any. All the three criminals have deep regret for their doing. In such a case it’s better for all of us to forgive them. With this we bring an end to the issue.’
The announcement made a huge impact on the whole city. On its immediate effect, more than a thousand new devotees were added to the regular ones. ‘Did you see My Dear this is what the religion is. It’s for life not for death.’
How impressive such a ‘noble’ announcement can be, was noticed on the very third day. People were amazed to see Professor Dholakiya in the revolving chair as the Director of the group of primary schools to post graduation institutes that ran well in the premises; Dabhi as the Manager of the Granary that opened in the morning; and Sharad as the Manager of the Dining complex. The devotee whole heartedly welcomed the gestures as the transformation of their hearts.
But this change came as a great shock to the SP. Oh! These fellows turned out to be cowards. Bastards! When, on the Sunday evening these three devotees were telling their life story to the curious assembly, E. TV and Z. TV were making efforts to find clues of the SP who had resigned so suddenly without giving any reason and then disappeared somewhere. The people found delicious taste:
‘The SP lost his heart. No interest now.’
‘Won’t spare any who have spoilt his son’s life.’
‘The SP will have his way for these three, I say. They’re purchased by the Mahatmas.’
‘He’s hidden somewhere. Be sure at any time make a shot.’
-Still efforts of finding the SP are on.
In this case too, the Government doesn’t deny involvement of any ISI like foreign hand.
...Still efforts of finding the SP are on. More information is awaited. Still efforts....

Harish Mahuvakar, ‘Ame’, 3 / A, 1929, Near Nandalay Haveli, Sardarnagar, Bhavnagar 364002, Gujarat, India Cell: +91 9426 22 35 22 Email: