Chapter 29 – FREE, FREE AT LAST!

THEME 29 – FREE, FREE AT LAST!
Selected extracts from Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani, published by Penguin Books, India, ISBN 0-14- 024053 – 5
(Main Reference: Main Reference: page 493 to 499 from Return of the Aryans)

5050 BC

‘God, it seems to me, grants our wish and prayer only to defeat us.’
(Attributed to Karkarta Nandan, 5052 BCE – See page 493, Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani)

‘It is the union of the Hindu with the Hindu . . .And how can Hindus not unite? . . .’
(Jalta Ma’s declaration at the Sindhu Council – 5050 BCE – See page 501, Return of the Aryans by Bhagwan S. Gidwani)

At a special session of the Hindu Parliament — and none knew why it was suddenly convened — Karkarta Nandan announced his commitment to abolish slavery. He spoke of the ‘Bharat Program’ and even hinted at the seventh point — to achieve unity with the sixty tribes of the eastern region and other tribes, ‘whenever found, in regions yet to be explored and discovered.’

There was a stunned silence, but not for long. From the spectators’ gallery, men leapt to their feet with roars of applause. Later, some said that these men were brought from Gatha’s village to create the illusion of massive support for the ‘Bharat Program’. But that is doubtful, for on that very day, Sindhu Putra was to appear in his temple; and who would leave the village to witness a mere Parliament Session!

Not everyone was delighted by Nandan’s announcement. Many felt bewildered, resentful. Their questions were many but could hardly be heard in the uproar. Nandan heard the rumble of thunder in those questions, but stood meditatively, with tightly sealed lips.

When the applause subsided, Nandan announced his retirement.

Those who applauded before, were now silent; some were dismayed; for others, it was amazement that smothered their anger. Nandan chose to ignore all questions, except the one that enquired his choice for the next Karkarta. He said, ‘I have no favourites; but no, I speak incorrectly; I have favourites and each one of you, here, is my favourite. For the rest, your wisdom will guide you to choose our Karkarta.’

But this was no answer. A retiring Karkarta always recommended a candidate, though the final choice remained with the people’s vote.

And questions came, one after another, but Nandan had already closed the Session, smiling on them with ineffable contempt.

Why did Nandan retire? Many explanations have been offered. Perhaps Poetess Papupatni (possibly 5010 BC) is nearest the mark. She quotes from a Memory song of her father in which she says that a situation arose where Nandan had to promise Sindhu Putra that he would abolish slavery and even unite with the tribes; he also had to repeat that pledge in Parliament. But equally, he was determined never to implement that pledge. And so he asked himself: do I wish to be remembered as a Karkarta who violated his pledge? Why not, then, leave the field to another Karkarta! My own flesh and blood — my son. But is not a son bound by his father’s pledge? Yes, a son is, but surely, a Karkarta is not bound by the promise of another Karkarta — and my son shall face our people, not as my son, but as Karkarta in his own right, uncommitted by any pledge that I make.

In Gatha’s village, the temple was overflowing when Sindhu Putra appeared. Normally, he simply blessed all with Namaste. But now, he spoke to express the hope that if Karkarta Nandan retired, the office would pass to his son, Sharat.

Some wondered why he spoke of so distant an event; where was the indication from Karkarta Nandan of his wish to retire? But soon, reports arrived that Nandan had announced his retirement.

While many grappled with this miraculous coincidence, some grieved; gods, they felt, should be concerned with the salvation of man’s soul, not with the worldly ambition of man’s prominence, position and power. Why should a god concern himself with who succeeds Nandan!

There was resentment in some quarters that Sharat wanted to be elected as Karkarta. When the law was changed to remove the bar against blood relations of a Karkarta from aspiring to that office, there was an implied promise that it was intended for the remote future and not to benefit Nandan’s family. Some felt betrayed at his embracing the ‘Bharat Program’.

But then how could Nandan confide his compulsions, even to his inner circle of friends? Apart from the fact that a secret divulged to one reaches many, how could this proud man admit that the only way he could salvage his reputation and secure the future for his son was by joining with Sindhu Putra and even introducing the ‘Bharat Program.’

If some opposed Sharat, it did not worry Nandan. He had misunderstood the situation earlier, but understood it perfectly now — that none could defeat Sharat with Sindhu Putra by his side. It is all to the good, he thought, if some opposition to Sharat develops, for undoubtedly he shall win, but that opposition will be the excuse later, for Sharat to distance himself from the ‘Bharat Program’, and even from Sindhu Putra. When Nandan’s friends complained bitterly against the ‘Bharat Program’, but said they would be silent, out of regard for him, he said, ‘It would be a disservice to conscience. Speak as you should.’ And they spoke. But theirs was a cry in the wilderness, against the avalanche unleashed by Sindhu Putra’s utterances.

‘Nandan’s planning was faultless. He encouraged Sharat to have many private meetings with Sindhu Putra, but not publicly, lest he be goaded into making a public commitment to the ‘Bharat Program’ — ‘Let your words not return to haunt you as a broken pledge!’ Nandan said.

‘Yet, Sindhu Putra may object if I make no public statement.’

‘No,’ Nandan said, ‘he understands that you do not wish to antagonize anyone. So long as he believes in your commitment to the program, he will not worry.’ Nandan smiled. ‘Gods always trust — yes, gods and simpletons.’

But some, who were neither gods nor simpletons, distrusted. The once-blind singer went to Sage Yadodhra who laughed at his grief over Sindhu Putra’s involvement. The sage said, ‘His father Bharat was Karkarta. Why should Sindhu Putra not aspire to a higher goal — to become a Karkarta-maker?’

‘But he will be betrayed!’, the once-blind singer complained.

‘Then he will be wiser next time; or do you think gods need no wisdom?’

Sadly, the singer said, ‘And after elections, Sharat will discard the ‘Bharat Program’ like a heap of garbage!’

‘Commit him, then, fully! Or let him deny it and be exposed!’

Overnight, the once-blind singer became Sharat’s strongest supporter. His group of sixty-six singers went to all the villages — to sing to all of Sharatji’s deep commitment to the ‘Bharat Program’. The singer himself remained nearby, to regale everyone, in the temple and elsewhere, with his songs, and though his words varied, his theme was always the same — ‘that Sharatji’s mind, heart and soul, and all his hopes and aspirations were centered on the success of ‘Bharat Program.’ Soon, new song-slogans were heard from the sixty-six singers: that if the Program was not implemented quickly, Sharatji would retire as a hermit.

Who can blame Sindhu Putra if he thought that the once-blind singer had learnt it all from Sharat himself! And who can blame Sharat if he thought that the singer was simply the mouthpiece of Sindhu Putra, to commit him deeper! My father is wrong — thought Sharat — when he says that Sindhu Putra is a simpleton. Yet dare I deny my commitment to the Program?

Soon, they all heard Sage Yadodhra’s words — ‘The call to be a hermit springs from the heart, unconditioned; so why Sharatji’s vow to retire, if the Bharat Program is not fulfilled in half a year! Yet a dreamer or a visionary must sacrifice, supremely, for the sake of his dream and vision. Truly, therefore, I honor the commitment of Sharatji that has led to his irrevocable vow to retire to the forests as a hermit if Bharat Program fails . . . . . .’

Who could ignore the Sage’s words! Everyone knew that the Program was Sharat’s brainchild. And Sindhu Putra always gave him credit for inspiring it.

Sharat was elected the twenty-second Karkarta of the Hindu clan.

Opposition to Sharat had withered away. Unhappiness there was in some hearts over his victory. But no one was as unhappy as Nandan. God, it seemed to him, granted our wishes and prayers only to defeat us!

Nandan realized that he had rejoiced too soon over his son’s victory. His every hope was centered on his son taking up the burden he had set down for him. Instead, day by day, his son became a stranger to him. Was it, Nandan wondered, a temporary aberration, in the first flush of pride at being elected Karkarta of the land! No, he feared that Sharat was finding himself committed to the ‘Bharat Program’.

Was Sharat totally out-manoeuvred by the once-blind singer and Sage Yadodhra? Not so. He was moved more, as he sat with Sindhu Putra, Yadodhra, and a few slaves freed by the silent tribe. Some of these freed slaves were from the Ganga Civilization and the other two were explorers from Daksina (South). Yadodhra’s interest lay in his supplementing his own charts, with the help of these freed slaves, to discover if their faraway lands had links with the ancient Sanathana. But as Sharat heard and reheard their glowing recital of the green, fertile lands — rich, abundant and advanced — in material, spiritual and artistic attainments, many of his old ideas began to drift away. He started realizing that there was a vast world outside. All of a sudden, he saw a clear vision of the future. But was that future attainable without Sindhu Putra’s help? Who held the key to the lands of the sixty tribes? Who would lead him to the lands beyond?

Sharat was thinking — even if I can break free from the shame and ignominy of abandoning my assumed vow to fulfill ‘Bharat Program’ , will I ever be permitted to move into tribal territory, without battling each inch of the way? How and when do I then reach the lands beyond! And who will protect my flank? Is slavery really such a dire necessity for my land? And unity with the tribals? Surely, the vacuum from the abolition of slavery can be filled by the cheap labour of tribals; and their lands will then be open to create wealth for my own clan. More; they would serve as gateways to lands far away.

My father is right, Sharat thought, when a person achieves Karkarta’s position, he begins to see everything afresh, anew, without the blinding mists of the past. Yes, my father is right in that, but wrong in all else! Sharat saw the ‘Bharat Program’ in a different light — not for the principle behind it, but for the benefit it could bring — and he was convinced that only a fool would run after a principle unless there was profit in it.

Sharat put his heart into the success of the ‘Bharat Program’. Slavery, he said, was a crime against humanity and a sin against God; he urged that the unity and brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God, must remain among the clan’s higher ideals, as it had been under ancient Sanathana Dharma and Sanathana which had never entertained different levels of humanity.

The once-blind singer felt ashamed for doubting Sharat as the new Karkarta rushed through all the hurdles against the ‘Bharat Program.’

Nandan begged, threatened and cajoled his son to remain away from this dangerous course. But Sharat said, ‘Times change and we have to move with the everchanging stream of life.’

Sharat could not have used more brutal words, for these were the very words that Bharat had uttered at his last meeting with Nandan. Nandan argued no more. Sharat was pleased. All his life, he had been controlled by his father. Now, he was his own man.

As for Nandan, he did what a retired man would do when he feels he matters no more and is unheard, unloved, unwanted. He died.

But Nandan was wrong to feel unloved. Sharat was desolate. Sindhu Putra shed tears, for it was Nandan who had first inspired the ‘Bharat Program’ when least expected to. The entire clan mourned.

At Nandan’s funeral, Sindhu Putra put his arm around Sharat and addressed the entire gathering. He said, ‘For his father’s sake who is one with my father, hear him in your heart.’ They heard. It is not easy to ignore the voice of the dead. Slave-owners halted their campaign against ‘Bharat Program’, which was due to go for People’s Vote in seven days. And later, many would say that even in death, Nandan served his clan.

The ‘Bharat Program’ was approved with overwhelming support. Slavery was abolished in the Hindu Clan, in law and in fact.