King George VI

On June 5, 2013 by admin

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Binoy Majumdar

 

King George VI said: Elizabeth, do give a holler to your mom, please. And so Elizabeth’s mother Mary walked in. You know, Mary, there is many a dilemma with India still, said George. So, as you advised, I have summoned a few Indian leaders—netas, as they are called.  Got them to England, actually. What do you say? A honcho among them is Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee, who has founded this thing called the Indian National Congress. A mouthful, eh! I’ve got him here. Motilal Nehru is another prime catch. Another relatively young chap is being hailed these days. Goes by the name of Mohandas Gandhi. He’s here too.

Mary replied: we are not in a war, are we? Just differences of opinion, I’d think?  These rowdies are anyway put behind bars. And still, as soon as they get out of jails, they obstinately repeat the same old slogan: “Give freedom to India.” In such a circumstance only Binoy-da can save us.

To this, George VI, little Bertie, said: All right, you carry on with your chores. And do ask them to send in this Gandhi fellow first.

A few minutes later, Gandhi is led in, chaperoned by Lord Halifax.

Bertie boy said: Gandhi you have been given enough time; enough time to think while in jail. Have you changed your mind? I hope you have come to conclude that India does not need freedom.

Gandhi replied: Everything is Binoy-da’s leela—his conjuring magic, sheer mass hypnotism.

Exactly, said George VI, it is by dint of Binoy-da’s leela that we have been able to colonise half the world. And by colonizing , have turned you into human beings. You are our subjects and yet we are not angry at you at all. There was this bizarre Sati business before we arrived in India. It was not an easy task to prohibit. But the Viceroy’s promulgation of banning the practice of Sati was hardly sufficient. We had to hang a few obstinate traditionalists. Or send them into exile.  It took almost 10 years before the ban actually came to effect.  Do you have any clue about what it takes, Gandhi—coming from South Africa, you think you can foment a crisis in our singular mission? Bah.

Presently, George VI asked Halifax to bring in Motilal Nehru.  Once he was ushered in, Bertie boy blurted out: You too! You too want India’s freedom, do you? You want to take a stand against Binoy-da’s wish?

Motilal calmly said: You have no clue what Binoy-da wants. It is he who has instigated us to fight for our independence. Underground. Otherwise, why would we vex you? We Indians are secretly motivated by Binoy-da. Tra kur kur tra.

Hearing this, George VI could not hold his agitation: See, you people are basically an uncivilized lot. Till the 19th century some of your men used to marry about 50 women, and produced as many children. Savage, that’s the word! Yes, the lot! How can one run such a society. So you had to sell your kids, naturally. Such barbarism we have stopped. We have stopped polygamy. Binoy-da was there behind all this—not your princes of the Bengal Renaissance. Rajas and Princes—ha! All perverts; abstract morons all.  Nutcases. You call them progressives! Look at me Motilal, my eyes are welling up for India. O my India, my Pearl!  Usherer—get me the last one—Womesh Chandra.

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George VI faced Womesh Chandra: Womesh, we have laid railway tracks in your country, have we not? Have gifted you schools where you can learn Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. And universities too. And to top it all, we have not disturbed the zamindari system—have we? We tried to balance things, always. With reason.  And benevolence. Do you still want freedom?  Against Binoy-da’s wish?

Yes, I want freedom. Do not care for Binoy-da, Womesh Chandra shot back.

Bertie boy now turned to Halifax: Get these three weirdos the best medical treatment in England.  And tell the docs that I have told them so many times about Binoy-da’s wish but still they are unperturbed.  Obstinate fools! This must be a mental state. A medical condition. I give you till next Monday.  Find out why these three are hell-bent on India’s freedom. All right, now you all may go. I need to consult my dearest wife.

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In a week’s time, true to his words, George VI reconvened with his cherished subjects.  He asked the page-boy to call in the psychiatrists and doctors attending the trio. A few minutes later a team of 20 serious looking docs arrived.

George VI asked: What is your inference about these argumentative and utopian Indians? These netas have scant regard for Binoy-da! What audacity!  Can they be normal?

One psychiatrist, by the name of Nielsen, mustered up enough courage: Your Highness, if you allow, I shall tell you to what conclusion we have collectively arrived.  These misguided Indian youth are actually mental patients. We have even consulted the Archbishop of Canterbury—Cosmo Gordon Lang, in order to take care of the religious angle. He too was of the same opinion that the very idea of seeking freedom is sheer lunacy. What a thing to seek—liberty—har har har di har! These three are severely unhinged. Beyond reasonable doubt.

Bertie was overjoyed: Yes, get them treated. Right away, I say.

To this, Nielsen enquired, quizzically: But where? Here, in London?

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And then George VI, from his royal throne, pronounced: These three misguided youth may be taken back to India and treated —at Ezra ward, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. Yes, that is their rightful place. Every single one who seeks freedom must be sent there. Forthwith.

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[Binoy Majumdar (1934-2006) was a pre-eminent poet from Bengal.  He was also a mathematician and translator. Translation by HUG.]

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