The men who were wearing red scarfs now began to rush towards the dais. But Ganeshrao and his workers tried to stop them. As such they all began to clash. Ganeshrao and his workers knew that if these men succeeded in reaching the dais it would be dangerous to Madhurani and other leaders. Madhurani’s life was certainly in peril. As such Ganeshrao and his workers began to fight them fiercely as if they were guarding a mountain pass-way in a battle field. The mango tree from which the bees had swarmed was near those with whom Ganeshrao was engaged in the battle. Madhurani’s workers were thus facing two opponents. The sticks of men who wore red scarfs and the bees that had left their honey-comb and were now swarming over their heads. A couple of bees had stung Ganeshrao as such his face was swollen. But he did not bother. He did not want to allow those men anywhere near the dais. It was most important to save Madhurani’s life.
Let whatever happen.
Nothing should happen to Madhurani. Ultimately it was she who had become the support for his life. However one may doubt or deny, it was a fact that he was in love with her.
If it were not so, would he have fought without caring for his own life?
Right before his eyes some workers had ran away from the scene.
He too could have run away…. But Ganeshrao did not know with what he was possessed. Even at his age he was putting down the red-scarfed ones one after another. A thick stick had come to his hand and he was using it as a sword.
When all this chaos was occurring Ganeshrao saw Madhukarrao passing along, going towards the dais. As soon as their eyes met Madhukarrao said, “Ganeshrao not a single red scarf must reach the dais…. Even if you have to kill a few it would not mater….. I will go their and look after Madhurani’s safety.”
The armed police force that was requisitioned arrived. Teargas shells began to burst. But people did not care for them. Perhaps the arrangement was wholly inadequate considering the vastness of the crowd. Ganeshrao and his workers had succeeded to a good extent in stopping people from climbing the dais. Just then Ganeshrao’s three close workers came to him. Ganeshrao sensed that they had something to talk in privacy. Ganeshrao handed his responsibility to other workers and went aside along with the three trusted workers.
“ Sir, the news is not good…” One among them said.
“What happened…tell me quickly…” Ganeshrao’s heart missed a beat.
“Has anything happened to Madhurani?”
“Madhukarrao is planning to harm you today,” another one said.
He was sure that such thing was bound to happen. But he did not expect it to happen so soon.
One among them said, “Raju, with his own ears, heard Madhukarrao telling Kashinath….“
“Telling what?” Ganeshrao asked. …
“It’s a good opportunity …. Sniff out that Ganesh today… wants to compete with me, does he?.... Perhaps he does not know that only one sword can be thrust in one sheath ;;;;" he had told Kashinath.
“Is it so?...” Ganesh said. “ If that is the case, what do we do now?” Ganesh said half aloud.
“Sir, just give us the command” Raju from among the trusted people said.
Ganesh peered at Raju.. ..He seemed to be determined. And there was no doubt that whatever command was given to him he would carry it out without caring for his life. Ganeshrao’s jaws had begun to ache and become stiff.
“Yes, he is right…. Only one sword must occupy a sheath,” Ganesh took out his gold chain and finger rings and handed to him and said determinedly
“Yes, Sir, …as you wish…. They too have got down in the crowd near the dais….I will show them how in one blow…” an illiterate worker Bimba said.
“Yes, Sir, the other two also assured.
And holding the sticks they began to walk in the direction of Madhukarrao.
(to be contd.)
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Anil Ekbote