சனி, 29 ஜூன், 2013



          “We can’t bear it any more.  There is a limit for everything.  Actually, it was the tenth body that we took to the Government Hospital for the Post mortem and then to the burial ground.”  

These were the words of Sudhakaran.  Sudhakaran’s wife was the ward member of Oorngattiri Panchayath in Malappuram District, Kerala.  Therefore, he was an inevitable person everywhere in that Panchayath.  When we enquired the direction in which we had to go, to reach Rajeev’s house, it was the grocer who directed us to Sudhakaran, who was drinking black tea in a nearby teashop.  The moment we uttered the word ‘Rajiv’, he rose his hackles up.  

“Why have you all come so early?  It will take at least two hours to get the body buried.  So, will it not be a trouble for you to wait for two hours?  Why should you suffer like this?  It is our fate to suffer.  We, the good for nothing fellows are created for this.  It is our fate to take the dead bodies from the Muduvan Colony to the Taluk hospital for Post mortem.  We have to arrange for money to bribe both the doctor doing the post mortem as well as the menials who lay the body on the stretcher to be taken back.  Then we have to bring the body and get it buried.  However, this time we are fully aware of everything.  You can’t play tricks on us anymore.  You have to pay us every single paisa that we spend for this boy.  We know that you have provisions to meet all the expenses for the burial of the Scheduled tribe boy."

 However, he became embarrassed when he came to know that we were teachers from the school where Rajeev studied and not ICDS staff as he thought.  From the next second, he transformed himself to be a kind and considerate person to us. 

.  He guided us to Rajeev’s house that was at the top of a steep hill.  On the way, Sudhakaran apologised repeatedly for his rude behaviour towards us.  It took twenty minutes to reach the house.

Mailady colony was very different from other tribal colonies that I have visited earlier.  There was not a single house near Rajeev’s house.  The nearest one was around two hundred metres away.  The body of Rajeev was still on the stretcher.  We wondered at the physical strain that the stretcher-bearers had suffered to bring the body from the bottom of the hill to the top. 

On seeing his face, I recollected him sitting in the last bench of VIII-C classroom.  Though I didn’t teach him, I used to go to his class to distribute uniforms and collect bus fees.  So, I could remember him.  He was a healthy boy. 

But, his mother, two younger brothers, and a younger sister were all very weak.  Their big eyes echoed more of fear than grief and pain. 
There were only fifteen people to take part in the burial ceremony.  Someone came to Sudhakaran and informed that the grave digging was over.  He asked Rajeev’s mother whether any other ceremony to be done before burying the body into the grave.  She said nothing to be done.  He asked her to drop at least some water in the mouth of Rajeev.  She said it was not necessary. 

Sudhakaran and his friends took the body to the grave.  All our eyes were filled with tears.    However, no tears in the eyes of his mother.  She went inside and came out with a few school uniforms and a bag of Rajeev.  

“Put all these things into the grave.  We don’t want any of his belongings”.

When we were left with the mother and children, I asked her, “Why did he commit suicide?”

“I don’t know.  He was such an adamant boy.  What to do” was the answer from her.  “Yesterday when I got up in the early morning, I found him hanging in this cashew nut tree,” She added. 

“Rajeev’s hostel had been closed due to Onam holidays.   But, he was not seen on the opening day. If he had come to the school after Onam vacation it could have been avoided”, Sasi, the cook of the hostel who accompanied us said.

Sudhakaran and his friends came back after burying the body of Rajeev.  When I was about to give thousand rupees to Rajeev’s mother, Sudhakaran didn’t allow me to do so. 

“If you give, she will go to the toddy shop and drink.  She will either spend or miss the whole amount and use filthy language against us.  If you want to help them, come with us to the shop down the hill and buy some rice and other grocery items and give to them”. 

We asked the mother to send Rajeev’s brothers with us to the shop.  She sent them with us.  On the way, I asked Sudhakaran whether he knew why Rajeev committed suicide.

“We can’t bear it anymore.  There is a limit to everything.  Actually it was the tenth body that we took to the Government hospital for Post mortem and then to the grave.  Sir, it was not a suicide.  It was a cold-blooded murder, no doubt.  Did you see the cashew nut tree where it was said that he hanged himself? 

It won’t bear the weight of that boy.  Moreover, it was said that weak mother and other children cut the rope and brought the body down to the ground.  These are all impossible.  When we took the body to the hospital, we found both his testicles crushed and damaged.  Why should a boy, who has decided to commit suicide, damage his own testicles before committing suicide?  This hill is visited very often by VIPS especially at night in luxurious cars.  In olden days Aristocrats and Royal Men used to go for hunting.  Now, different types of rich magnets have started visiting this hill not with guns but with liquor and drugs hunting the helpless tribal women and girl children.  How many decayed bodies we had found and taken to the Government Hospital for Post mortem and then to the burial ground, you know?  They were all brutally raped bodies.  As Rajeev’s mother is accustomed to the exploitation, she won’t agitate or shout against it.  Police would come and inquire these tribal people.  They would say that they didn't know anything.  Either they are afraid of the people who are exploiting them or they are supplied with sufficient liquors and drugs to keep mum.”

“Didn’t you see Rajeev’s mother?  She knows what happened to her son.  But, she won’t say anything, even if the same thing happens to other children.  She will tolerate.  She believes that they have to suffer like this.  She is alive because of her submissive nature. 

Her husband Nadi was found dead one fine morning near the stream.  After his death, the human flesh-seeking hunters got full freedom to hunt in the hill.  It was Nadi who opposed them to some extent.  Rajiv was Nadi’s son.  We heard, last week, Rajeev drove away a few human flesh-seeking hunters, with a knife when they came to disturb his mother.  Therefore, we believe that the human flesh-seeking hunters must be behind this murder.  We won’t bear this anymore.  We must take this matter to the higher officials and Political leaders.  If the number of human flesh-seeking hunters increases, they will extend and expand their territory to the nearby area where we live.  We won’t allow them to do so.  We have approached the youth wing of different political parties and asked them to do something against these atrocities done to the innocent tribes of their land instead of agitating against the atrocities done to Bengalis, Palestinians, Syrians and Egyptians”

These words of Sudhakaran kindled fire even in our heart.  We appreciated Sudhakaran and wished all success to him for what he was doing.  Though the hill was helplessly dark and deep, yet we had promises to keep and return to our home after giving Rajiv’s family some rice, sugar, and necessary groceries.  But, mind is still revolving around the hill.  I need more minds and hearts to revolve around the hill.  Then only we can give moral and physical support to Sudhakaran who has decided to save the innocent Muduvan tribes from the human flesh-seeking hunters of Mailady colony in Malappuram district.  I also pray the Omnipotent and wish all those who happen to read this too to pray that what happened to Nadi shouldn’t happen to Sudhakaran.  Let us look around our society and try to raise and extend our support to avert such atrocities that happen to the innocent people. Our Society badly needs people like Sudhakaran.

All photos that are given and incidents described in this narration are fictitious.  If any similarity is identified with any one it is merely accidental.
Photos courtesy: Internet

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