Abani Pal, was popularly known as “Sir” or “master moshai”. He was the head master of local senior secondary school. As a teacher, Sir had touched many lives very deeply. He knew his students by first name. He would visit their homes to understand their difficulties and meet their families. Doors of Sir’s home were always open for his students. No student had ever gone hungry from his home at lunch time.
“I am going for my evening round,” sir had said as he took out his bicycle.
“Don’t stay out late; these are not good times,” his wife had cautioned Sir.
As usual Sir did not take this apprehension seriously, “I am an ordinary teacher of a village school; who will harm me? I shall be back after meeting a few students.”
Sir did not return home, today.
“Shibu, Shibu, Shibu,” persistent call was interrupted by knock on the door, “bang, bang, thud, thud”.
“Someone at the door,” his wife, Malati said.
Groggily, Shibu checked the watch which showed, “One o’clock in the morning!” Effectively, Shibu had an hour of sleep, “what can be so urgent,” Shibu wondered as he grabbed his machette and asked “Who is there?”
“Open up, Shibu, its an emergency,” Shibu recognised the voice of Ronen. These days, no one opens doors to strangers in the middle of night.
“Shibu, our Sir is no more. He was attacked last night!”
“What? When? How?Where? Who?” many questions popped up in Shibu’s mind.
“His body was found by the pond,” said Ronen, “I don’t know much, let us go.”
Shibu changed into outdoor clothing and accompanied Ronen.
Sir’s body was resting on the ground, covered by a white cloth. Locals from the village were sitting around his body. Many more are certain to arrive as the news spread and day breaks. Shocked silence was pierced by occasional cry that emerged from inside the house. Women from village were taking care of Sir’s wife. Message has been passed to his son and daughter, both living outside the state. Sir, loved this village, loved his job, and loved his students. He had declined to leave his home and his village to go and live with his son outside the state
Sir had a reasonable contribution in Shibu’s high school grade and his subsequent college education, too. Once in college, however, Shibu was exposed to ideology of the Party. People like Abani Pal, were considered class enemies by the Party. Idealogues were convinced that Abani Pal was propagating an ideology which was antithetical to party’s line of thinking. Party felt, Sir’s emphasis on education, his exhortation to be self reliant, was nothing but an ecouragement to move towards a capitalist system. Instead of highlighting class struggle, Sir, was encouraging a unified society where every segment has his unique role. Final decision was arrived at, when Sir openly endorsed certain political ideology. Instruction had come for his annhilation. Last night was the night, Shibu felt good twisting the knife as two of his colleagues held Sir still. Today, as everyone else was grieving, Shibu felt good that one less class enemy, long live the Party.