Home Books & Authors Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-IV

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-IV

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-IV

The English translation of a novel ‘Maharaja Dahir’ authored by Kolkata-based renowned novelist Debasree Chakraborti in Bengali language. The novel has been translated by Rajesh Giri 

Place— Syria

Time— 2021 AD

A sultry environment around, a foul pungent smell emanating from, similar to that of a long-standing uncleansed public toilet. Blindfolded, can’t see anything, his hands are tied behind his back, his feet are slipping as he walks, as if he is being carried over dirty waste. Proceeding like this, he was hit in the back with a gun, and he fell face down on the floor. A very stinky foul odour was coming from the floor, he vomited immediately in disgust. He felt a sharp pain in the back of his head, someone seems to be grabbing his hair tightly and lifting him up and has been held dipped in a pool of murky water in the next moment. Filthy Water entering his head through nose and mouth, after holding it for a while, he was asked in Arabic, “Tell me what you have come here to do.”

He waited for his inevitable near death without any response, his silence could not be tolerated by the enemy. They dipped his head back into the water. Now he surrendered himself to death. Water is burbling through his nose and ears, everything inside his head is turning white. This moment can only be described as ‘illusion’ (Maya). Bapida while directing the play “Brahmarakshas” said that whatever happens in the past does not exist in the present, whatever we experience of the ‘past’ during present is part of Maya. He felt that Maya was creating a magical illusion on his subconscious mind. A combined reflection of many past events flashed across his mind. He can hear his grandpa’s voice now, grandpa says your “Talent Hunt Service” exam result is out. Check the numbers and see if you have cracked it up. Dadu’s existence slowly disappeared, the surroundings remain white for a while, now another reflection came floating on the white screen, he could see the screen of his laptop, typing a number, he shouted, “Dadu I have done it.” His screams also faded away slowly, now he could see his mother feeding him spoonful of curd mixed with sugar. Dadu says from beside, “Project your smartness to them, these jobs need smart people.” He looks at his grandfather in surprise and thinks that these jobs are typical desk job in the office. He said to dadu, “You are expected to do the job well, smartness is there, and by the way how do you know so much?”

Panchajanya feels like he is floating in water. It sounds similar to the sensation of sound wave passing through water. Dadu said, “I am much smarter than you, don’t forget that you have filled up this Talent Hunt Service examination form on my insistence.”

All the words seem be getting indistinct, and the scenes also seem to float away and disappearing somewhere.  Now he can see a bright light, amidst of this light he saw himself walking through a brightly illuminated corridor, closed doors are there on both sides of this corridor, from there various question and answer conversations were sipping out, being deeply immersed with the question and answer session going on inside the closed room he has been moving forward.  A white giant wall in front of him, which turned into his laptop screen, he now found himself in household dress.  It’s really like magic, everything is changing so fast, in a moment.  His eyes lit up as he typed a number there.  Grandpa put his hand on his shoulder from behind and said, “There’s the name comes up, now you have to prepare for training when the joining letter comes.” He looked back at Dadu smiling and said, “How do you know so much?”  Dadu said, “I know everything.” After saying this, Dadu left the room keeping both of his hands behind.

Now he finds himself in the make-up room, moments before two WAR agents left. He stood up and turned back just to discover the door of his house, somebody was ringing the calling bell from outside; he could hear grandfather’s laughter, flowing through the water.  When he opened the door, he saw three people with his grandfather.  They escorted Dadu at home and then left.  Before going to his house, grandpa handed over an envelope to him and said, “Thereafter, your job life will start, before that, make a trip to Mussoorie for a few days and back, this envelope contains all the necessary documents of bus ticket, hotel booking.” Now he realized that grandpa was involved in this plot, he rolled his eyes at him and said, “You have framed me knowing everything!!”

Dadu rest his hand on his shoulder and said, “There is nothing to trap you. Do you understand termite? Once it hits, it can destroy even a giant banyan tree. They are those bugs, once they enter, they will destroy the entire nation. I don’t want any family to become a refugee and ousted from their own soil, I have seen with my eyes that foxes are feasting on hands, feet, guts of my own kith and kin. Even today I carry the load of bodies of my two sisters, who were being raped by those creepy louse. Your father, uncle has no personality, no intelligence, but you have.  That’s why I dreamed about you. Nobody may come forward, but the sons of us, of the refugee families, they should come forward!

Strangely, the scene began to change, the voice of grandpa gradually disappeared. Now a vortex was formed in the canvas of thought which, while rotating, his consciousness got transferred to another realm. It’s like a heaven of ice, just snow all around, he got out of the car in front of a huge hotel. ‘Hotel Vishnu Palace’— name inscribed on the wall. He entered the hotel and was about to sit down on the sofa, by the time a hotel employee placed his bag on a nearby table and instructed him to take a hot bath before having lunch.

This instruction of the man raised a doubt in his mind, in colder region one normally bathe in hot water, so why did the man put an emphasis on ‘hot water’?

I don’t want any family to become a refugee and ousted from their own soil, I have seen with my eyes that foxes are feasting on hands, feet, guts of my own kith and kin. Even today I carry the load of bodies of my two sisters, who were being raped by those creepy louse.

He came to his room and went straight to the bathroom and turned on the geyser, then opened the tap and had a bucket of hot water for a while and turned on to shower.  Very warm water is coming from shower, all around is dimmed with hot vapour, water from the bucket and of shower was splashing all around.  He anticipated that further instructions must be here in. His hunch wasn’t wrong, there was some writing appearing gradually on the soaked toilet paper next to the commode.  He quickly started to tear the paper, it is written Villa number-3-land mark-camel’s back cemetery.

Writing on the paper too starts to be blurred, another canvas appeared on it.  A mountain road is passing amidst of the pine forest, there is snowfall happening for the past few days without any stop, ice walls on both sides of the road, snow-covered pine trees and the surrounding nature seems as if he had reached some hill station in the Alps.  The Lamp-posts are shining at distances, the yellow light of those get reflected on the ice of the path.  Camel’s back cemetery is on the right, a few villas can be seen in this area, which are still standing today as a witness to the unknown history of the British period.  Where the camel’s back cemetery ends, there is a huge villa next to it.  There is a rope in front of the white-coloured wooden barrack-made villa gate, the rope is tied to a big bell on the villa balcony; the distance from the outer gate to the balcony is two cubits.  The sounds of the wind and the rustling of the pine trees and the chirping of the birds are floating from all around, he is being mesmerized listening to that, like the sound of some unknown lyric poem.  He pulled the rope, at once the bell rang.

Raja Dahir - Bengali book
Title of Bengali Novel

Then some time elapsed between him and this mysterious villa, the bell still swinging.  Don’t remember how long he was standing like this.  Then there was the sound of the door opening, a middle-aged woman opening the balcony door and coming out asking him to come in.

When he stepped in the entrance of this house, he did not even realized then that this door would change his entire existence.  His present identity, emotions, feelings and desires will no longer be under his own control.  As soon as he entered the villa through the door as if he was reborn. Inside the villa, a huge living room with a burning fireplace in one corner, the chirping of evening birds from outside is sounding very soft inside the room. It seems he is waiting for a special moment.  Time is passing by tickling on the wall clock, at this moment a stranger enters this room.  An elderly man with a fit body of about six and a half feet in height came and stood in front of him. Then the man gestured him to sit down.  That evening he met Narendra Chadda sir. The conversation at that moment seemed to be reaching him through intuition, he wasn’t receiving any oral instructions.  That intuition let him know that, sir joined WAR late in life after serving his mother land for long time. He became quite numb before Chadda Sir’s personality, but he knew a quirky way to hold back his own weakness, so he kept his emotions in check and looked at Sir. At that time, the middle-aged woman came and closed the door of the room from outside, a table lamp was burning in one corner of the room and light smoke of a half-lit cigarette was flying from an ashtray on the tea table between him and Chadda sir’s sofa. This smoke is turning the atmosphere more mysterious, now he felt that Chadda sir is saying, “You have to prepare for a special mission.”

Saying this he looked at him for a while and said, “For this you have to be an authentic Muslim, who must have immense knowledge about the religious doctrine of Islam, as well as knowledge about the history and architecture of Islam.  Your name is Dr.  Iqbal Ferozi, father’s name is Maqbool Ferozi, a successful carpet merchant in Damascus.

Your family took refuge in Syria from India during partition, as your family has hundreds of years of business relationship with Syria, Iran, and Turkey.  Your father is a Kashmiri Muslim and your mother is an Egyptian, your complexion and physique resembles to your mother.

This very moment and stout personality of  Chadda Sir turned him into a puppet, he was in such a daze as if his five senses became non-reactive, yet like a machine he said, “What I have to do?

Chadda sir very normally said, “From today you are Dr.  Iqbal Ferozi, who now lives in Istanbul.  Because he lost his parents and five elder brothers in one night in the war in Syria.  Having studied and researching on archaeology for a long time from Istanbul University, unknowingly, Turkey and the Turkish people have become family to him.  Now he will enter Pakistan through various Middle Eastern countries to preserve the real history of the rise and expansion of Islam.


Chadda sir again stopped for a while and held out a cigarette and said, “Hmm, Pakistan.” “We need a very skilled actor to make this mission successful. You are indeed a proficient actor, if you succeed in this mission, then you will be the best actor of all time.”

‘The best actor of all time’, hearing this he felt a jolt from inside, he likes to act in different new roles, and here he can learn many new things including new language, manners, behaviour, hardly anyone can avail these kind of opportunities. Dadu sometimes says, what people want, comes in their life. He wanted to spend all of his life being an actor, today God has conveyed him that opportunity.  He said with great enthusiasm, “When will the training start from?”

Chadda sir looked at the clock and said, “It has already started, half an hour ago.  And listen carefully to what I am saying, you have to stay in this house for a month, in this one month I will teach you the psychology, manners, behaviour of a spy, brain and thought control techniques.  After one month you will be sent again for training to a new place.”

Chadda sir stood up and said, “Now you go to your room. Your baggage is in upstairs, no need to go back to the hotel.” Saying this he left the room. After Chadda sir went out, the woman came to the door and said, “Let’s go, I will show you your room.”

At night he called at home and informed that the date of his training was sent to him through e-mail, so he can’t return home right now, after the completion of training he would return.  It is Talent hunt service training, so there is a lot of security protocols, he will call whenever the situation permits. That’s enough Dadu would take care of the rest. Grandpa’s words were the last word in that house, so there was no problem. (Continues)

Click here for Part-I Part-II, Part-III 


Debasree Chakraborti - authorDebasree Chakraborti is a renowned novel writer of Bengali language. Based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, she has done Master’s in Modern History from the Kolkata University, and authored some thirty books, mostly the novels, with historical perspective and themes. Her most recent novel is ‘Maharaja Dahir’ that covers the history of Sindh from 662, the year of first attack on Sindh by the Arab armies till date.     

Rajesh Giri - TranslatorRajesh Giri, born in Kolkata, had his early schooling from Kolkata and then from Medinipur—a village in Bengal. He graduated from Calcutta University with Physics and Maths and Master’s from Burdwan University in 2016. Now he is associated with Adhdhyaan educational institution teaching Physics. History enthusiastic Rajesh Giri is particularly interested in the ancient civilization of India and other regions like Egypt, Mesopotamia, and North America. He loves traveling.



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