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

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-XXXI

Maharaja Dahir – Resurgence of Sindh – Part-XXXI

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

When Abu Talib was busy with breakfast in the madrasa, at that time Dr. Iqbal is running through the streets of Lahore with a bag on his shoulder. A week passed when he and Sabir bhai arrived in Lahore. While staying in Aror he used to buy newspapers from an old man under the mosque in Aror Bazar and read them daily. Each day’s newspaper conceal a new SIM card, which had to be disposed of after one use. These SIMs had to be collected from different people at different places at different times. The old man in Aror Bazar was the middleman of SIM supply. One day, among the newspapers, he found another two-year-old newspaper page. In which the news of the conversion of a Hindu girl named Mithila from Tharparkar in Sindh is printed. Attached to this news page there is another news page, in which a military man Basir Ahmed is given huge credit with a big portrait of him; he is the one who brutally killed Indian Army officer Kalia, a prisoner of war, with a sharp weapon. Dr. Iqbal inserted the SIM into the mobile phone and called Chadda sir. Chadda sir instructed him to leave for Lahore the next day. “On reaching Lahore you will go to Babar Khan Library; Sabir is instructed; on reaching Lahore you will first go to Lahore Station. Sabir bhai will park the car in front of a tea shop owned by Chhotu Sheikh. You walk into the shop and ask for two cups of Lahore special tea and two plates of egg toast. Chhotu will ask you whether you want to eat at the shop or take it by car. You say, you will take it by car. In the box containing the egg toast, a library card of Babar Khan Library will be enveloped. You don’t have to do anything, everything necessary is done with the card already.”

Dr. Iqbal said, “Then what is my job in Babar Khan Library?”

—Mithila’s converted name is Fiza, the girl you saw in the newspaper. Fiza currently lives in Lahore with Basir Ahmed. Fizar is very fond of reading poetry. Babar Khan Library has a huge collection of poetry books. Every day around 2 O’clock in the afternoon, she goes to this library to read poetry books.

—Your job is to befriend her and raise this friendship to the extent that you can reach Basir Ahmed through Fiza. Do this first, the next thing will be told later.

Dr. Iqbal said, “But I came to Pakistan to retrieve Maharaja Dahir’s diary; how can I complete that task if I get involved in these activities?”

—You have come here on a mission Maharaja Dahir. Our task is to liberate her from the slavery that was shackled on the feet of Sindhi women during Dahir’s time. Just as Dahir’s two daughters were lost that day, the daughters of Sindh mother are still going missing today.

If Sindh does not become independent, this will continue to happen. Mithila aka Fiza is being sent to India as a human bomb. Right now our job is to defeat this terrible plot and protect the security of my country. You have Surya Devi’s diary and Kikan’s history; through these you also search for Dahir Sen’s diary. If the riddle be solved which was found from Dahir’s staffs quarter then we will get the diary right. People like Abu Talib are depending on you to find this diary. Earn their trust. People like Basir Ahmed, Abu Talib – take what they want. We have to unshackle the bondage of Sindh by adopting the same method by which Mohammad bin Qasim once conquered Sindh.

Raja Dahir - Bengali book
Maharaja Dahir – A novel authored by Debasree Chakraborti in Bengali language

From the day after arriving in Lahore, Iqbal started to visit the library. Just reaching the door of the library on the first day, he saw a black car stopped, a very beautiful woman in a yellow salwar got down from the car. This girl resemblance to Mithila in the magazine, but the physical appearance has been enhanced possibly by regular attention to the beauty parlour as well as a certain modernity is there in her clothing. The girl entered the library, smiling and talking to a man sitting inside the car. The damp rooms of the Babar Khan Library sparkled in her presence. At this time of afternoon, the number of readers in the library is very less. No one stays here in that sense except a few old people. They read books sitting in silence.

Dr. Iqbal was looking through various historical books from the library shelves, but his eyes were on Mithila aka Fiza. Fiza went to a quiet place with her favourite book and started reading. Iqbal sat opposite to Fiza with the book ‘We Become What We Worship-A Biblical Theology of Idolatry’ written by GK Beyale. Nobody was there on this side of the library, as Dr. Iqbal sat down with the book, his eyes met with Fiza. Seeing both of them, they smiled and exchanged their greetings. This continued for several days. Every day he goes to the library at the same time, sits on the opposite side of Fiza and reads books, then return home as usual. But no words are exchanged between the two. Chadda sir instructed to start work soon, but he is not getting any chance to start talk about anything. Because the black car comes to pick up Fiza every day and talking inside the library is prohibited.

In this way one day Dr. Iqbal comes out of the library and finds Fiza standing in front of the library. Her car still hasn’t arrived. Fiza keeps looking at the clock and looking around. Dr. Iqbal sensed that this was the right time; this time should be utilized in any way possible. He came to Fiza and said, “Assalamu Alaikum.” Fiza gently smiled and replied, “Walaikum Assalam.”

Seems like your car hasn’t arrived.

Fiza bowed her head and smiled, “Hmm, today he has an urgent meeting; if he becomes late, he asked me to return home alone.”

Dr. Iqbal said, “Where will you go?”

Fiza said, “I live at Zafar Iqbal Road.”

Dr. Iqbal said, “Hey, I also live there. If you don’t mind I can drop you there.”

Fiza smiled and agreed. Iqbal said, “I book taxi online from Lahore cab service. There, my taxi has arrived, come.”

Fiza didn’t utter a single word on the way that day; she kept looking out of the window. Chadda Sir deliberately booked a flat for Dr. Iqbal on Zafar Iqbal Street near Basir Ahmed’s bungalow.

As the car pulled into street, Fiza instructed the driver, “Bungalow number 15, park the car in front.”

That day, Fiza got out of the car and leaned on the window of the car, said Allah Hafez and left. Two days after this incident, Dr. Iqbal bought the complete Mirza Ghalib collection and left for the library a bit ahead of time. The library is a short distance from where he bought the book. So he hurriedly crossed the road towards the library when his phone rang.

Dr. Iqbal stood at a corner of the street and picked up the phone, he heard the voice of Abu Talib. At first there was an exchange of feelings between the two, then Abu Talib said, “Friend, right now I need one ten million rupees.”

“If we don’t get this money, our whole plan will fail.”

Dr. Iqbal said, “Abu Talib, you will surely get that money. But what is your plan, I have the right to know?”

Abu Talib said that the plan for a much bigger attack than the Mumbai attack has been conspired. There will be attacks utilizing human bombs; the preparations for that attack are over, but if the money does not come, we cannot proceed.

Dr. Iqbal remembered Chadda sir. Sir had said that whatever the people like Abu Talib and Basir Ahmed want that should be brought into their hands. Dr. Iqbal said, “I am in Lahore, tell me how to send the money.”

Abu Talib said, “Hey, I will reach Lahore the day after tomorrow. Listen, you come to former officer Basir Ahmed’s bungalow number fifteen on Zafar Iqbal Road on Friday evening. He is also in our plan. You deliver the money to us there.”

Dr. Iqbal saw the black car stopped at the signal; he had to reach in front of the library before the signal turns green. He said to Abu Talib, “Friend, then all the arrangements for the Friday night party will be made by me. I will reach at eight o’clock. I’m on the road right now, talk to you later.”

Dr. Iqbal quickly crossed the road and stood a little way from the library gate. The black car came and dropped Fiza and left. Iqbal approached Fiza and said, “Assalamu Alaikum. I have a gift for you today. See, don’t say no, I always love to gift books to my loved ones I know. Fiza lowered her head with a shy smile and said, “My grandfather used to say that books are the blessings of Mother Saraswati. She can never be returned.”

Dr. Iqbal was surprised and said, “Are you Hindu?”

—Yes, I was once. Dr. Iqbal realized that Fiza was very lonely; that’s why she was willing to return home that day with a stranger like him. She comes to the library just to escape from her loneliness. Maybe very quietly, but she likes the company of some people for a while. He said, “We still have an hour and a half left, let’s go to a coffee shop and talk for a while. Then I’ll get you here before your car arrives.”

That day, Fiza had a strange melancholy look on his face, she smiled shyly and agreed and continued towards the coffee house with Iqbal. (Continues)

Click here for Part-I Part-IIPart-III Part-IV Part-V Part-VI Part-VIIPart-VIII Part-IX Part-XPart-XIPart-XIIPart-XIII Part-XIV Part-XV Part-XVIPart-XVIIPart-XVIII Part-XIXPart-XXPart-XXI Part-XXIIPart-XXIII Part-XXIV Part-XXV Part-XXVIPart-XXVIIPart-XXVIIIPart-XXIX, Part-XXX 


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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