Baba moves out of Ashram

Posted By Author on May 21, 2011

2/11/1967:

Got up at ease. I had bath.  Kalibabu returned.  He informed that Baba stayed under a railway bridge at night and then turned towards tea garden.  He cancelled his programme of going to Assam.  After some time a man approached the combing party and leaked the news that Baba was in tea garden.  Gobind, Parth and Sukumar followed his trail and Kali with Ramanidada returned to the Ashram by a circuitous route of four miles avoiding city of Falakata.. Ramanidada got so much exhausted on way that twice he had to rest and take a nap. When he arrived he simply slumped in the garden of the Ashram and remained there.  Gobind came and informed that Baba crossed two rivers and reached the bank of a third river.  Haribandhu and Gaurkishor were with him and that construction of hut for him was in the process. Anyway though it was too late we were free of worries.

In the morning at Ashram Mr.Bhattacharya, a Deputy Magistrate of Siliguri and Mr. J. Dutt, Advocate of Calcutta came to pay respect to Baba but they were disallowed to enter the premises.  In the evening they came by cars twice but were refused entry.  Rajat and Dinbandhu returned from Alipurduar in the evening without any success, as the magistrate concerned was out of station. Lot of dak arrived.  Saxena’s letter to me received. After dinner I retired.

I3/11/1967:

Got up leisurely and finished daily chore.  Shantididi served breakfast of popcorn and coffee at her place.  It was day of ‘BrhatruDwitiya’ (Bhau Beej) of Diwali meaning sister performs rituals on brother, offers food and sweets and in return brother gives her presents.  It was the second lunar day of bright Moon.  At Flora aunt’s house Pilu, youngest sister of Gita and her friend Zuma performed rituals on me as sisters.  We then had sweets, puris etc. to full satisfaction. I had ten rupees in balance.  Out of that I arranged sweets for sisters Shantididi, Zuma and Pilu.  I then decided to call upon Baba at his new camp.

Dinudada, Gobind, Rajat, Sukumar, Hira, Dipali and I left Ashram with lot of things for Baba at 11.30 A.M.  The Sun was seething on the zenith. Sweltering heat sweated us all. Along the raised narrow zigzag mud-wall partitions of the rice fields we treated a distance of four miles.  First we crossed the river Mujnai and later the river Dukduga by canoes.  Lastly we ferried the vast span of the river Jaladhacca and there we saw Baba’s hut. There was another hut. It was constructed to maintain scrupulous vigil round the clock for Baba’s personal safety.  It was like igloo in shape and was ready yesterday only.  We entered that hut at 1.30 P.M.

As expected the sight was beautiful.  Baba was always choosy about it. There was a confluence of three rivers. White sand stretched almost to horizon.  The riverbed was vast though three fourth of it was dry but swelled in Monsoon.  Tiny islands were scattered in the flow of the river.  There was not a single arboreal tree.  Expanse of grass covered the banks.

We were taking rest in the hut.  We witnessed Badriprasadji on the other bank.  Gobind and I took the canoe to fetch him.  After watching others we thought it was a child’s play to navigate the canoe.  It was to be maintained heading the current and taken obliquely but the fast current put us off the balance.  We put the long navigational bamboo in the wrong direction and the canoe overlapped it and broke the bamboo into pieces. We were running up and down the canoe knowing not what to do and were driftting fast towards Baba’s hut, which remained a hundred yards from us.  Nine miles farther was East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).  We were on the verge of creating another nuisance for Baba when Dinudada realizing the hazard, jumped in the river and swam.  He caught hold of the canoe and brought it to the bank.  We were very nervous.  God knows what would have happened but for Dinudada’s rescue venture. Most probably we would have ended in Pakistan jail.

At 3.30 P.M. Baba called us all.  I read out the letters.  He dictated a letter to Ramkrishnaji, Chief engineer, U.P. Another letter he dictated to Sharma of Meerut. While returning from Uttarakhand, Baba borrowed rupees two thousand from him with a promise to return the same after two weeks.  It was not done and hence letter.

We got busy in construction of ‘bedha’, i.e. compound wall along the side courtyard of his hut.  Bamboo and grass was all the building material we had.  Baba then told Dipali to cook his meal.  He went in seclusion to take the Sunrays in eyes, i.e., Surja rashmi intake.  Crowd from the surrounding villages began to swarm the place.  Then Baba gave them all audience. By that time Shantididi, Gita with Chinu accompanied by Haribandhu arrived.  Shantididi handed over Chinu to Baba and villagers were staring out of curiosity.  Gita turned her face and sat lonely.  I smelt a conflict and rift between her and Baba.  Her demeanour indicated that her feelings were grievously hurt.  Villagers left and we turned to kitchen leaving both of them in privacy.  Baba ignored her in our presence and did not talk a single word with her.

After a while we were called by Baba.  I beseeched him as to how long he was to stay there.  He told that up to twentieth November he would complete his work and would not return to the Ashram but proceed towards Kalimpong in the Himalayas. It is as near Darjeeling, where he intended to establish a new Ashram. (Netaji as a student used to spend vacation in Darjeeling.)

Though the food was ready, there remained a grave snag and we feared the hitch might complicate the situation.  We forgot to bring salt.  Baba decided that Shantididi, Gobind, Rajat and I would return to Ashram and Ganeshdada would accompany us to fetch salt from the Ashram.  We started and walked briskly.  It was pitch dark.  The divides of the rice fields were zigzag and to walk on it fast was a balancing feat like rope walking.  After clearing three hurdles of rivers we reached the Ashram at 8.30 P.M.

I went to Flora aunt and arranged to send Sukumar’s clothes with Ganeshdada. She was very sad and predicted a gloomy and dismal future.  She related that Gita’s mother was in a state of shock due to Gita’s fate.

I had an invitation of to celebrate Diwali at Dinudada’s house.  Oh!  What delectable and aromatic recipe and dishes! I savoured payash, puri, rice, vegetables, fish curry etc. With my stomach on bursting point I managed to reach bed and rest for the night.

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