Leaving Amarkantak.. under CID watch

Posted By Author on September 16, 2011

13/11/1968:

Up at 4 A.M. finished ablution and bath. Sat near fire and had a cup of coffee. My wife Shefali got up at 6 A.M.

Puri ’, vegetables and ‘khichari’ were prepared for us.  I packed our things and moved the luggage towards road.  By paying rupees ten, reservation of seats was already done in a bus.

Gitamasi insisted on going to the Shaulmari Ashram for four days.  Shri Baba was adamant and refused.  She too became stubborn and recalcitrant.  Shri Baba became indignant.  A tug of war was going on between them.  It was not good on our part to start immediately.  I sent Nityadada with my entire luggage ahead and told him to drop whole luggage at the wayside kiosk of Pandeji and obtain a bullock-cart.  He left.

When I came back from the road, suspense was ruling.  Gitamasi was weeping.  Nobody took food.  Shri Baba ordered that except Him and Ramanidada all would leave the place.  So all the rest packed their kit.

I was on the guard’s duty.  In the noon some officers came in a jeep.  I enquired about their names and whereabouts.  They were perplexed and annoyed. Consequently I became stern and rough.  As a result they mellowed down and came around straight.  One of them told me that his name was Bhojraj from Rajastan and that all were guests of Conservator of forest.  I doubted.  I flatly told them that ‘darshan’ of Shri Babaji was next to impossible.  One of them asked me whether they could have  ‘darshan’ from distance.  I expressed my inability.  Then they quietly left.  Later I came to know that they were Officers of Central Intelligence from Delhi, Bhopal and Rewa.  They were high-ups. I conveyed this to Baba.

(Netaji lamented, “ Government would continue to regard me with suspicion , and it is more than probable these spies will make my life miserable by dogging me at every step.) This is true about Baba.

The atmosphere became tense.  All were worried.  Gitamasi was missing.  Including Shri Baba all of us made frantic search.  She was found.  She was resting under a far off tree.  She remained resolute.  My wife sat near her.  At 4 P.M. bullock-cart came.  A pathetic scene unfolded.  Ramanidada began to wail and collect Chinu’s toys.

Shri Baba told Ramanidada to bring Chinu.  He told him not to handover Chinu to Gita.  On this Gita became wild and rushed to grab Chinu. She said Chinu was her daughter.  Chinu was handed over to her.

Again Dada was ordered to bring Chinu.  At the last moment Baba called me. He told me that Chinu’s stay was indispensable and that I should drag Gitamasi by hand into the bullock cart.  Stunned I stood poleaxed.. After some time Shri Baba himself brought Chinu and asked her “Ma kache jabe na ki?” meaning ‘will you go with mother or not?  She said ‘jabo’ (would go). Shri Baba handed over Chinu to Haribandhu.  I bade parting Pronams.  He closed the door and went in.  I came out.

Shri Baba’s disturbed mental condition and filial love for Chinu were extraordinary. He used to say he would not come out and yet prowl in the courtyard or to our side. Netaji admitted in his letter to Mejodi (wife of Mejoda i.e. Saratda) from Mandalay that he was unable to completely give up attachments.)

Narsamal Sindhi arrived.  I assured him that his money would be sent.

We put our luggage in cart.  Shefali, Gitamasi, Pilu and Chinu occupied the cart.  Nityadada was to come late.  Haribandhu was to make a show of leaving for the Ashram and stay behind somewhere outside to guard.  Our journey began.  No one followed us.  We reached the shop and collected my luggage.  It was inky dark.  I was worried that we might miss the bus.

Nityadada came on bicycle and told me that as Shri Baba alone left afoot, Haribandhu stayed with Ramanidada.  While coming to us first he came across Shri Baba. Then Shri Baba returned to the destination viz. campsite.

Later on Haribandhu told me that throughout night everything at the campsite was packed and disposed off in Kapildhara, the waterfall of the Narmada. Two huts of Shri Baba were burned leaving no trace of anything. At 5 A.M. Shri Baba and the rest reached Mr. Pal’s house at Amarkantak and no one of them got up till 8 A.M.

All of us reached Namamal’s shop at Amarkantak.  Nityadada joined us.  He told that we should stay for the night in a ‘dharmshala’ (a charitable lodging for pilgrims).  I was in dilemma.  Namamalji told details of the intelligence officers who visited our site.  I wrote a chit to Ramanidada explaining the shadowing of intelligence sleuths and that instead of moving from Pendra road tonight we would leave Pendra Road at 4 P.M. next day.  Then the bus arrived and I took quick decision to shift to Pendra Road.  We reached the bus but it pushed ahead.  I was upset and angry.  The bus stopped.  The driver spoke in Marathi.  I was surprised.  He was Mr. Sharma from Bhandara in Maharashtra and became very friendly.  Rethinking I was to cancel boarding the bus but Gitamasi insisted.

We reached the Pendra road railway station and occupied the then second-class waiting room. We were relieved of tension and consumed our Tiffin.  Then slept.  However before retiring Gitamasi and I strolled on the platform.  I expressed my worry about the precarious situation. Bestowing full faith and confidence in me she disclosed about conjugal discord. This cannot ever be revealed being too personal and confidential.

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