the other side of a glistening coin

The day before yesterday, soon after our classes were over, some of us who were unitedly different, started thronging in our school canteen and gossiping. No, we were not in the mood wagging our tongues for or against the school authority. It was a tone of sadness that covered the day's discourse. One of my colleagues had recently visited a remote village in Bankura. The village bears the pride of his birthplace, which helps him trail back to his past. But there is a hugely huge difference between the time left behind and the time leaving him now. His experience draws more compassion than fear, the fear that erodes me nowadays. He said that the so-called savage or roughshod dark-skin aborigines had been neglected so long. The males are almost 24x7-hour workers and when questions are asked for the monthly income, they are down in the mouth. The women go out to earn Rs. 50-60 a day and on their way of earning, the bus fair bells almost Rs. 10. They return with the petty 40 rupess. Their animals forage in the woods of Jaipur-Bishnapur that stretch to the Junglemahal – the blood-shining name of today. This nudity of their earnings, the benchmark of unthinkable poverty, their dark skin and their surnames (Bagh, Dule, Lohar etc.) are treated to be a crime. His parting word was the gravest of all. The gloomy canteen went gloomier when he said, the "criminals" should be court-martialled for their most-offensive crime of wearing no shoes!

Time stealthily followed our discussion. Provisional classes were scheduled. And, it was also “very unnatural and very unethical” to show some compassion for the Maoists(?) inside a school compound. The students slowly began bickering over some petty issues. They threw their bodies out of the class and it was our duty, our moral duty, to deposit them where they would have been.

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