A Dasyu's Tale
A Dasyu's Tale17 mins 21K 17 mins 21K
Out of the very small population of Dasyus (aboriginal Indians) left in Kalinga, Rukmini was one of them. Dasyus for the past couple of centuries were tortured and tormented by the Aryans which had invaded the Indian subcontinent. Even till now a Dasyu's status in the society was equal to that of Shudras. Many Dasyus were massacred by the Aryans and hence their numbers had dropped down significantly.
Though through the last couple decades their position had improvised to a great extent. Dasyus were now allowed to get education and even visit temples. Although this was not the case with Rukmini. She was an eight year old Dasyu whose parents were slaves to the royal family. She lived in a small hut just on the boundaries of the royal palace. Her parents would come in the night after completing all their duties as a slave of the king and the queen of Kalinga. During the day, little Rukmini's grandmother would take care of her. She did not have any siblings. All her childhood she suffered loneliness and felt isolated. Her grandmother was her only friend. When she would see other Dasyu/ Shudra kids dillydallying in her town, getting educated, even visiting temples, she would wonder, why? Why was she enslaved when others would roam around recklessly?
One day with all of her courage she asked her mother, "Maa, why am I being trapped here in this small, mundane hut when others have been given the freedom to wander wherever they want?"
Maa gave her a nice stare before answering, "It is all because of your fool of a grandfather."
Rukmini's grandmother sighed heavily. Rukmini wondered in perplexity foe quiet some time. Maa left for work.
Rukmini's grandfather, Amar Singh was great at influencing people and giving speeches. During his time the treatment received by Dasyus and Shudras from the Brahmins was horrific and dreadful. They were not allowed to be anywhere near the Brahmins let alone entering temples and getting educated. They used to carry mops behind their backs so that their footprints were erased as they walked and a Brahmin would not step on their footprints. They were simply treated like animals. The Brahmins would fool them into performing expensive rituals saying that it was a sin to deny rituals and offerings to God during festivals.
This was not just experienced by the lower caste people, but also by Kshatriya princes and kings. They could feel the Brahmins interfering a little too much in the politics of the nation. The then king of Kalinga, Bhushan Singh also felt that the Brahmins were exploiting his subjects. Amar Singh started influencing the Dasyus and Shudras against the Brahmins. It took a while for them to think against Brahmins as they considered them to be the messengers of God on earth. Amar Singh told them that Bhushan Singh, their beloved king, would definitely support them and give them some basic human rights and freedom. Amar Singh one day complained about this matter to Bhushan Singh.
The clever Brahmins recognized the growing power of the untouchables and realized it was high time they took some actions. The Brahmins decided to make a deal with Amar Singh and all the other untouchables. The deal was that if the untouchables kept quiet and did not approach about this matter to the king, they would be employed in the army or they would be given jobs to work for the royal family and given freedom. The freedom included visiting the temples, getting education and to quit their jobs whenever they wanted. But, there was a condition that the Brahmins put forth. The untouchables had to remain loyal to Brahmins, that is - never raise a voice against them to Bhushan Singh and to remain loyal to Kalinga, that is - to never help Magadha (Kalinga's enemy nation). If a person betrays either Brahmins or Kalinga, then that person would be given a death sentence and his family would have to suffer for generations.
Amar Singh and the Dasyus and Shudras agreed upon this deal and they were given the freedom hey rightfully deserved. Most of the untouchables were employed to serve the king in one way or another. Amar Singh was appointed as a spy of Kalinga.
Amar Singh was a very skilled spy. He was very good in his initial years. As years passed by, Amar Singh starts becoming greedy and ambitious. Now he wanted to be one of Bhushan Singh's officials. After seven years of his employment, he started to interfere in the defence plans made by Bhushan Singh for the safety of Kalinga. He started eavesdropping conversations between Bhushan Singh and the Brahmins.
One day Amar Singh was caught eavesdropping one of the conversations between Bhushan Singh and his officials. He was given a verbal warning by one of the Brahmins. the Brahmin warned Amar Singh to mind his own business and not interfere in the King's business. This hurt Amar Singh's ego. He was a hot - headed and impetuous man. He immediately took off to Magadha. Clearly he was morose by nature. He privately set up a meeting with Magadha's king. Magadha's king offered him fifty thousand gold coins and full protection of him and his family in exchange with the information which Amar Singh had brought.
Amar Singh told him what he had eavesdropped that day - Bhushan Singh and the Brahmins were planning to ambush one of the territories of Magadha while everybody was busy in the celebration of the wedding of Magadha's princess and the security would be more in Pataliputra and not in the territory where Bhushan Singh was planning to attack. Amar Singh explained him every single detail of the ambush which was planned.
After telling him this, Amar Singh demanded his money. Magadha's king told him to bring his family to Magadha and then he would provide him with his money. Amar Singh took off to Kalinga to escort his family to Magadha. As he reached Kalinga, he was arrested by the Brahmins.
There existed a system of having a spy against a spy in Kalinga of which Amar Singh, apparently was not aware. The Brahmins had specially appointed a spy against Amar Singh as he was acting very suspicious lately and also because he was a Dasyu and Brahmins did not trust him. He was thrown into a jail and tortured for three days until he confessed everything he had told Magadha's King.
Now why would he have acted so foolishly and made this absurd and preposterous decision to go and betray Kalinga when he knew that he would be breaking the deal and putting his family under immense trouble?
The answer to that is that he was guaranteed complete protection by Magadha's King and also he was bribed. He was greedy as we all know by now and he really wanted those fifty thousand gold coins. Secondly he was very intoxicated that day and his ego and his presumptuous behaviour took control of his sense and he put his family in danger. As per the deal, the person who betrayed Kalinga was to be given a death sentence and so was Amar Singh. He was publically hanged to death. His wife and his only son were now to be the slaves of the royal family with or without their will and they could not quit their jobs. For generations Amar Singh's family was to be the slaves of the royal family. Obviously Kalinga did not attack Magadha but their relationship worsened. They were now arch enemies.
After eleven years, Amar Singh's son (who was a slave of Bhagwant Singh - Bhushan Singh's son) married a maid of the queen and they had a daughter together - Rukmini.
Rukmini was completely oblivious to this story. Maa was wrong. It was not Amar Singh because of whom Rukmini was enslaved, it was his ego which enslaved Rukmini . Till now she used to live with her grandmother in a hut. But, now she was old enough (eight years) to become a princess' slave/ maid. Now she was to become the maid of princess Avantika (daughter of Bhagwant Singh and grand daughter of late Bhushan Singh) who was ten years old.
Maa came inside the hut with distress clearly seen on her face and said, "Rukmini, it is time. It is time my girl that you get ready for your fate. Your fate is enslavement. Your destiny is enslavement. You better be ready for it."
Rukmini said rather calmly, "whose slave do I have to be?"
"Princess Avantika's." replied Maa.
"I am ready for it." said Rukmini stoically.
Rukmini was rather looking forward to be the maid of princess Avantika. All her life she rarely moved out of her hut. Her only friend had been her grandmother. She used to tell Rukmini stories of her days as a maid. She used to make her stories seem very happy and pleasant. This was to make Rukmini believe that I was a wonderful experience serving the royal family. She taught her household chores so that it would be easy for her when she became a maid. Rukmini's relationship with Maa was no very deep as they would meet only during the night. Maa was a very strict mother but she loved Rukmini with every fibre of her being. Rukmini's father's whole life revolved around her. After a hectic day's work he would feel over the moon when he saw her. it seemed as if she was the only purpose of his life.
The day came when Rukmini was to be made princess Avantika's maid. For the first time in her life, she visited the royal palace. Everything about that palace was breath taking. Especially the sumptuous gardens and the opulent attire worn by the queens caught Rukmini's eyes. Though she was flooding with emotions from inside, she remained serene and nonchalant from the outside.
Then she entered princess Avantika's lavish room. Avantika was seated on her bed and immediately rose up when she saw Rukmini coming inside. Avantika was a very beautiful young girl with very fair skin which contradicted Rukmini's dark skin. She had beautiful, big green eyes which was a mirror of her emotions inside. She had red full lips which never took rest from smiling. During those times women were not allowed to go out of their houses to get educated. So was the case with Avantika, she was also trapped in her room like Rukmini.
Avantika came running towards Rukmini and said with a beaming smile on her face, "Rukmini! I have been looking forward for your arrival since I was a little kid. I don't have anybody here to talk to or play with. I was told when I was little that I would be rewarded with a maid on my tenth birthday. But, I never thought of you as a maid. I always thought of you as my lost twin which would come back one day and add some colour in my monotonous life."
Rukmini stood there still, quiet shocked with Avantika's reaction, filled with happiness from inside.
It was as if they were actually twins for they connected very well in their first couple minutes of acquaintance. Maa left Rukmini with Avantika. Both the girls talked for hours together and giggling hysterically. Rukmini would accompany Avantika everywhere. They would visit the temple together, play in the gardens and swing and run until they were drained of their energy and felt exhausted. They would tell each other secrets and laugh unstoppably on each others most embarrassing moments. They would sleep together, their banters would never come to an end.
Six years passed and now both Rukmini and Avantika were growing into young women, but still they remained each others' soulmates. But nowadays Avantika was feeling sick with apprehension. A year ago Rukmini got to know about her grandfather's story through Maa and she was feeling very ashamed and crestfallen. When Avantika asked her what had happened, she told her everything. To make Rukmini feel better Avantika revealed a secret of her own to Rukmini. Avantika told Rukmini about her love for Tej Pratap Singh, the prince of Mewar. Tej Pratap was a gallant and valorous prince and heir to the throne of Mewar. The whole of Rajasthan was filled with stories of his bravery.
This past year both of them had been exchanging letters. But the reason for Avantika's anxiety was that her father, Bhagwant Singh, king of Kalinga, had arranged Avantika's wedding with the prince of Vidarbha - Raghoji Shinde.
Avantika never told her father about her feelings as he was cantankerous by nature and also the fact that women were not allowed to give their opinions.
Avantika discussed this matter with Rukmini and she was very supportive of her. Avantika as sure that she wanted to marry Tej Pratap. But she was just sixteen and Rukmini fourteen. How could they have planned an elopement all by themselves? This is when Avantika decided to take help of her brother - Jai Singh. Avantika was very sure that she could trust Jai. Jai and Avantika were very close since childhood. Avantika trusted him and Rukmini the most in her life. Jai before had helped Avantika with the exchange of letters with Tej. Jai Singh was the one who made the plan of elopement.
"Avantika, you would go to the temple you have been going to since childhood as usual. You would not be going there alone as our mother would definitely send with you some maids and soldiers for your safety. There you would order everybody to leave you alone for your holy bath as you would want some privacy and solitude. When everybody would have left you alone, instead of taking bath, you would elope with Tej as he would be present there hiding, disguised as a civilian. You will send him a letter informing him about the plan of elopement days before going to the temple. Now, you will have to act very happy and content with this marriage, only then our mother will allow you to visit the temple. You have to ward off any suspicions she has by acting very happy with this marriage. You will have to convince her."
"Sounds like a great plan to me, bhai" said Avantika.
"This is an amazing plan. I will also accompany you there" said Rukmini.
"No Rukmini. If you come with me then after I go missing, everybody would suspect you for my elopement." said Avantika.
"Avantika is right, Rukmini." Jai answered.
"Yes you are right. I will say that I am busy making your wedding dress and I wont accompany you and no one will suspect me." replied Rukmini.
The next day Avantika wrote the letter to Tej describing the whole plan and he responded positively. Avantika started looking more cheerful when her parents were around her. She told that she as very happy with this marriage and was looking forward to it. The king and queen looked very convinced with her reaction. Little did she know when she was young that she would have to betray her parents but such were the circumstances.
Ten days later was the day of elopement. Rukmini told the queen that since Avantika's wedding dress was not yet ready and they were running out of time, she would stay in the palace and help make the wedding dress. The queen lately was very happy that Avantika was happy with this marriage and so she would not get mad at maids and allow them whatever they asked for. She allowed Avantika to go to the temple without Rukmini. Before leaving the palace Avantika met Rukmini for the last time before she got married to Tej Pratap.
"Rukmini, once I get married and settle down, I will call you in Mewar and we will live there together.
"What if they take me in custody for helping you to elope?' Questioned Rukmini with apprehension.
"They wont. They don't have any evidence. And nonetheless you haven't helped me elope. It was Jai's plan. You are safe." Avantika assured her.
"I hope you succeed in your plan." said Rukmini.
They bid goodbye. Rukmini returned to the palace and started on with her work. Avantika headed for the temple. Tej Pratap was already present there, hiding dressed as a civilian. Things went according to plan, Avantika headed for the holy bath in privacy, instead eloped with Tej Pratap.
After some time when Avantika was not seen, the maids were overwhelmed with anxiety and fear of what that their irascible king would do to them for this carelessness. At first everybody thought that she had been kidnapped. They rushed back to the palace and told Avantika was missing. Everybody panicked, the queen nearly fainted. Quickly word spread across the whole of Kalinga and even Magadha that Avantika was missing, probably kidnapped. Bhagwant Singh did everything in his control to find Avantika. He sent troops to find her at every corner of his kingdom, but he failed. Meanwhile Avantika had already reached Mewar. A week later news came that Avantika was married to Tej Pratap Singh willingly.
Bhagwant Singh was filled with rage, so much that he wanted to attack Mewar right away. But, the adroit Brahmins stopped him to do so. Mewar was ten times stronger than Kalinga and attacking them would mean self destruction.
After a few days, when their rage slowly faded away, the Brahmin's suspicion went towards Rukmini. One day they came to her room and interrogated her.
"Hey Dasyu! Were you anywhere near involved in princess Avantika's elopement?" asked one Brahmin.
"No, I wasn't." replied Rukmini with a haughty expression.
"She has a traitor's blood running through her veins. She is definitely lying."
"I told you. I don't have any knowledge about this matter."
"Maybe you know someone else who is involved?"
"I don't know anyone who is involved."
"You wont admit like this, would you? I guess we will have to take you in custody. Maybe then you might confess."
"You cant do this. You don't have any proof whatsoever that I had anything to do with princess' elopement."
"Would you consider shutting your mouth up you filthy Dasyu!"
The Brahmins took her to jail, under arrest. There they tormented her but she did not utter a word about her or Jai's involvement. She remained faithful to Avantika.
Again word spread quickly that Bhagwant Singh had put a Dasyu child under arrest without having any evidence. The other Dasyus and Shudras who were now educated started revolting against this decision of Bhagwant Singh
with the help of Vaishyas and Kshatriyas. Brahmins realized that if they gave Rukmini a death sentence, there would be a huge internal revolt and Magadha - their arch enemies and even Mewar and Vidarbha (as they were insulted by Kalinga since Avantika eloped with Tej Pratap) would take advantage of this internal revolt.
Considering all of this the Brahmins released Rukmini but they held a special grudge against her. They wanted revenge. They knew she had helped Avantika elope or at least she knew someone who had helped Avantika elope. They just needed the right moment to take advantage of. That moment came rather quickly. A question arose in everybody's minds. Now that Avantika was gone, who would Rukmini be the slave of? Everybody in the palace had a maid and it seemed that Rukmini would have to be unemployed for some time. But the cunning Brahmins came up with a job for Rukmini. The job was of a poison tester of kind. Since Kalinga's enemies had increased, there had to be a poison tester for the king's safety. This job was indeed dangerous but since no other job was open for Rukmini, she had to become a poison tester. This information about Rukmini being employed as a poison tester was kept confidential. No one outside the palace knew about it.
Rukmini didn't even complain once when she was appointed as a poison tester. She accepted her fate.
After ten days of Rukmini becoming the poison tester, one day she ate Bhagwant Singh's food and fell to the floor suddenly. After minutes a white fluid started coming out of her mouth. Her pulse rate stopped and she stopped breathing. After few minutes she was declared dead.
It was publically announced that Rukmini had been made the poison tester of Bhagwant Singh as his enemies were growing and for his safety he needed a poison tester and also that Rukmini didn't have a job so she was made the poison tester. But it was kept confidential from everyone else.
Someone from Magadha or Vidarbha came in the palace as a civilian of Kalinga and tried to poison Bhagwant Singh to kill him. But that person had no Idea that a poison tester had been appointed for king's safety. So that person's plan failed and Rukmini saved Bhagwant Singh's life.
This is what was told to the public by the Brahmins. But was it the truth?
The answer to that is- NO. Brahmins and Bhagwant Singh were eyeing a revenge on Rukmini as they believed that she helped Avantika elope. They poisoned her on purpose to get a revenge and made up a story to convince and fool the public.
When Avantika heard about Rukmini's death, she was devastated. Rukmini's Maa, father and grandmother mourned over her death but still they felt proud of her as she had saved he king's life and sacrificed her own - They had been clearly fooled by the Brahmins.
The crowd felt pity for Rukmini. They couldn't raise their voice against she being a poison tester because as per the deal - she had to serve the royal family. She had no option.
The good news was that Rukmini was the last generation in her family and after her there would be no one in her family who would be a slave of the royal family as her family would seize to exist after Maa and her father's death.
The bad news was that yet another Dasyu or rather- an innocent Dasyu was killed by Brahmins just because of the hatred between the two castes. The status of Dasyus centuries before and now was the same. Even though now they were educated but they were still manipulated. They were still tormented and executed out of no reason at all.
Rukmini was a great example of this. This was a Dasyu's Tale. Even after centuries, even after many reforms being taken, even after the revolution had taken place, she was tormented and killed like a Dasyu was killed centuries ago.... Just out of hatred.
This is what hatred can do. Spread love, not hate. For hate is lethal.