by KParthasarathi Friday, June 20, 2008
Mohan was driving his jeep towards the main bazaar. He was in his starched Khaki uniform with its stripes. His wide leather belt carried the holster for the pistol. His cap in Khaki and black sat trim on his head. It was evening around 5pm.He saw a crowd in the middle of the road with the people on the periphery craning their necks to see what was happening in the middle. There was a Babel of noises ”Kill her”. “Strip her”, “Break her hands”, and so on. When the crowd heard the shrill horn of the jeep and saw his khaki uniform, it parted and gave way. Some people started to disperse silently and some stood still to witness what was likely happen. Mohan saw a woman in her mid thirties beaten blue with bruises on her eyes, lips and cheeks. Blood was oozing out. Her clothes were torn and upper garments removed except for a torn blouse hiding her chest. Even the sari had been pulled away and she was in her petticoat. It was a distressing sight with the mob in mindless fury with everyone relying on hearsay. Even as Mohan stopped the jeep, some men came near the jeep on their own and started telling him “Sir, this woman is a witch and possibly a child abductor. She stole a packet of bread from the opposite shop. We were teaching a lesson that she would not forget in her life. Luckily you have come, Sir.”
Mohan understood the situation. Had he not come, they would have stripped her naked and killed her. In a commanding tone full of authority he said” It is wrong to take law in your own hands. Leave the job to the police.” He asked them to lift her and put her in the back seat. He said “I will leave her at the police station and have the matter enquired into. If she dies, you will all be in trouble.” The woman was promptly put in the jeep. One or two fellows offered to come along. Mohan said “So you would like to be witnesses when she lodges her complaint that you all beat and stripped her. “ The men quietly withdrew allowing the jeep to proceed.
After traveling some distance, Mohan stopped the jeep and asked the sobbing woman as to what had actually happened. “Sir, my children are starving for the last two days. My husband has deserted me. It is true I stole the bread without knowing the consequences that would follow.” Mohan said ”I understand. Lucky I was there in time as otherwise they would have put you to great shame and injury. Take these 100 rupees and go home. Don’t go near the bazaar for a few days.” She thanked him profusely as she got down.
Mohan proceeded towards the school where he was supposed to be at 5-30pm.As soon as he reached the gate, his wife and son came rushing towards him. “Why so late? The function is to start in a few minutes; the chief guest has come already. Hurry up. You look swell in your uniform, cap and all.” He saw his boy dressed like a politician in kurta, pyjama with black glasses with a pan parag tin in hand. He was taking part in school fancy dress competition that evening. His son had asked him to come behind him as a special protection security guard. Mohan had to get the uniforms on hire for an evening.