Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Part 3/Chapter 5

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Deeply engrossed in thought Bhavan walked towards the ashram. Night descended as he entered the woods. Suddenly he noticed that someone was walking ahead of him.

'Who goes there?' Bhavan asked.

'If you only knew how to ask the question!'

'Bande.'

'Mataram.'

'My name is Bhavan.'

'I am Dhiren.'

'Dhiren! What brings you here now?'

'I was looking for you.'

'Why?'

'I have something to tell you.'

'What is it, Dhiren?'

'On that subject I can speak to you only privately.'

'Why not say it now. We are here by ourselves.'

'Did you go to the town?'

'Yes.'

'To Gouridevi's house?

'Did you go to the town too?'

'A very beautiful woman lives there.'

Bhavan was surprised and felt a little fear on hearing this. He said: 'What are you talking about?'

'Did you meet her?' Dhiren asked.

'And if I did?'

'You are infatuated with that woman.'

'Dear Dhiren, what makes you ask about all these things? What you say is absolutely true. But how many beside you know about this?'

'No one else.'

'Then I can free myself of this disgrace by killing you.'

'Yes, you can.'

'Then come, let us fight in this solitary place. Either I free myself of this disgrace by killing you, or you kill me to relieve me from the gnawing pains of my heart. Have you weapons for a fight?'

'Yes, I have. Would I dare to talk to you about these things unarmed? If you have decided on a duel, I am willing. The Children are not allowed to fight among themselves but fight only in self-defence. But do you not think it would be better for us to begin fighting after you have listened to the full story?'

'There is no harm in that.' Bhavan said, and he placed his sword on Dhiren's shoulder so that he might not run away.

'Why don't you marry Kalyani?' Dhiren asked.

'Kalyani! So you even know her name!'

'Why don't you marry her?'

'She has a husband and the Children cannot marry.'

'The Children's creed can be renounced, for all I know. You are dying for love! Be careful, you are cutting my shoulder deeply!'

'What brought you here to suggest such sinful advice? You must have some selfish interest behind this infamous proposition.'

'I intend to tell you that too. But, please, do not press your sword so hard on my shoulder. The duties of the Children have taxed my patience beyond endurance. I am sick and tired of them. I want to leave the Order. I am impatient to spend the rest of my days with my wife and children. I must leave the Order. But how can I return home and live in peace? I am well known as a rebel. If I return home, the British will cut my head off or the Children will kill me as a traitor. So I want you to go my way.'

'Why do you choose me?'

'Ah, that's the crux of the question. The Children are under your command. Mahatma Satya is not here now. You are the commander-in-chief of the forces of the Children. I am absolutely certain that you will win the war if you fight with your soldiers. Now, when you win the war, why not establish a kingdom in your own name. The soldiers will obey you. You be the King and let Kalyani be your Queen. I shall ever remain a humble servant of yours and thus pass my days in the company of my wife and children. And I shall bless you for having disbanded the Children altogether.'

'Dhiren,' Bhavan said, as he withdrew his sword. 'Fight. I must kill you. I may live as a slave to my senses; but I am not a traitor. You are a traitor and you are enticing me to be a traitor. I commit no sin if I kill you. I must kill you, villain, I must kill you.'

Scarcely had Bhavan finished his sentence than Dhiren ran off as fast as he could. Bhavan followed, but searched for him in vain.