Fiction

The Land

by Deepanshu Srivastava

Farmers in Siliguri, a district of Darjeeling situated in the north of West Bengal have been facing a serious problem of selling their lands forcibly to a lobby of powerful and super-rich money-lenders and then were compelled to work as farm laborers in their lands. This story revolves around the similar plight of Arindam Bagchi whose father Somdev Bagchi was forced to sell his land and was employed as a watchman on his land. One day when Arindam visited his father at his workplace, he saw the cunning landlord Uday Mukherjee mercilessly beating his father for being late for work. Arindam felt it to his heart and challenged Mukherjee that he would not only get back his land from him but also would bring him to the task. The arrogant Mukherjee drove away both – the father and the son from there and warned them not to roam around near the land. The family of Arindam was so frightened by the warning of Mukherjee that they shifted to Jhargram from Siliguri. Arindam and his father started working as porters in the vegetable market for their livelihood. The market was controlled by some local goons who used to extort money from the shopkeepers.

One day when Arindam saw the goons compelling an old man for extortion, Arindam could not stop himself and beat up the goons with the help of some shopkeepers and ultimately landed in the local jail. In the jail, he met Gautam Adhikari as his inmate. Adhikari was a powerful gangster who had the patronage of a local MLA, Shubhankar Deb. After coming out of jail Arindam joined hands with Adhikari and soon earned his name in the crime world of Jhargram. At the behest of Adhikari Arindam murdered the popular mayor of the city, Tapan Das. Tapan and Adhikari were professional rivals. In a week, Adhikari bailed Arindam out by fabricating the murder as suicide with the help of false testimonials from the people present there.

Soon Arindam became a much sought-after member of Adhikari’s gang. Adhikari sent Arindam to a neighboring country for getting trained in looting, extortions, and land-grabbing. When Arindam returned after the training he was in a new avatar of a hardcore criminal. Now Arindam’s priority was to settle down the issues of the vegetable vendors of the market where he and his father used to work as porters. To give immediate relief to thevegetable vendors, he announced in the market that he would arrange to send their produce to the wholesale market so that they would get a better price. Soon Arindam became a prominent member of Adhikari’s gang. One day Ajay and Sanjay, the two members of Adhikari’s gang informed Adhikari that they could not annex the land owned by a prominent businessman, Pandora of Siliguri. Since Arindam now had a hatred for Siliguri, he promptly offered Adhikari to give this task to him. Arindam went to Siliguri, shot Pandole to death in front of his family, and got their land registered in his name.

Although Arindam was arrested for this act, Adhikari again bailed him out. With his influence, Adhikari put the onus for this murder on Pandora’s uncle. Now next target of Arindam was Adhikari himself as he wanted to take over his gang himself. By now Arindam had become a blue-eyed man of Adhikari. He invited Arindam to his birthday party. He utilized this occasion and murdered Adhikari and manipulated the incident and framed the charges of murder of Adhikari on Ajay and Sanjay, the two members of Adhikari’s gang. Arindam was now the gangster of the town and was known in Jhargram as Arindam Da.

He used to help and back all those people who were needy. On one occasion a teenage boy, Nishant had come from Siliguri on foot to meet Arindam for a livelihood as Nishant had become an orphan, due to the demise of both of his parents during the Corona pandemic. Knowing that Nishant belonged to his native place, Siliguri, and was in deep trouble, Arindam treated him as his younger brother and assured him that he would not only arrange a job for him but he would also fund his education. Despite his good work towards the downtrodden people of his area, his own family and would-be bride Kanchan disowned him due to his anti-lawful activities. Dejected by his people, Arindam became all alone, and to revenge the society for his present-day conditions, he started expanding his gang and became a more dreaded gangster. Extortions, land-grabbings, and kidnappings for a ransom became his lifestyle.

Arindam now wanted to focus on Siliguri, his hometown, and zeroed upon his father’s land which was forcibly grabbed by the cunning landlord Uday Mukherjee. Arindam killed Uday after taking his father’s land back from him. He was happy that he fulfilled his pledge taken a few years back. An elated Arindam shared this news with his father Somdev but Somdev refused to own his piece of land due to the cohesive method used by his son in getting back the land. This was a jolt to Arindam as he wanted to reunite his family and get away from the world of crime. He assured his father that he would mend his ways and soon join politics. However, his father refused to live with Arindam. His fiancee Kanchan also expressed her unhappiness over the unlawful activities of Arindam and informed him that her marriage was settled with a software techie and would leave Siliguri forever to settle permanently in Kolkata.

All these developments aggravated Arindam and disappointed with the circumstances he left Siliguri in a fit of rage. He – started and re-joined his activities as a gangster. One of the MLAs of Jhargram, Avinash Chaudhary came to know that Arindam was back and was also interested in contesting the upcoming assembly elections from his constituency on a rival political party’s ticket. He knew that Arindam was very popular amongst the poor and downtrodden people of the area due to his soft corner for this section of electorates. This made Chaudhary worried about his votes getting divided. He thought of a deadly plan to get rid of Arindam forever. To execute his plan he lured the two brothers Ajay and Sanjay to shrug off Arindam by killing him to grab the opportunity of their taking over the place of Arindam in his gang. Avinash also assured the duo that he would take care of the legal aspect after post-the murder of Arindam. Foreseeing a golden opportunity coming their way to rule the crime world of Jhargram and the neighboring areas, the two brothers promptly accepted the offer. As per the plan, Ajay and Sanjay attacked Arindam’s house on a mission to kill him. After many rounds of firing between Ajay and Sanjay and their henchmen and Arindam, Arindam managed to escape and ran away from his house. After running for about half an hour Arindam reached the vegetable market, where he and his father Somdev worked. Arindam phoned Nishant to ask his gang – members to reach the vegetable market to counter thehenchmen of Ajay and Sanjay who had been chasing him right from his house. Instead of alerting Arindam’s gang – members, Nishant proceeded alone towards the vegetable – market with a loaded pistol.

When Arindam’s father saw Arindam hiding in the market, he informed the police about the possible gang– war in the market. On its arrival, the police arrested Ajay and Sanjay and his henchmen to save the area from a possible shootout. Arindam finally surrendered himself to the police. In the meantime, Nishant reached the vegetable market and fired five rounds at Arindam in a nick of time. Arindam got a shock of his life and asked Nishant why he fired at him. To this, Nishant replied that he was the grandson of the businessman, Pandora whom Arindam had killed and since then he wanted to take revenge on Arindam. Arindam was rushed to a nearby hospital but he succumbed to the bullet injuries. As soon as the news of the death of Arindam reached the vegetable – market, a shock wave was created and all the vendors were seen in tears, except his father Somdev. Somdev told the S. I. Devang Patil that it was a society that converted a gentle and disciplined boy Arindam into a hardcore criminal. His father started laughing and told S. I. Patil that although his son has amassed many acres of land through criminal activities he will require only a few meters of land for his last rites. Meanwhile, throughintelligence reports, the CP of Jhargram came to know that the MLA Avinash Chaudhary was promoting goons and vagabonds of the area to win the assembly elections. It also came to the notice of CP that Avinash had hatched a plan to kill Arindam through Ajay and Sanjay. To stop lawlessness in the region and the growing influence of Chaudhary in the crime world of the area, Devang Patil, S. I. followed the orders of his bosses and killed MLA Chaudhary in a fake encounter and briefed the media that Chaudhary was caught red-handed after he was seen of negotiating smuggled illegal weapons to terrorize the voters of his constituency.

                                          

About The Author:

Deepanshu Srivastava, a freelancer in sports – writing and a storyteller is from Pune. He may be reached through: – arunsri5523@rediffmail.com

 

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