Act I, Scene 2

(The residence of Dr. K.D. Ghosh. A smiling garden in front. Swarnalata, his wife, plucks flowers and sings.)

What shall we mortals do? O, ours to meet
With worshipping brow the flowers of His feet!

(Enter K.D. Ghosh.)

KRISHNA DHAN: I cannot believe my ears! You sing surprisingly sweetly. They say you are "the Rose of Rangpur" and I know you to be a matchless woman. But I have never heard you sing.

SWARNALATA: Truth to tell, I am not inclined to music; at least, music is not my forte.

K.D.: Who was it singing then like an angel?

SWARNA: Ah! Don't you know that alone anybody can sing?

K.D.: Not always. The singer in me, if any, wouldn't sing, even if alone.

SWARNA: I believe you, too, would sing if you dreamt my dream.

K.D.: Dream! Do open your heart. Am I not your husband?

SWARNA: True, you are my confidant. But it's not the proper moment to give away the secret. Let me see if my dream comes true.

K.D.: Swarna, you too! — You appear to be my eighth wonder.

SWARNA: That is a long story. It would be a Mahabharata if I told it. To be brief, I had a toy Krishna when I was a child. As I grew up, I was wont to pray to Sri Krishna in the evening when the earth sank into silence. My sole desire was to be the mother of the embodied Divine.

K.D.: We are too human for a divine dream. Kausalya, Devaki, Sachi — was there anyone on earth who suffered more than they? What a fanciful desire, indeed! What a lofty dream!

SWARNA: But you have not yet heard me out.

K.D.: Do say your say. I will keep it to myself. I give you my word of honour.

SWARNA: But do you know yourself? You are an atheist.

K.D.: Atheist! My father was a Hindu, so am I. I am a worshipper of Kali. My father's mother is at Varanashi. A devotee of Lord Siva is she. Am I an atheist because I move in European society?

SWARNA: Let it be. My dream demands your heart's encouraging, your true sympathy!

K.D.: Swarna, I empty my heart to you.

SWARNA: My prayer shall bear fruit before long. He, the Light of the world, is within me. (A bashful smile.)

K.D.: Is He? (A broad smile.)

(Enter a poor Muslim in hot haste.)

ABDUL: Babu, Babu! Cholera has broken out in our village. I am very, very poor. Two of my sons were snatched away to the other world last week. My youngest, my dearest, my last son threatens to go. I pray, do call at my hut. Your very presence shall cure my dying son.

K.D.: I shall try my best. My life on earth has no other aim but to protect the weak and help the needy. Those who wallow in wealth can call in eminent doctors. But my hand and bottle are for those whose friend is poverty itself. My work is to have money from the haves and contribute to the funds of the have-nots.

ABDUL: Babu, Babu! I can pay the flood of your sympathy only with my tears of delight.

(Exeunt K.D. Ghosh and Abdul.)

SWARNA (with tears streaming): Alas! Him to call an atheist whose heart is a surge of sympathy — the living image of philanthropy? O Merciful! O Light of the blind! Your pardon, your high pardon my sharp tongue desires.