Scene 1

(Place: The Garden of Eden. Time: Full moon night. The children of the cosmic gods are singing in Heaven, Bishwabasir jai… [Victory to the citizens of the world!…] Enter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. “Netaji” means “great leader”.)

NETAJI: Since I left India, I have never heard such a soul-stirring song! The sentiment, the thought, the language, the rhythm, the melody, the tone — each and every petal of this song-flower is unique, and the flower itself is intoxicating me with its beauty and fragrance. Since I left my Mother Bengal, I have never heard such a beautiful song. But alas, I thought that it was the children of Bengal who were singing the song. Now I see that it is the children of the cosmic gods who are singing. Where am I? Where is my Motherland? O my Mother India, I do not mind in the least if I am not favoured with a place among those who sacrificed their all to liberate you from the cruel shackles of British domination. My only sorrow is that you are still in stark bondage, ruthlessly insulted and painfully humiliated at every moment.

(From the opposite side, enter Deshapriya, another martyr. Deshapriya is from Chittagong; “Deshapriya” means “one who is dear to Mother Bengal”.)

DESHAPRIYA: Ah, Netaji! You are here! I am so fortunate today to meet with Mother India’s greatest and most beloved son. Your name and your supreme glories are echoing and re-echoing throughout the length and breadth of India. I have just come from our Motherland, where I paid a short visit.

NETAJI: You are coming from India? Tell me, tell me, how is our eternal sufferer, Mother Bengal? Mahatma, Jawaharlal and others — how are they? What are they doing?

DESHAPRIYA: Our Mother India is free! The English have left our Motherland on their own.

NETAJI: Tell me, tell me more! Why do you stop? Am I in a fantasy-world? Our Motherland is liberated? Our one and only dream has been fulfilled? Then how is it that you are not happy in the least? On the contrary, your eyes are flooded with tears.

DESHAPRIYA: Alas, our Mother India is now divided. She can no longer pride herself on the oneness of her sweet children. The whole of India is drenched with the blood of Hindus and Muslims. Poverty, untold misery and catastrophe have become India’s daily companions. My Mother Chittagong has fallen under the inexorable curse of division. The poisonous air of division-night is about to devour and destroy me completely. There is no food, no clothing — only birthless and deathless fear. Premature death, accidental death and unnatural death — this is what India’s fate has become. Soon, Netaji, I shall visit Bengal again. My sole aim, like yours, is to unite India. We must uproot the separation-poison-tree!

NETAJI: What are you saying, Deshapriya? I am unable to understand you. On my way to Japan from Singapore, I fell asleep in the plane, and then I do not know what happened to me. One thing I do remember, though, is that my dearest and fondest Azad Hind Fauj, our Indian National Army, failed to bring about India’s independence.

DESHAPRIYA: No mighty endeavour can forever remain unfulfilled, Netaji. At God’s choice Hour, God Himself lovingly breathes life into our glorious dreams. True, your Azad Hind Fauj could not give India her freedom, but you and your indomitable army of liberation-fire will forever and forever remain immortal in the heart-history of India. Even Mahatma has bowed to you and your army with tremendous admiration.

NETAJI: Enough, enough, my dear friend! No more embarrassment! What I have done for my Mother Bengal is next to nothing; what I have done for my Mother India is next to nothing. Now tell me, are they honouring our beloved Deshabandhu (Chitta Ranjan Das), our political Guru, whose lofty inspiration I imbibed at my journey’s start? Today I want to prostrate myself at his mighty feet. He was my blue-vast inspiration-ocean. If my cherished countrymen have even an iota of appreciation for me, then I am offering it all to him, for it is he alone who rightly deserves it. His boundless affection-smiles and unparalleled wisdom-teachings have made me what I am now. My earth-bound life and my Heaven-free soul are profusely and eternally grateful to him.

DESHAPRIYA: Indeed, dear Netaji, it is his unconditional blessings that have also made me what I am now. Let us go and pay our prayerful homage to our beloved Deshabandhu. I am sure he will be overwhelmed with joy to see you!

(Exeunt omnes. Netaji song is heard from offstage.)