28-sep Archisman faces death

Ishti Kutum Analysis – Satyakam’s patriarchal mindset and his mixed up personal-political vendetta

[Before reading this, you might want to read the Ishti Kutum Analysis Part 1 – Introduction, Ishti Kutum Analysis Part 2 – Story so Far. All other posts on Ishti Kutum are here]

Story from 2nd Aug till date:

After Mun left the Mukherjee houshold, she attempted to commit suicide, but was unsuccessful. Baha, saved her life by giving her blood. In the hospital after gaining consciousness Mun created a fake story, that an old flame from her college days is back in her life and her own infidelity created a guilt factor and was the reason for her attempted suicide. Archi believed the story with a sigh of relief. He told her that he is at peace now that both of them are committed to new relationships. Before Mun was discharged from the Hospital, Baha was driven away from Mukherjee household and taken to Majumdars where Anu started mentally and physically abusing her everyday. Meanwhile, to say everything that was unsaid, to hear each other out with open hearts and free minds, Archi and Mun decided to go on a vacation, arranged and sponsored by their elder brother as a honeymoon trip. The same day that they left for the trip, Baha was further abused by Anu and she left for Palashboni. In Palashboni, seeing Baha in misery and pain, everybody assumed Archi had used her, abused her and driven her away from home. She didn’t say anything clearly as to why she was back, but said this much that her marriage is over. Maddened by anger and emotion, Satyakam decided to kill Archi and take the revenge of both Dibbojyoti Majumdar and Archi’s sins.

Archisman and Satyakam’s relationship

Archisman and Satyakam, after Archi saved Satya’s life

Satya is, what the bourgeoisie would call, a fringe rebel; the American corporate would call, a terrorist and the Indian government would call, a Maoist. But for the people of Palashboni, Satya is their God, their hero and the fountain of Palashboni Law. Needless to say, truth has two faces, the good truth, and the bad truth.

Years ago, Satya made a promise to the people of Palashboni that he would lay his life for their upliftment and since then, he’s been on a war with the ‘system.’ The administration, police, politicians, media – all have been after him, chasing him everywhere but he has never been caught. In one such chase, when the police knocked Satya’s door, Archi risked his life and career to save him. And it would be heartening to know that the only reason Archi was present at Satya’s hideout that fateful night, was because he was taken, rather dragged to that hideout by Satya’s men, on Satya’s instructions and was kept in captivity. The ironies of life and Archisman’s magnanimity.

Satya attempts to kill Archi, thinking he has called cops. Archi asks him to go and hide, while he takes care of the cops.

Nobody, not even Baha or Kanka, knows where does Satya live and what does he do. He has people who work for him, they have secret missions and plans but those are not talked about much. Archi first came to Palashboni to find out the good truth about Satyakam the hero. He wasn’t interested in knowing about his plans and missions, his whereabouts or targets. He was searching for the story behind the making of this hero. He found it during that turmoil which first led him face death at Satya’s hands and then save the same person from police.

On returning to Kolkata, he wrote a heart wrenching piece on Satya the hero and raised a storm. The ordinary people were overwhelmed by the truth of Satya’s life. Many of them had tears in their eyes. And the administration, from the Police Commissioner to the Home minister to all the top notch editors and media houses in the country wanted to offer Archi whatever he could lay his hands on, in exchange of  just one information from him, “how to find Satyakam” a man who has escaped everybody for so long.

Archi didn’t want to meet any of the big shots. He felt embarrassed that all these people had suddenly started calling him to congratulate on this magnificent achievement. In Anjan da’s chamber at ‘Prothom Khabor’ office, a humble Archi had said, “Please don’t talk like this Anjan da, I have just done my job, that’s all,” resisting his endless praise session.

Forthcoming episode of Ishti Kutum, date 1-Oct-2012, Archi faces death as Satyakam seeks a misconstrued revenge

This man, Archisman Mukherjee today stands in front of a Satyakam who has a revolver in his hand, adamant to kill Archi. What happened, that after everything that Archi did for Satyakam for his life and his cause, this is how Satya have decided to pay him back?

Observations on Satyakam’s recent actions:

Satya’s personal got mixed up with his political. To some extent this is understandable, since his very struggle began in his heart break. A city man (Dibbojyoti), a representative of the oppressive bourgeoisie class came to the village and stole his woman’s (Kankaboti) heart, used her and ultimately abandoned her to have never come back. Satya realized it was easy for this man to ruin Kanka’s life because she was an illiterate, under privileged, backward class girl from a tribal village. He realized, that in order to put an end to this age old practice of the city people dishonoring the village women, it was important to climb up the social ladder, be a part of the mainstream society by getting educated and taking up jobs etc. And so he made a promise to the people of Palashboni that his life is dedicated to their development  Not another man would be able to take the honor of another Palashboni’s daughter.

Many revolutions happened, when the personal was attacked. The Sepoy Mutiny is a classic example. The problem occurs when you cannot separate the two any more, when you can no longer identify the actual motives of your actions and distinguish them as to whether an action is meant to achieve personal goal or socio-political?

This is Satay’s problem. He can no longer make this difference. He is blinded by his hatred towards the Dibbojyoti Majumdars of the world. He sees a Dibbo in every city man. He calls all of them “Sreni Shatru” (class based enemy) and is always looking for an excuse to avenge himself. Is there a larger socio-political goal in this revenge? A question Satya fails to ask his conscience. This was the reason when he first saw Archi at Palashboni fare, he immediately used force against him. Satya would have probably killed Archi that very day, had various other crisis not cropped up.

Satya had always wanted to kill Dibbo. When one day after a gap of 18 years, Dibbo finally came to meet Kanka, Satya got outraged and maddened by anger, hatred and jealousy. He caught him by the collar, dragged him to the jungle and attempted to kill him. He never bothered to engage into a dialogue, or ask Dibbo what was the purpose of his visit. He just wanted to kill him, because he was a ‘sreni shatru’.

Surrendering himself at the will of Satya, Dibbo had asked, “Satyakam, please know that today I do not fear death. Are you sure by killing a man who anyway doesn’t want to live, your class enmity would end? Or would it be better if I socially accept my daughter Baha and give her everything I couldn’t give so far?” For a second there Satya realized the enmity with Dibbo wasn’t making sense, but the next moment he turned violent again. His foster son, Prakash tried to stop him but he blasted, “Prakash, leave this is my fight alone.

At one hand he said this was ‘his’ private fight, and another hand he said it was a class struggle. Clearly, he was confused, and had terribly mixed up the agendas. It was only after Kanka revealed on his face, the harsh and insulting reality, that he was mixing up his personal vendetta with his political struggle, “this is no longer your fight for the country Satya, this is your personal fight, at least I can tell that, if not anybody else” that he let go of Dibbo.

Deep inside he still wanted to kill a Dibbo. When last week, Baha came from Kolkata with a wound on her forehead (Anu had hit her with a flower vase) and confessed that Archi has another wife, and from now on, she’d stay in Palashboni, Satya’s secret desire to kill a Dibbo to make a strong statement got fueled again. He thought killing a famous journalist would create an uproar in the city, it would give out a strong message and thereafter no man would dare to take the honor of a village woman.

Class struggle, personal vendetta, fatherly possessiveness, protectiveness, Baha’s honor – everything is getting mixed up for Satyakam.In his blind rage and deepening pain he is not thinking the way a leader is supposed to think. He has lost rationality and logic. Satyakam shouldn’t be an impulsive person. A person who runs a secret rebel group, challenges the system, has been able to always escape the cops would be anything but impulsive. He must have a strong sixth sense to understand facts even from a distance, he would never do something without first understanding the whole of it.

Satyakam talking to his men Manglu and Dhanai plotting Archi’s murder

Then how is it that when it comes to killing Dibbos and Archis, his leadership qualities disappear? The answer lies in the bad truth about Satya. He is a tyrannical controlling patriarch of Palashboni.

Just because he is the tribe leader, the only man in Kanka’s life and Baha’s foster father, he has wrongly assumed he has the right and power to control Baha and Kanka’s life even against their wishes. A patriarchal man’s obsession to control his women, particularly their sexuality is what is leading Satya to this blood shed. Let us not for a minute be so naive and pass off Satya’s misdeed as his acts of passion and emotional outburst. Acts of passion happen in a moment, even the law pardons such acts including murders. But in Satya’s case there is enough space and time to use logic and reason, only if he doesn’t deliberately avoid them.

Have Satya forgotten that the very premise of the two men, Dibbo and Archi are different, while Dibbo came in search of his muse, Archi came to Palashboni in search of Satya. He certainly have not. The very fact that Archi took the risk of coming to Palashboni, riding 300kms on his bike, on the day of Bharat Bandh (nation wide strike) should raise a curiosity about his motives in the mind of a person with even the most ordinary prudence. Does it not occur to Satya? One is likely to wonder,  when it took Dibbo 18 years to visit Palashboni, why does Archi keep coming back over and over again, why does he shower immense love and respect upon the very people who once attacked his life, treats them to a grand feasts and gets them new dresses on ‘Paila Baishakh’? Why does Archi love them so much?

Manglu Dhanai ask Satya, why the jamai pretended so much for so long?

Quite naturally these questions did occur to Manglu and Dhanai, Satya’s men who were instructed to capture Archi. They said, “We were just not able to believe that jamai (Archi) could betray us this way, we loved him so much and he also loved all of us. And he used to be with Baha such a way it seemed he loved her more than his life, as if he cannot stay without her even for a minute. We don’t understand Satya, why did he pretend so much?”

The answer Satya gave reflects a great problem of the patriarchal mindset. A problem the feminist movement have been trying to address for so long. He replied, “Keno bujhte parcho lai? Bhog karar ligge” (Can’t you understand why? So that he can user her sexually)

The fact is Archi and Baha’s marriage is still not consummated even after almost a year. The reasons – although find mention in the story are none of anybody’s business – Arhi felt Baha is too young and he believes that to start a new relationship one must come out of the previous one in its entirety.

Satyakam tells Manglu that Archi lied and pretended for the same reason as Dibbo did, to use Baha. (sexually)

It is a shame that Satyakam assumed a man like Archi would do so much for so long just to be able to get Baha to bed. This is not only an insult to Archi but also insults his own daughter Baha. She is an adult, she had a valid marriage with Archi. She is capable of taking her own decisions. If at all there had been any relationship between her and Archi, that is a matter of love and affection between a husband and wife. To call that ‘bhog’ (sexual use) is just an insane objectification of Baha the person. Problem is patriarchal society imagines sex as something that only men desire and women oblige, women can neither desire nor enjoy sex. They do not have a mind of their own to take decisions about their own body and sexuality. They don’t have their own choices when it comes to physical relationship with a man, with or without marriage. Even where a woman willingly enters into sexual relationship with a man, assumption is, it must be a result of the man’s lies, pretense and deceit. It is because of this mindset that after Kanka was impregnated and abandoned by Dibbo, Satyakam issued an unwritten irrational law for Palashboni, “No man and woman are not allowed to spend a night together in a room. If they do, the man must marry the woman, otherwise would be killed” To enforce this very law, Baha was forcefully married to Archi. Her entire destiny was trampled that day because of this unreasonable law made by Satya.

Still, her decisions post marriage were her alone. In truth whatever form of physical relationship was established by Kanka and Baha with their men, was done only and only because of love. They loved their men. It is as simple. They were not so weak or stupid that the men could get make a fool out of them.

If follows, since the decisions were their own, the responsibilities of facing the consequences are also with them alone. Satya or anybody else need not interfere unless they are specifically asked to. When Satya asked for the details about her situation with Archi, and suggested he would get even with Archi for hurting her, Baha categorically said she doesn’t want anybody to discuss this matter anymore. She wanted everybody to stay out of it. Consoling a tearful Baha, Satyakam in his mind said, “I would kill Archi babu, otherwise I won’t be a just father of my daughter.”

Hear yea, fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, village heads, pack leaders et all – none of you have to perform any feats to save the honor of your women, which you believe only lies in her actions related to her heart and hormones, unless you are specifically told to. Least of all, the great deed of killing the man I once loved just because we have a misunderstanding among us.

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