Chandrakanta

As soon as he had the orders, Ramlal went to Krur Singh’s palace. The munshi tried to give him two thousand rupees,  ‘Take this.” “Wah,” Ramlal mocked “Don’t you remember ? The King’s orders? These will not even fill my pocket. What will I carry in my hands?” The irritated munshi took Ramlal to a chest full of treasure and said, “Let’s see how much you can carry!” Within seconds, Ramlal picked up ten thousand rupees. On his head, in his purse, in his pockets, in his waist pouch, even his mouth was stuffed with money when he left. Everyone laughed at the devil. The king’s orders were followed, Krur Singh’s house was looted, and all the men and women of the household left for Chunar, wailing. Tej Singh brought all the money to Virender Singh and said, ‘I made some profit today but this is devil’s money. You should add something so that its evil is purged.’

‘But tell me where have you got all this from?’ asked Virender Singh.

Tej Singh told him everything.  ‘I give you everything that I have here!’ Virender Singh was happy. Tej Singh replied cleverly, ‘But the condition is that it should not be less than his. After all, your status is much higher than his! Now I should be going to Chunar to see what that son of devil is doing there.’ The news of Krur Singh’s misfortunes spread all over the town. Queen Ratangarba (Chandrakanta’s mother) and Chandrakanta also heard it. The princess and Chapla were very happy. When the King returned to the palace, the queen asked about Krur Singh in jest. The King scowled ‘He was a scoundrel, a liar, besmirching the girl’s name…’

‘Why did you stop Virender Singh from visiting the palace,’ The queen teased, ‘That boy used to come and stay with us even before Chandrakanta was born. Then she arrived and they used to play together and fell in love.’

‘Today, I am amazed at myself,’ The King said.  ‘I must have stopped thinking. What killed the love that I had for Virender Singh in my heart? Oh, this Krur Singh has done strange things. Now when he is not here, I can understand.’

“Let’s see what he does in Chunar, ” sighed the Queen. ‘He will certainly instigate King Shivdutt to raise a new storm.’

‘Let’s see. God save us. That rascal did not leave any stone unturned in doing evil.

’ The king left the palace after this. Now he was worried about who would be the Prime Minister in court. After thinking for several days, he appointed a trustworthy man, Hardayal Singh. This man was honest, noble, kind and good hearted. He had never knowingly hurt anyone. In Krur Singh’s mind, there was only one thought – Tej Singh and Vikram Singh should be killed anyhow and the Kingdom of Naugarh should be taken over. He came to Chunar and arrived at Shivdutt’s court with Nazeem. The King knew him well. He accepted the gifts and asked about his well being. Krur Singh replied, ‘I will tell you all about myself when we are alone.’ The court was adjourned in the evening and the King called Krur Singh. Krur Singh complained about King Jai Singh to his heart’s content and then remarked, ‘The army is in a bad condition. The Muslims are all on my side. If you want, it would not be difficult to take over Vijaygarh. The beauty of Chandrakanta, King’s daughter, is beyond any comparison. She could also be yours.’

With these promises, he roused Shivdutt till the King said, ‘We don’t need to fight. First, we use our aiyaars, and then see what can be done. I have six aiyaars here. Four of these along with Pandit Jagannath will be assigned to you. You go with all of them and see what they do.’

They were still talking when a palace guard came with an announcement , ‘Oh Lord, there are lots of complainants sitting on your doorstep. They say they are Krur Singh’s relatives and when King Jai Singh heard that Krur Singh had left for Chunar, the house was looted and all of them were thrown out. What are your orders for them?’

Krur Singh was stunned. King Shivdutt called them inside and asked about their well being. They told everything that had happened after Krur Singh fled. On seeing Krur Singh and Nazeem, they asked, ‘Did Ahmed also come with you?’

‘Ahmed?’ Nazeem asked. ‘Where is he? He has not come here.’

‘He had come to the house and left saying that he was going to Chunar.’

‘Okay. I have understood,’ sighed Nazeem. There was no doubt it was Tej Singh. He must have given the news to the King. All this trouble has been created by him.’ Krur Singh started wailing.  ‘What has happened has happened,’ King Shivdutt consoled. ‘Don’t think about it now. Wait and see how I pay back Jai Singh for all this. You live here. The house opposite the bath is given to you. Your family can live there. The government will give you some money.’

As per the orders, Krur Singh settled down in that house. After some days, he arrived at the court and asked the King’s permission to go to Vijaygarh. Everything has already been prepared. The King bid farewell to his four aiyaars, Pandit Jagannath, Krur Singh and Nazeem. The aiyaars were carrying all tricks of the trade. Different clothes, their waist pouch and dagger at the waist. Pandit Jagannath also carried his books and some other things since he also could perform some tricks of an aiyaar. This gang of mischief makers turned towards Vijaygarh.

Outside the Naugarh fort, Virendra Singh and Tej Singh, along with several others, were enjoying the beautiful scenary around the river Chandraprabha. An ascetic in ochre loincloth, with a Ramanandi tilak and a khanjari in his hands sitting near the river could be heard singing :-

Four clever men from Chunar

And a learned pandit,

They know thier trade, they know ramal

Get up, plan and prepare,

For they have minds that can think….

As soon as Tej Singh heard the song, he looked around . The ascetic was looking at them as he sang. When he saw Tej Singh, he grinned and left.

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One response to “Chandrakanta

  1. Have heard interesting things about Krur Singh’s appearance (Specially the eye brows)..Did you manage to cover them..err..I mean that?

    Like

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