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In presenting this my first publication to the 
indulgence of the public, my most pleasant duty 
is to offer my heart-felt and sincere thanks to my 
respected patron, Lieut.-Colonel D. C. Phillott, 
who suggested to me the idea of translating 
this Bengali farce of the "Babu," which is written 
in very idiomatic colloquial. The reason of his 
asking me to undertake this work is set forth 
in the Introduction so kindly written by him, 
and which, I believe, will be read by every body 
with great interest. Had he not helped me conti- 
nuously in this work, it would never have been 

The manuscript translation was finished in 
October 1910 when Colonel Phillott left for 
England on six months' leave. He hoped to 
see it printed before his return. But owing to 
some unavoidable circumstances, the manuscript 
was out of my possession for six months. I am 
glad that at last my translation has seen the 
light of day. 

The Colonel Sahib has not only helped me by 
revising the whole translation, but also by seeing 
all the proofs through the press. I cannot suffi- 
ciently thank him for the trouble he has so gladly 


taken in this publication. His wide knowledge 
of Hindi and other Oriental tongues has enabled 
him to readily grasp the ideas of a language of 
which he says he knows so little. 

I am extremely grateful to the author, Babu 
Amrita Lai Bose, Manager and Proprietor of the 
Star Theatre, for his courtesy in permitting me 
to translate his popular farce. 

I am also indebted to Mr. Harinath D6, 
Librarian of the Imperial Library, for some of 
the foot-notes and for some valuable hints which 
have saved me from error. 

Calcutta, ] 

[ N. C. Chatterjee. 

jufze igii. J 


The "Babu" was written about eighteen yeari> 
ago by Babu Amrita Lai Bosc, the actor manager 
of the Star Theatre, Calcutta, whose facile pen 
has produced numerous other dramatic works. 
The little play is still frequently performed and 
still draws large audiences, a fact which suffici- 
ently proves, that, whatever may be the short- 
comings of the Bengalis, lack of humour cannot 
be included in them. 

It has not infrequently been said that the 
Bengali stage is seditious ; but Mr. Bose trium- 
phantly points to the "Babu" and his other works 
as a refutation of this accusation. He is a patriot, 
but not a patriot like Babu Shashthi Krishna 
Vatavyal, nor does he belong to that modern 
school which clamours that the time has come 
for Indians to rule themselves. 

The author is an admirer of the late Raja 
Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of the Brahmo 
Samaj, and justly appreciates his labours. He mcst 
emphatically denies that it was his intention to 
hold the Brahmos up to ridicule, or the Babu 
class up to contempt. He did, however, wish 
to ridicule a certain type of canting Brahmo, 
and also the spurious Europeanised Bengali of 

which Babu ShashthI Krishna Vatavyal is hardly 
an exaggerated type. While admiring Western 
manners and education, he wished to point out 
that what suits one people does not necessarily 
suit another. It may be right for English ladies 
to go to dances and skip about with a strange 
man's arm round their waist, but it is wrong for 
Bengali ladies, he urges, to go about the streets 
unattended. English culture is one thing, and 
English training for Bengali boys another. The 
school-boys in the second scene of Act 11. are 
an illustration of his statement. This scene 
was written as a prophecy. The Bengali boy 
has indeed benefited in many ways by English 
education, but no one who knows Calcutta can 
say that the English educational system has 
proved an unquestioned success. 

While I was searching for a suitable book as 
a help to the study of colloquial Bengali, some 
friend suggested the "Babu." I consulted the 
author, who, with rare courtesy, had a special 
performance for my benefit. I can only regret 
that my knowledge of Bengali is not sufficient 
to make me a competent judge as to how far 
the play is suitable for the object in view, but 
students will at any rate have the advantage of 
reading a very amusing work and then of practis- 
ing their ear when seeing it performed. 

The translator has executed his task conscien- 
tiously, and in my opinion admirably. Most 
Indians consider it lessening to their dignity 
to consult any living authority, and hence it is 
that dictionaries compiled by Indians are confined 
to the knowledge that can be gatherd by one 
man. The translator has, however, availed himself 
of all the living help he could obtain and has 
not mercl)" trusted to the dictionary, and, for this 
departure from Indian custom, great credit is due 
to him. The allusions, as well as the plays upon 
words, in the original text, are considerable, and 
it has, of course, been found impossible to repro- 
duce these. The English words that are inter- 
spersed in the text are indicated in the translation 
by inverted commas. 

Calcutta,] D. C. Phillott, Lieut.-Colonel, 
July igiT. J Secretary, Board of Examiners. 



Shashthi Krishna Vatavyal... A 'philanthrophic' Babu (and a 
... Shashthl's Brother-in-law. 
... A 'scientific' Babu. 
... A Brahmo Reformer. 

Phatikchand ChakravarttI 
Sajanlkanta Chaki 
Uncle Tinkari 
Banchharam Sadhukhan 

(iobin Banerjee 
Tituram Ganguli 

Krishna "J 
(rhanas'yam I 
Chandra j 
Beni J 

... A religious hypocrite. 

... A Brahmo follower of Sajanl. 

... A mufassal student (of E. 

... A simple old-fashioned clerk. 
... A village Headman. 
... An opium-smoker. 
... Kandarpa's servant (from E. 

... Phatik's Uriya servant. 
... A poor neighbour of Sajanl. 

... School-boys. 

An English sailor ; Several Babus. 






S'ilada "j^ 


Kayet Thakurjhl 



Shashthl's wife. 
Banc hharam's wife. 
Sajanl's wife. 

Neighbours of Shashthi, 

Kandarpa's maternal grand- 

Shashthl's mother. 
Daughter of DayitadalanI. 

Emancipated ladies. 


Scene— A Garden. 

Vaishnava Women ^hymning'' Bdbuism. 

Long live our jewels of young men, 

They who are ever engrossed in the ecstatic 
thoughts of their charmers' neat ankles ! 

Their skin is dark, like a purple plum ; 

Their attitude and gestures arc full of affectation ; 

They ruin their health by gadding about. 

Their eyes are protected by spectacles ; 

Their hair is parted in a foppish slant ; 

They adopt an affected tone in their speech ; 

With what queer beards do they hide their contort- 
ed faces. 

They are garbed in English coats ; 

Their mouths are full of wordy words ; 

Their spirit lies in tall talk ; 

When the time to act comes, they show a clear pair 
of heels ; 

All they do leads to self-destruction. 

At onetime they style themselves Babu, at another 
Mr. ; 

Their father is styled 'Brother', their wife 'Sister,' 

And in addressing people they ignore all differences 
in relationship : 

Their frcakishness defies description. 

When they don't die young, what endless innova- 
tions do they not set afoot. 

I assure you, dear sisters, they will destroy all our 
time-honoured customs. 

The parda will be removed ; our ladies will be 
made to dance the can- can {khemta) and so 
acquire a notoriety ; 

But, alas, only if the envious God of Death spares 
them a while. 


Scene I.— Phatik's Parlour. 
PJiatik Chdnd and Bhajahari. 

Phatik — Who ever put this mad notion into your 
head ? Famine to be removed by writing to 
newspapers ! My brother-in-law Shashthi is 
a real scoundrel : do you think he'll do what 
I'll ask? Rather he'll give himself airs. 

Bhaja. — Do, Sir, speak to him first, and then I'll 
also humbly entreat him. Shashthi Babu is 
your very near relation, he's your sister's 
husband. He's bound to comply with your 

Phatik — Why, he wouldn't listen to his own father ; 
I'm only a relation by marriage. 

{Enter Bhdgbat, Phatik's servant.) 

Well Bhagbat ! what's the news ? 
Bhag. — (In Uriya) Jamai Babu is come ; he gave 

me this chit, and said, give it to the Bara Babu. 
Phatik— What chit ? Oh 1 it's a 'ticket.' 
Bhag. — {In Uriya) Yes, tikis ; what tikis how 

can I know, master? Read and see. {Gives card.) 
Phatik — (Takes card and reads aloud) "Mr. S. K. 

Bhyatabhyal." Damn him ! I see Shashthi 


Krishna Vatavyal has become S. K. Bhya- 
tabhyal so that the sahibs may think that 
the Babu is a grandson of some Andrew 
Pedro. 1 (To Bhagbat) Well, ask him to come 
up. Why is he waiting below ? 

Bhag. — (In Uriya^i I said to him, you are the son- 
in-law of the family and an inmate ; go up with- 
out any hesitation. On this he said some gib- 
berish in English which I could not understand. 
Then he said, "Just give this chit or I shall be 
out of dntikdnti or something of the sort." 

Phatik — Go down, go down, and ask him to come 


{Exit Bhagbat.) 

What on earth is dntikdnti ? Oh ! I see, 
'etiquette.' Now look at the formality of this 
d — d brother-in-law of mine. He comes to the 
house of his own father-in-law and stands on 
ceremony and sends up a card. You see, 
Bhajahari, it is this unmannerly monkey you 
have come to petition on behalf of your famine- 
stricken village. 
Bhaja. — Of course he often visits Englishmen and 
so his manners have become English. Any way 
1 am in luck ; I wonder whose face I saw 
to-day before starting. I'm glad this has saved 

I. A contemptuous term for a Eurasian; one baptised by 
a Scotch or Jesuit INIissionary. 

ACT I. 3 

you the trouble of going to him ; the gentleman 
has come himself. 

[Enter Shashthi.) 

Shashthi— Halloo, hdlloo, hdlloo ! 

Phatik— Hua, hua, hua ! [imitating a jackal.] 

Shashthi — Gd'^ morning, Mr. Phatikchand. 

Phatik — I see it is so, Mr. Bhyatabhyfil. 

Shashthi — (Offering to shake hands) Ha' d' ye do ? 

Phatik — (Calling as in the game of prisoners' 
base) Chhel digle digle digle — 

Shashthi— "By all the devils," what's this ? 

Y'WdJaV—Hddu du-du is rough and so I was suggest- 
ing prisoners' base instead. By the way, you've 
come in the nick of time or I should have 
had to run over to your house. 

Shashthi— "In — deed 1" 

Phatik — (Drawling) Mai — r — / — i ! Some one has 
put a stupid notion into the head of this 
country boor that you are a power in the land 
now, that }-ou are everything with the Govern- 
ment. The crops have failed in this man's 
village, and he thinks that a few lines in your 
Newspaper and a speech or two from you, will 
either make the vice grow, or else induce the 
Company Bahadur to open kitchens for the 

I. 'Smart' Bengalis trying to speak like Englishmen 
clip their words and speak affectedly in a haw-haw manner. 


free distribution of food. He has urged me to 

tell you this, so do what you think fit. 
Shashthi — "Now look here, Mr. Phatik, I am out 

"on a social mission, I can't attend to political 

"affairs just now." 
Phatik — Say something or other to him and 

relieve me from his importunity. 
Shashthi — ^"Oh no, tell him to see mc between two 

"and three in the afternoon on Friday. He 

"must send a memorial signed by all the res- 

"pectable ryots to our Association. But has 

"he got funds sufficient to go on with the 

"preliminaries ? " 
Phatik — (Making faces and imitating the English 

accent) That is more than I know, (Again 

makes faces and speaks gibberish.) 
Shashthi — ^"Don't you be joking in these serious 

"matters. What do you mean ?" 
Phatik — (Making faces and speaking gibberish) 

Ghini ghini ghin, luk lukd luk,puk pukd puk 

pukut pukut pak. 
Shashthi — Drunk at this hour ? What are you 

jabbering ? 
Phatik — Now come to your senses, my dear fellow. 

Speak in your own language and then I'll 

answer you. Why these outlandish manners ? 

You've come to your father-in-law's house and 

sent up a card. We are both of us Bengalis 

Acr I. 5 

and near relations as well. Can't I understand 
my father's language ? Well, you are better 
at English than I am, and so you show off your 
English ; but I am, you see, better at Chinese. 

Bhaja. — Sirs, please leave your joking till after- 
wards. Your humble servant has come to you 
in great trouble ; kindly listen to his petition. 

ShashthI — '^Speaking bad Bengali like an English- 
man] What is your application ? What is the 
name of your village ? 

Bhaja. — If it please you, Sir, it is Kangaldanga in 
the vicinity of Burdwan. There have been no 
crops for two years ; we're all dying of starvation. 
I've heard that your pen is a force and your 
speech compelling. If you would only take 
compassion on the poor. 

ShashthI — '^Speaking as before] How much money 
has been raised as subscription ? 

Bhaja. — So please you, Sir, we've no food for our 
bellies ; who could subscribe ? 

ShashthI— [In English] "Then go away, go away, 
don't come bothering me here." 

Phatik — (Making faces and jabbering) Kdjt kund 
kun kichir inichir kdni. 

ShashthI— Stop that, Phatik. [To Bhajahari] None 
of your villagers subscribes to my paper ; I 
can't write for the village "for nothing." 

Bhaja. — Sir, if you saw the piteous condition of 


the village with your own eyes, you'd certainly 
have pity. Where's the man there who can 
spend money ? Only poor cultivators live 
there. The crops have failed for two years in 
succession, and set aside their own stomachs 
they cannot get food every day to put in the 
mouths of their children. Your reputation has 
drawn me here. Your Newspaper has a great 
position ; even the Viceroy reads it. If you 
write a strong line or two about the condition 
of our village, Government may give us some 
relief and you will save many souls. 

ShashthI — |^In ordinary Rengalij It can't be done. 
Your village must subscribe to at least ten 
copies of my paper. The annual subscription — 
paid in advance — plus postage, is rupees one 
hundred only. You must also subscribe to a 
dozen of my photographs, price twenty-four 
rupees. You can have them framed at your own 
cost. That's settled. You say your village is 
poor, so, if you can't afford more, subscribe at 
least fifty rupees for the 'Deliverance of India 
Fund' — but no, as orthodox Hindus you will 
perhaps object to give sums ending in a naught 
— so we'll call it fifty-one. For this I may write 
a para in the local — not, of course, in the 
editorial— column. 

Bhaja. — One hundred and seventy-five rupees ! 

ACT I. 7 

Why, Sir, if we sold all the utensils of our 
houses, we couldn't raise a quarter of this sum. 
And who of the village could read your English 
paper ? No one in the village knows English^ 
they are just poor villagers. 

Shashthi — What ! Not know English ? Then 
whether such a village exists or not, it's of no 
consequence whatever. I can't do anything for 
that village. Well, you must start by raising 
substantial subscriptions, by selling your bull- 
ocks and ploughs, to give me a fund to open a 
school there. Let them learn English first ; 
then civilised persons like ourselves can have 
pity, can have "sympathy" for them. 

Phatik — That is to say that unless and until the 
race of ploughmen becomes extinct nothing 
can be done. 

Shashthi— No, and to tell the truth, if they all 
perish the better for the country. The popu- 
lation has increased too much. According to 
Malthus, famine or pestilence is necessary to 
decrease population, and it is better that such 
ignorant villagers should perish than educated 
and refined persons. 

Phatik — It is a pity that such uneducated unre- 
fined brutes don't want to die. Now, pay up 
something in ca^h to this gentleman ; you've 
learnt a bit of practical wisdom. 


Bhaja. — Sir, I had great hopes, when I came, to 
take you back with me and show you the state 
of our village. If you see it with your own 
eyes, your heart must melt with pity. 

Shashthi — I may go — 

Phatik — Shall I lend you my gun to shoot one or 
two of those queer villagers ? You'll kill two 
birds with one stone — check the famine and 
have a day's shooting at the same time. 

Shashthi — ^In English] "Stop a moment." 

Phatik— (Makes faces, etc.) Ghatdghat ghat foment. 

Shashthi — Look here ; provided my expenses are 
paid, I am prepared to go. 

Bhaja. — -To be sure, Sir, the expenses will be paid ; 
1 didn't mean that you should have the trouble 
of going and spending money out of your own 
pocket. I can pay for an intermediate return. 
I scraped together enough for this before I 

Shashthi — I see you live in a very uncivilised spot. 
You are quite ignorant of all the necessities 
of patriotism. You want me to visit your 
village to remove the famine ; but if I travel 
intermediate, who will know me ? Arrange for 
a return first and — I'll dine at Kellner's — ; I'll 
give some lectures in the village, so you must 
take a Eurasian reporter from here. He must 
have a second class return — and of course his 

ACT I. 9 

fee. Then too my departure must be reported 
by telegram to our Branch Associations in Raj- 
shahi, Dacca, Jessore, Patna, Benares, Bombay, 
Madras, Ceylon, London, etc., etc. You must 
engage a pdlkl to convey me from the station 
to the village. You must have a triumphal 
arch of deodar surmounted by flags put up at 
the entrance of the village. There must be 
illuminations and the band,^ and if you can 
arrange for an amateur concert party from 
Calcutta, well so much the better. 

•Phatik — And look here, also add to the entertain- 
ment, a coy young bride, so that the gentle- 
man may return with another new wife, and 
this will lead to the famine being removed 
from your village. 

Bhaja.— I see. Sir, there's nothing to be hoped for, 
from you. If the villagers could afford so 
much money, they wouldn't be dying of star- 

-Shashthi — Just tell your zemindar to pay. Who 
is your zemindar ? 

Ehaja. — Sir, Sitanath Singi, but he is not well off 
now. He has lost nearly all his money in a 
family partition suit. It's enough that he doesn't 

I. Nahabat, i. e., music of pipes and drums played by 
four persons usually from the top of trmmphal arches and 
over gate-ways. 

10 BABU 

oppress us for his rents. How can we expect 
him to feed us as well from his own pocket ? 

Shashthi — Sitanath Singi is your zemindar ? "Oh ! 
that scoundrel !" There is no more wicked and 
tyrannical zemindar to be found anywhere 
He used to subscribe to my paper but he has 
stopped. I sent some one to collect subscrip- 
tions for the India Deliverance Fund and he 
only subscribed fifty rupees, but all went in 
the travelling expenses — and the commission 
of the collector. "I owe him a grudge." Why 
didn't you tell me this before ? Very well, now 
I'll do what you want for nothing, but you 
must stop paying rents to him altogether. If 
you agree to this, then as I have some Midna- 
pore Fund subscriptions deposited with me, 
I'll write for your village and take the cost 
out of that fund. Capital ! now I have found 
a "plea :" I shall state that the ryots are dying 
through the oppression of the zemindar. 

Bhaja. — But, Sir, there is no oppression from the 
zemindar — 

Shashthi— Don't trouble about that, I'll make it 
out ; I'll make out the oppression. 

Phatik — Ah ! see the power of his Pen. What 
force ! If one learns English well, one can 
turn "yes" into "no." This is what they call 

ACT I. ir 

ShcishthI — Now go ; come and sec mc again this 
evening. I must first settle what day my 
birthday dinner is to be, and then I'll fix up a 
date for you and start, 

Bhaja. -So with your permission, Sir, I take my 
leave, so please accept my Prandtn. 

ShashthI— /'r^Wi?;^ / ha — ha— hal What shall I 
answer, Phatikchfmd ? 

Phatik — ''Jayostu ;" but that word will stick in 
your damned mouth. Raise your right leg and 
bless him like a Baidyanath bull."- 

yExit Bhaj'ahaj'i.) 

Shashthi— Phatik ! you see what a worry it is to 
be a "public man." I am worn out by working 
for others. 

Phatik — You are not bound by oath to do so ; 
give it up. One who wishes to be a public man 
must put up with this trouble. But I suppose 
you can't give it up ; isn't that so? But let us 
be frank in private ; the work is not quite un- 
profitable ? 

{Enter Titurdm Thakur, an opiu7n-smoker.) 

Titu. — Here you are, Bat and Ball Babu — at last 
I've caught you. It is impossible to sec you in 
your own home without a card. I was lucky, 

I. These are sacred freak bulls of Baidyanath, that are 
taught to raise the right leg when ahns are given. 

12 BABU 

passing this way, to see your tydtydm tydm at 
the door. 

Phatik — Goodness gracious, who is this man ! Is 
he another of your patriots ? What Babu did 
you say ? 

Titu.— Bat and Ball Babu. 

Phatik — Capital ! Capital ! You have changed 
your father's Vatavyal into Bhyatabhyal and 
this disciple^ of yours it seems has made it into 
Bat and Ball. 

Shashthi — Well, you are looking for me ? What 
do you want ? 

Titu. — What should I want? Such a question one 
would expect in this "Black Age 1" When 
you wanted to be a Kashmiri (commissioner) 
of the "Corporation Office," you coaxed me to 
canvass for you. As you are my neighbour, I 
made the head of our opium-den give his 
ghonis (votes) for you. The7i you'd have pro- 
mised me the moon ; but that was all moon- 

Shashthi — A-ah ! let me see, don't you live in 
our neighbourhood ? 

Titu. — Really, my dear fellow ? We Gangulis 
cleared the forest and settled here. You are 
a lodger of yesterday ; and you, you tell me 

I. Talpiddr, lit. a bundle-carrier. Disciples carry the 
bundles of their spiritual teachers. 

ACT I. 15 

that I live in your neighbourhood ? Why, 
some day you'll say that the house of Akrur 
Datta himself lies under the eaves of your resi- 
dence. When you were canvassing for the 
Kashmiri gJionts [commissionership vote\ you 
used to call on Tituram a dozen times a day ; 
you wore a hole in his door step. You, who 
had not the decency to nod to even your family 
priest, you wore out the soles of my feet 
taking the dust off them.^ Now with your ad- 
vice to the Viceroy you are going to take our 
very lives by trying to clear opium out of the 
country. I hear you have sworn by all that 
is sacred {lit. on copper, the basil and the 
sacred Ganges)- and given evidence that opium 
is ruining the country, stating that opium- 
smokers are habitual thieves. When did I ever 
get into your dear lady's room^ ? You've sworn 
falsely on Ganges water. Are'nt you afraid of 
becoming a leper ? 
Shashthi — Ah, yes, you're talking about that 
Opium Commission ? But — I fear you don't 
understand. Eminent men in England have 

1. To put on your head. 

2. Hindus when taking an oath first touch these three 

3. The allusion is to the well-known Bengali story of 
■'Bidya Sundar." 

14 BABU 

come to the conclusion that opium is the root 
of all the evil in our country and that its culti- 
vation should be stopped. 

Titu. — The sahibs of England are pulling the 
strings and you, my dear Bat and Ball, aren't 
you dancing ? You don't know these cat-eyed 
people. Did you try to find out what was 
really at the bottom of the matter ? Their 
'cousins and their aunts' own breweries and 
stills; by abolishing our royal drug they want 
to create armies of drunkards. My dear fellow, 
have a care, don't be led away by them. Man 
can't live without some intoxicant. Have you 
noticed that even little children when playing, 
turn round and round to get giddy ? Wealthy 
Durganath Babu has a maina and as soon 
as it strikes five in the afternoon it begins to 
yawn for its opium. Its daily dose is the size of 
a pigeon's pea. If you abolish this royal drug 
of ours, you'll fill the country with devilish 
drunkenness — you'll have disturbances, uproars, 
murder, bloodshed, etc. Is not our pacific 
intoxicating drug better than all this? We are 
a harmless people ; why are we oppressed ? 
When we tread we do so softly lest Mother 
Earth be hurt. 

Shashthi — Opium-eating is bad indeed. I may 
not succeed in abolishing that, but what do \'ou 

ACT I. 15 

say to opium-smoking ? Is there anything more 
abominable ! 
Titu. — Well, I see you have passed your examin- 
ations merely to get silver plate ^ at your wed- 
ding and that you have learnt no wisdom at all. 
Take for instance tobacco. Does a man throw 
it down his throat or enjoy its smoke through 
a pipe? We, too, merely enjoy the ''refined gas" 
of opium. Now come, let us go one morning 
to the Lalbazar Police Court. Now, how many 
drunkards are brought up and how many 
opium-smokers fined ? Who has ever been 
ruined by opium ? Give me one example. I 
can give you a long list of Croesuses ruined by 
wine ; their wives and children driven by 
starvation are begging from door to door. 
Seeing us somewhat emaciated you jeer at us, 
but have you any record of the number of 
years' intoxication it requires to produce this 
thinness ? Wine doesn't let people reach this 
stage. It kills them while still stout and well. 
These few bones of mine that you see, what an 
age they will last ! They are hardened and 
cured by smoke like beur- lathis. But you by 

1. If a boy passes high examinations, his father will 
<lemand from the bride's parents many things as plenishing. 

2. A kind of male bamboo from which lathis are usually 

1 6 BABU 

drinking the poison of the bottles become 
swollen like Chinese lanterns, and can't bear 
the fillip of a finger without collapsing. 

Shashthi — Are you aware of the number of men 
and women that commit suicide by eating 
opium ? 

Titu. — And for this should opium be abolished ? 
Why, some men die by hanging themselves and 
some escape from worldly trouble by drowning^ 
themselves. Then along with the poppy you 
should abolish jute too, so that ropes may not 
be made for hanging. Abolish too the potters* 
profession lest earthen g/iards^ should be made- 
to assist drowners, and pump too Mother Gan- 
ges dry. 

Shashthi — Go away, go away. 

Titu. — I'm going, my dear fellow, but look here, 
my dear man, just listen to a piece of advice 
from an old-fashioned man. Seeing that you 
are fools, they have tricked you by sending a 
Commission to abolish opium ; now you too 
combine and send a Commission to London to 
abolish drink. Then let us see who can go on 
the longest without his own particular intoxi- 
cant. Above all, stop the importation of 
foreign liquors. If the owners of our opium- 

I. Suicides sometimes drown themselves by weighting 
their necks with rhards. 

ACT I. 17 

dens must go smash, let us make the owners of 
///^/r stills shut up shop. This is the arrange- 
ment I propose. As for our friends the 
Chinese, they are smart, you bet. If the 
British export of opium to China is stopped, 
they'll cultivate the drug in their own country, 
rather than ruin their health by taking to 
drink as these English would have them do. 
Take my word for it. 
Shashthi — Go away, go away. 

Titu. — I'm going, my dear fellow. Could a 
"gentleman" stay longer in such company as 
yours ? 

Shashthi — Look here, Phatik, just look at the un- 
appreciativeness of our countrymen. Some 
large-hearted Englishmen, taking pity on our 
distressful country, are trying to abolish opium, 
but no sooner do I and my party assist them 
in their noble work than a number of people 
in this country begin their attacks on us. Now 
do you fancy that that opium-smoker came here 
of his own accord ? There are some big bugs 
behind him, pulling the strings. What a gross 
"falacious argument" (they bring for\vard), that 
if opium is abolished drink will be wide spread, 
and that therefore opium should not be 
abolished. "How ridiculous!" A lesser evil 



should not be rooted out because it'll lead tc 
the increase of a greater one ! 

Phatik — Look here, up to the present I've merely 
been a listener and not spoken a word. But 
let me tell you that whenever I hear, that 
people in England have grown philanthropic to- 
wards us, I can't help feeling nervous. Once 
some mill-owners in England had a sudden fit 
of kindness to our mill-hands here. The natural 
result of their kindness was that the good 
creatures are enjoying a loss of income. Opium 
has again roused English compassion. The 
expenses of this commission are defrayed by 
taxes paid by us — this is of course as it should 
be — that's quite clear. Besides I've heard that 
those statements of that fellow are not untrue. 
In England several great men own breweries 
themselves, so when these people show a fit 
of compassion, well it seems odd. As regards 
what you call "ridiculous" in the argument 
about the abolition of opium, I do not follow 
you. In my poor opinion if a greater evil 
can be prevented by allowing a lesser to 
continue, the lesser should continue. That 
the evils of drink are greater than those of 
opium, there is no doubt. 

Shashthi — Put this aside for the present. Ill 
argue with you about it some other day. 

ACT I. 19 

Listen now to what I came to tell you. To- 
morrow morning your sister must return home. 
I'll send the tum-tum for her. 

Phatik— Do you mean Nirada to drive in the tum- 
tum ? 

Shashthi — "She ought to." 

Phatik — I was going to suggest that instead of 
sending your ramshackle ta^nlam, you'd better 
send a balloon. You're the High Priest of the 
"India Deliverance Association " and it would 
suit your high position if your wife went to you 
soaring in the air. 

Shashthi — I'm glad that this time your jest is 
scientific. If she can't drive in a tum-tum, 
I'll send the office ^^rf for her. I do'nt like 
her going in 2i pdlkt, for the dirty Uriya bearers 
mutter indecencies as they bear their burden. 

Phatik — But why all this hurry ? 

Shashthi — Well ! tomorrow there will be a "Conver- 
sazione" at my house and many "ladies and 
gentlemen" are coming ; there will be political 
and social discussions. 

Phatik — But Nirada doesn't understand such dis- 
cussions. Spare her this infliction. 

Shashthi — "Oh Heavens ! that's impossible ; " she 
nmst be there ; she's the "hostess." 

Phatik — Damn your hostess, or ghostess or what- 
ever you call it. 

20 BABU 

Shashthi— Stop your joking and send her home ; 
"Ta-ta— Ta-ta." 

Phatik — ]^o CQrtvaony pydntd pydntd.'^ Never mind 
shaking hands ; my arm is nearly broken by 
your "shake hands." 

{Exit Shashthl Bdbu.) 
These salas turning patriots— in one way it's 
not bad for them. Their work is merely raising 
subscriptions and talking of big things. I 
can't control my laughter, otherwise I too would 
have joined the patriots, for I'm hard up and 
out of a job. 


Scene II. — Road to Kandarpa's House. 
Emancipated females {Brahmo Ladies) 
When our husbands die, we won't take off our 
bangles-, that we won't. 
The fire of our bereavement we'll no more kindle 
in our bosoms, that we won't. 
We are blue stockings all ; 
When number two comes along. 
If he's attractive, why shouldn't we be attracted, 

why shouldn't we ? 

1. Pydnta an affected way of pronouncing /iT/zAi 'goat'. 

2. Widows wear no ornamenis, least of all bangles. 

ACT I. 21 

The husband now alive clasps our hand, 

And solemnly adjures us, "When I kick the bucket 

Bring home a new man, mind you do, immaculate 

spouse, don't forget, don't forget^." 

^Exit all.) 

Scene III.— The Common Room of the 
Brahmo Samaj. 

Sajanlkanta- {a refornm-) and Asaniprakds'" 
{a scientist). 

As'ani — I tell you this, as for the Hindus making 
red, blue, and green idols with ten hands and 
five heads, and calling them likenesses of God — 
I don't admit this at all ; but still what you 
state that He is without form is equally wrong. 

SajanI — Then, As'ani Babu, do you mean to say 
that God has form ? 

As'ani — ''Certainly,'' otherwise is science false — 
'and that's impossible." You know that even 
the air has some "form." From the daily 
improvement in microscopes there is a hope 
that soon they will reach such a pitch of 
perfection that if there is a God at all we shall 
be able to spy Him easily. But I am not sure 

1. The Brahmos encourage widow marriage and are 
accused of being governed by their wives most of whom are 

2. There is a play in these corned names. 

22 BABU 

whether this would mean anythhig except the 
glorification of science. You ought to be 
ashamed, Sajani Babu, that in this scientific 
age an educated man like you should call God 
a wonderful object. 

Sajani — But you know, As'ani Babu, when He has 
succeeded in creating two beings like us, we 
must admit the wonder of His works. 

As'ani — That's it ; by saying Creator, Creator, 
you've raised Him to a pinnacle. I don't admit 
that the world has been c\^eated by anybody. 
By "physical change" all things are being 
evolved. But granting that some one Jias 
created it, does it mean much? He whom you 
call God must have read a little more science 
than I have and that's all : I don't see much 
difference between Him and me, except in this. 
If I could but get "half an ounce of protoplasm," 
I too could make a creation on the spot. 

{Enter Brother'^ Ddmodar.) 

Damo. — Brother Sajanikanta, brother Sajanikanta, 
I give thee good news ; an epistle from brother 
Gobardhan hath reached us — the Santals by 
hosts are embracing our religion of love. 

I. Brahmos address each other as Brother and Sister. As 
this leads to a confusion in relationships, Hindus ridicule 
the terms. 

ACT I. 23 

Sajani. — Is that so? is that so? Whose letter did 
>'ou say? Brother Gobardhan ? which Gobar- 
dhan ? 

Damo. — The husband/ that is^ brother of sister 
Tarangini Maschatak.- 

Sajanl— Capital, capital ! Bravo, bravo, sister 
Tarangini ! Brother Padmalochan starts for 
Nfirajol to night ? 

UcTmo. — -No ; he cannot. Hearing the news of his 
departure, sister Anangamanjarl Karmakfir 
hath been shedding ceaseless tears of love. 
Lately, on assumption of second widowhood, 
the sister went to take up her abode in "Ghentu 
Cottage."-^ She is so overcome by the pangs of 
her widowhood that she cannot even exert 
herself to take her youngest babe in her lap. 
Her only consolation is derived from the ad- 
monitions and ministrations of brother Padma- 

1. It is a rule of the Brahmo Samaj people to address 
each other as brothers and sisters. 

2. Lit. the Flowing Bat. Brahmos, having discarded 
Hindu mythology, give their children high-sounding and 
ridiculous names. 

3. This might be rendered Nettle Cottage. There is a 
covert allusion to a certain cottage in Calcutta, once the 
residence of a Brahmo teacher who consoled young and. 
afflicted widows. 

4. Lit. Lotus-eyed. 

24 EABU 

As'ani — If there is any urgent necessity, send Pad- 
malochan Babu where you wanted to send him 
and don''t be concerned about her pangs of 
widowhood. I'll put that right. 

Damo. — Who ? As'ani Babu ? Yen ? Are j'ou will- 
ing to join our community ? Are jou ready 
to marry a sister ? 

As'ani — No, no, I won't marry a sister. Set aside 
sisters, I won't marry any human being. If I 
can produce children by means of electricity, 
I'll produce them ; otherwise farewell to pro- 
geny. But by science I can remove the pangs 
of widowhood, 

Sajani — By science ! How ? 

As'ani — Why, if surgeons perform big operations 
without the patients even knowing it, can't 
such a simple thing as the pangs of widowhood 
be relieved ? I think I can make such a gal- 
vanic battery that if the patient holds its poles 
in her hands, the pangs of widowhood will at 
once be numbed. 

Sajani & Damo.— (Laughing) Ha-ha-ha-ha. 

Sajani — (Putting out his tongue^ and biting it) 
What ! oh what have I done ? As'ani Babu, 
though we have different professions — you your 
science and I my religion — still remember that 

I. A sign of repentance. 

ACT I. 25 

wc have known each other for many years, and 
so I earnestly entreat you not to tell any one.'^ 

As'ani — Tell what ? You've done nothing ; — 

Sajani — Done nothing ? I've committed a great 
sin. Both of us have been guilty of an indecen- 
cy — laughter. 

As'ani — Well, what's the harm in laughing? 
There's a kind of gas called "laughing gas" 
which makes any one who smells it burst out 

Sajani — No, no, As'ani Babu ; you've only read 
science; you know nothing of religion. Laugh- 
ing is an offence against decency ; this world is 
a vale of tears ; here our duty is to weep, ever. 

As'ani — You ask me not to tell ; very well, I won't. 

Damo. — Now, who will go to Narajol ? I can't 
think of any one. 

Sajani -Brother, I see jvuW have to go. 

Damo. — /! 

Sajani — Yes, we must by hook or by crook get as 
many brothers and sisters to join our com- 
munity as possible, and that soon. Shashthi 
Vatavyal's party is getting larger and larger. 
We who have abandoned our parents, lost our 
caste, enticed away so many widows and got 
them married, shall we not be able to effect 

I. Tlic "brothers'' consider laughing offensive. 

26 BABU 

the deliverance of India ? Shall Shashthi 
Vatavyal and his disciples make a name for 
themselves by delivering India merely by the 
glamour of their speechifying ? Surely this 
is more than we can stand. If India is to be 
delivered, let it be delivered by us, otherwise 
let India go to the dogs. 

Damo. — Glory ^ to India, all Glory to India. 

Sajani — "Glory to Truth," "Love is the best reli- 
gion," O lord of the soul 1 pray grant us strength 
and render Shashthi Vatavyal's attempt to 
deliver India abortive. 

As'ani — Amen. If India is to be delivered, it 
won't be by delivering lectures and remarry- 
ing widows. If ever we are to attain autonomy, 
rest assured it will be by the help of science 
alone. Near Kalagechia an electric wire should 
be run into the Ganges capable of sinking all 
English ships as soon as they come within its 
range. You gentlemen haven't the least "per- 
severance:" have patience for a few days. 
Cannot you see that the marvels effected by 
electricity are increasing every day ? We have 
telephones now ; phonographs ; by electricity 
steamers are propelled and trams made to run. 
Mark my words, if I live — and I'm bound to 
I. "Glory" is one of the cant phrases of the Brahmo 


ACT I. 27 

as I cat a quantity of electricity twice a day — 
I will by the force of electricity abolish the 
caste system, effect the remarriage of widows, 
teach women to ride horses, establish a Parlia- 
ment in India, and do many other deeds 

Damo.— If you can, well so much the better. But 
until that happens we mustn't remain idle. 

Sajani — Never ; therefore, I say, brother, you must 
go to Narajol. Why, brother, does not your 
heart bleed for the people of Narajol'- ? 

Uamo. — Not bleed for them ? Oh ! if I could 
but tear open this heart and show it to you — 

As'ani — You shall show it to us, you shall. I have 
an instrument here with me to tear it open. 

Damo. — Good Heavens, no, no ; As'ani Babu, don't 
obstruct the flow of my emotion. Could I but 
open and show it, you would see that my heart 
is cracking for our brothers of Narajol. To say 
nothing of going, I would, if necessary, sacri- 
fice my life even to procure deliverance for, 
and bestow love on, the brothers and sisters of 
that place, but [breaks off.) 

Sajani — But what ? 

Damo. — Who will conduct the case I have just in- 
stituted before the High Court, to dispossess 

I. Prophetic of the sedition in that place. 

28 BAEU 

my younger brother of his share in our house, 
that idolater brother of mine ? 

Sajani - Brother, why be anxious about that? 
You shall fight against your idolator brother. 
Who is there amongst us so faint-hearted that 
he would not assist you in this noble war ? 
I myself will consult with pleader brother 
Visvaranjan^ ; I myself will see to every thing. 
If a stranger can't be procured, I myself will 
act as witness, — and two days' penitence will 
absolve me. You need not be in the least 
concerned about the matter. 

Damo. — Bravo, brother, bravo ! 1 admire your 
religious spirit.-. I admire your love for your 
human brothers I Had not that wretched 
brother of mine agreed to support my wife, 
she would have had to follow m)' steps when 
I threw my sacred thread into the sink and 
left home for ever to join the Community. 
By the encouragement of that wicked brother 
of mine she had the impertinence to stay in our 
house and remain an idolatrous Hindu. .-\ 
brother who prevented my own wife from be- 
coming our sister, ought I to look on his face 
again ? Arrange matters in such a way that 

1. Lit. Complaisant to the World. A hit at certain 
barrister brothers. 

2. i. c. in consenting to the penitence. 

ACT I. 2^ 

even if the pleader's fees have to be paid by sell- 
ing the house let it be done, but let the court 
bailiffs come and drag him and his family out, 
and deprive them of shelter. Now I am going 
to sacrifice my life for the brothers of Narajol. 


As'ani— What sort of a muddle is this, Sajani 
Babu ? His own brother is to be sued and 
heartlessly driven from house and home, while 
he lays down his life for some boors in a small 
benighted place called Narajol ? This is pre- 
posterous. What sort of a religion is this of 
yours ? It is quite outside all rules of mathe- 
matics. Now, if the men of Narajol are your 
brothers, and if a brother by the same father and 
mother is also your brother, then since "Things 
which are equal to the same thing are equal 
to one another," both these brothers stand in 
the same relation to you. 

Sajani— You don't understand. Philanthropy is a 
crowning virtue. One's wealth, one's heart, one's 
soul, all, all should be sacrificed for the good of 
others. But to do things for one's own people 
is not desirable. Helping one's kith and kin 
does not constitute a virtue. As there has been 
no rain in Narajol for nearly three years, there's 
great scarcity ; people arc starving. Now 
when their bellies are aching with hunger, if 

30 BABU 

the food of love be ministered to their souls 
they will dance with joy^ ? 
-As'ani — Ah ! so there has been no rain. Why 
didn't you say so at first ? The remedy is 
simple. It's quite easy to manufacture rain 
Sajani — Oh yes, I remember having read in news- 
papers that with something like dynamite or a 
hydrogen-gas balloon, experiments are now 
being conducted to produce artificial rain. 
As'ani — Yes, but that's very expensive. The poor 
people of Narajol won't be able to afford it. 
There's a simpler method that doesn't cost a 
pice. If you meet Damodar Babu before he 
starts, tell him, or else write to him, to set fire 
to all the houses in the village when he reaches. 
The roofs are of thatch, they'll ignite in an 
'Sajani — (Suppressing laughter) Be careful, As'ani 
Babu ; don't talk like that a second time or I 
may give way to the indecency of laughter. 
As'ani — No, no, you don't understand. I've got 
proof of what I say. You've heard of Chicago 
in America, I presume ? Only the other day 
a great exhibition was held there. Let 
Narajol be set on fire and you'll see that when 

I. The Brahmos are accused of talking high gibberish. 

ACT I. 31 

the villages are burnt, rain will fall and the 
scarcity will disappear. 

{Enter Uncle Tinkari and Guruchayan.) 

Tin. — Well, my dear fcllow% you're always busy 
burning^ ; you have burnt us all to the flesh 
and bones. Now whose house are you going to 
burn ? 

Sajani — Tinkari Babu, whom I haven't seen for 
ages ? Well, what brings you here ? 

Tin. — Well, my dear fellow, dire necessity. Who 
on earth would come to see people like you 
for mere pleasure ? This man has heard from 
some one that I am acquainted with you and 
so he has pressed me to come with him. Well 
Gurucharan, tell these gentlemen what you 
want. [Pointing to Sajani Babu.] This is 
Sajanikanta Babu — "President," and I know 
not what more. 

•Guru.— Good morning, Sir, I've come to you in 
great trouble. 

Sajani — (Slowly and emphatically) I-n — 

tr-o u-b-l e — h-a-v-e — p-a-t-i-e-n-c-e. 

Tin. — He's already had it. Now just listen to 

what he's come to tell you. 
Guru. — Sir, I'm a poor man and your dependent. 
My house is at the back of the out-building 

I. An idiom. 

32 BABU 

where your ladies sing and play. My mother 
has died in my house ; for I could not afford 
to transport her to die on the bank of the 
Ganges. There are only my wife, my sister 
and myself to carry the dead body to the burn- 
ing ghat. To carry it by the public road is a 
long detour. If you will give us permission to 
bear it across that waste land of yours, it would 
be a short cut and you would greatly oblige us. 
Sajani— But why come to me first ? You should 

have applied to our "Assistant Secretary." 
Tin. — There has been no breach of formality. 
We've been all round the place hunting since 
last night. We went to the "Assistant'' who 
sent us to the "Secretary." We found him 
sitting with his eyes closed in religious medita- 
tion ^ and had to stand for half an hour till h^ 
opened them. He sent us to your "Vice" and 
the Vice has sent us to you. Please give us 
some answer. 
Sajani — Well, to-day is Sunday and office is 
closed ; nothing can be done to-day. Come 
and remind me to morrow between ten and 
eleven. On Friday there is a "meeting" of the 
"Sub Committee", and I'll "present" your 
"application." If you have a majority, a 

I. A Brahmo custom. 

ACT I. S2 

"general meeting" may be called. It won't 
take long to assemble — less than a fortnight — • 
and you must find out what "resolution" is 

Tin. — (To Gurucharan) He's right ; put it off for 
another two or three days and then the thirty^ 
days will be complete, and so you will be able 
to burn the body and perform the srdd/i cere- 
mony at the same time. See Gurucharan, how 
conveniently the gentleman has settled the mat- 
ter for you ; you'll have no need to go to, and 
return from, the Ganges iwzce. Look here, 
Sajanikiinta, you may have forsaken the faith 
of your ancestors, but that's no reason for be- 
coming a fool. The question is about the dead 
body to be carried over your land ; can't you 
give a plain answer without all this fuss about 
a "meeting" and "resolution," etc. ? 

SajanI— Whatever is laid down in the "procedure" 
should it not be strictly "observed ?" 

Tin. — Don't you really understand that a dead 
body two or three weeks old must rot and be 
offensive ? 

As'ani — But why should it rot ? Buy a bottle of 
my "magnetic" oil and apply it carefully and 
you'll preserve the corpse intact for five years. 

I. The body is first burnt, and, for Sudras, thirty days 
after death, the sraii/t ceremony has to be performed. 


^34 BABU 

The price of a bottle is one rupee twelve 
annas, and a red and blue pencil is given 
away with it. 

Tin. — I see you don't forget the shop ; you don't 
miss an opportunity of advertising your 
goods. Put aside all this, Sajanlkanta, what 
answer do you give ? 

Sajani— I've already given it. 

Tin. — Remember we have known each other long. 
Now of course you've become a "brother," but 
you used once to call me your "uncle." For 
a time too my own brain went wrong : sitting 
with you in the meeting-room I too closed my 
eyes and burst into tears. Grant my request ; 
give him leave to carry the body over your land. 

Sajani — Holy Rama ! — I mean formless God, 
formless God.^ Just now I said "no" ; can 1 
now say "yes'" ? that'd be speaking a lie. 

Tin. — Well, Gurucharan, didn't I tell you at the 
very outset that you would merely cause in- 
convenience to yourself and me ? He's a queer 
creature this ; there's nothing human about him. 
Go ; you're wasting time for nothing. Bear 
the body round the long way , bear it slowly, 
resting now and then. 

Guru. — Very well. Sir, I will do as you say ; what 

I. He checks himself for having used an idolatrous term. 



else can I do ? I had heard a great deal 
about the philanthropy of these gentlemen. 


SajanI— Tinkari Babu, why don't you come to see 
us now ? 

Tin. — The reason is I am afraid of turning philan- 
thropic like you. I am a man of sanguine tem- 
perament : philanthropy won't agree with a 
temperament like mine. 

SajanI— Ought a person like you to relapse into 
Hinduism in your old age? 

Tin.— Let me explain. As the day of death 
draws nearer and nearer, hypocrisy disappears. 
Seeing that I have to present myself before 
my Maker at no distant date, I must be 
sincere with myself and take his name in 
earnest You are all still young and so can 
still amuse yourselves for a short time by play- 
ing at religious reform. But the greyer your 
hair turns the less flighty will you become, 
and then your only refuge will be Hari and 

As'ani— You can prevent your hair turning grey. 
Wear a "negative" ring, and there'll be no fear 
of the hair turning grey. 

SajanI— I've no objection to taking the names of 
Hari and Kali but that doesn't mean that I 
should become a Hindu. See, by the force 

36 BABU 

of love our hearts have become generous and 
charitable and there is no uncleanliness in our 
souls ; and hence I surely know that every 
Hindu is a liar, a trickster, an oppressor and 
tormentor of women. All Hindus will go to 

Tin. — -Bravo ! What a pitch of religious fervour ! 
You have made your heart charitable indeed ! 

Sajani — By this time I could have turned the 
hearts of all men, and made them as charitable 
as myself; but backsliders like you relapsing 
into Hinduism have done us incalculable harm. 
Take for instance the "graduates and under- 
graduates" who should have joined us at once ; 
they still offer funeral cakes of rice and 
sesamum to their parents' shades and form 
associations for singing hymns to Krishna. 

Tin, — Tell me, my dear fellow ; supposing you to 
be ruler of this empire for one day— you would 
arrest and kill them all,— is that your meaning? 

Sajani— "Glory to Truth !" There is no doubt of 
that. We had great hopes of that fellow 
Barada^ ; he is possessed of much eloquence 
and great physical strength which he could use 
on occasion but he too has deserted us and 
collected some college students who wear a 

I. This is not the real name. 

ACT I. 37 

red-ochred garment and wander about shouting 
Hari hoi Hari bo I. 
Tin. — My dear fellow, don't worry about him. 
Barada has thrown the whole lot of you into 
shade. You are only occasionally in spiritual 
communion with Chaitanya, Moses, and St. 
John ; but Barada and his party have them- 
selves become Saints and Prophets. Barada 
has become Chaitanya ; Gupe, the son of 
Madhu the brazier, Nitai ; and Nokro the 
weaver, Advaita ; and others of his great party 
have assumed similar robes. You people des- 
pise the rest of humanity looking on it as a 
cypher; these fellows with their red ochre robes 
and English speeches humbug the world to 
some purpose. They're perfectly happy, they 
do no work and live on the fat of the land. 

{Enter SaudhakirUinl,^ daughter of Dayitadalanl" 

by her first husband and step-daughter of Sajanl) 
Saudha. — Junior Father, Junior Father, — 
Tin. — Good God ! what's a junior father? Have 

you people all got several fathers, senior, junior, 


1. Lit. Crowned -with White Palaces, an epithet of the 
capital of Lanka.— 3//(r>^i?/ Dai teds Epic ''The Fall cf 

2. Ltf. Husband-trampler. 

38 BABU 

SajanI — No, she's only calling me. She was born 
in the days of the first spouse of my 'mis- 
tress' and so she calls me Junior Father. 

Tin. — ^^A daughter of whom did you say? 

Sajani — Of my mistress ; — in our community we 
now call a wife mistress and so Saudha is my 
co-husband's daughter. 

Tin. — Pretty girl. What's your name, my child? 

Saudha. — Miss Saudhakirltinl. 

Tin. — Lanka? 

Saudha. — Not Lanka ; Miss Saudhakirltinl Gar- 

Tin. — What a nice soft name you've given to your 

As'ani — It has a Latin ring about it. Has it any 
scientific signification ? 

Sajani — [Using the respectful and not the familiar 
pronouns for wife and daughter] No, it hasn't. 
Before my marriage with her honoured mother, 
she was called Bhutl^ — an uncouth name 
smacking of superstition and so I changed it to 

Tin. — But why, if you didn't want to use the 
name of a god or goddess, couldn't you find a 

1. Lit. "Rolling hand-mill ;" both are titles of Brahmins 
of lower sections. There is an indecent inuendo. 

2. "Blatky." 

ACT I. 39 

simple name now customary like Tarala, 
Sarala, Abala ? 

SajanI — There is a signification in the name 
I gave her. As soon as she was born, the roof 
of her mother's room subsided in a storm, and 
buried her. As the roof fell on her head, I call 
her SaudhakirltinI : is not that apt? And her 
former father's family name was Gargari and 
that of mine Chaki ; by a combination of the 
two we get Gargari-Chaki. 

Tin.— Amongst the numerous queer surnames you 
people possess, have you no Myachld (wash-pan) 
or some such name? Select a man of a name 
like that and marry him to your daughter ; 
then there will be the unique combination 
Gargari-Chaki-Myachla, — an auspicious combi- 

Sajani — No ; her mother wishes her never to mar- 
ry ; the girl will enjoy eternal virginity. 

As'ani— Why ? 

SajanI — It's not necessary that all women should 
marry. If she remains an eternal virgin, she'll 
be able to do much good to her country. ^ 

Tin, — Is that so ? I see, if a girl remains a maid, 
there's no objection ; but if a widow doesn't 
remarry before her husband's funeral fire is cold, 
there is the devil to pay. 

Saudha, — ^Speaking in terms of proper respect 

40 BABU 

of her mother but familiarly addressing her 

father] I say, Junior Father, hurry up ; I must 

go back to do my gymnastics. 
SajanI — Why ? What am I wanted for? 
Saudha. — Mother wants you. 
Sajani — (Alarmed) She wants me ? Do you know 

why ? 
Saudha. — She can't remember where she put the 

ribbon for her hair last night. She is very 

angry and there's no one at home to scold. I 

think she wants you to scold you. 
Tin. — Poor man. Is this one of your duties ? 
Sajani — What can I do ? If she can't find any 

one to scold, she may have hysterics. [To 

Saudha] Come along, come along. [To Tinkari] 

Excuse me one minute, I'll be back directly. 
Tin. — What's the use of my waiting here ? I will 

go away too. 
Sajani — No, no ; please wait a little. I still have 

many things to say to you. As'ani Babu, 

will you too, stay please ? 

{Exit Saudha and Sajani) 
Tin. — Now, As'aniprakas', what news ? Have you 

any new "experiment" on hand ? 
As'ani — Many. I've just invented a perfumed 

"essence" made of bugs. 
Tin. — Really! then otto of roses will be out in the 

cold ! 

ACT I. 41 

{Enter Brother Bdnchhardm.) 

Banchha. — "Glory to Truth, Glory to Truth ;"^ 
Equality and Truth, Equality and Truth. 

Tin. — "A tree is known by its fruit," "A tree is 
known by its fruit." [These words complete 
the device on the medicine.] 

Banchha. — Where is brother Sajanlkanta ? 

Tin. — He has gone to appease sister Rajanikanta.'' 
But whom have I the honour of addressing ? 

Banchha. — Ah ! how can I say ? 

Tin.— Why, won't you tell me ? Is there a warrant 
out against you ? What is your name ? 

Banchha. — Peradventure I am a "Brother." 

Tin. — I'm not talking to you about our rela- 
tionship. When two gentlemen are introduced, 
they are told each other's name and so I asked 
you yours. 

Banchha. — A Brother requires no name ! Names 
are merely given by others to avoid confusion 
between one brother and another, of which 
there is no fear, here. 

Tin. — Of course it is other people who give a man 
a name. Who ever gives himself his own 
name ? 

1. These words are the first half of a device on a well- 
known patent medicine. 

2. This is a male name (for Sajani's wife.) 

42 BABU 

Banchha. — Oh ! if you call that a name, perad- 
venture my name is Brother Banchharam^, 

Tin. — From your talk, your appearance, your man- 
ner, you appear to be a Bengali. But why has 
your name a Bombay-ish^ sound ? What are 
you by caste ? 

Banchha. — Caste ! 

Tin. — Yes, yes, csLste-^jatyjaf. [Turning to As'ani] 
Is he m,a,d?^ 

As'ani — I think the current of electricity to his 
brain is not in proper working order. The 
human body is a battery and the head is its 
principal cell. 

Banchha. — Oh ! that I should have heard the 
word caste ! ( Weeps.) 

As'ani — Certainly the cell of his head is gone 
wrong. Its "acid" has been used up. 

Tin. — Have you no one to take care of you ? Are 
you allowed to go about alone ? Try and talk 
sensibly, so that we may enjoy your company. 

Banchha. — Enjoyment ! laughter ! You want to 
laugh and make people laugh ? For shame, 
for shame ! What a lack of decency ! I 
suppose you are a Hindu, otherwise I would 

1. A common name in Bengal. He omits the family 
professional title "oilman" which indicates a low caste, 

2. Bha^l is common in Parsi names. 

3. He spells the word in English. 

ACT I. 4$ 

have addressed you as "Brother." Listen to 
me and forsake that evil community. Never 
laugh again, but weep, weep loud ; weeping — it 
is the only way, remember that weeping is a 
divine injunction. Does not a child cry the 
moment it is born ? Weep, weep ! Oh ! how 
long will it be before this world becomes a 
joyous vale of tears ! 

Tin. — Brother Manasaram^ ! 

Banchha. — Banchharam, perad venture. 

Tin, — All right, all right. Brother Manasaram. 
This day I've learnt wisdom from your words. 
I understand that India will never be delivered 
unless and until every house is filled with 
laments for the dead, day and night. 

Banchha. — Not laments for the dead but laments 
of /ove, laments of a new fashion. 

Tin. — That comes to the same thing ; it's six 
of the one and half-a-dozen of the other. 
Brother Manasaram, before you adopted this 
religion of tears, you must have belonged to 
some race or caste. "What was it, pray ? 

Banchha. — Yes ; peradventure I belonged to an 
indecent idolatrous caste. In that sense I be- 
longed to the Race of the Sun. 

Tin.— What— Rajput ? 

I. A common Marwarl name. 

44 BABU 

Banchha. — No, our family title was "Sadhu ;" then 
the Emperor Jahanglr gave us the title of 
"Khan" and so our name becomes Sadhukhan. 

Tin. — "Sadhukhan"— are you an oilman ? 

Banchha. — Yes, in vulgar language that is what it 
is called, but in reality it is identical with the 
Race of the Sun, the giver of light to the world, 
which function in the day is discharged by the 
Sun, and in the night by that caste you just 
mentioned, that is, by us peradventure. But I 
no longer observe caste distinctions — I con- 
descend to dine with Brahmins, Vaidyas, 
Kayasthas, etc. without any scruple. 

Tin. — This is condescension indeed ! Being a shin- 
ing light in an oilman's family, you condescend 
to dine with Brahmins, Kayets, Vaidyas, etc. 
without any repugnance ; this is highly 
magnanimous on your part. 

Banchha. — I can't help it. In the cause of love all 
must be borne. 

Tin. — Mr. Brother Manasaram oilman, scion of 
the Solar Race, where have you your dwelling 
now ? 

Banchha. — In Seora^ Cottage. 

Tin. — What place is that ? 

Banchha. — A honey-comb of Brothers and Sisters. 

1. Name of a worthless tree. Compare note 3 on page 23. 

ACT I. 45 

In the pure domestic^ connection there between 
brothers and sisters they ascend the ladder to 

Tin. — Bravo ! bravo ! I should like to join your 
company and live in those 'fairy barracks'" and 
see the ladder to heaven. 

Banchha. — Oh ! what good fortune ! what an 
auspicious day ! Weep, weep — 

Tin.— Pinch me, pinch me,"^ otherwise I can't 
manage it the first time. Brother Manasaram, 
what's your father's name ? 

Banchha. — Our community is new ; we are still 
all Brothers ; none has as yet attained Father- 
hood. The Pdribdrik (domestic) cottage has 
only lately been built and Brothers and Sisters 
have not long joined, and peradventure those 
who have made special advances will soon 
become "Fathers." 

Tin. — I don't refer to that. I mean who of the 
Solar Race is your father ? 

Banchha. — Oh ! that you should refer to that father 
whom I abjured seeing that he has form ! I cannot 
bring myself to mention his name before you. 

1. The word paribarik has a hidden meaning. 

2. Pdribdrik^ a pun as well as an alkision to the 
Brahmo Ladies' Barracks in Cornwalhs Street. 

3. The allusion, I am told, is to small boys being made 
to cry in theatrical performances by being pinched. 

46 BABU 

Tin. — ^Why ? have you forgotten it ? 

Banchha — No, the name lacks decency ! 

As'ani — Lacks decency ! A father's name lack 
decency ! Never mind, but whatever it is, 
tell us, we'll listen. There are no policemen 

Banchha. — What is that the loss of which consti- 
tutes death ? 

As'ani — Electricity ? 

Tin. — No, no, stop. Is it prdn (life) ? Perhaps 
your father's name is Prankrishna ? 

Banchha. — No, no, more indecent than that ; it is 
the vulgar form of that word. 

Tin. — What ? Pardn ? Oh ! you're the son of old 
Paran the oilman ? 

Banchha. — (Weeping) Oh ! oh ! that I should 
have to listen to this indecent name — to the 
mention of a father who has form ! What 
tribulation ! But without tribulation, none is 
led to repentance, and without repentance there 
is no salvation for the soul. Let tribulation 
come, let tribulation come like the 'bore' in 
August, let tribulation come like the great cy- 
clone of October (1869), let tribulation come like 
the great flood of 1823, let tribulation come like 
the charge of the police, let it pour down like 
mustard seed from a bursting bag ; let the oil- 
press of tribulation grind the body into husk, 

ACT I. 47 

nevertheless will the soul drip drop by drop 

like oil into the cup of the heart. (Weeps.) 
Tin. — Well, as regards your father — pray stop your 

howling for a moment — is it because your 

father has form that you have deserted him ? 

Pray what are you yourself, with or without 

form ? 
Banchha. — That I cannot answer exactly — yet. 

At present I am only a "Brother ;" when I 

become "Reverend Brother," then peradventure 

I may get light. 
Tin. — When your breed of "Brothers" is reduced to 

formlessness, I'll sacrifice a couple of buffaloes 

at Kalighat. 

{Re-enter Sajant.) 
Sajanikanta ! You've advanced, 1 see. When 
I frequented your meetings, you used not to 
go to such extremes. How many more mem- 
bers have you like this oilman brother ? 

SajanI— Who ? Brother Banchharam ? He is 
peerless — without a second ! [To Banchharam] 
So, Brother, you've returned after completing 
your noble work of famine relief in Birbhum ? 

Banchha. — Yes, the famine has been checked and 
out of its funds a widow has been rescued as 

Sajani —How ? what do you mean ? 

48 BABU 

Banchha. — That sister's name is Kshamasundarl 
Paludhi. Her eldest daughter is married and 
has children, but her youngest daughter lives 
with her. The very day after the sister had a 
sacred elopement with me, her son resigned 
his appointment in the Post Office and dis- 
appeared.^ Now the sister is my wife. 

Tin. — All difficulties will be settled when she bears 
a son to be your nephew. Capital ! she's got 
three children of her own and has some grand- 
children as well ; then she must be quite a little 
girl. Marriages of widows of this kind are 
most urgent. 

Banchha. — Peace ! Peace ! Peace ! 

Tin. — Have you any record of the sister's age ? 

Banchha. -Her age cannot be computed. The 
look of the sister reminds me of a time- 
honoured sage. 

Tin. — What, does she grow a beard ? 

Banchha. — H* w can sisters have beards ? 

Tin. — Why not ? If in your community a Brah- 
min lady with grandchildren can marry an oil- 
man, why cannot your religion cause a beard, 
the outward badge of your faith, to sprout on 
the chin of a female ? Fie on your vaunted 

I. The implication is that he ran away from shame at 
his mother's sacred elopement. 

ACT I. 49 

religion. I've seen many English ladies with 
beards; Christianity must be a more powerful 

lirmchha. — You should remember that the new 
religion is still in its infancy. 

As'ani — If the women of your community want 
beards, all they have to do is to wear my new 
electric amulets. They have cured many cases 
of baldness. 

Banchha, — We do not want idolatrous cures. Ere 
long a 7nahdtmd will appear, who by his pray- 
ers, his penitences, and gift of the gab will 
remedy this defect in our poor and weak Sisters. 
Brother Sajanikanta ! I had something very 
important to say to you, but I will see you 
again ; now permit me to depart. 

SajanI — Must you depart ? 

Banchha. — Perad venture. 

Tin. — Don't say "peradventure" about going, my 
dear fellow ; say "certainly" and be off, or else 
let zcs be off. Enough of the company of this 
scion of the Solar Race. He has bored ^ us to 
death. Show us your back, I adjure you in the 
name of your Holy Sisters. 

Banchha. — O Heavenly Father, where art thou 
Mother! O Thou Friend of my soul,- put 

1. Lit. burnt to ashes. A play on Solar, 

2, A term for God. 


repentance into the hearts of these erring 
sinners ! {Sobs aloud.) 

Tin. — O you scion of the Solar Race, not so loud, 
please. The children of the neighbourhood will 
be terrified. You have exceeded the limits of 
our patience. I'm off, Sajani. Come along, 
As'ani, What do you mean by waving your 
hands in front of his face ? 

As'ani — I'm making my mesmeric passes to try 
and restore the electric current in the fellow's 

Tin. — Stop your mesmerism. Come along, let us 

[Exit Tinkari and Asajti.) 

Sajani — Brother Banchharam ! what's that im- 
portant matter you had to tell me ? 

Banchha. — Brother ! I have married for the sake 
of my country ; for its reformation and my 
own soul ; but my possession by the Sister has 
put me into many difficulties, and that is why 
I could not visit you. 

Sajani— Why, how is that ? 

Banchha. — This sister possesses a somewhat heroic 
temperament. I have forsaken my hereditary 
trade and have embarked on this work of refor- 
mation with no hankering after money, as you 
know. But the Sister would like to live in 
a better style. Moreover she is unduly jealous. 

ACT I. 51 

And as there are several other Sisters in Seora 
Cottage, she objects to staying there at all. 

{Enter KsJianidsiindari^ 
But here comes the soul-delighting Sister her- 
self, in her corporeal form ! 

Sajani — {Aside) I see that a sacred love-quarrel 
is likely to arise between the Brother and the 
Sister, in this public room. I had better be off. 
{Aloud) Brother Banchharam, Mrs. Chaki is 
slightly indisposed, so I'll listen to you another 
time. I must go home now. This room is 
free to all ; pursue your converse of love. 


Bfinchha. — Brother ! Brother ! You are leaving 
me alone — but what brings you here, my 
darling, so unexpectedly ? 

Kshama. — Why not ? I'm no longer a bride of 
the harem. There is, I'm sure, no restriction 
in your community against ladies going about 
in the streets even. But that is neither here 
nor there ; I will not stay a moment longer in 
that beastly place. Have you found other 
lodgings ? 

Banchha. — You see, my darling, I can't afford a 
separate house and a separate cook. 

Kshama.— You said nothing about this before 
you married me. Do you remember the hopes 

52 BABU 

you held out to me when you enticed me away 
from my house, or shall I remind you of them ? 
Did you not promise that when we were mar- 
ried, I should not be required to cook for you, 
or wait on you, or do any work ; but that I 
should have an English education, and dress 
like English ladies, and do nothing, and go 
where I liked and eat nice things ? But it's an- 
other story now. No one knows what I suffer. 

Banchha. — That is just why I urge you to remain 
in Seora Cottage, so that you may not have 
to cook. Brother Gobardhan has taken over 
charge of the kitchen to save the Sisters all 
trouble ; it is a pity that you do not want to 
stay there. 

Kshama. — Of course you want me to stay here, I 
know why. A host of viragoes romp about day 
and night. How can any woman live safe 
with her husband in that house, especially 
with a dear husband taken in place of one lost ? 

Banchha.— Peace, Peace, they are all Holy Sisters. 

Kshama. — I've seen plenty of such Holy Sisters. 
"Sister" is not a blood relationship amongst 
you, it's a mere designation. But hang all this 

Banchha.— For shame ; again you use vulgar 
words — 

Kshama. — Pll see to my manners when we are in 

ACT I. 55 

the Meeting-Housc. Manners cannot be observ- 
ed between husband and wife everywhere 
and always. 

Bfinchha.— What expressions ! You arc going from 
vulgarity to indecency. Why do you say hus- 
band and wife ? Cannot you say Brother and 
Sister ? 

Kshama. — I'm only a novice and have not yet 
mastered your gibberish. The Sisters of your 
Seora Cottage are fine priestesses indeed. 

Banchha. — Oh ! Oh ! what idolatry ! what idola- 
try \— (Weeps.) 

Kshama. — Do I again see you flooded with grief? 
You cry-baby — crying at everything ; an old 
fellow like you weeping at the least thing. By 
all means shed a tear or two on hearing a 
sermon or a hymn, that is very proper ; but 
what's t/izs fellow ? If one says 'come to dinner,' 
you say boo-hoo ; if asked 'where are you going,' 
you reply boo-hoo ; 'how do you do,' boo-hoo. 
It's most worrying ; the house is like a burning 
ghat. Now stop this for a bit and think of 
what's to be done. I've not lost my caste 
merely to be a maidservant, you must know. 
Listen to me ; drop this business of reformation 
and the rest of it ; try for some work ; our 
family is bound to increase, and not decrease. 

Banchha. — It is very hard to find employment 

54 BABU 

now ; wait a little ; after the floods we have 
had, there must be another famine. 

Kshama. — In that case, perhaps you will bring 
disgrace on another respectable family ? 

Banchha. — What do you mean ? 

Kshama. — I mean just as you disgraced my father 
by enticing me away. 

Banchha.— One and Only One^ ! {To his wife) You 
alone are quite sufficient : I need no second. 

Kshama.— Then what is your game ? 

Banchha. — How great is the power of love 1 How 
incomprehensible ! Whenever famine, flood, or 
any other calamity visits the country, I have no 
trouble in earning sufficient to keep me going ; 
more, I put by a little. It is my belief that 
the misfortunes of the sinful Hindus are for the 
good of us (Brahmos) and it is therefore that such 
blessed events happen. Oh ! pray for a famine 
and all our wants will be supplied. {Weeps) 

Kshama.— You're crying again {^raises her fist). 
Well, famine and such things are going to be 
considered later on. At present let us go and 
find your "Reverend"- brother Advaitachandra, 

1. The motto of the Brahmos. 

2. She, however, mispronounces the Enghsh word 
'reverend' and makes it bhyaranda which [means the 
castor-oil plant. "To fry castsr-oil seeds" is an idiom for 
"to do nothing, to idle." 

ACT I. 55 

so that you can satisfy me with an account of 
all my jewellery that I brought away from my 
father's house. 

Banchha. — Jewellery ! O yes, I deposited the 
things with the 'Reverend' brother Advaita- 
chandra, but long ago they found their way to 
the goldsmith's. 

Kshama.— Well, let us go and take them back 
from the goldsmith's. I no longer wish them 
to be melted down and converted into English 
jewellery. Not a single article has been made 
in these six months. I don't consider your 
conduct satisfactory. Not one of your promises 
has proved true. 

Banchha. — They have found their way to the gold- 
smith's it is true, but there is no prospect of 
their return. 

Kshama. — What's that you say ? 

Banchha. — Having received no divine inspiration, I 
hitherto abstained from revelation ; but recently 
having been inspired I can say with open heart 
and pure mind that those trifling objects of sinful 
pride were converted into monies, which were 
righteously expended in marriage expenses, in 
banquets, in the purchase of law books for Miss 
Satyabala Srimanl, and in helping the Brothers. 

Kshama. — What, do you mean to say that my 
jewellery is all gone? 

56 BABU 

Banchha. — All. Peace ! Peace ! Peace ! 

Kshama. — Damn your cry of Peace.'^ You've 
squandered all my jewellery ? — my daughter- 
in-law's jewellery ? You blackguard ! it was 
you who made me bring it with me, you 
cheat 1 

Banchha. — Mrs. Sadhukhan, you forget yourself. 
Do you know to whom you are speaking? 

Kshama. — To a thief, a cheat, an impostor, a 
canting hypocrite — 

Banchha. — Take care. 

Kshama.— "Stupid," swine ! Do you try to brow- 
beat me ? I will slipper you. 

Banchha. — Look here, I have put up with this as 
you are a "Sister." Had you been a Hindu 
wife. I should have whipped you before this. 

Kshama. — What do you say, you low oilman ? 
You dare to raise your hand to a Brahmin's 
daughter ? Thank your stars that I deign to 
live with you. Fourteen generations of your 
family will obtain salvation if they can merely 
sip the water in which I have washed my 

Banchha. — You wretched, sinful, wicked, woman ! 
There are "Sisters" all round us : don't you 
know that they will overhear us ? Is this 
I. Lit. I will give 20 strokes of the birch on the face 

of your 'peace.' 

ACT I. 57 

what you've learnt from the lectures on pdri- 

bdrik, domestic duty ? 
Kshamfi. — You go and learn your duties at your 

pari barrack, O pillar of religion ! To-day I'll 

make you disgorge my jewellery, and then and 

then only will I let you go. 
Banchha. — Impossible ! In this perishable world 

what departs ne'er returns. 
Kshama. — I'll just show you whether it returns 

or not. I'll drag you before the police ; I'll 

get you taken up for theft and then you'll 

know what sort of a Brahmin woman I, 

Kshama, am. 

The longings of beauty are ever for ornaments^. 

Once sold they never come back again. 
Kshama. — You bearded," blackguardly, monkey ! 

Making a joke of me — ridiculing me ! Come 

along ; I'll drag you before the police by that 

goaty beard of yours. [Seizes his beard) 
Banchha. — Don't, don't, O Kshamasundari, forgive 

me — Peace, Peace, — 

{Exit both.) 

1. Parody of a Brahmo hymn. 

2. Brahmos generally wear long beards. 

58 BABU 

Scene IV.— Kandarpa's House. 
Kandarpakdnta and his maternal grandmother. 

Kandarpa — Grandmother, I beseech you, consent. 
If I can't give away in marriage some widow of 
my family, I shan't be able to show my face in 
the congregation. My mother died in my 
infancy and you brought me up. I know you 
love me dearly, don't refuse me ; save my re- 
putation in our enlightened community ; do 
make up your mind to marry again. 

Grandmother— O Kandarpa ! how you talk ! My 
years are three score and thirteen. When I was 
fifty, your grandfather departed this life.^ Now 
it only remains for you to bury my remains 
under the sacred basil. When will our Lord 
Gaurchandra^ have mercy on me and take me 
to himself? I marry again? How can you 
suggest such a thing ? Is it possible for a 
Hindu widow to be remarried ? I should lose 
my religion, lose my religion ! 

Kandarpa — Grandmother, I'm making a very 
reasonable suggestion to you. As long as our 
widows do not remarry, so long there is no 
chance of India's being delivered. If you were 

1. Lit. left his body ia a posture oi yoga at Brindaban. 

2. Gaurchandra, an affectionate name for Chaitanya, 
used by his disciples and followers. 

ACT I. 59 

once to hear Brother Sajanlkanta's lecture, not 
to speak of one, you would marry ten men before 
leaving the lecture-hall even. While listening 
to his lectures, I get so uplifted that I feel 
tempted to hang myself to give my beloved 
Subhadra a chance of becoming a widow and 
delivering our country by remarrying. 

Grandmother — Kandarpa, my darling, enough of 
this childishness. Go and mind your studies 
and leave me alone to repeat the name of Lord 

Kandarpa— No, grandmother, that won't do ; 
I must put an end to your sufferings. I've 
almost fixed on a suitable bridegroom for you — 
Sebakram, the printer at Shashthi Babu's 
press— just twenty- five. He is ready to marry a 
widow if he can get an increment of rupees five ; 
I'll pay that out of my own pocket, I'll make 
you wear shell bracelets again and use ver- 
milion ;i wear a cJiikan sdrl ; hang a nose-drop 
from that straight nose of yours and put on 
tinkling anklets that tinkle whenever you 
move ; and then, from joy, my heart will 
expand like the Chowringhee Maidan, Seeing 
you, enlightened people will declare that 
Kandarpakanta is a worthy son of Mother 

1. Widows do not wear bracelets nor use vermilion, 

6o BABU 

India, since he has made his widowed grand- 
mother marry again and has thus furthered 
the cause of the deliverance of his country. 
Consent, grandmother, consent ; I can no 
longer, with dry eyes, bear the sight of your 

Grandmother — But Kandarpa, what sufferings 
have I ? I have been able to bring you up ; 
we have come to Calcutta ; you have read 
a large amount of English stuff ; and, sooner 
or later, you are likely to become a Police 
Inspector. What sufferings can I have ? 
For instance, I have lately made the pilgrimage 
to holy Navadvip and if through your piety 
I can once visit Brindaban, I shall consider 
my life well-spent. 

Kandarpa— Grandmother, you can't read or write ; 
you haven't studied English ; you have never 
attended a meeting ; you don't know how to 
knit ; you can't play the harmonium, and 
that is why you are not conscious of your own 
sufferings. Come, grandmother, tell me how you 
feel in the spring time when the zephyr blows, 
and the cuckoo calls among the mango blos- 
soms, and the bees are busy humming in the 
flower gardens ; do you miss nothing ? Grand- 
mother, you are a simple-hearted weak woman. 
How much longer will you live in this state of 

ACT I. 6l 

dreadful widowhood ? {Calling to his servant) 
Hie ! Nadcrchand, what're you doing ? Look 
sharp, I've got to go out. 

'^2,di^— {Off stage) I'm c-o-m-i-n-g. 

Grandmother — Kandarpakanta, my darling, you 
must not go out ; I won't let you remain in 
Calcutta any longer. I don't know what whore- 
son has bewitched my dear child, or what ma- 
gic leaf has been given him, to make him so 
insane. Come, my child, let us go back to our 
village, and I will have you treated by Rajanl- 
kanta Kaviraj's son. He has got some special 
MadJiya7nndrdyan oil.^ It will cure you in a 

{Enter Nadcrchand.) 
Nade — Here is yowx pdchkdn {chdpkdn)^ Sir. 
Kandarpa — Give it to me. {Takes the ^chdpkdn) 

Hullo ! why is it so sticky ? 
Nade— Didn't you tell me to brush it? I brushed 

it, so of course it is sticky. 
Kandarpa — You brute, you've covered it with 

blacking ; I told you to brush the dust off. 
Nade — But it is all the better for the blacking. 

See how it shines. If asked, you can say you 

have been using English scent. Don't both 

smell alike ? 
I. A coolinq- oil used in lunacv. 

62 BABU 

Kandarpa — Go and get my cap, my spectacles, 

{Exit Nade.) 

Grandmother — Don't go out, dear Kandarpa, I 
adjure you by my head, don't go out. 

Kandarpa — Grandmother, how you talk ! A lec- 
ture is being given by the Zenana Mission of 
Bengal and I have to sit at the table near the 
President and lead the clapping ; and you 
mean to say that you really don't want me to 
go? As soon as I can get you remarried, I 
will buy shoes and a hat for you, and insist on 
your dressing like an enlightened woman. I 
shall walk out with you, arm in arm. 

Grandmother — What witch has cursed me ! What 
miserable woman has turned my dear child 
into a lunatic ! 

Kandarpa — Grandmother, be sensible. I see you 
are pining away in widowhood ; you'll die 
soon unless you are married again. Just think 
how long it is since you have eaten hilsd stew ;i 
you don't know how you suffer but you will 
realise it when you become enlightened. 

{Enter Naderchdnd.) 
Nade — Here are your spectacles and here's your 
I. Hindu widows are not allowed to eat fish. 

ACT I. 65 

Kandarpa — (Taking them) Where's the beard? 
And Where's the bandage for my eyes — yes let 
me have them. [Puts on the beard.) 

Grandmother — Really he has become a lunatic. 
See, he is disguising himself as a goblin, by 
tying a horse's tail on his chin. O Kandarpa, 
what's up with you ; what's up with you ? Oh ! 
if Ananga Thakur's daughter were only here, 
she would exorcise the spirit at once, with the 
help of an amulet. 

Kandarpa — You may say what you like, grand- 
mother, you are very ignorant. What can I 
do? My beard has not grown yet, and so I 
must wear a false one. '^ If I haven't a beard, 
how can I be thought enlightened ? Come 
along, Nade, blindfold me. 

[Nader chdnd blindfolds Kandarpa) 
Grandmother — You wicked servant, why are you 
blindfolding my boy? What sort of place is 
this Calcutta and what sort of enlightenment is 
this ? Do English education and enlighten- 
ment require you to go round and round in 
an oil-press- like a bullock ? 
Kandarpa — What are you saying about going 
round and round in an ? — It's your 

1. Beards are the sign of the Ikahmos. 

2. Bullocks' eyes are bandaged in the oil-press. 

€4 BABU 

head that is going round and round. How can 
I go out in the streets without bandaging my 
eyes ? This is the city of Calcutta ; in the 
streets, in the verandas, everywhere there are 
many immoral women. Would not my mind 
be contaminated by seeing them ? Would not 
my morals be at stake?. How many horses, 
bullocks, asses, dogs, and cats are wandering 
about in the streets stark naked ? How can I 
I look at them? Would not evil thoughts 
arise in my mind ? Grandmother, your Kan- 
darpa is no longer a country boy who climbs 
trees. He has lived in Calcutta for six months ; 
has got rid of his Eastern-Bengal patois ; he 
has read English ; played football ; smoked 
cigarettes 1 ; attended the Brahmo Samaj ; heard 
lectures ; and become enlightened. The other 
day there was a large srddh ceremony in a 
Raja's house, when many elephants and horses 
were given away in charity. I too was invited, 
but I didn't go, I didn't go. Something horribly 
indecent happened, I hear that an immoral 
woman came and sang hymns. - 
Grandmother — O you bad boy, you didn't listen 
to the klrttan ? You didn't purify your body 

1. Lit. Bird's-eye. 

2. Nautch girls sing songs of Krishna at srddh cere- 

ACT I. 6$ 

by hearing the hymns in praise of Lord 
Krishna ? 

Kandarpa — Pooh ! you say purify my body ! 
Don't you know that I might have slipped into 
immorality by looking at that immoral woman ? 
She would sing "Where is Krishna ?" and her 
glances would create a longing in my heart. 
Aren't you aware that when a man becomes 
enlightened, frequents the Samaj, has risen in 
the scale, the mere sight of a woman arouses 
evil thoughts? But if such women happen to be 
emancipated women, that alters thecase^. Well, 
I must go now. Several enlightened ladies 
are waiting for me in my "parlour." I will 
send them to you. They will enlighten you 
somehow, by argument or by force ; they will 
make you agree to remarry. Nade, hold my 
hand and lead me out. Now take care, don't 
raise your eyes ; don't look at women, or you 
will fall into immorality. 

Nade — Sir, I belong to country people, and our 
mouths do not water at the sight of every 
woman, as do those of people who know 
English. Come. 

(Exit Nade and Kandarpa^ 

Grandmother — Save me, Lord Gaurchandra ! 

I. A hit at the hypocrisy of the Brahmos. 

66 BABU 

Restore my Kandarpa's mind and I'll send 
you delicate food offerings. I will take him on 
a pilgrimage to holy Navadvlp and give a 
great feast to the vaishnavas. O this cursed 
Calcutta, this cursed Calcutta ! I sent my child 
to study and he has become ridiculous. Alas ! 
my child has become a ridiculous caricature ! 

{Enter emancipated females^ 

First female — Lo there I think sits a widow of 

Bengal ! 

Her hair is loose, her dress is poor ; 

Her heart is a field untilled by Love ; 

Her widow's breast is ever rent by sighs. 
Chorus — Lo there I think sits a widow of Bengal ! 

No flower adorns her hair. 

Her fingers knit no wool, 

No ear-drops grace her ears, 

She has not, yet, eloped from home, 

Her eyes express her helplessness. 
Chorus — Lo there I think sits a widow of Bengal I 

Her age no more than three score years and ten, 

No bridegroom's by her side ; her nights are sad. 

Should her body suffer all these direful pangs 

When students are available in such great 

numbers ? 
Chorus — Lo there I think sits a widow of Bengal ! 

ACT I. 67 

We're emancipated Sisters ; our hearts are 

brimming with the sap of love, 
Our cheeks are like black mangoes, ^ 
Come, oh ye students, with heroic arm, 
We shall deliver her. 

Young and old, all will be freed from widowhood. 
We'll hoist aloft the banner of our progress. 

'Chorus — And manifold will be our Joys. 

Lo there I think sits a widow of Bengal ! 

Grandmother — Be off with you ; daughters of danc- 
ing girls. Perdition seize you all. Keep away, 
don't touch me. These turbaned daughters of 
dancing girls have, I think, come to bewitch 
me, to drive me mad, just as they have turned 
my poor boy mad. Tilokdasi, Tilokdasi ! Come 
here at once and bring a jug of Ganges water 
and sprinkle it here. These females have 
defiled the house of a Vaishnava like me. 

2nd enlightened female — Oh husbandless, doleful, 
widowed woman, tormented by the flames of 
bereavement, with one foot in the grave, oh 
noble lady, grandmother of Kandarpa, fear not, 
fear not, we have come. We shall soon purge* 

1. Black, but comely inside. Black mangoes, though 
ugly, are the sweetest. Brahmo women are generally 
supposed to be plain. 

2. There is a play of words in the original that cannot 
be reproduced. 

68 BABU 

you of your long-standing pangs of widowhood 
by means of that infallible remedy, a nice young 
• husband. Soon, very soon, thou wilt walk 
hand in hand with thy youthful husband and 
join us in our airings in the Maidan. Thy 
long-standing pangs of widowhood have with- 
ered the tree of love in thy heart. Come, let 
us revive it by the streams of holy love. 

( Song ) 
Granny we will deck thee as a bride 
With great care, we whose husbands are still alive. 
We will twine thy silver locks with taste, 
And place flowers amongst thy plaits, 
Then we '11 see if thou wilt snare the heart of 

a young man. 
We will dress thee in fine muslin, gay with flowers^ 
Fish thou'lt have twice a day ; 
No more widows' fasts for thee ; 
We, thy sisters, are busy scattering Love. 

End of Act I. 


Scene I.-— Shashthi Babu's study. 
{Shashthl discovered practising declamation}} 

ShashthI — "If I live — if I am permitted to breathe 
"the air of this terrestrial globe — if the steam 
"that animates this corporeal mechanism is not 
'•'exhausted, — if the scarlet fluid called blood 
"flows in my veins — if pulsation remains regular 
"in my radial artery, — then I promise you — I 
"give you my most solemn assurance — Ladies 
"and Gentlemen — with all the emphasis I can 
"command, that 1 will shake the Empire to its 
"very foundation 1" 

{Enter his mother, Srtmati.) 

SrImatI — Well, Shashthl, my son, are you alone ? 

Shashthl — Yes, yes, what do you want ? 

Srimati — I'm an old woman. Why should I be 
ashamed to come out of the zenana ? 

Shashthl — -Yes, yes, you are an old woman, that's 
why I'm asking — you come straight to the 
men's quarters. Suppose a visitor were to 
come, — what would he think of you ? 

SrImatI — What would he think of seeing me here ? 
Why, you yourself force my daughter-in-law 
to present herself here before many of your 

70 BABU 

ShashthI — But did I bring her in her ordinary 
clothes ? I brought her here well-dressed 
like an enlightened woman. She'd a jacket 
on her back and shoes on her feet. But you 
— your grey hair hanging down your back, 
a dirty ragged wrapper, your figure crooked 
as the letter Z — why if any one discovered 
that I was born from your womb, / too should 
be thought a common boor. 

Srlmati — I would wear a good wrapper if you 
gave me one. You must remember how long 
I have been entreating you for half a than and 
can't get it. My sister, your aunt, gave me this 
rag ; somehow or other I have covered my 
nakedness with it. 

ShashthI — Why ? What are you saying ? I 
never gave you any clothes to wear ? What 
a lie ! Only the other day I gave you half 
a length of nainsuk — it's not two years ago. 

Srlmati —When do you say you gave it to me ? 

ShashthI — Have you forgotten so soon ? Don't 
you remember I bought a length, and half was 
dyed and used for flags on my birthday, and 
half was given to you ? 

Srlmati— Ah ! just my luck ! Do you think I was 
allowed to keep it ? My daughter-in-law took it 
to make a cover for her box or some such thing. 

ShashthI— Be civil. You should speak of her 

ACT II. 71 

respectfully. You're very rude. Well, what do 
you want now ? 

SrImatI— What do I want ? Listen, my son, you 
have been giving me Rs. 3/- a month to live 
on. I can't manage on that, even though I 
take nothing but a little gur and water for 
supper. However, I don't complain about 
that. But why, my son, did you deduct three 
annas from even that sum this month ? 

ShashthI — You ask why I paid you less ? Haven't 
you been regularly cheating me by three annas 
a month ? Thank God, Nirada told me, there 
are two fasts in the month, and that in those 
days you eat nothing. What becomes of the 
savings of those two days? Besides, the number 
of days in a month is sometimes more, some- 
times less. Without counting this I have made 
an average deduction of one and a half annas a 
fast day. 

SrimatI — Oh ! because I fast, you cut me ! Don't 
you know that I spend those savings on a 
little treat to myself the day before and the 
day after the fasts ? 

ShashthI — A-a-h 1 As you don't eat anything on 
the fast days, you eat double the day before ! 
Any one can be religious and practise this kind 
of fasting that produces surfeits. Be off ; I 
know these tricks. Aren't you ashamed of being 

72 BABU 

supported by me ? Bengali parents have no 
"self-respect." It's a wonder they care to be 
dependent on their sons, instead of living 

S'rimati — Well, Shashthi, do you mean that your 
mother should earn her own bread and that 
you should not support her ? Never let such 
words pass your lips. Heaven will bless you 
if you respect your old mother. 

Shashthi — Not a mother like you. Well I know 
how to respect a mother. Day and night I 
am working for Mother India, 

s'rimati — Who's she ? Who's your mother ? 

Shashthi — Mother India, Mother India, my 
country, my country, they call her our "Mother 
Country," Don't you understand ? 

Srimati — Go, make my daughter-in-law under- 
stand all this English. How can I understand 
it ? But, oh my son, don't cut my three annas, 
I beg of you. 

Shashthi — Look here, if you go on worrying me 
like this, I'll stop your allowance altogether. 
Now go away. I'm going out and I want to 
lock the door. I can't neglect the needs of my 
mother-country, and waste my time in talking 
with you. 

s'rimati — Tm an unhappy woman ! Such treatment 
from my own son ! 

ACT II. 73 

Shashthl — You know you conceived me by acci- 
dent and had no power to refuse me a place 
in your womb ; — so far it is right for me to 
call you mother. But if I worry about my 
mother day and night, I can't attend to the 
needs of Mother India. My regard, my res- 
pect, my sentiment, my "energy", my ajiteshan 
(agitation), appropriating subscriptions — all all 
are for Her. I have no mother but Mother 
India. I'm now India's son, and India's only. 

Srimati — Ah, be it so, be it so. And may that 
lucky woman fare well, who has enticed my son 
to her side and turned him against his own 
mother ! You say India, India. I know who 
India is. She is your mother-in-law, the mother 
of my daughter-in-law. What / should have 
got from bringing a man-child into the world, 
she has got by giving birth to a female. Well, 
may she prosper, may she prosper ! 


ShashthI— Ah ! "botheration, botheration !" Mothers 
are the "sources of all evils," — especially our 
Bengali mothers. They conceive us by the 
"accident of Nature," and then bully us all 
their lives. Why, wasn't there some other 
way of letting us come into the world than out 
of the womb of silly uneducated women — "en- 
lightened men" like me, "who are destined 

74 BABU 

to accomplish great things in this world'' — 
men able in all ways ? 

" O, why did God, 

"Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven 
"With spirits masculine, create at last 
"This novelty on earth, this fair defect 
"Of nature, and not fill the world at once 
"With men, as angels without feminine, 
"Or find some other way to generate 
"Mankind ?" 
But then our "better-half" wives could not 
have existed. So I say that as the "age ad- 
vances" and our world grows old, the intellect 
of mankind grows more, and "intelligence" and 
"foresight'' become "keener." Now Milton— he 
didn't think of wives when he wrote those lines 
against women. Why, it'd be quite easy to put 
things right ; "that is," if God be "omnipotent" 
and if I were God, then just as Adam and Eve 
were made at one creation, I too would create 
numerous ready-made couples — in my "commu- 
nity" at least. 

{Enter Nlradd.) 
Nlrada — 0-go [= hullo 1 and also O cow ! ]. 
ShashthI — Moo, moo, 
Nlrada — What's the matter ? 
ShashthI — Like question like answer ; you said 

ACT II. 75 

"^<?" which means "cow" and I answered moo, 

Nlrada — What should I call you then ? 

Shashthl— What English ladies call their husbands 
— such as Harry — short for Henry, or Bill— for 
William, and so on. I have over and over 
told you to address me like that. Sometimes 
call me "familiarly" "Shashthe," sometimes 
say affectionately "Dear Byata" — short for 
"Byatavyal." You see you are not making 
much progress. 

Nirada — How do you make that out ? I've dis- 
carded my veil ; sometimes I wear shoes and 
stockings ; I show no respect to my mother-in- 
law, I address her in haughty terms ; I show 
myself to your men-friends. What tnote pro- 
gress do you want ? 

Shashthl — You must be quite independent in 
manner; be free and easy like me. 

Nlrada — What ? Do you want me to wear a 
beard, and a chogd, and a chdpkdn like you ? 
Surely you can't expect me to do that ? 

Shashthl — You need not change your face. I 
want you to be very much like the followers 
of SajanI Babu and such people, though I 
don't follow him. But you must accompany 
me wherever I go. Come, let us take an 
outing in the Eden Gardens this very day. 

•^6 BABU 

Nirada— I'll go, if you let me remain in the car- 
riage. I can't do more than that. 

ShashthI — No, we must walk arm in arm in the 
gardens like the English. 

Nirada — Look here, you go to extremes in every- 
thing. Would it look well for a Bengali 
woman to do this ? How could I do such a 
thing ? 

ShashthI— You will do it well. You will look 
splendid in English clothes ; splendid ! Oh, 
how nice you'll look ! My love, is it right 
for a non-pareil beauty like yours to be shut up 
in the four walls of the zenana ? 

Nirada— No, no ! Shame, shame ! What will 
people think of me ? What would my brother 
and my mother say if they heard of it ? My 
women neighbours too will come to see me, — 
they will all ridicule me. What I have already 
done is enough, and no Bengali woman should 
go further. 

ShashthI— No, no, no, you don't understand. My 
temper is good and so I speak without heat. 
Mr. Damupoddar's wife hung back like you 
and did not want to be emancipated. But one 
day he slippered her and she at once became 
thoroughly emancipated. 

Nirada— Bury the creature. I quite understand— 
are you gone mad ? 


( Song ) 
Shame on thee, shame on thee, shame on thee, 

Hast thou become insane ? 
O, put me not to shame, I kneel at thy feet. 
See, see my heart beat. My tongue is parched 

from fear. 

sir, how can I with other men associate ? 
My lord, you forget that I am a Bengali lady. 

ShashthI — Nirada, I am not the sort of person 
to go mad. Now I have an object in this : 

1 have something to gain. I must mix with 
the party of SajanI & Co. As we do not think 
so much of female liberty as they do, they dis- 
like us. For a few days I must mix with 
them. They are taking their ladies to the 
Eden Gardens to-day, and I have promised to 
"meet" them there with you. 

{Enter Phatik) 

Phatik — Bhyatabhyal, Bhyatabhyal, brother-in-law 

ShashthI — Hullo ! why do you come here so un- 
ceremoniously ? 

Phatik — I won't do so again. Wait till my cards 
are printed. Now ; just enter my name on 
your register. 

78 BABU 

Shashthi— What do you mean by entering your 
name on my register ? 

Phatik— Don't you understand ? I too will be a 
patriot. I will have a try at it. I can't get 
any work to do but I have never complained. 
I cant hold my tongue any longer. Negotia- 
tions are going on for my daughter Khuki's 
marriage with Haran Chatterjees son, and the 
brute has given me a list of Rs. 5,000/- worth 
of things he wants. It is high time for me to 
become a "patriot." Down with Hinduism, I 
despise it ! 

Shashthi — "Are you in earnest?" Are you speak- 
ing the truth ? 

Phatik — {Making faces at him) Gdtur gdturgost — 
why, certainly I'm in earnest. I have told my 
barber I won't be shaved any more — and he 
loses his employment. I'll certainly grow a 
beard now and become a patriot. Well, 
brother-in-law, only you, I, and Nirada are 
here, and no one else. Now just advise me. 
Tell me what I should do. Shall I become a 
patriot, or shall I join the Brahmo Samaj, or 
shall I be what is now-a-days called a red- 
ochred Hindu ? Tell me what to do, which 
plan is the best, the most profitable ? 

Shashthi— "Oh ! you are joking." 

Fhditik— {Making faces) Pok-poking. 

ACT II. 79 

ShashthI — Shut up, shut up, don't be joking. I've 
to go now to the Eden Gardens with your sister. 

Phatik— What ? With Nirada ? 

Nirada — {Stammering) Well, look here, brother — , 
brother — , I mean brother— oh what shall I 
do, brother ? There's a proverb, "I have fallen 
into the clutches of a Mogul, and he forces 
me to eat beef with him." 

Phatik -Damn you brother-in-law! 1 see your 
patriotism has gone too far. My name's on 
your list, and I suppose you will ask me too 
to take my wife about in public. I can't follow 
in your wake. Goodbye, I'd better go. I'll 
try and join the party of the red-ochred one : 
being novel, it pays better. 

Nirada — O, brother, what shall I do ? 

Phatik— Ask that brute. He wants a lesson to 
bring him to his senses and he'll get it some 
day. I'm going. 


ShashthI — A fine relation this ! Said, Said — oh, 
this is too much vulgarity. Look here, Nir, go 
and get ready and put on your walking dress. 
I'll go to the printing office but I'll be back 
in a minute. 


Nirada — It will be fun going to the gardens ; but 
I'm afraid ; there are so many Englishmen 

8o BABU 

there. However, he^ will be with me. Besides, 
there are some other women too. Some of my 
women neighbours will hold me up to ridicule 
— but what matter ? If my husband wants to 
take me with him, — can I refuse him ? It is 
not as if I were going of my own accord. 

{Enter sojne women neighbours.) 
O, my dears, here you are, what a relief! Well, 
Kayet Thakurjhi, you call my husband your 
brother, so you'd better talk to him like a sister 
and oppose his wishes. 

Kayet Thakurjhi — Oppose whom ? Oppose what ? 
What's the matter ? 

Nirada — Modesty does not allow me even to look 
my husband in the house, so how can I walk 
abroad with him holding his hand ? 

Kayet Thakurjhi — Walk with whom ? Walk where? 

Nirada— With your brother, who else ? He wants 
to take me to a place called the Hiden Gdden 
or something like that — where English men 
and women enjoy the cool in the evening. 
How can I walk about holding his hand? 

Kayet 'Wi^k.Vix''^ —{^Sarcastically) Go by all means. 
You need not fear. Your husband is a 
deliverer of this countr}^ and is as obstinate as a 

I. i.e. her husband. 

ACT II. 8l 

pig^ about abolishing parda. He'll have his 
men-friends with him — and won't they enjoy 
gazing at his wife's beauty? {To a neighbour) 
But she wants to go ; don't you stand on her 
way. There's a saying, 'we have fallen into the 
hands of a Dajjal,- we must put up with worry 
and trouble day and night' It won't do to feel 
shy, so dress yourself and go to the Town Hall. 

Nirada — Very well, sister, very well. It's a nice 
kind person I've asked for assistance. There's a 
saying — "He whom I ask for advice casts me 
into new difficulties." I asked you to remons- 
trate with your brother, instead of that you 
begin to sing Panchali responses. 

Kayet Thakurjhi— Well, sister, what harm have I 
said ? What do you say Jnanada ? Why are you 
silent? Go on ; say that he whose honour is at 
stake does not care, so why should we mind ? 
He tells you to stroll in puplic ; stroll. There 
will be other men in the herd holding their 
wives and sisters by the hand. You'll be all 
there — your hair hanging down your back, no 
veil on, you walk past culling flowers, your 
husband won't mind if some other man touches 
you. Ah ! my Shashthidada's mind is simple 

1. There is an allusion to Vishnu's third incarnation 
(a5 a wild boar) when he delivered the world. 

2. Antichrist ; hence a great deceiver. 


»2 BABU 

and his intellect is dull ! He tells you to go, 
so go very well-dressed. {To other neighbours) 
You too press her to go, you too press her. 

Jnanada — The mere narration has astounded me — 
I am too astonished to speak. I wonder if wy 
husband will go mad. I am shivering with fright. 

Nirada — Put away all this joking, sister. Do just 
tell me what to do. He will be here in a 
minute. If I say I won't go with him, I only 
make bad worse. 

S'llada — Who knows, sister, what your mind is 
really like ? You are very lucky to have such 
a husband. \{ my husband were to speak to 
me in such endearing tones, I should go mad 
with love and die of joy. I would wear my 
smartest clothes, put on my small stock of jewel- 
lery, oil my hair, plait my locks, and stick roses 
between the hair pins : my uncle owns a tailor's 
shop, I should beg a jacket from him : I would 
paint my lips with the best betel ; s-1-o-w-l-y I 
would draw the antimony across my eye- 
lashes : I would stick bits of ^^/^-scented cotton 
into my ear recesses ; I would strut like a 
peacock and jingle my anklets ; I would get 
shoes from a Chinaman (a fig for the gossips). 
— But 1 can't do all this. Ah ! I have got 
such a stupid husband, long-faced, drawn, gray- 
haired, clean-shaven, somnolent, loose-tongued. 

ACT II. 83 

too heavy to leave his seat, much less able to go 
out walking with me. He cares about nothing 
— ^just like an old Methusaleh. All he says is, 
"We are the bulwark of Hinduism." I must 
have sinned greatly to have been awarded such 
a husband. At the hands of this weaver 
[proverbially stupid^ I have to swim across 
the swamp \i.e. suffer unforeseen troubles]. 

Kayet Thakurjhl^ust see Siladas regrets. How 
she would like to dress herself in flying colours 
and walk about ! 

Sllada— No, no, Kayet Thfikurjhl, not so. I say 
nothing of my likings ; but if my husband 
takes me with him, I shall think nothing of the 

Xirada — Oh ! Stop all this joking, Kayet Thakurjhl, 
and do tell me, 1 entreat you, what I'm to do. 

Kayet Thakurjhl — What are you to do ? where are 
you to go ? Shashthidada has got some magot 
in his head and wants to take a zenana lady 
into a party of vagabond, wastrel, spendthrifts. 
Can no one be accounted an enlightened person 
unless he marches his wife about in public ? 
My husband (whom every one calls a great and 
wise man) has a thorough knowledge of Eng- 
lish. He is devoted to the Brahmo Samaj, but 
still he is not as much of a fool as the rest of 
its members. You know I have many self- 

84 BABU 

imposed religious duties and he never obstructs 
me about them. Why, he does not even ask 
me to put on my best clothes and sit in the 
sitting-room. You must make a vow not to 
go out walking. If your husband tries to force 
you to go out, lock yourself up in your room. 
When some one has given him a lesson some 
day or other, you'll see how he will praise you 
for your firmness. We are going now ; but 
don't you be afraid. It's a proverb that a 
husband is his wife's god and that it is his duty 
to guard her modesty. ShashthI, your husband, 
who should guard your modesty, is actually 
destroying it. I never could have imagined 
such a thing. I can dance or sing or do any- 
thing I'm told in our own room but that 
doesn't mean that I should do so in public. 
Shame on ShashthI, shame ! 
Women neighbours sing : — 

At her words we feel ashamed. 
Come, let us veil, let us depart in shame. 
Ah ! Wesivc zenana ladies of respectable families. 
How can we forget our religion and our modesty? 
We are to walk gaily-dressed in the Maidan ; 
What wind has struck her husband ? 
From what branded blackguard has he learnt 
this new fashion ? 
[Ext'i all but Nlradd:s 

ACT II. 85 

Nlradfi — Ah! now I am free from all blame. If any 
one chaffs me about my going out, I'll say my 
husband threatened suicide if I did not go with 
him, and that I dared not refuse him. But I have 
never been cut walking and I am rcall}' rather 
afraid. Still, there will be others there too^ 
and I will remain quite close to him. I have 
often heard that Englishmen are real gentlemen 
and do not accost strange ladies. What fun it 
will be! I will hear the band play ; I'll seethe 
electric light. Once I have gained courage, I 
will always go out with him — I'll go everyday. 

{Enter emajicipated ladies.) 
For the good of our country, we have come to 

lead you. 
Feel no shame at the censure of the few. 
We'll break the zenana system, don't you know 

that ? 
Don't believe, comrade, in our old worn out 

Your husband has ordered it, then come, oh 

joyful sister. 
No longer keep up the old custom o'i parda. 
Come, play-mates, let us go and deliver India, 
Why fear? your husband is the head of the 


86 BABU 

Nirada — I want to go but I feel shy. 
Chorus — ( Song ) 

Your maddened husband entreats you, 

kneeling at your feet. 
Say, why are you ashamed ? Dress and go. 
Wake, wake, O sister, the joyous day has come ; 
Hasten out, if thou desirest freedom. 
Never again will such a chance occur. 
For this fad of "deliverance of Hind" will last 

not long. 

Scene II. — Road. 


(With hair neatly oiled and parted ; English knicker- 
bockers ; cricket bats ; and smoking cigarettes.) 

Come, come, what fun we've had, 
We're going to be admitted to school, we're glad. 
We care not whether we learn or not, 
For no longer is there fear of the rod. 
Nowadays we boys don't care a rap, 
At "lectures" all we do is to clap 
No "grammar," no sums, 
Just "prizes" for gym, 

ACT II. 87 

See, my chums, what power we boys have now, 
Our "high" "education"' will enlighten the 


Ben! — Well, brother, that brat Setla is too babyish. 
You know Ghanas'yam ? Yesterday he wanted 
to leave school early, but old Jnana refused 
him leave without a note from home, and the 
ass Setla shut up at once. 

Ghana. — Just wait, Ben! ; when he comes into 
the "play-ground" this afternoon, I'll strike his 
name off our "club." But if he stands us a 
treat all round, then I'll let him join again. 
If not, not. 

Chandra — Oh ! you expect him to stand us a 
treat ? The poop gets only two pice a day 
for his lunch. Besides he owes Hari the tobac- 
conist six annas for cigarettes ^ and he can't 
pay even that. 

BenI — Do you think we can manage on our tiffin- 
allowance, sweet one ? As soon as my father 
comes back from office and goes off to wash 
his hands, I run my hands through the pockets 
of his coat. 

Krishna — I too, my dear chap, have great fun. 
My mother knows I am a good boy : she's the 
fullest confidence in me. When she is busy, 

I. Lit. Bird's-eve. 

88 BABU 

she hands the keys of the cash-box to me and 
so I too manage to nail something. When 
Mother finds her cash short, she gets excited 
and I cry out ; and so she thinks that her little 
Keshta has not taken it, and her suspicions go 
BenI— I keep on telling that silly ass S'etla to prig 
the key from under his mother's pillow and 
extract something from her box. But all the 
ass says is, "It is wicked to steal," and "We 
should not grieve our parents." The "stupid" 
is too much of a baby. He hasn't any of what 
they call "moral courage." 

{Enter Govinda Bdhu.) 

Govinda— Halo, Ghanas'yam, my boy, it's nearly 
eleven and you are still on the road ? Aren't 
you going to school ? 

Ghana. — Well, we are going — slowly. 

Govinda — For shame! Go to school, go to 
school ; your master will scold you if you are 

Ghana. — Mind your own business— j'^z^ go to your 
office. Why are you bothering us ? You clerks 
are regular slaves and live in mortal terror of 
a scolding from your Head. We aren't like 
that. We don't care a fig for our master. If 
he worries us, we leave his school and go to 

ACT 11. 89 

another. There is combination in our Form. 
Why, \vc would all combine to lie in wait and 
give the master a sound thrashing on his way- 
home, and then transfer ourselves to Shashthi 
Babu's school. In fact, Shashthi Babu has 
promised us that he would put boys of "moral 
courage" like us into a higher class in his school, 
and that if I can bring ten pupils to his school, 
I shall be admitted "free."'^ Then, of course, I 
would still get the school-fee from my father 
and have lots of fun with it. 

Govinda — Ghanas'yam ! How dare you talk like 
that to me ? You were born yesterday ; I have 
taken you on my knee hundreds of times ; even 
your father speaks to me respectfully. 

Ghana. — Father w^as educated in Gaur Mohan 
Addy's old-fashioned school,- and then became 
a mere sirkdr in an office. Has he any "spirit" 
left? You tell me to respect you, but who are 
you? Nowadays we don't fuss ourselves about 
our elders. 

1. Bengali school-masters used to steal each other's 
pupils. Smart boys acted as touts and were paid by results. 
A certain well-known agitator, now a flourishing proprietor, 
made his school by this method. The new University 
regulations have killed this profession. 

2. The Oriental Seminary — still existing. The trans- 
lator's uncle was the Honorary Secretary. The translator is 
the Honorary Auditor. 

■90 BABU 

Govinda— Stop, III tell your father about you this 
very day. 

Krishna — Have you ever seen a pretty swan ^? 
{Makes his arm hito a swans neck.) 

Govinda — Get out with you, you son of a gardener ! 
Your manners cannot deteriorate common bo3's 
like yourselves. Two years hence you will all 
be following your own common caste-trades ; 
but these two other boys are gentlemen's sons 
and if once contaminated by you, they can 
never recover ; and even if they mend their 
manners, they will have learnt nothing by which 
to earn their bread. If they have learnt nothing 
and have no manners, no one will associate with 

Ghana. — Well, old boy, have you a match on you ? 
You might let me have one ; I will smoke a 

Beni — Well, "master," I see you are going to 
office with your hand full oi pans. You might 
let us have one. 

Govinda — You sons of dung-eaters! I'm older 
than your father and all the neighbours look 
upon me as somebody. I see your tongues are 
very loose. How awful — what sort of boys are 
produced nowadays ! Well, well, they are not 

J. Bak is really a paddy bird. This is equivalent to 
<ocking a snook. 

ACT II. 91 

to blame ; they are the result of the education 
they receive. The mark cf pap is still on 
their mouths^ and they are taught independ- 
ence ! This is their "idea" of independence — to 
disregard their parents who tell them to study, 
and the scoldings of their masters and the 
advice of their elders who tell them to behave 
themselves. In their vocabulary combination 
means 'conspiracy /" ''moral cotcrag^' means 
^'impertinence /" 'independence'^ means ^insub- 

Ghana. — (Making bird-noises with his lips) Wah ! 
wah ! you're talking beautifully. Speak, speak 
my pretty poUy." 

<jOvinda — Silence, you rat ; I'll twist your ears off. 
Here are these mercenary schools ; they think 
of nothing but collecting fees. They let in 
boys on small fees which they increase from 
time to time. There are more holidays in the 
year than in the High Court. They have their 
pankha-fees, their bihishti-fces. Once a boy gets 
admitted to the school, there is no transferring 
him ; for there are no old-fashioned, fixed text- 

1. Lii.^ mustard oil and garlic is still being- rubbed on 
their heads. This is done to infants to prevent them 
catching cold. 

2. This word is addressed to any bird when enticing it 
to whistle or sing. 

92 BABU 

books ; every master writes his own text-book ; 
what is more, caning has been abolished by the 
Education Department. Of course the old plan 
was bad to han^ boys by the waist from a 
beam and beat them with nettles, but nowadays 
the boys won't be touched at all. Unless a boy 
is punished with a stroke or two, or by having 
his ears pulled, how he is to remember that a 
boy is only a boy ? 

Beni — "Come along, ^^ son of a bitch," will you 
"fight ?" 

Ghana. — I say, Beni, ''damn your eyes," hit him 
with your bat. 

Govinda — I see you are determined to do it. 
English boys train their hands and eyes by 
playing cricket at school, so that when they 
grow up they can fire off guns in the battle-field, 
or kill tigers and other beasts. But you boys 
won't dare to do these things. Now that you 
are learning gymnastics and making yourselves 
strong by foot-ball, you tnust show your strength 
somewhere. As you are Bengali boys, you 
won't enter the Army and fight ; if you fight 
in the streets, there's the fear of the Police. 
You are eating your parents' bread, and you 
must of course show your strength by beating 
them in return and so relieve the activity of 
your muscles. What my neighbour Haralal 

ACT II. 93 

said to me the other day had sense in it. He 
said, "If the University passes a resolution 
that ever)- boy before examination must pro- 
duce a certificate of having learnt gymnastics, 
then all I have to do is to go to the Registrar 
with a black-eye and say 'Look at this, my son 
is a good gymnast.' " 

Chandra — Here, here, "go" to office, "go" to office ; 
if you're late, your master will cut your pay. 

Govinda — If my son were like this, I would put 
my foot on his neck and break it. 

Ghana. — Your son is the Captain of our Club ! 

Chandra —You'd better go to office now ; but 
recollect when you go to play chess to-night 
at Mukherjee's house, you will have to pass by 
the Tanti pond. 

'Govinda — You boys will turn Into thieves and 
spend your days working the oil-press in jail. 
Now that you have not got to earn your living, 
you don't realise your position. When you 
have to cam your own bread, you will understand 
the difficulty. What else can I say ? Dam- 
nation to your teacher, to your education, and 
to that devil Shashthi Vatavyfil ! That black- 
guard, by hoisting the "flag of independence," 
is ruining these boys, ruining thcsonsof gentle- 
folk. They will end by starving — certainly 
they'll die of starvation. {Exit.) 

94 BABU 

All— Have you seen this swan, old boy, have you 

seen this swan ? 
Chandra — Come, let us have a look in at school. 

We must leave rather early to-day as Bankim^ 

Babu is in Calcutta, and we must get some 

books out of him for our boys' library. 
Ghana. — I don't listen to my father, so v;hy should 

I listen to Govin Banerjee's jaw. 
Chandra — Let us forget our fathers' ways, 

Then shall we become the "hope'' of our country,. 

So has ShashthI Babu distinctly said, 

Wagging his chin and twisting his moustaches. 
Ghana. — Each boy is the pillar of his home, 

Our time passes pleasantly, 

We have staggered our mother country. 
BenI — We do not worship sticks and stones, 

Let Durga and Kali "go to hell," 

Our fathers' beliefs are all a sham, 

See, ^bhai] the fruit of education. 
Krishna There are few to match us, 

Our speech is sharp and cutting, 

Real bad boys are we, 

But grc;it fun we're having. 

Chorus — 

Not a rip for our fathers do we "care," 
English 'shirts" we wear, cricket "bats" we handle,. 
1. The great Bengali novelist. 

ACT II. 95 

And neatly "part" our "hair." 
Before reaching "puberty," 
We have assumed our "full liberty," 
The "pesterings" of our tutors we cannot "bear." 
Our "training" is "high," 
So we "smoke Bird's-eye," 

Our "morality" consists in "foot ball," an amus- 
ing "affair.'' 
Though still unfledged in the nest, in "politics" 

we "share." 
[Exit all.) 

Scene III. — Eden Gardens. 

{Near the Pagoda) 

Reformers with their wives. 

Ladies sing — 

Our "love" knows no bounds, 

O gossip, "love" knows no bounds, "love" 

knows no bounds, "love" knows no bounds. 

Our hearts overflow, our lips bubble over with 


Of love we have learnt from books ; 

We 'sit upon' our husbands ; 

We gay girls are in India to scatter our "love." 

We've just escaped from the harem ; 

What fear have we now ? 

I. Love — Peace — Glory— Glory to Truth— etc. are cant 
phrases of the Brahmo Samaj. 

96 BABU 

We'll pick up our skirts, with our floods of 

words conquer India. 

Learn from us the secret of the religion of love ; 

there's not one of us unwilling to teach it, 

Sajani — Mrs. Chaki, my own beloved, Dayita- 
dalanl, see what a pleasant place this is. How 
fresh the grass is ! 

Dayita. — "Beautiful! Pure!" My darling, in this 
abode of "love," why not let us play prisoners' 

Banchha.- O sister Diyitadalani ! Oh ! this place 
is "full of love," "full of love ! '' 

Kshama. — (Aside to Banchharam) Really I wonder 
death doesn't ever take you ! Coming here to 
the Maidan and wanting to do nothing but to 
shut and open doors. Take care, you black- 
guard, don't you go playing about the place. 

{Enter Nadcrchdnd holding by the arm his 7naster 
Kandarpa who is blind folded.) 

"Nade — Wait, master, why so quick ? Go slow, 
go slow. Take care, don't tread on the plants. 
There's the white constable standing by, he 
will come along and give you a tap with his 

JCandarpa — Hang your tap of the truncheon ! Pm 
already ruined ! Come round and unbandage 

ACT II. 97 

my eyes. Do you see Sajani Babu anywhere 
here ? 

Nade — There're several Bfibus, and there're some 
very beautiful women with them. You want 
me to unbandage your eyes ? Then you'll 
look at them ? But won't you catch fever ?i 

Kandarpa — No, no ; they're all enlightened Sisters. 
By looking at them, "pure love" will surge up 
in my heart. What chance will there be for 
any disorder of the mind ? 

^2idQ—{Unbandaging his eyes) Look then, look 
well. Lord Gaurchandra knows your mind. 
To my eyes these ladies are more smartly 
dressed than the women of the streets. 

Sajani — Welcome, Kandarpa Babu, welcome ! How 
have you come here ? And how is it that you 
have come alone ? Why, where's the "Sister" 
[i. €., wife] ? 

Kandarpa — Alas, what can I say about the ''Sister" ? 
I am undone, I'm totally disgraced, I can no 
longer engage in the great work of Deliverance. 
I reasoned with my grandmother and made all 
arrangements for her remarriage and then the 
stupid woman in the middle of the night ran 
away to our native village and took my wife, 

I. There is a play on the word bi/cdr "corruption" previ- 
ously mentioned, which the illiterate servant mistook for 
the word [jwar) bikCir. 


98 BABU 

Sister Subhadra with her. Ah Sajanl Babu, ah 
brother Banchharam, ah all you my Sisters! no 
longer can I show my face before you. I'm 
quite ruined by that rascally woman, my grand- 
mother. She it is who stands in the way of my 
becoming a Son of India ; who does not allow 
me to attain to the Abode of Peace ! Ah, my 
brother Banchharam, let me lie here on my 
back,^ and do you get sister Kshamasundari to 
trample me to death. 

Kshama. — Isn't this that scoundrel who wanted to 
have his grandmother remarried ? Lie down, 
you son of childless parents, lie down ; you 
need have no further regrets, I'll soon send you 
to the grave. 

Sajani — Kandarpakanta, be grieved no longer. I 
know you have suffered a great deal of oppres- 

Banchha. — Boo, hoo, (crying) oppression ! oppres- 
sion ! 

Kshama. — See here, the oilman's son is blubber- 
ing again. My clown of Chinsurah is always 
breaking into sobs like a baby in sleep. 

Sajani — This oppression must be removed. One 
of our brothers will soon start for Eastern- 

I. Kali is represented standing on Siva, who is flat on 
his back. 

ACT II. 99 

Bengal. He will return after effecting the heroic 
rescue of his wife and his grandmother. 

Banchha. — Peace, Peace, Peace. 

Kshama. — Ah ! you blackguard ! you're mention- 
ing that woman "Peace" again ? 

{Enter from the side Shashthi Bdbii and Niradd.) 

ShashthI — Come along, come along ; you're put- 
ting your shawl over your head again. Don't 
you see it's spoiling your flowers ? 

Nirada — I beseech you, pray, let us go home : 
I'm really afraid. Don't you see how those 
English sailors are walking about there ? 

Shashthi — My "darling !" you my "wife" and afraid 
of a common sailor ? Don't you know that 
with this arm of mine I'll deliver India, with 
this arm ? For shame ! for shame ! 

Nirada — No, dear, I don't want to stay. Suppose 
a sailor were to lay hands on me ! 

ShashthI — What do you say ? Lay hands on 
you and that in my presence ? Don't you 
know that I'd smite him to the ground with a 
sword or else fell him by the force of my 
"speech ?" 

SajanI — "Welcome, welcome," welcome, Shashthi 
Babu. I see you have brought the "Sister." 
What good luck ! What good luck ! Glory, 
glory, to India ! 


All — Glory, glory, to India ! 

Banchha. — Liberty, equality and fraternity — and 
"love"— "love" ! 

Kshama. — This man's "love" overflows every now 
and then. I see he has plenty left in spite of 
his age ! 

Shashthi — Nirada is a little bashful. 

Banchha — Bashful ! what offensive language ! 
what offensive language ! 

SajanI — Come here, Mrs. Chaki, let me "introduce" 
you. You must make this dear sister's shyness 
disappear, Mrs. Dayitadalani Chaki, this is 
Mrs, Niradasundari Bhyatabhyal ; Mrs. Nlrada- 
sundarlBhyatabhyal,this is Mrs. Dayitadalani 

Kshama. — I wonder where these rotters get their 
names from ! Chaki, ^ Belan,^ Bhyatabhyal, — 
why, can't they have human names ? 

Dayita. — Sister Nirada, what are you shy about ? 
If wa are shy and backward, who will encourage 
the grand work of the deliverance of India to 
which our men are devoted ? Ah, don't you 
know that India will soo7i be delivered now, 
since we women have filled our hearts with love 
and learnt to be independent and to show our- 
selves in public? Come, sister, let us run a 

I. ChaJdi mill and bela7^ rolling pin. 

ACT II. lor 

race — you can run I suppose ? — a bottle of 

Rimmel's^ best will be the prize. 
Nirada— No, sister, I have merely come out to 

walk ; besides I am not accustomed to running. 
Sajanl— Sister, you must learn to run, you must 

run with all your might, run, run, only run ; 

there is no other way to deliver India except 

by running. 
Banchha. — Glory to Truth, ^ brother, glory to 

Truth". My darling, Sister Kshamasundari, 

often pursues me and then I run, and so I 

practise the means of delivering India. ( Weeps"') 
Kandarpa — That sort of deliverance I too can do 

well enough, by jumping like this. 

{Enter Titurdm Thdkur, an opium-smoker:^) 
Titu.— I've heard that in the afternoon he walks 
about here with ladies. Are you here, my 
dear fellow ? Ho, Bat and Ball Babu, are 
you here? Hie! here's a gentleman who 
has walked all the way to see you ; please 

1. Lit. Kimtalin oil for the hiir. The word is an 

2. One of Brahmo mottoes. 

3. The Brahmo Samaj people often weep. 

4. The allusions in the following dialogue are to the 
Opium Commission. 

102 BABU 

Dayita. — Who's that man? Saja, Saja, "what a 
fright!" Ugly creature, ugly creature; tell 
him to go away or I'll faint. 

SajanT— Dayi, my "darling," don't be afraid, don't 
be afraid. 

Titu. — Why, lady, why are you having a fit like 
that ? Tituram Ganguli is a "gentleman." 
Don't you know that I go to the houses of 
greater ladies than you ? You'd be much 
astonished if you saw the respect with which 
I am treated at Firingi Kamini's place. I'm 
not to be seen everywhere. We opium-smokers 
have royal temperaments and don't move about 
much^. 'Nuncle' who runs our opium-den 
renewed his license and so he gave a picnic at 
Kallghat and brought me as far as this in the 
tram, and that's how I managed to get so far. 

SajanI — What you want ? whom are you look- 
ing for ? 

Kshama. — I think this fellow is an opium-smoker. 

Titu. — Capital, capital ; I see you're a very 
unappreciative person. You're offering gratui- 
tous insults to the son of a gentleman. Well, 
pray tell me, is not Bat and Ball Babu in your 
party ? 

Sajan! — Whom did you say ? 

I. Opium-smokers seldom stir abroad. 

ACT II. 103 

Titu.— Why, that ShashthI Kesta Bat-and-Ball,— a 
more sporting name I have never heard. 

SajanI — Oh ! you are looking for ShashthI Krishna 
Vatavyal ? 

Titu. — Yes, yes, whether you call it Bat and Ball 
or hdtabbal [paralysis], it's all the same. Neither 
name is very beautiful. Didn't he come here 
to join your party ? 

Shashthi — {Coming forward) Who, who, do you 
say ? Didn't some one take my name ? 

Titu.— Yes, my dear fellow, that sweet name, now 
told on the rosary. You're so down on us 
opium-smokers that we can't help taking your 
name now and then, even at the risk of our 
cooking-pots bursting. 'Nunky,' the head of 
our opium-den, urged me to come and see you : 
that's why I have come to see you again. 
Look here, listen to one request of mine; give 
up your idea of abolishing opium, otherwise 
liquor will ruin the country and millions of 
Hindus will get enlarged livers. Besides 
many quiet and harmless old people keep 
themselves alive by just taking a little opium ; 
the abolition will be a vital injury to them. 

ShashthI — So you've come to tease me again ? — 
Go away, go away. Now don't make a noise ; 
there're ladies here. 

Titu. — Let their ladyships remain, it's not as if 

I04' BABU 

you were not here too. I am not the sole male 
person — I don't suppose you count yourselves 
as the neuter gender in grammar. 

All — How offensive ! how offensive ! 

Titu.— Good God ! they are of such a delicate 
temperament I see, that the word grammar 
cannot even be mentioned before them. Can we 
forget what we learnt in youth ? If you become 
Lieutenant-Governors, I believe you'll even 
stop the taking of Makaradhwaj^ and drive 
out that idol Madan Mohan from his temple 
in Baghbazar. There's a saying — -"A son-in-law 
was asked if he would take pop-corn. He said, 
'What ! Corn that has sugar in it ? Sugar comes 
in bullock carts, bullock carts squeak and so do 
musk-rats — ^am I a musk-rat? You insult me !" 
I see you interpret things like this. All right ; 
remain here as bodyguards to their ladyships ; 
I am going. But if opium is abolished, may 
destruction fall on you. 


SajanI— Dreadful, dreadful, when will low-class 
people like this disappear from this world ? 

Kshama. — Why, what harm was he saying ? Isn't 
taking a little opium better than drinking 
much and brawling ? My father was cured 

I. A well-known aphrodisiac for the old. 

ACT ir. 105 

of a bad internal complaint by opium. Keshta 
the Kayet from our village came to Calcutta 
looking for work ; he took to drink, lost his 
work, and nearly died of 'liver.' Now by 
taking opium at my father's advice, he is 
quite cured. He has added to his house, given 
jewellery to his wife, sent for our family priest 
and got religious initiation from him ; he now 
walks about with his eyes on the ground ; his 
health is restored ; the drunkard Keshta is a 
changed man. 
{Drmiken sailor off the stage singing) "Drink 
to me." 

Kandarpa — SajanI Babu, see, isn't that a drunken 
sailor coming this way ? 

SajanT — Yes, that's so. 

Nirada— O Heavens ! where shall I go ? 

Shashthi — Wait a little, let us first see what sort 
of Englishman he is — India's foe or its friend. 

{Enter sailor. All nervously retire to a corner.) 
English Sailor— (Song) Drink to me. 
Drink to me, 
Drink to me. 
Banchha. — Sister Kshamasundari, you get in front 

of me; I'll stand behind. 
Sailor — "Fine women these ! Come on my rose- 


Shashthi — [In English] Now — Sir — don't inter- 
fere — with — er — er — er — our ladies — 

Kandarpa — ^Just so, sahib ; go ; please g-g-go else- 
where. We're en-en-enjoying the c-c-cool with 
our 1-1-ladies ; why do you c-c-come with your 
drunkenness here ? 

Sailor — "Hang your gibberish, you chatter-box ; 
the ladies are mine." [Rushes forward with 
raised fist.) 

Nirada — Oh Heavens, what will happen to me ! 

Kshama, — Dayi ; run, run ; this way, this way ! 

Men — 'Run, run ! "Deliverance of India, deliver- 
ance of India ! " {They run up stage) 

Sailor — Ha — ha, ha — ha {obstructing Nirada's 

Shashthi — {Peeping round the corner) What's this ? 
what's this ? Come, oh Brothers, all help ! he's 
caught my Nirada. 

SajanI— We ought to help you, we ought to ; 
brother Banchharam, help him, help him 1 

Banchha.^Of course, of course, "O sinful English- 
man ! come, I'll give you love, give you love, 
here come to me and receive boundless love." 

Nirada — -Here, here, save me. Oh why did you 
bring me here ? You said if a sahib or any 
person touched me, you'd kill him. Come here, 
take me home. 

Sailor — "Deary, don't be silly." 

ACT II. 107 

Kandarpa — Hullo said ! you won't let her alone ? 
Shall I call a policeman ? I-i-is-t-t-that what 
you want ? 

Nade — O kastapil, kastapil,^ here's a lady being 

Sailor — ''Bhdgo you jangll or else I'll dash out 
your brains." {Rushes forward with raised fist^ 

All — Bap re hap re^ run, run ! (All run away.) 

Nirada — O sahib ! I kneel to you ; pray let me 
alone. I'm a Hindu lady, daughter of a 
gentleman. I didn't want to come here. My 
husband brought me by force. O sahib, let 
me alone. I'll never come here again. Oh ! 
have you really run away and left me alone? 
Is this your heroism ? You can't protect your 
wife against one sahib and yet you'll fight for 
the deliverance of India ! You other gentle- 
men ! have you all run away ? 

ShashthI — (Looking in) Sajani Babu, help me 
all of you.. Are we not sons of India? A 
drunken sailor forcibly obstructs my wife, and 
we all of us can't do anything ? Banchharam 
Babu, come on. 

Banchha. — "Let us repent, let us repent-." There's 
no use in quarrelling. Inoffensiveness is the 
crown of all virtues. No one must act against 

1. Constable. 

2. Another cant phrase of the Brahmo Samaj. 


a sahib, otherwise the Society for the Preven- 
tion of Cruelty to Animals will interfere. 

Shashthi — {Distressfully^ "Please leave my wife 

Sailor — "Your wife ! you brute ; had she been your 
wife, you wouldn't have stood there making 

Nirada — Help me, I entreat you all. O sisters, 
you are women, you've practised running and so 
you have run away from me. As I can't run, 
you leave me alone with this devil I 

Kshama. — You feeble creatures ! how many of 
you are there here ? Come on ; rush on him 
suddenly altogether ; knock the brute down ; 
put your knees on his chest and sit on him, 

Banchha. — Sister, you'd better do it ; there's no- 
thing j^« can't do. 

Kshama. — May you die, you oilman I I'm but a 
woman and you want me to do your work, 
while you all stand with your tails between 
your legs hiding behind the trees ! 

Shashthi —Never will I tolerate such tyranny, 
never. I'll make an "agitation," I'll "convene" a 
"monster meeting" in the Town Hall, I'll "cor- 
respond" with all the newspapers, I'll appeal 
to Parliament,— let me see if I can't get my 
wife back. 

SajanI — Capital idea ! let us "form" a "committee" 

ACT II. 109 

at once and select a "delegate" to petition 

Banchha. — Write up the notices and Til start now 
with the subscription list. From village to 
village, from city to city, I'll beg subscriptions 
to deliver the Sister. 

ShashthI — My darling, don't be nervous, have no 
fear. From tyranny such as yours, India will 
gain much good. If the subscriptions are 
numerous enough, I myself will be the "dele- 
gate" to London, I'll cause waves of agitation 
in Parliament ; the world will learn what a 
hero is ShashthI Krishna. I'll have that black- 
guard sailor punished and degrade him in your 
sight — -some day. 

SajanI — Come, come, let us hold the meeting at 
once : ShashthI Babu, /'// take the chair this 

Kshama. — O you rotters ! the lady's actually in 
the clutches of an Englishman and you're 
talking of holding a meeting ? 

SajanI — Everything must be done according to 
regulations. We must do nothing in an "un- 
parliamentary" manner. Come, come, all of 
you come ; "glory, glory to India !"' 
All — Glory, glory to india ! 

Nirada — How is that ? Where are you going ? 
You're leaving me alone? You talk of a meet- 


ing when my honour is at stake ; my caste is 
at stake ; my life is at stake ; my religion is 
at stake ? Oh ! oh ! who'll save me from this 
peril ? My own husband has run off and left 
me with this robber ! O Mother Durga ! 
O Mother Kali ! O Hari the Merciful ! Thou 
who prevented the shame of DraupadI, to-day 
protect the name of this innocent woman. 

Sailor — Turn kis waste afraid ho. Ham turn ko 
comfortably rakhenge. Ttcmhdrd said husband 
kuite ke muwdfiq hhdgtd hai. Ham here ; kyd 
fear hai. 

Nirada — O gods ! my husband taught me to 
dress, to sing, to play, to read love stories and 
love poetry, but he never taught me how 
to pray, and so, ye gods, I've never called on 
you. But do not, I beseech you, abandon me 
on this account. O merciful Hari, save me ! 

Banchha. — What idolatry, what idolatry ! {Weeps ^ 

{Enter uncle Tinkari and Asani.) 
Tinkari — What's this ! What a row 1 I heard a 
woman's voice and I suspected that these abor- 
tions of ours were in some scrape. Is it you 
ShashthI ? Who's that lady ? 
ShashthI — My wife. 

As'ani — Thank God, uncle Tinkari, that we were 
walking near here. 

ACT II. Ill 

Shashthi — Look, look, uncle Tinkari ! Is it not 
you who ask me to abandon my efforts for the 
delivery of India ? Look at that tyranny, 
to-day. Look at the daring of that wicked 
drunken sailor. 

Tinkari — So I see. The girl is attacked by a 
blackguardly Englishman and you stand still 
doing nothing. 

As'ani — Scott Thomson's dispensary is close by, 
you might have fetched some nitroglycerine 
and squirted it at him. What are you doing? 

Shashthi— WHAT AM I DOING ? Don't think 
that I'm idle. I'm going to hold a meeting 
now; to deliver lectures ; I'm going to petition 
Parliament. Don't you know we are never idle 
in these matters? 

Kandarpa — -I'll subscribe two rupees eight annas. 

Kshama. — Shut up, you son of a . What a 

noise he makes ! 

Tinkari — Have yourself treated by a doctor, 
Shashthi, have yourself treated ; for I see you 
are off your head. With your wife in the 
hands of a drunken man, you start to hold 
meetings and raise subscriptions to go to Lon- 
don and deliver her by lecturing Parliament ? 
Ugh ! ugh ! You can't save your wife from 
insult, and you talk of female emancipation ! 
I wonder why you don't get a rope and hang 

112 BABU 

yourself. Here's one common sailor and half a 
dozen of you men, and yet you dare not touch 
him ? Suppose he does strike you once or 
twice ; suppose even you die from the blows, 
yet aren't you going to deliver > our own wife, 
who has none to turn to but you, who has none 
to help her but you. who has none to save her 
but you ? Are you such a coward ? Till you 
can place honour above life, don't dare to 
mention the word independence. Do you 
understand ? Liberty, equality, fraternity and 
unity — these pass your lips but have no place 
in your souls. The wrongs of women, political 
freedom, national strength, welfare of your 
country — why, not a shadow even of these has 
fallen on your heart. What you do is a farce, 
mere cheap self-advertisement, another name 
for meanness and selfishness. 

ShashthI— Uncle Tinkari, you've said enough, no 
more ; don't put me to shame. All of them 
ran away and so I too ran with them. You 
are my real benefactor, come to my help. 
Although you follow the rites and customs of 
Hindus like our fore-fathers, still you are brave 
in the hour of peril. Save my Nirada, save 
my honour; I'll be to you as a slave, I'll 
never do such things again. 

Nirada — Whoever you may be, I call you my 

ACT II. 113 

father; look on me as your daugh'er. Save 

your daughter's honour, save her life. 
Tinkari— (Speaking in English) Now Jack, leave 

the lady alone. 
Sailor— (In English) Oh Jemini, go to the devil. 
Tinkari— Curse your chattering ! / belong to 

Jahanabad^. You don't know me. I'll smash 

your head in two with one blow of this stick, 

you low drunkard. 
Sailor— Stop, stop, what are you going to do, uncle 

Tinkari ? 
Tinkari — Hullo ! who's this, who's he ? 
Sailor — {Removing zvig) I'm Phstikchand Dev- 

s'armmana, ChakravarttT. 
Tinkari — Phatik ! 
Nirada— Brother ! 
Remainder — {Coming valiantly fonuard) What! 

a Bengali ! Ah 1 Ha ! 
Kandarpa — O said, why didn't you tell us before ? 

I'd have thrown a chdkd at you. 

Kshama. — What's a chdkd, you son of a ? 

Kandarpa — What you people call a brick. I'd 

have thrown that brick at him if I had known 

he wa^ a ;:atr::. 
Banchha. — "Glory, glory to India !" Oh ! what a 

mistake, what a mistake ! {Weeps.) 

I. /. e. I'm not one of the poor-spirited creatures of 
these parts. 

I 14 BAEU 

Shashthl — Phatikchand, you did very wrong. 

SajanI — You know that a man who appears in 
public in disguise, is punishable under the 
Penal Code ? You did wrong in frightening us 
for nothing in this way. 

Asani — Really Phatik Babu, you acted very "rash- 
ly." You ought to know that the electricity of 
the nervous system gets out of order when one 
is suddenly frightened like this. 

Phatik — Listen to me all of you. You call your- 
selves brethren, and I call Shashthl Babu, said, 
therefore you are all my sdlds . Seeing that 
you required a lesson, as you have far too much 
Vv'ind in your heads and must needs drag about 
your ladies in public in imitation of the sahibs, 
I determined to do what I had never done 
before and put on this filthy unclean dress. 
Make no more noise but go quietly home. 
Seeing this 'one imitation sahib you all put 
your tails between your legs, so just think what 
would have happened if there had been reality 
in the case. Now what do you say Bhyata- 
bhyal ? Do you still desire female liberty ? 
Tinkari — Now disperse without noise. Whether 
you call Phatikchand a jester or something of 
the sort or not, still just bear in mind that his 
trick has taught you a real lesson, i.e.^ that 
you men must first learn self-reliance, learn 

ACT 11. 115 

self-defence, and then think about makhig your 
women emancipated. A husband's chief duties 
are to maintain his wife, to love her, to look 
after her welfare in this world and the next. 
Try and carry out your obligations in a fitting 
Phatik— Well said Bhyatabhyal ! did you hear? 
Your wife is my own sister, born from my own 
mother's womb; that's why I painted my face 
disguising myself as a British sailor. Some 
day I'll get a real sailor and bribe him with a 
little whisky to give you a lesson. Some of 
you may be decent and some not, but I warn 
the lot. So just look out. 


Women sing — 

Shamed, shamed, shamed, we v/on't come out again. 

We women of the Hindu race will preserve our 

parda ; a curse to Western civilisation. 
Dear husband, do not dress us in English fashions, 
Do not parade the lady of your house and so lead 
to the ruin of your country. 
A woman is like a jewelled necklace, guard her in 

your own home. 
Who ever scatters diamonds and pearls in the 

market-place ? 


We will show as much coyness as you wish but 

preserve cur self respect by respecting it. 
Then we'll learn what attachment there can be 

between heart and heart. 
We no longer want emancipation, we've learnt its 

taste in one day. 

( Curtain )