Shapon was a local supervisor of the Assam tea estate.He was an honest and loveable man.His motto in life was to help the needy.Whenever possible,he came to the aid of women.He protected them from sexual abuse.He always trusted everyone.
This trust he had for his fellow human beings,ironically led to his sad demise.He was a happy and caring person and was a favourite of the older women in his community.They would go to the field with food for him.They knew he wasn’t taking care of himself.He in turn appreciated everything,they did for him.Days and weeks and months were passing quite smoothly.No one had anything to fear,Shapon was there to address their grievance.
His popularity somehow did not bode well with the other individuals,whose minds were crooked,they were not allowed to do anything that would ruin the serenity of the community.
The young women earned their livelihood by working in the tea estate.There were a lot of beautiful women in that tea estate.There was one in particular,who was very attractive,a number of men wanted to marry her.One woman who was regarded by all as their aunt,decided she would be a perfect wife for Shapon.She convinced Shapon to marry her.He of course obliged.No one in the community refused what the said “Aunt”,wanted.
Shapon was happy.He and his wife were happy and contented.Suddenly this happiness came to a screeching halt.The Saheb was making his rounds of the tea estate one day and noticed Shapon’s wife.
Before I go any further I would like to introduce the Saheb.He was the manager of the tea estate.His usual pastime was having parties,where all kinds of alcoholic beverages were served.His workers were ordered to get the innocent girls from the tea estate,so he and his friends who were like him could have a good time.While on his usual tour,he spotted Shapon’s wife.She worked in the tea garden as well.His motive was to get her for a large party he was organizing.
His servants told him,this could not be possible,she was Shapon’s wife.They told him they could get other girls who were easier to get.The Saheb,told them,she was the one he wanted for his big bash.The servants went to shapon’s house and told him the Saheb wanted him to get the alcoholic beverage from another community.The poor guy did not suspect anything and went on his way to get the alcohol.The servants took the opportunity,they raided the house to kidnap the wife.They met with some resistance from the wife and the Aunt.The aunt was murdered and the miscreants took off with the wife.
The party was in progress and drinks were served.When the wife was brought in,she was forced to serve the drinks against her wishes.In the end all the guests went home.The Saheb took Shapon’s wife to his bedroom and raped her.
When Shapon came home,he found the Aunt dead and he could not find his wife.He started yelling and screaming,the people in the community came running,they told him what had happened.On hearing this,Shapon lost control,he went to the Saheb’s house and demanded to see his wife.The Saheb ordered his servants to beat him up.In the fight there was no way,Shapon could win.The Saheb then got his hunter and beat him mercilessly.Shapon fell and fainted.The wife heard all the noise and kept crying and begging the Saheb not to beat her husband anymore.
Shapon was bound and carried off to a prison.Every day he would ask the security if he had any visitors.The reply was a firm “No”.
The Saheb did not want Shapon to be in the community jail.He got the hospital doctor to take fake tests,so that he could declare,that Shapon was completely insane and should be transferred to a mental hospital.
Before getting transferred to the mental institution one could hear Shapon crying and imploring,”I am not crazy,please let me go”.His cries were ignored and he was transferred to the mental institution.His cries went on,there was no mercy!
Shapon’s wife was completely insane,one would hear her laughing one moment and then crying the next moment and begging everyone not to beat her husband anymore.Years later the people were told about the death of Shapon’s wife.Shapon however was seen crying and saying,’ Please let me go I want to see my wife.’ But his pleas were ignored and his voice was carried off by the wind.
Assam (Photo credit: Rita Willaert)
This 1850 engraving shows the different stages in the process of making tea in Assam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)