A Bond Out Of Bondage




It is believed that in the year 1905, Rabindranath Tagore first started Rakhi Mahotsav, in order to strengthen the bond of love between the Hindus and the Muslims of Bengal, amidst the never ending riots which were taking place at that time. However, history states that the celebration of Raksha Bandhan dates back to the times of the Mughals, when Rani Karnavati first sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun, and called him her brother and asked him to protect her against the enemies.
Keeping history aside, my story, which is a true one, dates back to an era when India was undivided, and was being ruled by the Britishers. It’s a story that I have heard many times, as a child, from my Grandmother, and it has shaped up my belief in humanity.


My grandmother had four sisters, and three brothers. They used to live in Rajshaahi, which is a part of Bangladesh now. Her father, that is, my great-grandfather was a lawyer and a rich zamindar. They had a number of domestic helpers, who were assigned different jobs on a day to day basis. Amongst them, there was one Shukhi Dada. In Bengali, Sukhi means, one who is blessed or happy. As ironic as it can be, Sukhi Dada was an orphan since birth. He neither had any siblings nor any relatives. My great-grandfather had found him on the streets when he was around sixteen years old and pitying his condition, had taken him home. Since that day, he had been staying there and it was believed that my great-grandfather had deep affection for him. Sukhi dada too reciprocated that affection, and stayed like a loyal servant at my grandmother’s home. He was assigned all odd jobs, and was trusted with the day to day care of the children as well. The children loved him immensely. He used to play with them, tell them stories, carry the younger ones on his shoulder. Slowly as time passed, he became an integral part of the family. Those days, trust came very easily, which we cannot think of today.

Many years passed by, my grandmother was then sixteen and Sukhi Dada was around thirty. He had not married and stayed loyally devoted to this family, which he called his own. The other servants used to be jealous of him, because of the special attention he received.
It was during the time of Durga Puja, the full house was decorated with lights and flowers. Everyone was busy in the worship of Goddess Durga. In the evening, when my great-grandmother had entered her room, she found the vault open and many of her jewelleries had gone missing. No outsiders could reach her room. Police were called immediately, and after some initial investigation, to everyone’s shock and bewilderment, Sukhi Dada was arrested.


My grandmother had told me once, that when the police were taking him away, he was crying profusely and had pleaded not guilty, but my great-grandfather was so hurt, he didn’t listen to a single word. So many years of service, love and loyalty were broken in a minute.

Many days had passed by, after that incident. The children used to miss Sukhi Dada a lot, but everyone was forbidden to even talk about him, and the incident that happened. Then one day, the police came again and it was later heard that the real thief was caught, and they had found the jewelleries too. Under the pressure of the police, the thief had admitted that Sukhi Dada was innocent and two other servants had conspired against Sukhi Dada, so that they could get rid of him.

This news brought along with it a storm in my grandmother’s home. My otherwise docile great-grandmother blamed her husband for not trusting Sukhi. The bond of love and trust was broken by a simple mistake of my great-grandfather. He also must have felt guilty, because what followed after that was phenomenal.


My great-grandfather along with my grandmother and her sisters went to the jail to receive Sukhi Dada, when he was being released. It is said that they welcomed him with a thali that contained four Rakhis. Each of them tied a Rakhi to his hand and vowed to him that from that day onwards Sukhi Dada will forever be their real brother and they’ll always pray for his prosperity. In return, they asked for his forgiveness and requested him to once again come and live with them, like a family. As kind hearted as he was, he embraced them all and promised to protect them till his last day. It was also the only day, when my Grandmother had seen her father crying, holding Sukhi in his arms. That day a new bond of love was created while the bondage got destroyed forever!

Published by Antara

A writer by passion and a blogger by choice, I love to play with words.

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