Khaalsa has thousand hands

On several occasions, I have asserted that communication gap is the biggest enemy of all relationships. I reiterate that. Communication gap generates misunderstandings between two persons which, in due course of time, eat up the pleasant relationship between them. The relation of husband and wife is not only the closest in this world (if maintained properly) but also the most delicate one. If a husband and a wife put premium on their love-filled relationship, then they should consider communication gap a taboo. It’s the best thing to communicate and clarify the things, lest a scratch should develop into a canker.

Hindi novelist Surendra Mohan Pathak has penned a novel on this theme only. It’s Hazaar Haath (thousand hands) which was first published in 1998. This novel is a part of his most popular series – Vimal Series whose hero is a wanted criminal but a man of high conscience and moral values. His real name is Sardaar Surendra Singh Sohal (he is a Sikh) but he is known as Vimal in the series.

Decades back Surendra Mohan Pathak had penned an extremely popular novel – Painsath Laakh Ki Dakaiti (also published in English as The 65 Lakh Heist) which was the fourth novel of this series. In that novel, Vimal is forced by a hardcore criminal – Maayaram Baava to become his accomplice in looting Bhaarat Bank at Amritsar (Punjab). After the robbery, Maayaram kills all his accomplices excluding Vimal who saves his life from him and with the help of a callgirl – Neelam, catches him. He does not kill Maayaram due to Neelam’s request to spare his life and leaves him by breaking the bones of his hands and legs. While leaving he puts a tag on Maayaram’s body that whosoever approaches him, should surrender him to the police. In later novels of this series, Vimal goes daredevil against several gangsters and becomes a Robinhood type criminal, supporting the needy, the underdog and the innocent. After that venture, Neelam also starts leading a straight life and supports Vimal in many of his adventures. Eventually, they get married and are blessed with a son.

The story of Hazaar Haath (which is the twenty-ninth novel of this series) starts with the re-entry of Maayaram in this series who has certain photos and a marriage certificate evidencing that he’s Neelam’s husband. It is known that in his injured condition, he has got the help of a petty criminal – Haridutt Pant who has arranged for his medical treatment. After getting fully recovered, he has been on Vimal’s trail and now knows everything about his subsequent ventures and present life. Coming to know that Vimal is in Mumbai due to his present activities whereas Neelam is in Delhi, Maayaram approaches Neelam and blackmails her on the basis of the evidences of their so-called marriage. Neelam gets frightened and to save her marriage with Vimal, pays the demanded sums to Maayaram without conveying anything to Vimal. Nevertheless, Vimal comes to know of these developments through a well-wisher – Mubaarak Ali. He, then, weaves a large conspiracy around Maayaram, framing him in a false murder charge and gets those photos and marriage certificate from him. Finally, he talks to Neelam and comes to know of the truth behind those photos and marriage certificate. He, then, admonishes Neelam that their relationship is based on mutual trust and deep love and she should have told him everything immediately after getting approached by Maayaram for the first time. Neelam agrees and their marital bliss remains intact.

The title of the novel is as such because Vimal asserts that he is a Khaalsa (a pure person) and a Khaalsa is never alone. He has thousand hands (of like minded people) to support him and his cause. This word Khaalsa was coined by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikh community, deriving it from the word – Khaalis (pure). A person who is not sinful and remains always on the right path, was termed as Khaalsa by him. A Khaalsa is one who is not sinful, pure in his heart and is ever ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of whatever is good and just. Vimal is such type of a person only. Despite being a wanted criminal, he is a religious-minded, God-fearing person who has made opposition of organized crime as the mission of his life. He is always reciting couplets from Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs.

Due to Vimal’s encounters with the criminals, normally the novels of this series contain a lot of bloodshed. However Hazaar Haath is an exception. There is no bloodshed in the novel. A sensitive story has been told in the most impressive and interesting manner, conveying an exemplary message for the married couples. It’s completely a no-nonsense novel with nothing over the top.

The story of the novel moves on its track from the very first word and thereafter heads towards its desired finale without any digression. There is nothing superfluous in this compact novel whose narrative flows freely in an impressive language (Hindi) and the reader finds himself flowing with that, getting a satisfactory feeling when it is over. However, like Painsath Lakh Ki Dakaiti, this novel has also been published in English as Framed.

While conveying my warm wishes to the legendary Hindi author on his 79th birthday today (19th February), and reasserting my thought that communication gap is to be avoided at all costs if the persons value their mutual relationship, I quote Vimal’s dialog to Neelam in the ending scene of Hazaar Haath – ‘Pati-Patni Ka Sukh-Dukh Saanjha Hota Hai, Unmein Koi Dui Ka Bhed Nahin Hota’ (the pain as well as the joy of husband and wife is joint and there is no duality between them). It’s something which no married couple should ever forget.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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