The Persian Captain

An extract from ‘He who summoned the Magpie Robin’ by Nirjhor Barua

March the 24th: Morning- Chittagong

Captain Iskandar Bin Hamid Ulfa Persoudi was born to a wealthy Persian family in Baluchistan. He with his father Mirza Hamid Persoudi, mother Zainaba Niz Khosrangi, and older brother Emir Bin Hamid Tuglaq Persoudi were the sole members of the House of Khosrangi. The original Khosrangi family had run out of male heirs, due to an unknown and untimely occurrence of impotency on late Mr Khosrangi’s part and their family business and wealth all went to their daughter and her husband, Mirza Hamid. They had immigrated to Quetta of the then British India as a part of fortune hunting, business expansion and a self imposed exile; some members of the court of the Shah had personally taken interest in that family due to some bribery related state of affairs involving the late Mr Khosrangi, and it was seen to it that the business be made difficult and some assets seized. The later Persoudi family with the Khosrangi wealth, originally from the Fars province, were traders, merchants and imported anything and everything, from foreign made radios to papers to Singer Ceiling fans to even a Cadillac every once in a while.

He was waiting on his stalled jeep, by the Chittagong Cantonment Eastern gate. He was supposed to accompany an army officer, a Major from the army intelligence to help out in acquiring the goods from the MV Swat ship. It had to be done by today, Tikka’s orders. This Major was supposedly a very cunning officer, one that can get this job done. The young Captain had heard of this Major before. Although Bengali, he was a decorated officer with couple of gallantry award, Helal-e-Jurat, NIshan-e-Haider, already given to him and his unit. He was coming from the Comilla cantonment and was on his way.

The Persians that had emigrated out of Iran from the beginning of humanity for various reasons, except the Islamic holy men, rarely came to these parts of the world, rarely set foot on Bengal. Zoroastrians of the Hurmuz, Baha’is of the Bab and others that had left Persia and travelled east on various counts of exodus and persecution from the Arabs, the later Persian rulers and so on, had stopped travelling beyond a point in the heart of India. The young captain felt sorry for them, felt sorry for the bands of travellers that felt short of these fertile plains and never making it here by being satisfied with the Indian plateaus. He, although being a rough and tough soldier, had a soft poet that lived inside, without having a poet inside it would be hard to appreciate Bengal. The hardships and poverty would be too much of a reality to see the bounty of its existence and would only get in the way. Poets were always under a kind of illusion, too stupid to know the real world, too stupid to see the sort of hell the world truly was. The Persians like the Bengalis were poetic in nature; they were more of an artist then an engineer, more of a thinker then a mathematician, more of a lover then a husband, stronger on emotions rather than on the rational and were weak, weakness that had let the populace be dominated by foreign powers on number of occasions. The Two-hundred years of silence that the Persians in the middle-ages had passed before their submission to Arab imperialism was a lesson the Bengalis had to learn. Eight-hundred years ruled by foreign powers was too long of a time for them. The period of silence was over, and unlike the Persians, submission was not an option. He, the Captain, being on the side of the fight he wished he was not on, was scared, scared of the blood stains that his bullets would smear on this land and the poet inside him would be able to do nothing but sit and watch. The poet was too weak.

After much of a wait, the Major had arrived, the Major with sunglasses and a strong handshake that indicated that he, the cunningly-gallant Major, with the Nishan-e-Haider, would go far carrier-wise.

Published on  28/1/2013


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