The New Master Of India (part 13 Final Part)
The New Master Of India (pt 13 final part)
THE NEW MASTER OF INDIA
The marine took great pride in telling Colonel Clive about the eulogy showered upon him by the natives of India but the commander of the British land forces was not feeling almighty. The British were celebrating the retaking of Calcutta and were boasting about nabab Sirajuddaula fleeing with his tail between his legs. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. He had news that far from fleeing the young Moghal was advancing towards Calcutta again. The intelligence report suggested the enemy had 30 large guns, 70 war elephants, 40,000 horse and 70,000 foot soldiers. The British could probably muster 10 to 15 six pounders, 700 European soldiers and 1,300 black sepoys. War had also broken out between the French and the British in Europe. Furthermore, the attitude of the Bengal gentlemen was a constant source of irritation to him. They refused to accept his authority. He himself felt contemptuous towards them because all they could think about was trade and self aggrandisement with little regard for King and country.
The marine handed him a letter from the gentlemen of Bengal; a stern letter. The main theme in it was that the Colonel must take orders from them and not the Madras Council of Fort St George. The letter, signed jointly by Drake, Watts, Becher and Holwell, concluded by saying, 'If you continue to act independently of us we will regard this as an infringement of the authority vested in us by the directors in Leadenhall street. We will of course exculpate ourselves from any bad consequences attending it by protesting against you and the select committee of Fort St George'.
Clive wrote a polite reply to the administrators at Calcutta but concluded firmly by saying, 'You will forgive me gentlemen if I refuse to give up the independent powers given to me. I cannot do so without forfeiting the trust reposed in me by the select committee of Fort St George'.
A few days later the two British spies, Walsh and Scrafton, sent to the nabab's camp for intelligence returned to Clive. A much agitated Walsh said, “I have some bad news to report.” Seeing Clive's impassive face he continued with his narrative. “We went to find the nabab as you ordered us to do. Both of us rode past the villages some five miles beyond the Chitpur tank. Not finding any trace of him, we thought we will return to Fort William and report back to you. We followed the Marhata ditch and suddenly we came across some coolies running towards us. They said that the nabab had already reached Calcutta judging by all the burning villages beyond what was once Black Town.”
Clive interrupted. He said with a frown, “But in that case you should have seen burnt out villages on your way here.!”
Scrafton answered, “We saw all the villages intact.”
“It may be,” added Walsh, “that the nabab arrived somewhere else in the north-east and then started moving south-west towards Calcutta. The coolies were probably referring to the villages there.”
“But you did not see any of those villages?” asked Clive.
“No Sir,” replied Walsh. “But we came directly south skirting the Marhata ditch. To see the burnt out villages we would have had to move east and beyond Black Town.”
Clive scribbled on a piece of paper, 'Black Town, nabab to rebuild Black Town'. He looked up at his visitors and said, “Do carry on. I am just making a note to make sure that the village burner rebuilds Black Town once I have caught up with him.”
Walsh looked at Scrafton and said, “You tell the Colonel the rest.”
“Well,” said Scrafton. “We came as far as Omichand's garden when we were stopped by about 20 horsemen. They looked menacing with their sabres drawn. Since the horsemen did not understand Bengali or Farsi, we could not explain to them that we were sent by you to have an audience with the suba.”
Clive moved away from them pressing his abdomen with his right hand. “Something wrong Sir?” asked Walsh. “No,” said Clive. “I am all right. I get this pain now and again; but, please, what happened next?”
Scrafton continued. “We were taken to Halsibagan, as Omichand's garden is named, where mercifully there was a Bengali interpreter. But the nabab would not see us. We understand that he is nervous these days. He does not trust us, the British. He thought that we were out thee to assassinate him.”
Scrafton paused for a while. The Colonel, though in pain, was attentive. “He is nervous you say,” he asked looking at both of them. They nodded to indicate that that was so. “Do continue,” asked Clive.
Scrafton said, “We managed to move about freely by slipping away under cover of darkness. We did not see the nabab but he was probably in Omichand's house. One thing for sure; the ordinary people have no sympathy for their own ruler.”
This time Clive took laudanum, a tincture of opium. It was not as quick acting as concentrated opium but it did not interfere with his thinking much. He needed a clear brain because he decided to write an important letter to his father after taking a leisurely walk around the Chitpur fortifications. He announced that he wanted to eat his dinner at eight that night and he wanted nothing else but a large portion of curry and rice followed by those sugary Bengali sweetmeats.
He ate by himself, sitting on the floor on a piece of carpet with his fingers, Indian style. He looked grand, dressed as a Moghal complete with a turban decorated with pearls, ruby and lapis lazuli from around the Hindu Kush mountain. After dinner he smoked the hubble- bubble and then wrote to his father:
The ruler of Bengal did not flee after my last encounter with him as I was given to understand. I know now he is going to attack Calcutta again with an army much larger than what I have under my command.
However, I am sure of victory. You would be surprised if you saw how inept these Indian potentates are. There is a strong streak of individualism in all of them whether he is a king or a lowly coolie or a penniless beggar. You have not known what corruption is until you visited India. The nabab's courtiers or soldiers have no loyalty to him. They will only support the young fellow if there is an immediate gain in it for them. My army is small but the Admiral, very kind of him, has sent me sailors so that all in all I can muster 700 or so European soldiers. Naturally it would have been a problem if the nabab's army fought but I know they will not. If, in the likely event, a division does fight all we need to do is destroy their commander. The division will disintegrate right away or even come to our side if we could convince them that there was a financial gain for them in so doing. At any rate we have truly bribed the nabab's Generals. Mir Zafar, a relative, nurtures the ambition of occupying the throne himself. So he will definitely help us to win. He is the commander-in-Chief but there are others lower in rank to him, all Muslims, who have similar ambitions. The Hindus are avaricious. They know that if the British can trade freely it will be money for them as well mainly as the suppliers of commodities. So they are on our side. I can assure you that I am going to repel these Indians and bring this arrogant and incompetent Sirajuddaula to his knees. After that I will neutralise the French. So the battle for Calcutta first and then an attack on Chandernagore, you know, the little enclave near Calcutta. The French have a fort there.
I can assure you that the whole of Bengal will be ours soon. It occurred to me that it will need a Governor General to control trade and political affairs. I desire to take up that post. Perhaps, you could sound this out. But do be careful. You will have to be very circumspect.
I am with duty to my mother and affection to my brothers and sisters. Honoured Sir – Your most dutiful and obedient son, Robert Clive.
Next morning Clive noticed that he was free of pain. He breakfasted on porridge and roast fowl, went for a walk around the Chitpur fortifications again and started planning an attack on the French once the young fellow of Murshidabad had been liquidated. Colonel Robert Clive was very pleased with himself but he did not know that the very important Frenchman in India was despondent and unhappy.
“It was not necessary, dear boy,” said Jean Law to Sirajuddaula.
“I had no alternative,” answered the boy walking alongside the Frenchman in the garden of Govinda Mitra, the black zaminder, land owner.
“Agreeing to their demands will make the British bolder,” pointed out Jean Law.
“They could not get any bolder, could they?” asked the dispirited nabab. “They have regained Calcutta. You think they will be satisfied and stop at that! Oh no. On they went to Budge Budge, Thana and Hoogli. And the carnage at Hoogli!” The nabab walked for a minute silently and then muttered in a hushed voice, “I know we all burn villages, loot and extract as much wealth as we can from even the very poor. But how many of us hang men indiscriminately or throw children in the air like melons? Have you ever seen our soldiers raping and torturing women?”
Jean Law did not feel disposed to answer the nabab. He was concerned about the future of the French in India. The British were playing a Machiavellian game in India. On the one hand they joined the intrigue of playing the Moghal grandees and the influential Hindus against the nabab. On the other, they were systematically hacking down the nabab's authority piece by piece. They were moving fast. He had reliable information that the British wanted the removal of Jean Law from Murshidabad.
Jean Law spoke first after they walked quite a distance without any conversation. He said, “The problem to face now is that the British have gathered a lot of intelligence about you.”
The nabab said with a self satisfying smile, “We know about their strength as well. “They have about 700 European and 1500 Madrasi soldiers. Our numbers far outweigh their strength.”
Monsieur Law scrutinised the nabab as it were by looking at him a few times. He seemed to have difficulty in composing himself. The Frenchman felt irritated at the immature and irresponsible Moghal. With all the events that had encircled him over the past few months, someone else would have gained something. This young man seemed incapable of having the ability to learn anything.
Nevertheless he wanted to help him. He said, “I have arranged for you to have French gunners for your current project. If you can keep Mir Zafar and Rai Durlabh isolated, half your troubles will be over.”
When Jean Law returned to his quarters a somewhat agitated St Frais, the officer in command of the French gunners, came running to him with a letter in his hand. “I have taken the liberty of reading this,” he said.
“Tell me then,” asked Jean Law busy undoing his heavy boots.”What is the content?”
“The letter,” replied St Frais, “is from the nabab addressed to Clive. It says that the suba knows that Monsieur Law is a spy and a conspirator against him.”
“A conspirator!” muttered Jean Law. His face hardened progressively while listening to St Frais reading out the letter:
'I know that the French have no other design on Hindustan than to make it a part of
their metropolitan territory. Bussy became the Governor of the northern Sarkars acting on behalf of the nabab of Deccan, Salabat Jang. Such is their intrigue that they have complete control of the Coromandal coast and the borders of Orissa. I know they are active in Balasore and their presence is known even in Bardhaman. Jean Law himself is well placed in Patna to take over Bihar at a convenient moment. Being by my side he knows all about my court and the courtiers so, when the time comes to strike, he will not fail. I promise you I will expel the French from India. You may recall that I sacked their factory not so long ago. This, I thought, would be sufficient reason for the French to flee the country but they still stay on. It is clear that they are confident. This Jean Law is in the north what Bussy is in southern India.
You will appreciate that I have agreed that the British can trade anywhere in my viceroyalty without hindrance. They are exempt from all taxes while the natives and all other Europeans must pay all that is due. You can fortify your Fort William as you please and can employ soldiers anywhere and any time you wish. Once you have driven out the French from Bengal, Bihar and Orissa their property is yours. If any native offends you, you are entitled to arrest him and try him in your court. You can of course mint your own rupee. I am arranging for a present in jewels for you worth one million rupees. Hoping to be your friend, etc,”
Jean Law examined the letter carefully. “Seems authentic enough,” he mused. He asked in a while, “How did you get hold of it?”
St Frais thought for a few seconds. He acted the scene out as he spoke: “Here was I sunning myself outside my tent. There, some 200 yards away, was the cooking area for us. From the direction of Omichand's living area comes a guard dragging a man practically by his ear. I recognise the little Indian. He is one of our chef's assistants. The guard tells me that the little Indian was hanging around Omichand's house and wanted to verify if he was really in our employment. I got him released but instructed the chef to deal with the matter. After all we were the guests of Omichand. I did not want to give any offence to our host.”
“Well,” said Jean Law smiling, “we have forced ourselves on the fellow really. It was the nabab's command that we make camp here. The nabab himself moved later to the black zaminder's house to hoodwink the British.”
Jean Law came out of the tent with St Frais, stretched his arms and looked in the direction of the cookhouse. He felt hungry suddenly. “Let us eat,” he said and asked “So, how did this letter get into your hand?”
St Frais replied immediately. “The chef's first reaction was to frisk the fellow. What else would he go there for but to steal something? The letter was found on his head hidden under the turban. The chef brought it to me immediately.”
While waiting for their meal, they sipped wine and continued with their conversation. “A letter addressed to the British Colonel,” said St Frais, “I must read the contents for intelligence. We are at war with the British after all. I can read Farsi as you know but I was astounded at what I found.”
“Why should the nabab's letter come from Omichand's place?” asked Jean Law now starting to eat. “Sirajuddaula is living in the house of Govinda Mitra, the black zaminder.”
St Frais looked at him. “Ah! I did not think!”
“You know what I think,” said Jean Law with a serious face.
St Frais shook his head from side to side.
“I think it is a piece of forgery,” said Jean Law thoughtfully. “The British are now extending their intrigue to us. Clive wishes us removed from the scene so that the nabab is deprived of your tough artillerymen. I am pretty sure the letter was meant to fall into our hands.”
“What shall we do?” asked St Frais.
“After our meal we see this Indian chap,” answered Jean Law. “I suspect Omichand is behind this. He is a slimy character. The British seem to regard him as their number one spy. Yet, he goes to all the darbars the nabab holds. The suba does not suspect him at all!”
“The nabab seems very gullible,” commented St Frais.
“He is totally whimsical. He loves his country and he understands that we the Europeans will colonise them one day soon; hence his animosity towards us. He hates the British. He is wise to their Machiavellian approach. The problem is he is very young to hold the position of the Head of a very large region. He is totally inexperienced. He was not trained for the job. Somewhat irresponsible fellow his grandfather I should think.”
A search for the Indian proved futile which confirmed Jean Law's suspicion of the letter being a forgery. Nevertheless something kept gnawing at him persistently. That night he wrote in his diary:
'An astonishing amalgam of races, these Indians of many languages. A civilisation they had undoubtedly. The Moghals and the Afghans before them inherited a bureaucracy left behind by the Hindu Chakravartins, the high emperors. Administrative skill is clearly demonstrated but I have never met such an egocentric group of people in all my life. Everyone wants to lead without having the quality of leadership. The people are overconfident about most things possibly because they live in the dark abyss of ignorance. Treachery is in their blood. It is hard to find an Indian on whom I could rely. He will be sycophantic because I am white; because I am physically bigger and stronger; because I am in command. But if a superior adversary of mine came along, I can rely on my current Indian colleague or friend to betray me. There is no hope for the nabab. He is fickle. He does not know a friend from a foe. The most disappointing aspect of this all is that he is probably a veritable coward and an opportunist like most of his fellow countrymen.'
The following morning a depressed Jean Law sought an audience with Sirajuddaula which was granted immediately. They met at the nabab's private quarters.
“You look unhappy, Monsieur,” said the nabab.
“I hear rumours,” said Jean Law. As the nabab made no attempt to comment, he continued, “The British want my removal from your side.”
“They are not going to dictate to me,” replied the nabab shaking his head.
The Frenchman knew the Asiatic way very well. A man in command could not give a command. He could not make up his mind but would vacillate from one decision to another. He was not humble and would not admit to being a weakling. It was common knowledge that Sirajuddaula had now a dread of the British, especially of Clive, but he must put up a front as he was doing now.
In spite of his disappointment, Jean Law remained amicable. He said, “I am needed in Patna,”
“In that case,” said the nabab, “I will not even try to stop you.”
Jean Law got up. The nabab rose with him too and said, “I am a bit worried about leaving Murshidabad practically unattended. Could you spare St Frais and get him to travel up north with his gunners and stay there until the British are chased out of Calcutta for good and we travel back to Murshidabad?”
“But you will need him and his gunners here for the on coming battle!” said Jean Law.
“I would rather St Frais travelled right away and made his presence felt at Murshidabad,” pleaded the nabab.
“As you wish your Excellency,” saying this Jean Law looked at the nabab and extended his hand. Siraj held it with both his hands and gazed at him sadly. “Goodbye my friend,” said Jean Law. “Goodbye friend till we meet again,” said nabab Ul-Mulk Sirajuddaula still grasping his hand.
Jean Law forced a smile, released his hand from the nabab's grasp and left abruptly. That afternoon, he with StFrais and the French gunners moved eastwards passing the elephants, the horses and hundreds of tents of the nabab's army pitched beyond the burnt out Black Town. Then they moved north at a leisurely pace towards Chandernagore.
Jean Law said to St Frais, “We shall take a boat tomorrow. You and the gunners disembark at Murshidabad. I will go further north perhaps to Rajmahal and then to Patna.” He then pulled the rein of his horse and said to St Frais, “Look after the young fellow.” “Yes Sir,” said St Frais with an amount of enthusiasm as he gave Jean Law a salute.
As the French moved out, Clive proceeded in the south-western direction with his officers and held a meeting at Kelsall's Octagon. He announced that he was satisfied that about two thirds of the enemy forces was to the east of the Marhata ditch. “Gentlemen” he announced, “I propose to march again at night to make sure that we create a diversion among the nabab's men. They are grouped in a zone about a mile and a quarter deep north to south.”
“With Omichand's garden in the middle I suppose.” asked an officer.
“To be exact,” replied Major Killpatrick, “the top boundary of the nabab's camp is about half a mile north from Omichand's garden. About 600 yards north from the
southern boundary of the camp stands a very good causeway over the Marhata ditch.”
Clive thanked the Major and asked the officers to move over to a sketch stuck on a tent, about four feet from the ground, at four corners with lumps of clay. He pointed to the sketch with his swagger-stick.
“I plan,” he said, “to reach the causeway by about eight in the morning. By then the usual fog we have this time of the year should lift and we shall enter Calcutta. We will be somewhere opposite Barobajar. As soon as we enter the city, we attack the remaining third of the enemy force which have taken up positions there and annihilate them. We shall make sure that the nabab hears of this. That should be enough for the other two thirds of his force to turn tail for us to pursue them and kill as many as is possible.”
Clive had good news from the Admiral. He sent a messenger with the information that, at his request, Watson has despatched 600 seamen. They should be in Chitpur in a few hours. The Colonel gave instruction right away to make sure that the Admiral's men ate well and had rested till they were fresh. The following morning at one o'clock Clive gathered his officers again who arranged the men in formation so that they will be ready for battle after the seamen from the navy rested who arrived an hour after.
Soon they ate well and rested fully ready for battle but the Major discovered to his dismay that they had no oxen to pull the cannon. Clive informed him that the coolies for the job disappeared while the seamen and the rest of the personnel were resting.
The Major laughed, resigned to the fact, and announced that the cooks and the servants have scarpered too.
“We shall have to use soldiers to drag them,” said Clive. The Major looked at him but realised that there was no alternative. “I shall detail the black sepoys for the job,” said the Major already making a move away from the Colonel.
“No, no,” said Clive getting hold of the Major by the arm. “We shall use the seamen the Admiral sent for the job.”
Major Killpatrick looked concerned. They looked at each other. “Well?” quipped Clive.
“I think the Admiral's men will feel insulted. They like to call themselves marines you know. It will be safer I think to use the black sepoys to haul the cannon.”
“The blacks may take offence too,” said Clive smiling mischievously.
The Major was quick to answer. “Oh no, they will not dare. They are spineless. They will be too afraid to disobey a white sahib. At any rate the Indians are servile by nature. They always take orders from us no matter how unpalatable they are.”
Clive would not change his mind but the seamen, upon hearing of it, protested loudly. The Colonel faced them himself as soon as he heard of their insubordination and told them clearly that anyone who disobeyed would be hanged on the spot. That evaporated the problem and the seamen, about 300 of them, got busy with ropes to prepare the harness for pulling. The Colonel planned the sequence of the men for march personally. The black sepoys formed the advance guard, followed by Captain Eyre Coote with the 39th foot. Then followed the Company Europeans. Behind them were the Admiral's seamen and guns. In case there was an attack from the rear, Clive put more black soldiers to form the rearguard.
The column set off at three in the morning. The march was slow because of the difficulty in hauling the guns by men with ropes round their waists and, at about six in the morning, Clive's men had to stop abruptly at horse lines. The air was cold and the fog so thick that men bumped into men and loud yells went up in the air as some of the seamen got trapped by the cannon. At this, alarm gongs, cymbals and long horns went off at the nabab's camp and a column of infantrymen appeared out of nowhere. The black sepoys in the front started to fire their muskets but nobody knew if it was having any effect on the enemy troops because visibility was almost nil. Suddenly, the sky lit up as a shower of arrows filled with fire rockets appeared from the nabab's camp and landed behind the 39th foot, blowing up nearly a whole platoon of the Company Europeans.
While Clive's men were in disarray a column of cavalry appeared. The black sepoys in the front were shivering from the cold air with their fingers nearly numb. Nevertheless, they made an attempt to fire at the nabab's cavalry but the horsemen drew their swords and cut a few of the sepoys down. The sky reverberated as the horsemen shouted 'Allah Ho Akbar' once and then dissolved in the thick fog. In a matter of minutes, a group of infantrymen took up position behind trees, embankments or walls of burnt out houses and started to fire at Clive's men raising the casualty figure.
The fog lifted at nine in the morning. Much to the concern of officers and men, the British found themselves facing the cavalry and infantrymen of Mir Madan and Mohan Lal. The cannonade that started put the British in total confusion and they stampeded. While in this state of disarray, suddenly, Clive appeared with arrows and bullets whizzing past him. “Follow me men, he shouted. “We take the causeway.”
The men now in total disorder ran towards Clive. The relentless cannonade from the Indians took its toll but Clive and his men arrived opposite the causeway. The nabab's cavalry withdrew to a safer distance from their own guns positioned to the east of the causeway.
As soon as the cavalry was deemed safely out of harm's way, the guns opened up and the British casualties rose further. A worried Clive summoned some of his officers quickly for consultation which lasted a minute. The decision was to order the men to move south as fast as they could. The seamen pulling the cannon swore but co-operated. With typical inefficiency, the Indians did not pursue them as they should have done. For the British, although visibility was now better, hauling the cannon through the paddy fields, dry though they were, proved difficult. Clive noticed that his men were exhausted so he ordered a brief rest and pondered over his next move.
Eyre Coote sulked in a corner. The seamen were bitter. Even the Indian sepoys were unhappy at seeing so many of their own racial group being butchered or maimed unnecessarily.
A messenger came from the Admiral at about ten in the morning in the person of Captain Speke. “How did you manage to get news of the battle and know our position so soon?” asked Clive.
“Oh, we have our ways,” replied Speke in a matter of fact manner.
Clive's face went visibly red. He could hang this fellow from the nearest tree. He could hang that Admiral as well particularly since he insisted on sending such an obnoxious character as this fellow.
Speke said gratuitously, “The battle is going badly we gather; bad planning, eh?”
“The battle is not lost yet,” said Clive looking away from his visitor.
Speke took on a pompous air as he started walking. “You see,” he said, “one does not rush into things in military matters. One plans. First of all you must have the correct intelligence about your enemy strength and intention. You must think of the logistics.”
It proved to be too much and Clive lost his composure. He shouted, “ What is the object of your visit?”
“The object is to guide you to do a job properly,” asserted Speke.
Clive found the situation untenable. On the other hand he was fully aware of the blunder of this morning's expedition. There were many killed and wounded. Even the casualties among the European troops were high. Some diplomacy, he felt, was apposite.
He asked simply, “How did you get here anyway?”
Captain Speke made up a story. He said, “I rowed to Governor's ghat from the flagship, HMS Kent. Then I took a fast camel cart along Lalbazar road; crossed the causeway by foot and here I am.”
Quite plausible, thought Clive. He asked, “In that case, there is no enemy force beyond the causeway.”
“Not that I have noticed,” replied Speke and quickly took a letter out of his pocket and handed it to the Colonel. In the letter the Admiral assumed that the battle would be won by Clive. It ended by advising, “I think it might not be amiss if you were to consult some of your officers.” Clive had in the meantime regained his composure. He had enough experience by now to know that there was no advantage in speaking one's mind and react according to one's emotion. He became a politician suddenly. He wrote a humble reply and concluded by stating, “As you wish, I am going to consult my officers right away; not that I am not in a habit of doing so. I am going to call a council of war. Be assured Sir, I am very desirous that my conduct should be such as may meet with the approbation of the world.”
As Speke left, Clive decided to follow the Lalbazar road but, contrary to Speke's information, Khodadad Yar Lutf Khan blocked the way with his 2,000 horse. Eyre Coote's 39th fired a few rounds of grape shot upon which Khan's cavalry retreated and galloped along the ditch towards Omichand's garden.
Colonel Clive spoke to his men. “I don't think we have anything to worry about. If I know Indians, the nabab will now flee to Murshidabad. Let us enter Fort William along this road as we planned. The fort is only about a mile from here.” He pointed to the road on a map. He turned to the seamen, smiled and said, “I am sorry you had to drag the cannon but the black soldiers were needed to shield the European troops from missiles, bullets and arrows. It is unfortunate that the fire rockets landed among the Europeans, otherwise the casualties among them would have been negligible. As it is, most of the dead and wounded are among the blacks.”
The sailors were now not unwilling to drag the cannon to the fort but Clive replaced them by the black soldiers. Major Killpatrick made encouraging comments to them in broken Tamil. The enemy seemed to have evaporated. As Clive predicted they must have hurried north en masse, their destination being miles away from Calcutta. In Calcutta, the long column of weary soldiers marched along the road leaving the jail and the Playhouse on the left. They crossed Rope Walk and turned left at St Anne's Church, skirting Lal Bagh park with the Great Tank in the middle. The column then made a sharp right turn marching along the new godown area. Another right turn and they entered Fort William through the demolished South River Gate.
Colonel Robert Clive should have felt triumphant and elated; Calcutta repossessed. Nobody could dispute British ownership any more of the great and beautiful city. But Clive walked back to Governor's ghat and sat on the step rubbing his abdomen. The pain got progressively worse and a sharp ring of gloom kept closing in on him.
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