“Put him in the same cell as that Baba’s Chela,” said the Inspector of Police when Michael was brought to the Royal Incarceration. “The Chela should know how to deal with witches and their lovers.”
Michael had been accused of practising witchcraft because some charge was needed for relegating him or anyone to the Royal Incarceration according to one of the many Orders promulgated by the new King.
“Baba wanted to own the Taj Mahal,” said the Chela having introduced himself to Michael. “Baba Sena tried to carry out the wish.” His devotion had landed him in the Royal Incarceration.
“Why does Baba want so much land?” wondered Michael. He had seen enormous tracts of land encompassed by tall walls with the Baba’s signboards declaring proprietorship in many places during his extensive journeys over the last few months.
Chela looked at Michael as if the latter were an imbecile. “He wants the whole country,” explained Chela. “Ownership is the only real power and power is the only real key to Paradise founded solidly on morality.”
Women, wealth and vanity. People usually conquered lands for these. Michael learnt a new lesson now. Morality can be a reason for conquests too.
“But Taj Mahal is a national heritage. How can that become a private property?”
Once again Chela’s look made Michael feel like an imbecile. “Privatisation and Liberalisation. Haven’t you heard of such things? Haven’t we sold our forests to the private ownerships? Haven’t we sold the skies to private airline operators? Why, even the oil in the wells deep down there (he pointed at the ground) has been made private property. The rivers will soon become private property. The air you breathe will also be privatised eventually. Why can’t the Taj Mahal be privatised then?”
“Then what’s your crime?” asked Michael.
“Nothing. Who said I committed any crime? It’s a matter of time. If you eat slowly, you can eat the whole country. That’s what the King told Baba.”
Chela imparted great lessons to Michael. But Michael was incapable of learning them. Hence the Superintendent of the Royal Incarceration was ordered to conduct an IQ Test. The result of the test was doctored so that Michael became a certified imbecile unfit to take up any profession that requires some intelligence at least. He was given the permit to work on the streets bringing swatchhta to them.
Earlier Michael episodes: