Remembering Dulal Nandy, Mahakaal’s Brajanandan

Dulal Nandy, self-made innovative and successful entrepreneur, civil contractor responsible for the maintenance of all constructions in the railway town of Chittaranjan, owner of a cinema hall and newspapers and magazines…. enough for a school going teenager to view such a personality in a small town with awe and respectful distance. He was however, known to this author’s father, who was a doctor in the railway hospital. What nobody in Chittaranjan or even his family members knew was exactly where he used to go every year on the 23rd January and the Durgapuja. Even Jayasree Nandy, his wife knew that he used to visit his “Gurudev” residing in the Himalayas who used to come down to the plains in UP once or twice a year and granted audience to a motely few of his disciples. His “Gurudev” as it transpired later during the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry (1999-2004) was a reclusive holy saint known to his disciples as “Bhagwanji” or “Mahakaal” and was attributed the eponym of “Gumnami Baba” (saint without a name), whose last known presence was at a house named “Rambhawan” at Civil Lines, Faizabad in UP till the 16th September, 1985. Dulal Nandy was born in the year 1932 in Dhaka and had his education at Mrityunjay School in Myemensingh where he graduated at 15. Subsequently he did his graduation from Asansol College. As a young man, he was member of the Forward Bloc in the town of Asansol in the early or mid-fifties and became a confidante of the Forward Bloc leader Leela Roy foremost revolutionary leader, educationist and trusted follower of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose since early twenties through his acquaintance with local Forward Bloc leaders like Atin Basu, Samar Sen, et al. The presence of Bhagwanji in Naimisharanya in UP became known to Mr Atul Sen who met him from behind a curtain in December 1962. He intimated Dr Pabitra Mohan Roy who in turn informed Leela Roy when he could not arrange to all items to be sent to Bhagwanji on his own. Leela Roy visited Bhagwanji in 1963 and came back to Calcutta with the firm conviction that Bhagwanji was none other than her mentor Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Then on, it was Leela Roy who was practically the pillar of support for Bhagwanji for his material and medical needs and other expenses, and her most trusted and able followers who used to be deputed for this work were Santosh Bhattacharya and Dulal Nandy. Dulal Nandy kept on visiting Bhagwanji since June 1965 till March 1985. He bore the responsibility of organizing provision of materials that Bhagwanji needed like an alarm clock, a petromax lamp, a generator, wrist watch (He presented Bhagwanji the Rolex wrist watch), a Pilot Pen, the chronometer wrist watch, the particular brand of cigarettes he liked, food materials like pure (‘gawa’) ghee, home made ‘malpoa’ clothes (Bhagwanji mostly wore cotton Dhoti and Shirt), good quality bread, butter, , ‘kucho nimki’, ‘darbesh’ , etc., records of songs by Gita Dutt and Dilip Kumar Roy, etc. Jayasree Nandy knitted and sent a white half sweater for Bhagwanji. Dulal Nandy was Bhagwanji’s trusted person when it came to shifting places of residence. He would modify the place of Bhagwanji’s planned residence like the kind of entrance door according to Bhagwanji’s instructions, locks with the specified number of levers, the specifications of the septic tank of a German model, the particular brand of cigarettes that he referred……etc. When on one occasion, during his stay for about a month with Bhagwanji, Dulal Nandy had completely exhausted his funds, he pawned out his marriage ring to a local shop in Basti in urgent need for money. He went on visiting Bhagwanji for a full two decades, catering to his various requirements in complete secrecy, his visits coming to an end only after it became know that Bhagwanji was no longer in Faizabad after September 16, 1985. Thereafter, all through his retired life he maintained total secrecy even as he awaited Bhagwanji’s return along with other trusted disciples. The association became public knowledge after 2003 during the proceedings of the Mukherjee Commission, but Dulal Nandy, like other followers never divulged any details about his visits to Bhagwanji. Myriad geriatric ailments caught up with him in his old age, but the very mention of “Mahakaal” would make his eyes sparkle with fire. In the words of Shri Bijoy Nag, editor, Jayasree Patrika, trusted “Poltu” or “Chhota Lerka” of Bhagwanji……….“Dulalda [Shri Dulal Nandy] left for his heavenly abode on February 14, 2018, one of his last words were— ‘Shall we see (Him) again before I go?’—how I wish we had the competence or the authority to answer his question! But our faith would compel us to say, yes, we shall…. The unwavering faith in his return and the arcane doctrine therein that the committed followers of our adored personality have faithfuly clung on to for over half a century, Bhagwanji’s resolutely devoted sadhika and shadow Mukul have bequeathed to us.