Diary entry by Nathu in the novel Tamas by Bhishma Sahni

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Diary entry by Nathu in Tamas

I once heard my mother recite the tale from Ramayana in which Goddess Sita, the consort of Lord Rama, called for mother Earth to engulf her in order to salve her from any more adversities she might have to confront in human life. I too wish that the land had parted under my feet. But I am no Sita, an emblem of truth and purity; and in the deep recess of my heart, sinner as I am,  I cannot dare to harbour any hope of forgiveness and redemption.”Farewell remorse:all good to me is lost; evil be thou my good.”

How happy I was till yesterday, eking my humble livelihood by skinning the hides of the dead animals, in my scrimpy shack made snug by my loving wife! But the malignant fate had something else in store for me. As Satan knew well that Eve was the best means of wreaking vengeance on God, that profligate Murad Ali knew that I was the easiest stooge available to him to forge his fiendish designs. . And how degraded of me it was to sell my soul, like Faustus, to the devil for a mere sum of Rs. five! For these despicable sinews of war I forgot that I am a tanner whose job is to flay, and not kill the beasts.

On retrospection, I realize that it was not the avarice for money alone that allured me to kill the pig; it was the authoritative personality of Murad Ali as well. As a destitute, I could not dare to offend an influential man like him, a man who proved my benefactor by regularly sending dead animals to me. And if I had offended him, he might have set ruffians on me. Using his influence with the municipality he could have me evicted from his tenement. Moreover I believed in the alibi that the veterinary surgeon urgently required the carcass of a pig for experiment; so there was no way I could say no to him. Thus I can condone myself for being guiltless but history of mankind will never forget that I was the man who played a very foul role in sparking the fire of religious fanaticism. This is the irony of human kind that man is forgotten but not his sins; acts of kindness may soon be forgotten, but the memory of an offense remains.

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A shiver runs down my spine to reminisce the fateful encounter between me and that odious pig. The wound in my shin is still green, and its memory gives me a seething pain. After killing the pig, I did not stay in the foul-smelling hut as the gore spilt all over raked my qualms. I could never anticipate that this trivial act of killing a beast will infuriate the religious fervor of people. As fate would have it, I experienced many bad omens, such as the spell cast image made of dough stuck with pricks, and a pot containing ...

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