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By Eshpelin Mishtak

The sun had just set in the west, bringing with it the end of another day; carrying along the worries of what will happen in the days to come for the ones who have little to do but count the stars when night engulfs the plain of Angorpotha in its velvety darkness. The trickling waves of the burning sunlight had snuffed out long ago, and all that remained of it was the emanating heat that burned through the hearts of the inhabitants.

Night for the inhabitants stood for pain, for they would not be able to get out of the imposed incarceration until the first light bloomed in the east, regurgitating their stale blood into their veins for another day. A day that would again end with a satirical laugh at the ridiculous fabrication of the freedom that they enjoy.

A young woman lay in her bed in a sullen corner of her house in a quiet corner of Angorpotha, pain erupting in waves around her belly; her eyes protruding in the spells of shock and anguish that they left her each time. Sweat rolled down her forehead in copious drops, gathering around her eyelashes, staining them with the marks of pain and fear. Older women had gathered around her, whispering loud enough for her to hear their laments for her. Instilling the fear in her heart that she would not live to see the next dawn, just like the many women who had died at childbirth around her.

For the inhabitants of the staircase to hell, death is just a silly branch of reality that they have to endure with their teeth clenched tight around their tongue. They do not fear death, for deaths do not occur there, murders do.

***

Dohogram - Angorpotha, by a quirk of history, is a piece of Bangladeshi territory inside the Indian border - a chitmahal.

When creating a partition in the then great India after ruling for two centuries, the British brought in a little-known lawyer, Cyril Radcliffe, to demarcate the boundary between India and what was to become Pakistan. With territory demarcation problems and a deadline to meet, he left a red line of ink that created a blotch in history where small enclaves of one country got stuck in the middle of another.

People who live in these enclaves are, even today, stateless people without an identity, without documents and without any rights or privileges. They do not belong to anyone. India does not want to have anything to do with the citizens who live in chitmahals inside Bangladesh and Bangladesh seems to have forgotten the ones in Indian territory.

The "sinners" of the chitmahals are only allowed to come out of the jails they live inside for a period of about twelve hours, just as long as the sun burns. Whatever the condition or necessity at other times, they are not allowed to move either in or out, not even for medical purposes.

In a place that lacks even the basic amenities such as water, electricity or medical supplies; the people of the enclaves live on as dead spirits who pay on for the crime "Lord" Radcliffe committed.

***

The slight shades of the morning sun peeked from the edges of the landscape as the procession of tensed people approached the border guards with their pleas; just to be shoved back into their abodes with flurries of pain and humiliation ringing in their ears. Not that they could help it, for they knew, they were just demons that no-one cared about.

The woman lay in her bed, panting in her labour pain; unheeded by the diplomats for whom winning an international debate is worth more than her life.

She could not help but allow the tear that she had been holding back all night ride down her cheek, for she knew that the death cries of a forlorn nobody rasping away her last breaths in a forgotten part of the world would not be heard.

Simply turning over to her side, she moaned as she never had and then took a deep breath to lift herself up so that she could see her newborn child. A wisp of curvature appeared around the corner of her lips, spreading with them the blush that billowed through her body in an amazing display of happiness. She could at least, die in peace.

Reference: Economist, Prothom Alo, Wikipedia

 

 

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