Paisa bhejo 5 lakh cash Nahi to kidnap kar lenge.(send us money else we will kidnap you). The call kept coming. It was an era of Jungle Raj in Bihar.
Dr. Kumar is a well-known physician in North Bihar. He has a god-like love among patients, especially those who get treated for free every Saturday. Most of the beneficiaries are villagers from the remote part of North Bihar and Nepal. Our healthcare system has been on bhagwaan bharose(gods mercy) since eternity. People like Kumar are the ones who fill the void.
Dr. Kumar is in his fifties but looks much younger. It is because of his diet, long walk, daily hours of meditation, and active life. In his thick glasses and short mustache, he reminds me of some scientist. I have always seen him in white kurta pajamas. Not sure if it is minimalism.
Munna Rai is a known bahubali(muscle man). Apart from other crimes like smuggling narcotics, gold, and arms from Nepal. His notorious gang is known for collecting rangdari (extortion) and, doctors are their prime targets. He had police, politicians, and state machinery in his pocket. His modus operandi: Make threatening calls, collect monthly rangdari(extortion tax) and, let doctors do their business. On occasions, send minions to create ruckus inside the hospital. Dr. Kumar is one of the well-practicing doctors and, these calls have become part of his profession. In one such call, Kumar explained to the caller that he would take care of their health. There is no question of paying a ransom and, he should not be intimidated and scared.
The central government arm-twisted the state and got Munna arrested. The media made a big story of his arrest and, Prime Minister took credit for making Bihar free from Gundas(goons). But Munna Rai continued his extorsion racket more aggressively from the jail.
On an early winter morning of December, Munna Rai showed up at Mr. Kumar’s hospital. In Bihar, criminals roam free. They attend weddings while locked in prison for gruesome crimes, unofficially. Munna had a severe food allergy and was crying in pain.
Munna: Docotor saheb: rangdari nahi diye, illaz kar diziye. (I need to be treated well. I am sick. I am not here for extortion.)
Kumar: Gunda ho ya aam insaan, illaz to karenge he.(Be a criminal or common man, I will have to treat them.)
Dr. Kumar gave him some pain killers, ran through some blood, stool tests. After 6 hours, Munna felt relieved and disappeared. Kumar gave him some medicines as well. Dr. Kumar never heard from Munna and his gang afterward.
The state assembly election happened next year. Munna contested it from prison as an independent candidate and won. It is said in Bihar that the road to politics begins after becoming a bahubali. Once you become a politician, all your previous sins get forgotten. I am sure the aides of Munna guided him for the same.
One day Mr. Kumar got a call from the politician Munna Rai. They exchanged pleasantries and, Munna promised to grant some legislative funds to him so that Kumar could treat more patients for free. Munna Rai also mentioned that he is a changed man and wants to project this new image to the locals.
The Next morning a truck arrived with Big posters and hoardings of Munna Rai. His headshot had replaced Lord Vishnu’s head from Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings. Munna Rai looked like a Massiah in those. Munna Rai, once a notorious Gunda(criminal), is now god’s avatar. Apart from becoming a politician.