The sound of Azaan echoed through the village of Vadodara. An atmosphere of sadness prevailed in the vicinity of the mosque because of two funerals which had arrived for the namaaz-e-janaaza before burial. It was the funeral of two persons from the same house, the father, Abdul Kareem Alikhan and his son, Aziz Luqmaan Alikhan, a young man in his full youth.
Hassina, the wife and mother, sat quietly near their graves, crying silently. She was dreadfully disappointed.
After the prayer, she got up and took her way home. She was walking unwillingly bare footed.
Suddenly her eyes fell on an innocent and very fair child who was along the dusty street. The little child was crying. Hassina’s motherhood overwhelmed and she quickly ran towards him. As soon as Hassina has picked up the child, he stopped crying. At that very instant, Hassina felt as if Allah has returned her child back. Therefore she named the child after her late son, Aziz Luqmaan.
Aziz Luqmaan grew into a very handsome man with bright blue eyes and a very light brown hair. When he smiled, his perfect bright teeth shone with his dimples. Wherever he went, the villagers complemented his flawless beauty.
One morning, Aziz was working in his fields when something bright caught his attention. When he raised his gazes, he saw a tall, slender woman with loose straight black hair. Aziz continued to stare at her. Abruptly, a cool wind blew her drape away. When she turned to get hold of it, Aziz was left aback. She was so beautiful with soft brown eyes and thick lashes. Despite she was of dark color, her near perfect face shone in the bright sunlight. Aziz wanted to talked to her, so he ran towards her and greeted her enthusiastically:
‘’Hello, young lady”
The girl got frightened and began to run away. But Aziz didn’t give up. He ran after her, struggling with his voice:
‘’ Hey! Wait!’’
She stopped at the call but did not turn behind.
“What do you want!” she asked firmly.
“Well…nothing’ I just know that I, Aziz Alikhan, saw a beautiful girl and want to befriend her. That’s it. If I have hurt you, then I am sorry. You can go and I won’t follow you.”
The girl felt awkward. Then she turned and called back:
“Look, I am so sorry…Well, no one has ever praised me or perhaps i have no one to admire me.”
“No, no, it's okay. I am Aziz.”
“Yeah, I know. My name is Lalita Jaisingh.’”
“Now, I know you.
They both laugh on this. From that day, Aziz and Lalita secretly met almost everyday. They shared their happiness and sorrows. Lalita had no one to guard her, so she could do whatever she wanted to. During these wonderful days, they developed a strange kind of fondness for each other or perhaps it can be called love.
One early morning, Aziz woke up for rehearsal. He decided to propose Lalita for marriage. He set himself in front of the mirror and said shyly:
“Namaste Lalita, hhhmmm……I want to say something to you’ grrr…that’s not correct. Yeah, I’ll try again.’ Hello, Lali…’
Aziz stopped at the shouts of his mother.
“Aaazziizz…come here, beta.”
He could not continue further, instead, he rushed to his mother. She was outside, not only her but all the villagers. The Indian Leader, Mr Chaudry Veer Pratap Singh, had come with an announcement. He was responsible of gathering Indians to fight with the British.
He took out a long piece of paper and shouted out:
“O the villagers of Vadodara, today our Indian army need your help. There is a lack of Indian soldiers to go in the war. We need many strong men. Whoever wants to avenge the English for causing the death of your dear ones...the decision is yours. Tomorrow afternoon I will come again.”
Hassina’s unhealed wounds revived after eighteen years. The thirst to avenge the death of her dear ones came to life again.
She grabbed Aziz’s hand and brought him inside and said in an ordering tone:
“You will have to go in the war.”
Aziz was shocked because every mother in the village refused to send their son. Aziz kept his voice low and said:
“But MAA,…I…in war, well, I am not sure. I want to get married and settle down.”
“You decide, you want your mother’s happiness or your girl?”
“Maa, please!” Aziz said in a high tone.
“You know Aziz, whose son are you?”
Aziz’s heart started to beat much faster.
“Today let me tell you that you are not my son. Eighteen years ago, I have adopted you on the day when my husband and my son were buried.
“What?... But… why… didn’t you tell… me before? I mean…why… now?!’’ Aziz said in a cracking voice.
‘’I don’t know. You may consider this to be my selfishness but… you will have to go and fight, not only for your country but for me. Today I got the opportunity to avenge my owns. If you truly love me, you will surely go. Am I right?’’ Aziz thought for some minutes and said firmly,
‘’Yes maa, for whatever you have done for me since childhood and the love and affection you’ve given me, to repay you all these, I’ll surely go. But first let me complete a task.”
Aziz quickly got ready and left to meet Lalita. The young lady was there, waiting impatiently for him everyday. Aziz gathered courage and said, trying to be keen as before:
“Hey, Lalita, I… uh… am leaving.”
Lalita took a deep breath and said calmly:
“Okay, I’ll come with you.”
“You can’t, Lalita, The place where I am going… It’s not the right place for you.”
“Okay, when you will return?”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Lalita said, wanting to sound angry but instead it sounded like begging.
Aziz continued to struggle with his voice:
“Now please don’t ask me where I am going, otherwise, you won’t let me go.”
“Are… you… leaving… me?” Lalita tried the words out.
“I can never leave you. You are part of me. Please don’t… cry.’’
Aziz looked away into the sky as he spoke again:
“Remember, I’ll… always…love you. Always”
Saying these, he turned and walked away, leaving his love behind to prove his love for his mother. With shaky legs, Lalita knelt down on her knees on the fresh soil and cried for hours.
The next evening, Aziz was ready to go to the war. Mr Chaudry Veer Pratap Singh came along with his companions. Hassina has already prepared his luggage. Before setting out, Aziz hugged his mother tightly.
After a final meeting with the freedom fighters, they set out to fight. There were at least 2300 British soldiers and around 2000 of Indian soldiers. There was a strange silence and a breeze whispering death in every soldier’s ears. After a few seconds, a British yelled out at the top of his voice:
Soldiers from both sides raced towards each other with their swords held in the air. There were firings on the British side. Many Indians were killed at the same time compared to the British. There began a river of blood that flowed across the battle field. Aziz too was struggling among the soldiers. With the help of his sword, he was killing one by one and advancing in the field of battle.
Finally, once again the British killed the maximum number of Indian soldiers. But luckily, Aziz who was badly injured fell on the territory of the British. He was not dead.
Soon the message of defeat reached the village. Hassina was terribly disappointed. Once again, she lost her son.
One hour later, the british doctors came and picked all the injured persons and among them, there was Aziz. He was mistaken as being a britisher because of his very fair complexion.
On the other hand, the young Vadodara girls were being abducted by the british people. They lacked slaves. One of these girls was Lalita. That night, all the girls were kept in a jail. The next morning, the prisoners guards came and dragged them out. Each girl was given a ward full of injured british to look after, otherwise they would be beaten till death.
As Lalita was the most beautiful amoung the slaves, she was given a ward where there were injured leaders lying.
During the day they were beaten and ill treated by the British.
At night, Lalita was sitting in a corner of that ward and crying quietly. She had not given the right to sleep. Suddenly, she heard someone whispering:
Yes, she recognized the voice. Lalita quickly rushed to search for its source. Then she stopped at the moan of an injured soldier. When she turned, she was overjoyed. It was her love, Aziz.
“Aziz!” she shouted delightfully, hugging him tightly.
Aziz’ hands and legs were bandaged.
“ Lal..lita, I told you that I will always love. Look! Today destiny itself reunites us and…”
He began to cough roughly. The happy facial expression of Lalita changed.
“And…?” she said calmly.
Aziz looked directly into her coal black eyes and whispered:
“And… separating us at the same time… before I die…”
Lalita pressed her fingers against Aziz’s cold lips and struggled her voice out:
“Don’t you dare, Aziz. You cannot leave me… You can’t just…leave…”
“Hey Lalita, don’t waste… your priceless tears for… me.” He coughed some more and continued:” I am leavin’.”
Lalita continued to cry and said, trying to sound angry:
“Shut…up, you can’t do this to me. Aziz…you can’t leave me like this. We promised to live together. And…now”
Aziz held Lalita’s hand loosely and tried to speak:
“I…am sorry, Lalita. I will not…be able to fulfill my promise. I…”
“Shshshsh… don’t talk like this! Now, you badly need rest. Ok?” Lalita said crying.
“No…let me talk, Lalita. Remember, I’ll always love you, more than anything…”
Saying these last words, Aziz stopped breathing and remained still. Lalita felt as if she has been shot. She began to shout:
“Aazzizz… no… wake up!!! You can’t die…Aaazziizzz!!!”
Lalita hugged him tightly, shedding tears.
Then suddenly, she stood up and said firmly to herself:
“No, Aziz, no. You can’t do that. We promised to live together and die together.”
Without thinking for at least 2 seconds, she took a knife and sliced her wrists, letting her blood dropping onto Aziz bare chest. After five painful seconds, she dropped dead, beside her beloved and said the last words: “I…am…coming, Aziz…”