GUWAHATI, Sept 8 � This may sound bizarre for many people today. The characters narrated here may also seem to be incredible. But noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika claims that the following story is connected with some real characters.
During the World War-II, when the Japanese forces entered Manipur and Nagaland, some of the Guwahatians, particularly in the Jorpukhuripar area, used to listen to the French-controlled Saigon Radio, for true news of the battlefields. But, the British rulers had banned the Saigon Radio in their colonies.
Scientist Lakshminath Das, using his scientific knowledge and acumen, could, however, listen to the Saigon Radio. To meet their war-related curiosity by listening to the Saigon Radio, several residents of the Jorpukhuripar area used to gather stealthily at Das� residence after dusk had set in.
However, amidst the war-related din and bustle, one person used to hide himself along with his entire family, in the confines of his house as soon as the veil of dusk covered the town, lest any Japanese bomb destroyed his house and the family!
This man, son of a renowned personality and himself a well-off person, had made a nearby carpenter manufacture a large bed with a capacity to accommodate six persons � four adults and two minors. The person also made the tailor of the locality to stitch a mosquito net matching the size of the bed.
Both the carpenter and the tailor told Kumudeswar Hazarika, a schoolboy then, that they had never received any order to make such a big bed as well as a mosquito net of that size in their life prior to the said order. There was no such order received by them following the above accomplishments either, they told Hazarika.
The person in question was of the opinion that in the event of the Japanese warplanes bombarding Guwahati, the members of his family might be affected and some of them might die. So, he thought that if death was to come let it kill the entire family in a single stroke in their own house.
In the day hours, he used to collect second-hand news on the World War from the listeners of the Saigon Radio news bulletins. He also used to enquire very often whether there was any scope to settle the dispute between the Allied Forces and the Axis Forces amicably.
Those who used to sleep on that bed are all dead now. The very house in which the family used to live has since been demolished by the present owners of the property, Hazarika said.
However, this bed was not much discussed about by the Guwahatians, although there were frenzied discussions about the size of the bed made for Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan during his visit to Guwahati at the fag end of the 1960s. Popularly known as the Frontier Gandhi and a close associate of the Mahatma, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a very tall man.