Hasan Md. Ashrafujjaman
Aanwar, master of his family; Asma’s husband
Asma, Aanwar’s wife; house wife
Shamim and Shorna, their children
Liton and Arman, Shamim’s friends
A Sub Inspector of Police
A room is decorated with middle class items. Aanwar, the only earning member of his family, sitting on a sofa with his wife Asma, who is listening to her husband reading aloud a newspaper in the morning tea time.
“A School Going Girl is Kidnapped, Raped and Brutally Murdered ”
“The Former PM is Accused of Corruption”
“Schools, Colleges and Universities have Become Political Farms”
Asma: (sipping tea) Dark time we are passing. Wicked people are everywhere. Girls are threatened all over the universe. Kidnapping, rape, murder, corruption, all evil deeds have eaten up the country. Not a single life of a girl is safe and out of danger. No girl on earth can say that none, no man tried to spoil her purity. Every girl on this very earth of men as well as women is victimised by the men, at least by a man. Some can escape from them and save their lives and the others are hunted and the number is increasing.
Aanwar: (folding the newspaper) They don’t deserve to be called man, Animals they are for they’re wild as a beast. They only have the appearance of a man but the soul of a wild cursed beast. No treaty, no human law can solve these problems. (looking at the wall-clock on the right wall, to Asma) Where are they? Shamim and Shorna?
Asma: Shorna is reading and Shamim has gone out for a morning walk.
Aanwar: I’ve never heard of his this habit before!
Asma: I suppose he wants to change his lifestyle.
Aanwar: He will be of 27 on this June. What is his plan ahead? It seems he is not taking his life of a man seriously. Children feel free to share their thoughts with their mother. Tell me, do you know something? His carelessness worries me.
Asma: You know well than me about the quota system of our country, don’t you? He has completed his study and he is qualified enough for any kind of job but he is unemployed which bothers him the most.
Aanwar: I know these things. Time will change though the list of freedom fighters is increasing every year. Though the time is dark, you must not take his side. You should encourage him to be more careful about his career. Mothers are permanent advocate of their children who spoils them.
Asma: Mothers love their children the most.
Aanwar: Don’t we fathers love our children?
Asma: Undoubtedly, you do but you fathers act as God didn’t make you with heart on the left. It seems to me, your brains are coded with binary digits and has no connection at all with the heart you have.
Aanwar: One must be strict, you know it well.
In an under-construction building Shamim with his friends, Liton and Arman
Liton: (while smoking a cigar) What an awful life we unemployed youngs are living! We have become burden of our families.
Arman: (Taking the cigar from Liton) We are nearly 27 years old but we’re unmarried. We mortals live a short life and our parents wish to see their grandchildren. We unemployed are cursed by the rules of the society: We, men, must establish ourselves first to marry and begot children. Our youth is boiling.
(Shamim listens them speaking and smiles)
Liton: Have anyone of you read the news of a school going girl who is raped?
Shamim: I have, yes. Rapists are not jailed yet.
Arman: How can anyone put them in jail? Has any pair of eyes seen or ears heard of any rape case which is taken seriously in our country?
(After putting marijuana in a cigar, Liton starts smoking. Arman and Shamim join him)
Shamim: None, I must say, takes rape cases seriously because they are busy with more serious things than humanity!
Liton: Oh! What a beasty idea occupies my brain! Let’s feed our lust. No risk but pleasure. Who misses this chance! Only fool heads will miss it. I won’t for I’m no fool. What do you say? We are risk free and none will bother another rape. No human soul cries for justice but posts on social media. Fool, surely, they are.
Shamim: Like seriously! I don’t think it’s safe and so, it’s not a good idea.
Arman: Not a bad idea either. I’m hungry like a monster.
Shamim: If we are caught and jailed?
Liton: O coward, we won’t be I assure it for…
Arman: Why does your heart fill with fear? I wonder whether men’s blood run through your vein or not.
Shamim: I’m a man and the same blood is in me.
Arman: Then why does your tongue speak fear? Have you gotten the heart of women? Alas, if it is the fact! You lack manliness.
Shamim: I’m a man and I’ll prove it.
Arman: Now you speak like a man.
Liton: Look there, on the left. Do you see? It’s show time. Arman, stay here; Shamim, come with me. Let’s prey the dove.
(Liton and Shamim exist)
Liton: O monster, what power do you have? You lead the best creature on earth for feeding your hunger. What you feel, we feel; what you want, we want; what you think, we think and what you want us to do, we do.
(a girl’s screaming comes closer, Liton and Shamim dragging a girl in with them)
A girl: Please let me go. I beg you? Please pleeease pleeease?
(Liton slaps the girl)
Liton: Be quiet you bitch. No use of crying. Who you think will save you? Your society? Law of this country? None will help you out. The very thing feeds our lust to lose control. Whom are you crying to? Who you think will come to rescue you?
Arman: A teen. School or college going girl I know not but I know it for sure that she’s going feed our hunger. She is sacrificed to please the manly monster in us.
Shamim: (shocked) School! (suddenly leaves the girl, goes two step back) What an I doing? Rape! I do have a sister whom I protect. She feels safe when I take her to school from home and home from school but now I am up to rape a girl! What has come over me? Let her go. Set her free, let her fly freely. We must not spoil her purity. She is pure like a flower. Monster I’ve become. How irrational are our thoughts and deeds just to please ourselves! We human don’t even think of others. Let her go, will you?
Arman: Have you gone mad? In the midst of our prey you wish us to leave her. How fool of you!
Liton: (with an angry look) You bloody fool don’t you understand it is of no use now. If we leave her untouched she will get us jailed but if we do what we are up to she won’t be able to do so for the society won’t accept her if she reveals that she is raped.
Shamin: Then you won’t listen to me? I know how to deal with you. I am no friend for you. I’ll make sure that you are jailed.
Liton: Do whatever you wish to do. You turned your back to us for a stranger.
(Shamim leaves running)
( in a police station, two constable stand in front of the entry gate, crossing them Shamim rushes in. Sub-Inspector of police sitting on a table inside the room)
Sub-Inspector: Careful! What’s the matter?
Shamim: Rape__ a girl is being raped.
Sub-Inspector: I smell weed from you. You are addicted. You are out of your mind. Don’t waste our time. We have more serious work to deal with.
Shamim: Sir please? I’m in full control of my sense. I know what I’m talking about. She needs your help. I alone can do nothing.
Sub-Inspector: You moron don’t you understand we can do nothing without proof. Do you have any proof? If you don’t have, don’t waste our time.
Shamim: I swear on God. Please for God’s sake believe me. Save the girl. It’s your duty to protect us. You are not given the job only to give protection to the political leaders. We common are more important than they are. Keep it in mind that you all are public servant.
Sub-Inspector: How dare you! Servant! Get out of my office or I’ll lock you up. You have no idea about the power of police. I’ll show you if stay here a single second more.
Shamim: I’m sorry for I’ve lost control over my tongue because you behaving so well. (takes out a note of 500tk and offers to the officer) Here, the father of the nation commands you to help the girl. You must not disobey him.
Sub-Inspector: (taking the money) As he commands, I must obey him. Take me to the place.
Shamim: I knew it that you can never say no to him. Come with me.
In the under-construction building, Shamim enters with the Sub-Inspector and a constable. The girl, half revealed, lies and moans on the floor. Blood is spread on the floor. Noticing them coming in, she tries to cover herself a bit more with a teared scarf.
Shamin: This is the place sir. Here the girl lies with blood and cries. Liton and Arman did the terrible thing here.
Sub-Inspector: (to the girl) What happened to you? He says two boys raped you. Do you want to file a case against them? Tell me in detail? How they did it?
The girl: ( wipes her eyes) What nonsense! Raped! I’m not raped. I did it willingly. They are my friends. Why should I file a case against them? He must have fooled you.
Shamim: Speak the truth, don’t hold your tongue. Nothing to fear. We are here to help you.
The girl: I want no help from you. I don’t even know you. Why should I take your help? Sir, don’t believe him he seems to be a fool. Sir, I suppose, you have more serious work to deal with. It will be wiser if you pay attention to them.
(the Sub-Inspector leaves)
Shamin: Why have you wronged me? I intended to help you.
The girl: What kind of man are you? At first you help your friends to prey a girl and then come to help her. Don’t act to be a good man. Are afraid of your deeds? No need to worry. I can do nothing. A girl who is hunt by the wildest creature on earth has nothing to fight for. I seek no help. One of the beasts, I heard him saying, is the son of a police officer. He slapped and said, “you can do nothing to me for my father is a police officer.” Parents nowadays don’t punish their children for their wrong doing. Even they turn against the teachers, who punish the students for their evil deeds. Even teachers are not safe for these parents than how can I think of justice? It doesn’t matter whether I take your help or not. It’s all the same, I’m ruined. If I struggle for justice nothing will come out of it rather my family will fall. This county doesn’t offer justification for the worst sin. “I want justice” these very words will bring more injustice to me, to my fate and to my family. Even if the rapists are jailed they will be released soon. This kind of silly punishment can bring no change rather the monsters might get angrier and not only harm more girls but also spoil lives. What then? None will accept me if I raise my voice. It’s better I remain quiet. They must be given death penalty for this beastly sin and this is the only solution. Such men like them do not know how to control rather they are controlled by the evil they have in them. No light of education can enlighten them. They are evildoers and surrounded by evil thoughts. None can release them from, if they don’t want to help themselves. Help, this very word reminds me of your friendliness that I regret for you are a man of confusion. You don’t know what to do, when to do, how to do, who are perfect to be friends and who are not. (she stands up and wraps herself with a white scarf, moist with blood then goes out)
Shamim: (loses control over his body, falls on the floor and cries aloud) O God, grant me death. I’m no longer a man, I’ve lost my senses. I’ve committed the worst sin on earth. I don’t have the strength that I can face the world, my mother even my sister. I’ve disgraced the Mother, who gives birth to man as well as woman and loves them equally. I will change the rules of our county.
At Shahbag, Shamim is seen holding a placard, shouting repeatedly “Rapists must be given death penalty ”, “Reform quota system” which are written on the placard.
Shamim: Join me, be the part of the history, which is going to be written in golden letters. Let them know we together can make things right. Utter with me, “Reform Quota System of Bangladesh”, “Ensure Death Penalty for Rape”.
A group of students joins him with more placards, they utter their demands in chorus. Time grows dark and specious.