A taxi stopped in front of Jehangir Hall of the famous Imperial Institute London. A few minutes later a man in a blue turban came out of the taxi. A tall and smart looking man! He entered the building and showed his invitation at the reception. It was the ‘at home’ event for the students associated with Indian National Association organized by Curzon Wyllie.

Miss Beck standing behind the reception greeted the man with a smile on her face. She addressed the man by his first name and asked if he was alright as it had been a long time since she last saw him. She while fiddling with a pen in her hand, further adds that the last time they met was almost three months ago when she invited him for this very event. The man with all his charms replied that he wanted to meet her again however was quite busy with his studies and wasn’t able to make time for her. After a few minutes of light banter, giggling and laughing Miss Beck pointed towards the left and said “Straight, down the corridor and left”.

The man walked towards the event hall with long and quick strides as if he was in an extreme hurry. His walking was almost similar to running. As soon as he entered the hall, he started looking around and was searching for some one. He scanned the hall from left to right, glancing over all the faces present in the party. As he scanned the hall again, his failures from the past endeavors started playing in his mind; pessimism started taking over. Disappointment grew on his face. The hall had a plenty of men and women, boys and girls, English and Indians, professors and students to interact with, but he was preoccupied with the conversations going on in his head – “What if…?”

He managed only twenty minutes in that hall with all the noise going on in his head before he rushed back to the reception. He asked Miss Beck if and when Mr. Wyllie was arriving as he had some important matters to discuss with him. She informed him that Mr. Wyllie had already arrived a couple hours ago, he probably was upstairs in the meeting room with the under treasury of Gray’s Inn.

A sense of relief magically appeared on the man’s face, after he heard Ms. Beck’s reply.

He smiled at the lady and started walking towards the party hall. His pace was quite relaxed this time, no rush, as if he had all the time in the world to reach the hall. He scanned the hall again from right to left and stopped at the bottom of the staircase on the left-far end of the hall. His gaze then followed the staircase, climbing the staircase a dozen or so steps ending up at a closed door.

He then grabbed a chair and sat at a place where he could clearly keep an eye on the staircase as well as the door upstairs.

At around 10:00 PM after waiting for an hour or so, the man spotted Curzon Wyllie on the stairs along with his wife. The man in the blue turban got up from his chair and started walking towards Sir Wyllie.

Mr. Wyllie noticed him and told him that he was pleased to see him at the event however, he didn’t know that Mr. Dhingra donned a turban and was a Sikh. The man in the turban exuberating confidence, clarifying that he wasn’t a Sikh, however, had he not donned a turban, he wouldn’t have made it to the event in time. He also told Mr. Wyllie that Faizal and his partner would have informed Scotland Yard that it was MadanLal Dhingra that was planning an assassination. Scotland Yard in that case would not be wasting their time searching the man in the blue turban at 312, Westferry Road, but instead would have found the man at 106 Ledbury Road where Dhingra actually lives.

Mr. Wyllie’s face turned pale after listening to this, he realized MadanLal was reaching to his left jacket pocket. He knew what was coming next, he was well informed of the tip by Faizal and search that was ongoing for the man in the blue turban.

Mr. Wyllie was struggling to frame sentences and was feeling the paucity of words. Before, he could say anything, Dhingra asked him how the meeting with the under treasury of Gray’s Inn, Mr. Douthwaite go.

After fumbling for a few seconds, he managed to regain his English vocabulary and told Dhingra that if Savarkar after completing the studies, passing all the examinations and being fully qualified and still refused his degree and not called to the bar by the benchers of Gray’s Inn due of his political line of thought and love for independence was Dhingra’s motivation, it could be fixed.

Dhingra smiled and told him in firm voice that he could keep Dhingra’s degree as well along with Savarkar’s and it wont change anything.

Mr. Wyllie was experiencing such fear of death for the first time in his life, although he was in British Army before, however he was on the different side of the table. The side where he was far away from any sort of danger but ironically he was the face of the death, torture and humiliation to many.

Mr. Wyllie tried his luck once again, this time trying to patronize Dhingra. He told Dhingra that he spoke to his brothers KundanLal and BhajanLal just two days ago and they were worried about him. Mr. Wyllie kept trying to incite emotions but all in vein. Moreover, Dhingra got a little angry, he yelled without yelling; “they are the reason I am the way I am, they, the British loyalist disgust me; I despise them, I can tell you today I am not meeting them ever again and they don’t get to see me whatever happens” and Mr. Wyllie realized right away that he made the wrong move.

As a last resort, Mr. Wyllie tried to threaten Dhingra with the implications of his actions. Mr. Wyllie to Dhingra that there is no way in this world he would get away with this and will be hanged for the crime.

Dhingra listened to him very patiently and smoothly pulled his colt revolver out of the jacket, pointed at Mr Wyllie and fired two shots at his body.

The noisy party hall turned quiet. Pin drop silence! Nothing moved, it was as if people stopped breathing for a second.

The sound of weight falling on the floor resonated in the hall and broke the deafening silence. Mr. Wyllie was on the ground, but still alive and gasping for air. Dhingra then replied to Sir Wyllie’s threat, he said:

“Poor in wealth and intellect, a son like myself has nothing else to offer to the motherland but his own blood. And so I am willing to sacrifice the same on her altar. The only lesson required in India at present is to learn how to die, and the only way to teach it is by dying ourselves. My only prayer to God is that I may be re-born of the same mother and I may re-die in the same sacred cause till the cause is successful. Vande Mataram! (“I praise thee motherland!”)”

A bystander tried to be a hero and ambushed Dhingra. He then tried to snatch the revolver from Dhingra’s hand. Dhingra tried to push him away and finish his job but the other person would just not let him go. At last, Dhingra said sorry to the man and fired a shot at him. The soul and the heroism left his body as soon as the bullets hit his forehead. Dhingra, indeed had very accurate aim.

Dhingra looked towards Mr. Wyllie, who was still trying to crawl away. Dhingra pulled revolver’s hammer back and walked towards Mr. Wyllie. As Dhingra’s shadow started creeping on the Wyllie’s blood red torso, feeling of despair and helplessness covered Wyllie’s face.

Dhingra pointed the gun at Mr. Wyllie’s face and fired two more shots.

As the Mr. Wyllie’s body lay motionless on the floor, Dhingra stood motionless starting at the Mr. Wyllie’s deadpan, emotionless face. A couple drops of tears trickled down Dhingra’s face reaching his stretched smile. With extraordinarily clam body, slow smooth breathing, normal heart rate as if it was a start of a new era, Dhingra had some feeling of an accomplishment.

But what had he really achieved or accomplished?

(to be continued…)

Coming Soon: The missing night!

Also read: The Man in The Blue Turban

One thought on “Shots fired!! The Curzon Wyllie assassination

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