Budhiya: Ek Satya Katha (Hindi), PB Lomio, Jaykay Enterprises, Pp 112, Rs 80.00
IN this true story about a 30- or 32-year old village woman named Budhiya who, along with her family, goes and sets up her home in Judpur, an agricultural farm where Catholic Christian missionaries have established a big church. Judpur is some 7 kms away from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
The book begins by talking about Christianity and how the Christians are divided into two main sects – Catholics and Protestants.
Budhiya is a mother of four children and her husband is called Pehelwan though he is no pehelwan, as he can be easily overpowered even by his wife Budhiya. She is a Pandavani dancer whose performances draw crowds of villagers. Her elder son Pilangua sings Pandvani folksongs with full gusto, especially, “Paghi ka pagha, paghi ka pagha…” which makes the villagers swing to the beats.
Teejanbai also hailed from this region and earned worldwide fame while Budhiya remained unknown due to her circumstances and mostly because she converted to Christianity. Budhiya decides to settle down in Pakdilpur. One day she and her 15-year old daughter Bina stand outside the church to witness the Sunday prayers in progress in the church. One of the visitors invites them to come inside the church. So they enter inside and are fascinated with the proceedings. However, the Father of the church does not offer them the consecrated bread as they are not Christians. But Father’s curiosity is aroused to see these strangers and so he asks Budhiya what she does. She tells him how her family are Pandvani dancers but very poor. One of the brothers in the church invites her to come with her family and perform for them and on Father’s suggestion takes them to the godown to offer free ration to them which has been received from America with PL-480 wheat grain. She is overwhelmed at the kindness and in the evening she gives a scintillating performance in the church where a crowd gathers to watch her perform.
Slowly the family has no need to go to nearby villages to perform and earn money. So they keep aside their musical instruments like dholak, jhanjh, majeere, harmonium on a shelf in the house which has been allotted to them by the church. They are given new clothes to wear and food comes from the church.
Father Alva is a kind and generous priest who religiously follows the pledges he had taken before becoming a priest. He had come from abroad and established schools in Allahabad and Kanpur before settling down in this village.
The situation has become so bad that one of them alleged that Budhiya’s son Pilangua has stolen his watch. It was a false allegation but Budhiya curses her son so much that Pilangua leaves the village and goes away. Moreover Pilangua is Pehelwan’s son from his first marriage. Slowly this family disintegrates and the eldest daughter Bina goes and becomes a nun with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Budhiya dies as unhappy as a Christian as she was as a Pandvani dancer.
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