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Chapter 5: Rebellion as Religion

The baba says, “I will not get off the train unless you drag me off.” The ticket collector drags him off the train.

He stands there on the platform, and says, “Now I will see how this train moves.” With his eyes closed he is standing there on the platform. The guard shows the flag, the stationmaster shows the flag; the driver is trying everything, but the train is not moving. The engineer looks into every possible thing; everything is alright, there is nothing wrong, but the train is not moving. And a crowd has gathered around the baba. All the passengers have come out and they have started saying that it is because of the insult to a religious man the train will not move. One man shouts that the train will not move unless the ticket collector touches the feet of baba, asks his forgiveness, takes him back into the train respectfully, and promises him never to ask another Sufi with the green robe for a ticket.

Even the stationmaster says to the ticket collector, “What to do?”

The ticket collector says, “I was absolutely legal; why should I touch his feet?” And he is a brahmin; for a brahmin to touch the feet of a Mohammedan.. “I will not touch his feet. And why should I let him on the train? That is an illegal act; I’m allowing him to travel without a ticket and promising him not only that he can travel without a ticket, others of his kind can also travel without a ticket. Then what is my purpose here? My purpose is to catch people who are without a ticket and throw them off the train.”

But the driver comes running, the engineer comes running, and the guard comes running, and they all say, “Nothing can be done if the baba is against it. The train will not move.”

And thousands of people who are traveling in the train, they catch hold of the ticket collector and they say, “You will have to touch his feet; you have insulted a great man.”

And the crowd is furious, so angry, so bloodthirsty, that the ticket collector, a poor ticket collector, touches the feet of the baba, takes him respectfully onto the train, apologizes and says, “I will never ask any Sufi traveling in the train for a ticket. Please forgive me.”

The baba opens his eyes and says, “Okay, now the train can move.” And the train moves.

He told me, “That made me famous all over Bengal. But the miracle was very simple: the ticket collector, the driver and the engineer - three people were bribed. How can the train move?”

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