Professor Papiya Ghosh, the noted historian was murdered brutally on 3rd December 2006 at her home in the posh Patliputra Colony, Patna. Her seventy years old maid also received the same fate. Four men were arrested and the goods stolen from Papiya's house have reportedly been found.
"The robbery was committed by local boys. Some are yet to be caught. We are positive we will catch them soon. Papiya's car, TV, music system, computer has been recovered," said Kundan Krishna, Sr SP, Patna.
It is a well known fact that the police were never keen in opening a FIR in the beginning, considering the possible involvement of a local politician / land mafia goon who has been harassing her to sell her house. A few months back there was also an attempt to abduct her while she was coming back from the university. There has been a deliberate attempt to mask this case and make the issue as a petty case of theft.
The Government of Nitish Kumar came into action only after unhappiness was conveyed to him by the Hon. Prime Minister Shree Manmohan Singh. Papiya's sister Tuktuk Ghosh an IAS officer from West Bengal Cadre, had to request Shree Manmohan Singh to expose the conspiracy behind the murder.
Papiya Ghosh was a woman of determination and high moral values. A Historian of international repute, she was an authority on Dalits and Muslims in Bihar. It seems that there had been an argument with her killers after which she was murdered. The murder done at the heat of the moment was not preplanned. It was later made to look like a theft.
The police now accept that the robbery is by 'someone known' to be the motive of the crime, but their investigation during the week did not yield too many tangible leads.
Someone in the political circle of Nitish Kumar is being protected and therefore the long period and hesitation by the Bihar police in solving this dastardly crime.
Ujwal Ghosh, a senior ICS officer in the Bihar Secretariat and the father of Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh died under mysterious circumstances on December 4 1957 at a very young age. It was alleged that he was poisoned.
Papiya Ghosh was just not a History Professor. She was known to all of us who held her dear to our hearts and to the JS movement, ordinary people according to Jug Suraiya still continue to be the oldest teenagers. She with her sister, a brilliant duo did as much to start a cult and is remembered in far corners of our country.
Papiya Ghosh became a History Professor, her sister Tuktuk is an IAS officer attached to the Office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha, I became an Orthopaedic Surgeon and traveled to remote African countries and so were others who moved on ahead in India and abroad, but in the back of our minds, we never forgot Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh, Desmond Doig and off course JS.
Papiya passed away unfortunately believing that Bihar holds a lot of promise. The very little that Nitish Kumar can do now is to name a road in Patna after her. The house in Patliputra Colony which was built by her mother should be held in a trust that would keep all the belongings, her books, research papers, long playing records, bhojpuri cassettes, compact discs and photographs so that people from all over India could come and pay homage to a person who wanted fervently to make Bihar a better place to stay.
I remember Pritish Nandy's poem from his book Lonesong Street '
'What happens when the disc runs out?
The fevered evening reaches out,
What happens when the phone bell rings?