Koyel was a very sweet girl who always helped others and cried for other’s pain. She had some sort of a special connection with these emotions and could easily perceive how others surrounding her were feeling. Inspite of being so good and innocent, she was a daughter to a sweeper couple. Her parents worked in the royal court as the head sweepers. Because of their job, Koyel and her parents were deemed as an outcast. They were only allowed to enter the palace during the working hours. Koyel was not allowed to enter the school, to visit places like temples, parks and even the pond.

Not only Koyel’s family was treated in this way, many other families too belonging to the lowest strata of the rigid caste system faced such discrimination. However even after getting thrashed like a shame, Koyel cared for everyone. Be it injured or hungry animals or some person who was sad and in pain, she always reached first and help them. She didn’t received any appreciation for whatever she did, instead she got only hatred and was always thrown away like an untouchable.

One day, all the lower caste families were summoned by the king and queen for the celebration preparations. There was going to be royal celebration as the couple would introduce their son, the next in line to the throne in front of the entire kingdom. People were so happy and elated to meet their would be king. The royal palace was being decked up like a bride, with lightings casting a glow even to the darkest corner of the humongous palace.

This time, the king allowed all people irrespective of their caste to attend the celebration. Koyel was too excited because she never saw the court room, let alone wander in the gardens and foyer that increased the magnificence of the palace.

The celebration was on its full swing. People enjoying themselves with different foods that had a royal essence. Some were busy in fondling the lavishness of the court room while others were busy in gawking at the structures. The king and the queen along with their son watched all from above the podium where they sat. Suddenly a sound of glass shuttering disturbed the peaceful ambience of the palace. The king got alerted and stood up, withdrawing his sword. His body was alerted and his eyes scanned the entire crowd. The royal guards too took their position.

“How dare you to touch my son, you leech”, a voice boomed in the confines of the walls and the crowd parted it’s way for the king who descended down the stairs to the man who was sending daggers to an elderly woman. The intensity of the man’s fiery gaze made her shiver in fright as her eyes scanned the crowd asking for help. “What’s the matter Prabhat?”, the king asked the head of his council minister, his eyes never leaving the woman.

“My king this woman has dared to touch my son when she knows that she and her class is forbidden to touch any higher rankings”, Prabhat spitted his words in distaste. “What did you do?”, this time the question was directed towards the woman. “My Lord I was not having any wrong intention. This child was crying and so I made him drink milk. He was hungry your majesty and being a mother, I couldn’t stand his cries”, she uttered in a trembling voice while looking at the little child in Prabhat’s arm. The king was about to say something when a small hand tucked at his royal sash and he was forced to look down.

“Your highness don’t punish her”, Koyel said in a low yet sweet voice that spiked curiosity in the king’s mind. “Koyel move back from your highness. You know we aren’t allowed for this. They are…”, the king stopped Koyel’s mother and said instead. “Koyel when you know you are not allowed to touch me then why you did it? You know I can punish you for this?”, the king spoke in a threatening voice yet there was a glint of amusement. Koyel knew she had committed a grave sin but she couldn’t let the woman get punished.

“I know your Majesty. Don’t punish her. She has two little kids in her home who would be waiting for her and if you punish her then no one will love them. The little boy was wailing and there was no one. If he didn’t get the milk, then he would feel more pain. His stomach could ache just like my did when I don’t eat for days. My king, please don’t punish her. She only gave food to a hungry child. In a way she saved his life”, the king was taken aback by the thoughts that the little girl projected. He was forced to wonder what had his education and high lifestyle taught him. Whereas this little one standing in front of him thought so high of everyone even when she didn’t get proper education and a life style. He smiled whole heartedly and turned towards the crowd. “Today this little girl, Koyel has made me realise one thing. No matter how educated and high ranking we become, our thoughts can develop and get refined until we are imbibing good values and morals. She has opened my eyes and I, your king from hence forth declare that the caste system within my kingdom will be abolished from this instance. I hereby declare that no punishments will be given for those obsolete caste discrimination. And all people will be treated equally. The official royal declaration will be handed to you all in few days. And I also declare Koyel to be the crown princess of my kingdom. She will rule side by side with your next king once they becomes eligible”.

The celebration was meant for the introduction of a new ruler however it changed the face of the kingdom. The king from then started to make his son realise the importance of good values rather than a good education.


-by Pallabi Paul


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