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Kulwant Singh Virk’s narrative “The Bull Beneath The Earth” is fittingly titled. The title effectively encapsulates the story’s concept and foreshadows the events to follow. The term ‘bull’ refers to the story’s elderly protagonist, the father of Karan Singh. His own sorrows weigh heavily on him. Karan Singh, his eldest son, passed away recently. He must look after his daughter-in-law and grandchild. Mann Singh, Karan Singh’s colleague correctly compares him to the fabled bull who bears the weight of the entire earth on its head.
Karam Singh- The Man Everyone Loved To Be Around
Mann Singh and Karam Singh were best friends during their time working together at a regimental camp. On the Burma front, they both served in the same battalion.
Karam Singh was a kind, and light-hearted guy. People loved to sit by his side and converse with him about military and adventure stories since he spoke in such a pleasant manner. People frequently inquired about his next leave while he was out serving with the regiment. When Karam Singh was at home, many more people gathered at the well in the morning to bathe, and many more people stayed at his residence longer than usual.
During the winter when Karam Singh was back home, people sat around until midnight at the gram parcher’s fires. Karam Singh’s bullet shots and target shooting were precise and accurate. Gymnastics and a variety of other activities were suspended during the war.
When it was Mann Singh’s turn for leave, Karam Singh was always envious, wishing they could spend the holidays together. Getting a leave was as tough as displaying bravery and gaining badges for warriors at the time. When Mann Singh was on leave, Karam Singh asked him to visit his folks and village so that they could hear as to how well he was doing and he could hear about the people, making him happy.
Mann Singh sought to start a conversation to break the tense atmosphere. In the meantime, his mother fetched him some tea as he enquired about Karam Singh’s younger brother Jaswant Singh. Mann Singh believed they were unusual individuals, but he didn’t have a choice and was obliged to spend the night with them. When Jaswant Singh arrived, the conversation seemed to shift to a more relaxed tone. Mann Singh was now looking forward to sharing all of his information and anticipating a barrage of questions. Unfortunately, none of his stories piqued anyone’s curiosity. Mann Singh made every effort to make a discussion out of everything he heard between Jaswant Singh and his father.
Mann Singh was then treated to a few special meals prepared by the family. This helped him get over the fact that they didn’t seem to care about him. He reasoned to himself that, if not to anybody else, he could at least tell his little kid about Karam Singh. Karam Singh’s father became enraged and ordered the child to be taken away from him just as he began chatting with the small boy. Mann Singh’s meal got caught in his throat after watching this.
Mann Singh chose to travel to Amritsar via night train. He then sat by himself while tea was made for him. He happened to glance out the window and noticed a postman approaching their house with a bag slung over his shoulder. Mann Singh inquired as to what the postman had brought. It was Karam Singh’s pension, the postman informed Mann Singh. Mann Singh felt constricted in his chest and throat after hearing this, and his entire body went numb. Tears began falling from his eyes. Mann Singh questioned as to why they concealed the information from him, and they said that they didn’t want to ruin his vacation. They also told him that he would find out when he returned to the unit.
Karam Singh’s death exacerbated his elderly father’s hardship. Mann Singh was reminded of the bull he had heard about. The bull who carried the entire weight of the earth on its head. Karam Singh’s father was generous, and despite his crushing burden, he appeared like the kind of man who would quietly share the burdens of others.