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Suzanne Fisher Staples

Yazman and Justice

The Landlord and Spin Gul

Yazman and Justice, page 2

page 1 of 3


The next morning dawns with a stormy sky. Shabanu's mind reels with the events of the day before. Dadi and Murad sit staring into the fire, wearing scrubbed but bloodstained tunics. Rain begins to fall, and Mama and Shabanu hurry to bring their belongings inside and to cover the fire. Auntie speaks sharply to Shabanu, implying that Shabanu is to blame for Hamir's death. Shabanu resolutely ignores her. Mama tells her that Dadi and Murad have spent the night talking on the radio with Nazir Mohammad's brother, Rahim- sahib. Nazir Mohammad, in his anger, is threatening to cut off the water to Murad's land. Rahim-sahib is a landowner and politician and strongly desires that his brother make peace with Bibi Lal's family. Shabanu escorts the benumbed men in from the rain. She blushes under Murad's gaze.

Spin Gul arrives and informs them that the previous night, Bibi Lal's family fled to Yazman, a Desert Ranger post. They and Rahim-sahib are waiting there for Shabanu's family to join them and help negotiate a solution. Spin Gul assures them that he and the Rangers will escort Shabanu's family to Yazman as soon as the rain stops.

The family waits out the cold, wet day. Phulan sleeps and moves about in a daze. Shabanu grieves and fears for Phulan. Shabanu watches Murad work, and joy steals up inside of her. She blesses her good fate even while mourning for Phulan.

The next day, the family travels to Yazman. Mama assures the distraught Phulan that she and Dadi will take care of her. When they reach Yazman, a colonel leads the family into their living quarters. For the first time, Shabanu wonders if Bibi Lal's family blames them for Hamir's death. Kulsum and Bibi Lal, however, greet them warmly. They pull Mama into the room with them and send Sakina into the room with the children and the two sisters.

Sakina tells the sisters the story of Hamir's death. When Dadi had arrived and told Hamir and Murad about Nazir Mohammad's demands, Hamir was outraged. Hamir picked up a gun, and, when Dadi and Murad tried to calm him, he called them cowards. Murad had told the women to pack and flee to Yazman, where the Desert Rangers would protect them. As Dadi and Hamir argued about what to do, Hamir had gotten angrier and angrier.

Nazir Mohammad's jeep had pulled up out of the night. Two shots exploded, and the men scrambled into the jeep and drove off. Hamir was dead. The family buried him quickly and fled to Yazman.

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