The situation was tense. Three people stood in the dark room at midnight. Two Indians, who were watchmen were standing with no clue of what was going on. They kept looking at each other.
The third person was David. “I’m asking ya! Where did these chapattis come from?”
“Oh, Narayana! How do I explain? We have told you everything we know, sir. Today’s an important day for my family and I.”
“I don’t care! Tell me who gave these chapattis to you and what is the intention behind this?”
The second Indian spoke “Sir, like we said, a mysterious man in a dark brown shawl walked up to us and gave us two chapattis each. We are supposed to make two such chapattis and give to people, he said. That’s all we know.”
“You both shall right away leave! I’m sending these chapattis to my supervisor who will check for any coded messages. I suspect the two of you!” David shouted and sent them away.
A week later, David went to Williams.
“Bill, did you check the chapattis for coded messages, if any?”
“None are there, Dav. I’ve spent two sleepless nights and three days trying to figure out what’s in it. Do you know what’s more to it? This has been happening all around India! I’m not sure if it has a religious connotation or if it is a social ritual. As it is, the natives of this land have a lot of traditions.”
“Do you think it could be a secret organization at work?”
“If such is the case, Dav, why do you think there are no messages or secret codes in these chapattis? That’s because these are ordinary chapattis.”
“Every night, these chapattis are being circulated faster than the British mail! I just don’t understand who is doing this and why!”
“And so do I!”
In 1857, there was a movement in India called the “Chapatti movement” where multitudes of chapatis were passed from hand to hand and from village to village nation-wide. Unmarked chapatis were distributed to homes and police outposts in the dead of the night and this worked like a chain where if you recieve a Chapatti, you make some more Chapattis at home and distribute one to each person.
Even if the British managed to catch a person or two in the act of receiving or distributing chapattis, the person used to be clueless about why he/she was supposed to distribute chapattis.
The common man of India suspected the British to be involved in this, which made it all the more terrifying for the British.
It is speculated by some that it was a warning about the impending First War Of Indian Independence in 1857. Some others speculate that this was an attempt to give food to people suffering because of the Cholera outbreak.
But this was an example of unity in India. A signal that all Indians could come together and fight for their nation, demand their rights and create a better future.