The story ‘The Adventure’ by Jayant Narlikar belongs to a science fiction. Professor Gangadhar Pant Gaitonde finds himself in a strange world. No doubt he is in Pune, but the facts do not agree with history. He decides to go to Bombay and consult history books. Bombay is not what he expected to find it. East India Company is still ruling there. According to the history known to him, the East India Company was wound up just after the events of 1857. He goes to the library and finds the answer. The events took a different course after the battle of Panipat. The Marathas had won the battle, not lost it.
Professor Gangadhar Pant goes to his physicist friend Rajendra Deshpande and asks him to explain what he has been feeling and experiencing. He gave the following narrative.
Professor Pant or Gaitonde, as he was called, travelled from Pune to Bombay by Jijamata Express. On the train, he met Mr. Khan who was bound for Peshawar. Gaitonde had come to Bombay for the first time. As he emerged from the station, he saw a big building. He was surprised to see the writing on the building. It indicated that it was the headquarters of the East India Company. He had read that East India Company had been wound up after the events of 1857.
He walked along Hornby Road. Then he turned right along Home Street and entered Forbe’s building. There, he told the receptionist that he wished to meet Mr. Vinay Gaitonde. The receptionist, however, told him that there was no one of that name in the office. From there, he went to Town Hall which housed the library. In the library, he asked for the history books. In the books he read about the Battle of Panipat. He read that the Marathas won and Abdali was routed. It was a book written by himself, yet he was reading this account for the first time.
This was a totally new account and Gangadhar Pant began to appreciate it. The account showed that India was never subjected to slavery. But only for commercial reasons, it had allowed the British to retain Bombay. The lease was to expire in the year 2001.
Yet, he wanted to know how Marathas won the battle. He found this in a book called Bhausahebanchi Bakhar. He kept on reading until it was time for the library to close.
He went to a guest house from the library where he hired a room. After taking his meals, he set out for a stroll towards the Azad Maidan. A public meeting was being held at the Maidan. However, he found that the presidential chair was unoccupied. As if mesmerised, he moved towards the chair. Everyone including the speaker shouted against this attempt. But Prof. Gaitonde caught the mike and began to speak about the necessity of the chair being occupied.
The people began to attack him trying to eject him out bodily. Soon, he was no where to be seen.
Gangadhar Pant stopped now. He said that it was all what he rememberd when he regained consciousness. He wanted Rajendra to explain his experience. To prove that his narrative was not false, he showed a page from Bakhar which he had brought from the library unknowingly.
Rajendra rationalized his experience on the basis of the catastrophic theory of science. He applied this theory first to the battle of Panipat. The point at which Vishwasrao was killed was the turning point. For the army, his loss was crucial. There followed an utter rout.
Now, the description in Bakhar shows that Vishwasrao had won and consequently the whole history changes.
Reality is not really limited to what we see. Physics has discovered that when an electron is fired from a source, its direction cannot be determined. It may be, here, there anywhere. An observer can see it only at one place and he knows it there only. To another observer, its location is different. All the different worlds can exist together. What is more, an electron can jump from one energy orbit to another. Rajendra said that Gangadhar Pant’s mind had suffered such a transition—from one world to another and back again.
By making a transition, he was able to experience two worlds. One has the history we know, the other is a different history. At the time he was hit by the truck, he was thinking about the course of history, if the result of the battle of Panipat had gone the other way. In his conscious state he reached that world and on regaining consciousness he came back to this world again.