Numbers and other calculations…
Like most people probably you too believe that the Lion is the king of the jungle. Well isn’t that what we have always read in all those stories. It isn’t exactly like that, though it was exactly like that in previous times. If you just check all those stories which speak of the lion being the king of the jungle you will find that they are usually old ones. Those days there used to be kings ruling people too. But that changed as democracy became fashionable. People revolted against hereditary rule and monarchies were overthrown. Elected leaders came to head governments and rule over people and politics was born. In time this trend reached the jungle as well. The hereditary claim of Lions was challenged and revolts and revolutions broke out. The royals tried their hand at politics but being indolent and snobbish they couldn’t make a success of it except for a few; this holds true for humans and it holds true for lions too. Among animals only those with a degree of cunning made a success of the political career. This included wolves, jackals and hyenas. Among humans…well we will skip that because this is not about people.
So in the jungle we now have mostly the wolves or hyenas or jackals as the elected rulers. They rule over carnivores as well as the herbivores and politics being the art of the impossible they usually succeed at keeping a balance between the two. The background done with let me give you a peek of the debate which took place in the jungle recently between the ruling party and the opposition. It was a debate in front of a gathering of herbivores who had been expressing discontent for some time now. The Wolf who is the opposition party leader swears vegetarianism these days and was munching some sort of grass even as the debate was on. “The gluttony of the ruling party has reduced the population of deer and wild cattle to an all time low!” the Wolf shouted as he waved a sheaf of papers at the gathered crowd of deer, wild cattle and other herbivores. “I have the details here!”
“The opposition is deliberately twisting facts and making mountains out of mole hills,” the Hyena who is the ruling leader shook his head and laughed sarcastically, “Actually they lack issues poor chaps so they are sweating it out over nothing. During our rule, and it has been so little time yet, we cleared much of the forestland in order to make more land available to grow grass. As per the statistics which I have received from my officers the population of both deer as well as wild cattle has actually increased during our rule and they are fatter than ever. Contrast this with their tenure, I remember during one terrible week nearly a hundred deer were slaughtered by them, brutally killed in cold blood and not only did these people feed upon them which could be justified maybe but they actually sold off many of them. To humans! I myself saw cartloads of deer being transported out of the jungle. I personally led a protest against this carnage along with my party workers. ”
“Don’t let him fool you! The forestland being cleared is a big scandal! Actually this party has entered into a secret pact with the carnivores and the forestland is being cleared so that all of you are readily visible and don’t have any place to hide!” the Wolf shouted out at the crowd.
“This fellow,” the Hyena said pointing accusingly at the Wolf, “got 30 wild cattle killed in a single night and feasted upon them along with his pack!”
“29! Not 30! And Mr. Hyena is conveniently forgetting the 31 he got killed and four among them mere week-old calves” the Wolf countered.
“That’s a gross misrepresentation of facts!” the Hyena said with a condescending smile, “two calves out of the four he mentions were cripples so that was just mercy killing! And then three of the cattle slipped off the cliff and died because of that and we just thought that it would be a pity to waste good food; the number of killings was much less than their 29!”
The debate continued and grew increasingly acrimonious. Disgusted with all this ‘mathematics’, the herbivores started dispersing. A few days later an agitation started among the herbivores. They demanded complete autonomy. There were sporadic attacks by the cattle and deer. Three wolves, two hyenas and a jackal were injured. The ruling party issued ‘bite at sight’ orders. Packs of wolves, hyenas and jackals marauded throughout the jungle viciously attacking any cattle or deer. At the same time there were appeals for calm by the ruling Wolf who blamed agents provocateurs from the neighboring jungle. However, the turmoil failed to die down. Finally an all party meet was convened with various key officials in attendance. The next day two deer were found dead in the territory which traditionally belongs to the wild cattle. A few hot headed young deer raided the grasslands of the cattle. Rumor mills got active and all sorts of wild stories were churned out. The relations between the cattle and deer and other herbivores got vitiated. Many herbivores got killed in the internecine battles that erupted. The wolves, hyenas and jackals fanned the fires and then held flag marches. Reconciliatory meetings of prominent deer, cattle and other herbivores were convened by the ruling party. The ruling party also announced compensation for the dead and the maimed. The opposition organized medical and relief camps. Gradually life started limping to normal and after some time peace returned to the jungle.
The herbivores accepted their lot as a matter of fate and went back to grazing peacefully and debates between the wolves, hyenas and jackals continued…
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)