Eternally ungrateful, always harmful

These wise sayings represent the character of ungrateful and malicious people
There is a popular saying in Urdu that snake has its venom beneath its skin [ Kanchli], scorpion in its tail, mad-dog in its tongue, but a human being, man or woman, hides it in his/her heart, deep in bosom.
There is a popular saying in Urdu that snake has its venom beneath its skin [ Kanchli], scorpion in its tail, mad-dog in its tongue, but a human being, man or woman, hides it in his/her heart, deep in bosom. GK Layout Desk

Scorpion, Bich in Kashmiri, is considered one of the most harmful specie on the earth. Bich in literature represents a person with ‘hidden poison’ of malice, animosity, grudge, hatred, revenge, jealousy, & suchlike vices, with which he harms others.

There is a popular saying in Urdu that snake has its venom beneath its skin [ Kanchli], scorpion in its tail, mad-dog in its tongue, but a human being, man or woman, hides it in his/her heart, deep in bosom.

An analogous Sanskrit saying is that “the poison of a scorpion is in his tail, of a fly in his head, of a snake in his fang; but of a bad man in his whole body”.

There are adages, idioms, proverbs & parables in each culture of the world about scorpion. In all known languages, we find rich sayings and stories of scorpions including Persian, Arabic, English, Sanskrit, Hindi & Urdu languages.

All of them portray typical nature of this dangerous insect on the earth. There is a Persian idiom which connotes the idea that “whoever pats with scorpions with the hand of compassion receives punishment.”

In Tamil, there is a saying which means “ the scorpion stings him who helps it out of the fire”. There is one more Indian saying that “scorpions don’t take it from anyone. If you give them a shit, they will hit you back”.

These wise sayings represent the character of ungrateful & malicious people. There goes a prudent saying in Kashmiri that “ Yi Chu Bich, Yut Rachihan, Tut Diyi Topuh” which literally means that “he a scorpion, as many will cherish it, so many will it sting”.

Its variant can be : “Yi Cho Bich Rachun, Yi Diyi Sirf Toph”. Allegory: It is like cherishing & feeding scorpion which will only sting. The more you love & fondle it, the more it will harm you. It depicts the characteristic of Bich, that is, an ungrateful, malicious, malignant & spiteful person.

Kalhana in Rajatarangini has compared a usurious merchant or banker with a “dangerous scorpion” who stings unlike a honey-bee without leaving a mark even.

In Kashmiri language there are a couple of proverbs regarding scorpions. One little known proverbial story is like this: “Bichas Pruzhukh Wandas Konah Chukh Nebar Neraan, Dipunakh, Rateh Kalih Kiyah Korum Hasil? Har-duha Lanate Hish!”

Translation: Somebody said to the scorpion, why are you hiding in winter, why don’t you come out in winter? He replied: “What good I did during spring time. Both times are alike for me.

Both are a curse for me [scorpion]”. Explanation & Message: either miserable itself or making others miserable.

All seasons, times & and situations, are alike for a harmful fellow. It is generally believed that the scorpion lives under the ground during winter and lives a miserable life by hiding itself.

But, when it comes out in spring, it only gives trouble to others. It is characteristic of a scorpion, its identity. Harm is what a malicious fellow/fellows/community stands for. Characteristic Wisdom!

Animal Fable: There is a fascinating story of great wit of the scorpion and the frog that conveys that people of malicious character by their very nature cannot resist the temptation of hurting and harming others, even if it may not be in their own interest.

But compelled by innate feature of their Fitrat, these people cause great damage to others. That story appeared first in Russian literature in 1933 & then it appeared in English novel in 1944.

It is also said that the story was inspired by a Persian story of the scorpion & the turtle of 1500 AD where the turtle is saved from the sting of the scorpion by his thick shell.

However, in the story of the scorpion & the frog, the frog did not have turtle’s hard shell to survive the poisonous sting & so the scorpion’s sting killed the frog.

The story goes like this: There lived a deadly scorpion in a forest. One day he decided to change his habitat & go across the river to its other side. He set on the journey & when he reached the edge of the river, he stopped as he could not swim.

He looked anxious & moved up & down the forest. While pondering how to cross the river, he noticed a frog sitting on a tree & watching him. He said to the frog: “would you be kind enough to make me cross the river on your back?” The frog replied: “you are a scorpion, by nature stinging everyone who comes in touch with you, how can I trust, you won’t sting me?”.

The scorpion: “If I sting you, I too will drown with you as I cannot swim the river-water”. “That is true but what assurance I have that you will not sting me when you reach the other side of the river on my back?”, asked the frog.

“Do you think I will be so ungrateful & unkind for the ride you give me that I will still sting you?’, said the scorpion. The innocent frog was carried by the sweet words of the cunning scorpion. Trusting the scorpion, the frog got him as the free-passenger on his back, & the frog began paddling the fast currents of water with his webbed-feet.

When they were in the middle of the river, the scorpion could not resist his urge to sting the frog on his back. The scorpion tried to pull out the stinger from the back of the frog. From the corner of his eye, the frog noticed the scorpion removing the stinger.

The frog felt pain & numbness over his whole body & began drowning. Before drowning, he, the frog, tearfully asked the scorpion why he stung him when he was helping & ferrying him to the safety-bank on the other side of the river as he had desired.

The scorpion replied, “I couldn’t help myself, I was compelled by my nature to sting you on your back”.

Though both the scorpion & the frog drowned in water, the story has a vivid moral that applies in every age & society. One should not trust malicious people with hidden poison of deceit & fraud, harm & hurt, their baser instincts.

We should not ignore the inner compulsions of vicious people before trusting them.


Sometimes in sheer ignorance of the reality of certain people & the situations, we believe in their words, promises & pledges that they artfully make to us, & we make them ride our backs to cross over the difficult situations but, only to find ourselves getting deceived, stung by their hidden venomous stingers like that of a scorpions, & seeing ourselves & others with us getting drowned only.

We fail to step out of the frame to appreciate the bigger picture behind the sweet statements of such deceitful people, Bichi Khaslat.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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