Now upon a time!

Once upon a time there was a jungle. All animals lived happily in it, each contributing to what they were best in. The elephants would pull the dead weight out, the monkeys would climb trees and look far, bring down fruits, the horses would run through the jungle and pass messages… and so on. Everyone respected what the other bought in and all of them shared the spoils equally. Everything was in balance and harmony.

But somehow for some reason… one day the elephants started feeling arrogant. They felt they were more important being heavier in weight, stronger physically and hence could rule over the others and give them less importance in all scheme of things.

They started demeaning the other animal’s contribution. They would instil fear by breaking down trees if monkey’s cried unfair… they would crush the horses below their feet when they slept if they felt they were revolting. Gradually the harmony was disrupted and elephants became the dominant animal. They stopped other animals from sleeping at certain places or took more share of food for work they did. They started making rules that were unfair and forced others to follow. A monkey wanting to carry some fruits was not allowed to do so – they were told that they could only climb trees. Horses were told that they could only keep running – not do anything else. The elephants would shake up trees just for fun, at times destroy families – just because they could… and they restricted such things to themselves – and horrendously even regaled in it.

This oppression was gradual and went on for centuries. The repressing doctrine became the new rule of the jungle.  What was lost was mutual respect and harmony!

However, suddenly the environment of the jungle changed. The animals figured that they did not have to  climb trees to look far… for all the trees were broken… with no barriers, there was no need to run as well to pass messages… dead weight was less too to throw out and so on. Hence each animal’s initial USP was now redundant with the changing times and environment.

With time the birds also came in and started having a role in feeding the minds of all animals. They would relay events in one part of the jungle to the other… and became a tool of propaganda.

Now the monkey’s and the horses started realizing that they can also pull the weight that is required to be pulled in the new environment… and that they can be equal contributors in that requirement. The elephants however still can never climb a tree or run like a horse. But generally the elephant’s are used to their role… they cannot adjust to the changing realities so easily. Some of them try and some of them change… but in general, the elephant mentality still exists.

The birds by this time too went on to became a self-driven medium influencing change rather than being a tool which was used to pass on messages. The birds have begun directing the perception of the animals with information which suited them the most. They have become powerful driving forces for shaping the herd mentality.

The monkeys and horses are now fighting with the elephants for their equal right to resources and to be judged fairly on the same scale and not discriminated against. They want equality… which is the new buzz word in the jungle. The birds are supporting that for it’s the direction in which the wind is blowing.

However, the more worrying thing now is that after millennia’s of being falsely indoctrinated by the elephant that pulling dead weight out is the measure of strength and the only real ability to be respected – even the monkeys and the horses have accepted that as the scale to be measured against. Now most of them who revolt in the name of equality want to ensure that they have an equal chance to compete & be judged – on the basis of carrying weight!

There is now lesser or no more glory seen in a monkey being able to climb the highest even in the eyes of the monkey’s themselves or in the horse being able to run the fastest in the clan of the horses… for the elephants had not recognised the importance of it and now even they don’t.

If a horse wants to run or a monkey wants to climb, they can still do so… but then they are not seen as part of the revolution of equality. They are seen as conservative and old schooled. Equality today has translated into competing against what elephant was best designed to do – which may no longer really be the core requirement to survive or grow.

The song that the birds now sing focus unfortunately highly on equality as well – not on freedom of choice or mutual respect. The hero from the monkeys or the horses in a moving saga that the birds propagate is the one which has breached the elephant kingdom and beaten the elephants in their own game. Never is a verse composed for the monkey who climbed the biggest tree or the horse that ran the toughest course… never. What is harped upon is that a monkey or a horse has an equal right to shake up a tree – and that they should not be construed as destroying a nest when the elephant was not. The subtle messaging is so focused on equality that it is stereotyping success for a new generation of monkeys and horses.

When the reality should have been that the elephants had to be educated to change their rules and games, not driving others in beating them at it. That the elephant’s should have been coached to give mutual respect. That shaking up a tree for no reason is bad – be it by any animal. That success cannot mean the same thing for all animals and that it comes in varied forms… be it in pulling weight, be it in running a course or climbing the highest tree.

That the aspiration should be of harmony… growth as a whole unit. Equality should be in respect… Success should be in being able to pursue your choice.

But then ages of subjugation has blinded everyone to this… and this is now upon a time!

– Written on 29 September 2016.


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