Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Crafty Crane And The Craftier Crab- Decoding Panchatantra in present political landscape.

Manya Vishnu Sarman taught five moral stories to the prodigal sons of a dynasty king. He later chronicled them as "Panchatantra" in Sanskrit. To make a moral point here and there, he narrated small stories making animals living in jungle as main characters. Though these look outwardly as "kid stories" the morals they teach are ubiquitous, universal in appeal and can be related to any walk of life from family to politics. My concern is politics as it evolved in India since independence and what each story conveys as a moral to the voters in the coming elections. Though politicians across the spectrum are similar in selfishness and art of survival, the modus operenedi differs. For example, Modi serves and survives. Congress looted and bloated. Psuedo seculars infused a sense of fear in some sections to devour their future and kept them perennially under poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and sense of fear. 

Let me take the last one first. Though lengthy, I will reproduce the story with reference quoted.

The Crafty Crane And The Craftier Crab

The Crafty Crane And The Craftier Crab
Once upon a time an old crane lived on the rim of a large lake in the middle of a jungle. Because of age, it was not able to prey on fish and other insects. Unable to suffer hunger, the crane stood on the edge of the lake and began crying pitiably. Moved at the sight, a crab passing by asked the crane:
“Friend, what is the matter? Why are you not hunting for food today?”
“Son, you have correctly guessed. I am feeling guilty because I have swallowed too many fish. I have decided to fast unto death and am not harming even the fish that are within my reach,” said the crane.
“But why are you so philosophical today,” asked the crab.
“What shall I tell you? I have heard that there will be no rains for the coming twelve years. Astrologers have forecast an evil conjunction of the planets. As a result, there won't be rains on this earth for another twelve years. All these years we have all played and lived together. I am now worried about the fate waiting for these poor fish and other creatures in the lake. They will die and I will be alone and without them.”
“Is there no way we can save ourselves?”
“At present, fish and other water creatures in other lakes are migrating to bigger lakes with the help of their relatives. Here, nobody seems to worry about the dark future. At this rate, there won't be any kind of fish left.”
The crab carried this information to all the fish and other water creatures in the lake. Alarmed, all of them came to the crane and pleaded with him to show them the way to overcome this danger.
“Why not. There is a big lake not far from here that has plenty of water throughout the year and lotuses always in bloom. That lake does not go dry even if there are no rains for twenty-four years. I can ferry all of you one by one to that lake.”
The Crafty Crane And The Craftier Crab
The poor fish and other water creatures at once put all the trust in the crane and agreed to be ferried. Every day, the crane would take one of them at a time to a lonely place, smash them against a stone and eat them. He would return to the lake and repeat the trick every day.
One day the crab asked the crane, “Uncle, you are taking everyone to the faraway lake and not me. Why don't you take me there today and save my life?”
Tired with eating fish every day, the crane too was happy to carry the crab to the lake that did not exist. The crab was happy and mounted on the back of the crane. As the crane was flying close to the spot where he ate all the fish, the crab saw a heap of fish bones and asked the crane, “Uncle, we have come a long distance and I see no lake anywhere. Tell me, where is the lake?”
“You are a fool to trust me. There is no lake. Nor is there water. Say your prayers now; I am going to kill you.” The crafty crab at once caught the neck of the crane in his claws and tore through it to death. Slowly, carrying the crane's neck, the crab reached the lake where all his friends, worried that the crane did not come back, asked him what made him come back.
The Loss of Friends - The Crafty Crane And The Craftier Crab
The crab said, “you fools, that crane was taking all of us to a lonely place where it would smash the victims against a rock and have them for lunch. I found out his mischief and saved myself by slicing his neck. From today, all of us can live happily without fear.”

We shall name our story in the present political landscape as 


Post independence, the worst riots broke out in India and Pskistan, because self-serving politicians tried to fish in troubled waters. The by-that-well-known disputes in Congress about who should head government only complicated maters. In Pakistan Jinnah was an undisputed leader and hence the issue of accession to power was easier.
The various letters between Rajendra Prasad, Nehru, Patel and Gandhi variously display the chinks in the Indian polity. Sardar was seen as a strong Hindu protaganist. So too, Rajendra Prasad. Secularism was a concept coined by the Gandhi-Nehru duo, to keep India, ostensibly united. Ban on RSS was done by Patel under special circumstances or else he would have been dubbed anti Muslim, what with his proposed action on a very strong Nizam creating ripples. History, understood, in right perspective will throw light on many aspects. Six decades of Congress rule kept many issues under wrap by special laws. Unless these are scrapped it is difficult to decode the secrets. Let us hope by the 150th birthday of Gandhi, truth will be unveiled so that his Soul can attain Moksha.

Read: http://swarajyamag.com/politics/revisiting-nehru-patel-differences-alternate-perspectives/

After Gandhi's death, who vowed he was a Hindu Nationalist and Rajendra Prasad and Patel silenced, Nehru had a free run on Secularism and it helped him to project himself as Messsiah who can provide a protective umbrella to the apprehensive Muslims who stayed back on his and Gandhi's appeal. Most Hindus returned from Pakistan. 


Read the book, not Times of Lies.

Now, compare, Nehru the crafty crane doing penance on the fully flowing lake where different water animals were living together. He wanted to catch the fish, that is easy prey to the false propaganda. So, he created a fear in the innocent fish, the Muslim minority, that the Indian Gods would dry up the lake soon and they would have to suffer without water or shelter. "Come with me! Vote me! I will show a better pond with full of water and where you can live independently" so saying he fixed a secular agenda, that was nothing but, instilling a sense of fear and offering appeasement in the form of better living. One by one the fish fell prey to the inducement and was devoured without invoking suspicion in the minds of other innocent fish. Leftists who were straving helped him. Post Nehru, his heirs only ruled directly or by proxy. Indira went to the extent of making the apprehension constitutional.

But one craftier crab was witnessing the whole episode. It was born in the lake, survived on food available, saw the summer and spring of seasons and decided to make the lake "Crane Mukth". So, it went piggy back on the crane, questioned impropriety of the crane, aka Congress, of devouring innocent creatures instilling fear and cut its throat and threw the pieces on the four sides of eartn and the body on the other four sides leaving it to struggle to make the four and four together.

Moral: Deceit is short lived. One day, it will devour you and make you rudderless, leaderless, ladderless and cadreless. Congress is left with a tortoise VP, that withdraws its face into sabattical when danger lurks and moves slowly. This story next. The cranes who can fly to unknown destinations and take the tortoise. What is the fate of Tortoise VP?

Next Blog.

Enjoy the fun.