Saturday, February 14, 2015

King's Elephant

King's Elephant

There was a King. He had organized wisdom competition of his kingdom. A group of villagers from poor community won the competition. The King rewarded them with an Elephant as a prize for winning the competition. But he put a condition to keep the Elephant with themselves permanently. The team returned with joy to the village carrying the King's Elephant. First few days they managed the food for the Elephant with enthusiasm. But as the grass stock of all the household was getting emptied, they all worried about the food for the Elephant. It was King's Elephant. They were afraid of the punishment by the King. At last, they went to the Old Man in the village for advice. 

The Old Man after listening the story advised them to sell off the Elephant. The villagers told him about the pre condition imposed by the King to keep the Elephant themselves. They were afraid of the punishment. But the Old Man again advised that selling the Elephant is the only option to get free from the cost of maintenance. If the King calls you, I shall come and reply, he gave them assurance.

The villagers sold the Elephant and shared the money received, equally. After sometimes, the King inquired about the condition of the Elephant, he gifted to the villagers. The soldiers of the King came to the village and inquired but didn't find the Elephant. They ordered them to come to the King's court immediately and explain. And also warned for punishment. The villagers went to the old man and told him about the King's order. The old man said, don't worry. He asked them to bring a small cage and a Rat. He put the Rat in the cage and went along with the villagers to the King's court. 

Where is my Elephant? the King shouted. Shivers passed through the body of the villagers hearing the shout of the King. 

Then, the Old Man come forward and put the cage with the Rat before the King. This is the Elephant, Maharaj. 

The King looked at the cage and became angry. Are you making me fool? Is this small animal in the cage is my big Elephant? Are you mad? 

No Magaraj, this is the Elephant, you have gifted to the villagers, he replied coolly.

The King was losing his temper badly, still following a principle of Natural justice allowed him to explain.

Maharaj, you have gifted the Elephant to us. It became famous and adorable because it was King's Elephant. Many people from surroundings areas came to see it everyday. And each one of them with lot of love; adore, stroke and rub him with hands. जो भी आता, हाथ फेर लेता। As a result the Elephant became smaller and smaller. And now it is left to this size, Maharaj. 

Finally, he explained how that prize became liability for the villagers. The King accepted his mistake and rewarded some land to the villagers and appointed that Old Man as an Advisor! (Don't know, why? For making the Elephant, a Rat?)

Much before Rajiv Gandhi, my uncle Khushal Bha told us this story, how the Elephant size benefits given by the Government reduced to the size of a Rat as major share has been taken away by the middle agencies and functionaries in Government. Jo bhi aata, haath fer leta. जो भी आता, हाथ फेर लेता।

Public money at the disposal of Officials is like honey kept in the mouth of Bear.  
- Manu Smiriti

14 February 2015 


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