Shilpa Shetty’s remarks about Animal Farm by George Orwell being a good book to teach children to care about animals sparked a controversy and Twitterati brutally trolled the actor for her gaffe. It was due to this incident I came to know about book and after reading it I can’t help but sympathize with Shilpa Shetty. She mistook it to be a children book due to the title and her blunder cannot be brushed away as it is a evergreen classic political satire.
In past I have read a few satires written by Indian authors and never liked them or connect with their sarcasm. So the Satire genre was basically I avoid to read. But not any more because till date I haven’t read a top notch satire like Animal Farm. It is an immortal political satire ever written and I am keen to read satires of Animal Farm standards.
The Satire is set on a farm where all the farm animals were ill-treated by the farm owner. Till one day all the animals decides that enough is enough and revolted. They drove out the owner and ended the tyrannical rule of human being.
Among all the animals Pigs were the smartest as they were educated and lead the revolution from the front. So Pigs were the natural choice to become leaders and take care of the welfare of other animals. Soon power corrupted Pigs and they started exploiting other animals and took advantage of their ignorance and blind faith. Condition of animals was no better than before under human beings.
Being a history student, I instantly connected the satire with The Russian Revolution of 1917 targeted towards Stalin. The Old Major in the satire who enlightens people and encourages them to revolt was no one but Lenin in real life.
Lenin’s kindle of revolution was further fired by Trotsky and Stalin who were represented as Snowball and Napoleon respectively in the story. They successfully drove the owner of farm just like Russian revolution under Trotsky and Stalin put an end to the Czarist rule in Russia.
George Orwell has shown an ongoing tension and tussle between Snowball and Napoleon over policies which ultimately led to the ousting and disgracing Snowball. It is very similar to what happen to Trotsky after Russian Revolution. And Napoleon of Animal Farm like Stalin became the sole ruler of Animal Farm exploiting and fooling its inhabitant in lieu of their welfare.
The satire may be based on USSR but it is true for every country and every generation. The book was written in 1944 just a few years before Indian Independence and what happened in India after Independence could be read under 100 pages in the book Animal Farm. It doesn’t need 1000 pages book to understand what went wrong in India after independence.
Every revolution in the history of mankind takes place due to the tyranny of ruling party. Revolution brings with itself hope of change, hope of better life and better future. But what really changes is the face of power. Life of common people remains unchanged and all the hopes are crushed bit by bit by the so called leaders of revolution.
What common people gets in return for their sacrifices and blind faith in their leaders are hunger, disease and deceit. Something which George Orwell has shown beautifully in his book through the character Boxer, the horse. He toiled for his leader day in and day out and what he get in return. He was send to slaughter house when he was of no use.
The writing of George Orwell is simple and concise but sarcasm in his writing is blunt and painfully straight forward whenever he touches the raw nerve. He not only tear apart the politicians who takes advantage of innocent people to meet their own selfish interest but his book is also an eye opener for the common people.
George Orwell indicates in his book that illiteracy is the biggest enemy of people. Pigs clearly had an upper hand because they were educated and took advantage of illiteracy of other animals. Illiterate people could be easily brainwashed. Blind faith in leaders is also another cause for the misery of animals who doesn’t question the intentions and integrity of their leader. There are clearly many lessons to learn from the book.
The book is no doubt a classic and will remain valid and true till the man kind last. A must read an highly recommended.
My take from this book is power is an addictive drug and uncontrolled and unchecked power is far more dangerous than anything else. Awareness is the only way to keep these power hungry and greedy wolves chained.