The Ant and the Grasshopper

Each of us, in our childhood, must’ve read or heard about this very famous story. But, very few of us know about an Indian version of the same story, and its contradiction. Yes, what I just said is true. I spotted an Indian version of the old story in some magazine, and this post is an immediate outcome of it. I’m posting the original version, and the Indian version of the same story, and also the contradictory views I have. I hope I’m right.

 

An Old Story:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter. The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away. Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs & dances & plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. NDTV, BBC, CNN show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

The World is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor Grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of the Ant’s house

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Mayawati states this as ‘injustice’ done on Minorities.

Amnesty International and Kofi Annan criticize the Indian Government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace for prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance).

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Bandh’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian Railway Trains, aptly named as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the ‘ Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act’ [POTAGA], with effect from the beginning of the winter.

Arjun Singh makes ‘Special Reservation ‘ for Grasshoppers in Educational Institutions & in Government Services

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it’s home is confiscated by the Government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it ‘ A Triumph of Justice’.

CPM calls it the ‘ Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden ‘

Kofi Annan invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Many years later…

The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley.

100s of Grasshoppers still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India,

..AND
As a result of losing lot of hard working Ants and feeding the grasshoppers …India is still a developing country…!!!

 

 Indian Version of an Old Story: A Patriot’s Perspective

 

As I was reading in a nascent magazine, a story “The Ant and the Grasshopper” caught my attention. The original was an old story, I remember, having read as a little kid, when I was in school. But, this one’s special, for it has got its own flavor- a perfect blend of immaturity, lack of understanding about social problems, the political system of our nation and more importantly an uncontrollable rage for reasons known, and comprehended only by certain specimens.

It was an Indian version of the old story, criticizing the system, the politicians, the media, and the social workers. I tried to ruminate over the motive behind the story, only in vain. Honestly, I am clueless of the writer’s motive.

Being an ardent patriot, I couldn’t digest the opinion he had on his country, and her people. I therefore decided to choose his own way of expressing anguish, and the outcome this time is “The Indian Version of an Old Story: A Patriot’s Perspective.”

Centuries and centuries ago, in a beautiful country called India, the people were divided into classes depending on their societal status, and profession. They were broadly classified into two classes namely the Upper Castes, and the Lower Castes. As the old saying goes that a big fish eats a small fish, people of the lower castes have been suppressed by their self proclaimed “superiors.” They were denied entry to temples, they weren’t allowed to go to schools and colleges, and they were, in simple words, treated as “untouchables.” It’s become a practice until recently, and still, in some parts of India, this evil is still in practice.

Then, the English invaded our nation in the name of trade. Slowly, and steadily, they established their colonies in our motherland. Unable to collect taxes from the farmers, they assigned vast stretches of lands to certain men, who were later called “Zamindars.” Also, some of the Kings, and other landlords, implemented their own rules, and tax systems. All of them were from the upper classes of the society, and they started their ruthless reign. They implemented their own rules, and regulations. They collected taxes according to their will and wish, and none could revolt. The brave who tried to revolt were punished severely and killed. This created fear amongst the suppressed, and they never dared to fight back. This process continued, and after attaining independence from the British rule on August 15th, 1947, the then established, and their ancestral governments have been promising to uplift the downtrodden and new rules and regulations are being implemented, even today.

People who now blame the governments for introducing reservations do little realize that without such laws, the caste system would have been still holding its roots intact on Indian soil.

Firstly, is the root cause for poverty in India laziness of the poor? Are they really the lazy grasshoppers? Who cultivates the food we eat? Is it the rich or the poor? Who cleans the drainage in our houses and streets? Is it the rich or the poor? Who works day and night in the hot sun and the shivering cold carrying heavy loads of bricks and cement to construct the luxurious houses we reside in or the colleges and universities we study in? Who makes the decorations in our homes? Who makes the beds we sleep on and the chairs we sit on? Who work hard to give shape to the vehicles we drive and the roads we travel on? It may well be the brainchild of the engineers, the investors, the developers and the promoters, but it’s also the untiring physical efforts of the poor that enables us enjoy the luxuries we do today. So, how far is it true that the poor are lazy? Moreover, they are not even paid the minimum wages they deserve. So, is it wrong for the Railways Ministry to introduce a separate coach for their travel? Could they afford the luxuries of air conditioned travel? Is it wrong for the opposition parties to stage a walk out, echoing their protest over the malfunctioning of the governments, and their indifference towards the poor? Is it wrong for the left front governments in West Bengal and Kerala to formulate laws for their benefit? And, is it wrong for the media to showcase the suffering of these voiceless men and women? 

The UN was started with a motto of world peace, and it spread its roots to social welfare as well. It was started, keeping in mind, not just India, but the under developed and developing countries on a whole. It protests the existence of poverty not just in India, but each and every nation across the globe.

Finally, when there is no real injustice being done to the rich, why do they need to go to the Silicon Valley, and sell their brains which were a product of the institutes within our country, to an alien land? Are there any such instances where the rich lost to the poor? Is there a single such real life story? Who blames a Tata and Narayana Murthy or who blamed Mr.Rama Linga Raju until recently? Aren’t there icons within our nation, who set up industries and have successfully given livelihood to millions of the poor? The ANTS’ are leaving their mother soil, not because of the lack of opportunities, but because of the greed for better opportunities. A truth that has to be thrust upon every individual is that the GRASSHOPPERS are in no way responsible for the brain drain of the ANTS. The opposition parties, the ruling parties of the states of West Bengal and Kerala, social activists, and the media have nothing against the rich. They just sympathize with the needs of the poor whose voice is not given any heed by the rich. Moreover, neither of them passed any laws preventing people from getting rich. If only that was the case, why would there be an investment of rupees twelve lakh crores in a state in our country? Isn’t it an opportunity for the rich to get richer? Isn’t it an opportunity for the capitalists to capitalize on? No one fought for equality of poverty amongst the rich and the poor. People have only demanded the safeguarding of rights of the poor, and urged the governments to provide better living conditions for them.

I tried not to mention this, but with the outrageous burst of anger, I couldn’t resist the urge. It’s disappointing to read something of this sort written by someone with a minimal knowledge of the society. Dumping practicality and facts into the bin, I just have one thing to mention. Let’s for a minute get back to the story. The grasshopper was lazy, I admit. It had dug its own grave, I admit. But, why does the ant have to be so selfish? Why does it not offer a piece of its food to the suffering grasshopper? Don’t our religions which preach us to befriend our enemies as well, teach us to help those in need? Is there any religion which preaches us not to help those in need? Why don’t the rich, with their enormous wealth, step ahead to see a better neighborhood?

On a conclusive note, I’d like to pierce with an arrow, that India is still a developing nation, not because of the presence of grasshoppers, but because of the greed of the rich ants. It’s because of the corrupt politicians and lawmakers, and not because of the voiceless, hard working grasshoppers. Sure, we need a “revolutionary resurgence.”

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Ant and the Grasshopper

  1. kalyan ram says:

    Even I’ve read the Indian version of the article from the magazine and I seriously disagree with the motives of the author.
    I sincerely recommend the author of the article to go through the link below:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narmada_Bachao_Andolan

    Before criticizing personalities like Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy, you could have first undertood the social service done by them.

  2. Oscar Wilde very rightly said, “an artist is one who conceals himself and exposes the art”. Somehow the quote struck a chord while I was reading this post. I would say, its a very good work, indeed.

    The post is a single dimensional view of a problem of out of many we face as a secular, socialist, democratic nation. India is a country that has sprung, stumbled, ran, fallen and rolled over but finally got up to dust herself and grow into a super power one day.

    Although, I appreciate your insight into the problem that India, as a young nation faces, I have few reservations in subscribing to it. Well, you did present many cases of greedy ants making it to the foreign land for “money”. You wrote about ants that remember India only during their difficult times and comfortably shun the crisis back home. Unconditionally but sadly I accept this fact.

    But, I can tell you with almost audacity that we as a INDIANS find it uncomfortable to acknowledge that we are second to none. Swami Vivekananda, Srinivasan Ramanujan, AR Rahman are many amongst the few examples. And the fact that we are creating wealth can be no good to the country unless the created wealth is shared…

    Hence, given the advantage of our glorious past which has concepts relevant even to the future, I find no factual reason why ‘the light’ should not shine upon us. May the onus is upon us. Lets do our bit!

  3. If only more than 58 people could hear about this.

  4. Hehe am I literally the only comment to your amazing article.

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