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Politically Panchatantraed - tawdry tales of politicians, bureaucrats and other



tawdry tales of politicians, bureaucrats

and other animals

Ajoy Alexander

Copyright © 2017 Ajoy Alexander

All rights reserved.

Distributed by Shakespir

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Welcome to a wondrous world.

Here, animals animatedly talk about the birds and the bees.

Fierce felines and fluffy feathered fliers fraternize fondly.

Predators ponder peacefully while grass grazers grumble and gamble.

But alas, one group remains unrepentantly unchanged –

our politicians are still incorrigibly corrupt.


A lamentable lesson in life-giving

The Ambassador car and the bullock cart

Necessary Notes and Appreciative Acknowledgments

About the Author

[]A lamentable lesson in life-giving

Once upon a time, in a land of brave thievery and atheistic bravery, there were four fab friends.

(Not to be mistaken for The Fab Four, who, though born as varied varieties of beetles in previous lifetimes, thanks to their kind minds and no-nonsense benevolence, and bonus karmic perks and quirks, were spotlighted as earth shaking, culture shaping musicians in their most recent, righteous-rewards-redeeming reincarnation.)

Now back to our four friends (on second thought, they might not be so fab after all).

Three of them were white-collar scholars who had reached the hightened’n‘enlightened and quite-erudite stage of knowledge. And naturally, they boasted of their high breeding and higher learning to anyone within earshot. But the fourth man was an ill-bred and illiterate commoner, with just a wee bit of common sense to help him by. Since it is basic human nature to hang out with lesser beings in order to feel superior, the three gnostics allowed their ignorant friend to hang around so that they could whet their wit on him, browbeat his lowbrow ideas and ideals, and generally feel mighty haughty and hoity-toity.

But after years of learning arcane arts and esoteric essentials, the three friends felt that there must be more fulfilling thrills in life. Apart from their own neighborhood, surely there must be other societies that they could feel superior to. So they embarked on a long and perilous journey of discovery, accompanied by their faithful common friend. After meeting, greeting and browbeating a few lesser cultures, the friends chanced upon a town full of high caste literati, the Wise Wishiwashas, who had garnered and compiled a comprehensive collection of extravagantly miscellaneous knowledge into a mammoth book of wisdom known as Metaphysical Mullgatawny.

As sullen sages on misty mountaintops would admit, just when you thought you had reached a distinctly divine destiny in your yogic career, a holier-than-thou show-off would show up and lure away your gullible, fallible followers… Thus, the three scholars were now forced to face a harsh reality, that there is always someone smarter than you. Feeling extremely intimidated by the impromptu intellect of the Wise Wishiwashas, they departed the town without ceremony, dragging along their common friend, who was reluctant to leave because of a gregarious group of grinning, giggling, great looking girls.

Now just outside town, they happened across a dense and dark forest. Normally, normal scholars would have the sense to avoid dense and dark forests, but since they were in an abnormally dark mood, they decided to fearlessly foray into this forbidding forest. Surprisingly, it was the common man who raised a voice of reason, but his three friends were unreasonably unwilling to listen to voices of reason. Strange sights and stranger sounds confronted them, but the men continued to stumble and bungle into the jungle. Quite suddenly, they chanced upon a clearing in which lay some scattered, battered bones. At last, here was a chance to prove their potent prowess and redeem their slipping self-confidence.

“Using my awesome knowledge, I can fuse together these bare, broken bones and form a whole skeleton”, said the first man who was wise in the ways of nirvanic-orthopedics, among other things.

“My super skills will enable me to add flesh and blood to the skull’n’skeleton, so that it becomes a solid body”, said the second man, who was a musculovascular mumbojumboist.

“With the unique abilities I possess, I can give life to the carcass”, added the third, who used ancient tantric breath control secrets in his capacity as a yogic-pulmonologist.

“Er, excuse me… you should be careful about bringing the dead to life”, said their stupid friend. But of course he was ignored completely.

Thus the first man, with his fakir-fusion technique, joined together the bones, creating the skeleton of the self, which included attributes like self-preservation, self-importance and selfishness.

The second man quickly conjured up flesh, blood and other scattered organic matter to cover the skeleton. Unfortunately, the side effects of such corporeal materialization included flesh-related attributes like lust, anger, avarice and slothfulness.

The third man concentrated hard, preparing to add breath to the inanimate body, when their common friend, who had been silent all this while, suddenly sprang up with alarm, “Wait! Please don’t do anything rash. Look at the beady greedy eyes, wide open mouth, swelled head, thick skin and crossed fingers. Don’t you realize that this is a politician?”

But the three friends felt extremely insulted. “Do you doubt our abracadabraic abilities? Just because there are sinister subtleties and nasty nuances in the making of a politician, like a callous thalamus and vile and wily neurons, do you think we cannot bring this carrion of a parliamentarian to life? We can and we will”.

The fourth man, filled with a foreboding feeling of fear and futility, forlornly said, “Then could you please wait a few minutes?” and quickly climbed up a nearby Apathy tree. The third scholar looked up scornfully at the climbing coward, bent down and zapped the breath of yin-yang-zing-zest into the body on the ground.

At once, the dead politician came to life. He looked around suspiciously, and as usual, assessed the situation erroneously. Assuming that the three scholars were opposition candidates in upcoming elections, he killed them mercilessly with powerful punches from bribe-toughened hands and kicks from muscled legs strengthened by kicking around under-the-table kickbacks.

He looked up at the stupid man sitting atop the Apathy tree, and instinctively knew that this common man would not be influenced by insincere speeches or artificial smiles. Beaming with bogus bonhomie, he left for greener pastures featuring corporate funding and right-winged podiums.

The common man slowly climbed down from the Apathy tree, and paid his respects to his dear, departed friends. And in their honor, he later founded the Association of Greater Ahimsa and Lesser Politics.

The Ambassador car and the bullock cart

a story of pace, grace and trying to save face in a race

Once upon a time in a fairly quiet, faintly quaint town, there lived an Ambassador car and a bullock cart. The Ambassador car was forever whizzing and whooshing to and fro, taking politicians to political platforms, actors to autograph signings and famous fundamentalists to further fame and fundamentalism. It hogged highways and roamed roads, overtaking and overturning lesser vehicles, sending them fender first into roadside ravines. It was proud of its prompt pace and constantly boasted that it could outrun any vehicle on any road. In fact it challenged anything with wheels and the ability to take people for a ride, to a competition of speed and endurance.

And who should accept this challenge but a lowly bullock cart! Local politicians and other power-mongers found this so ridiculous that they burst into fits of uncontrollable giggling in public. The cart in question was a rickety two-wheeled anachronism that was slowly creaking its way toward extinction. Its very existence was unimportant, since its only purpose was to take unimportant people to unimportant places. Did it matter whether or not monsoon cheated farmers took their meager produce to the marketplace? Did it matter if some undernourished, underprivileged children went to underfunded schools? And since they lived in a male dominated society, did it really matter if suppressed women went to self-help workshops?

When the Ambassador car heard that such a slow, politically insignificant bullock cart wanted to race against it, it laughed so hard that wiper fluid involuntarily streamed up its windshield.

Thus, on a fine day fit for princes to become kings and criminals to become politicians, the race was flagged off. At once the Ambassador car vroomed off, with priests, politicians, lawyers and other dubious characters cheering loudly. The bullock cart trudged off slowly, meandering along long and winding roads. The car zipped around bends and zoomed over tar, rushing rapidly and recklessly. But it was a hot day and the swiftly speeding car soon began steaming at the radiator. It was quite close to the finish line and the bullock cart was nowhere in sight, so the car decided to take a little rest, to cool its engine and let off some steam. It stopped in the shadow of a big, shady corporate building, turned off its headlights and settled down to some meditative idling.

Meanwhile the bullock cart was struggling slowly but surely along filthy lanes, cheered on by unwashed, unschooled children in untidy clothes, who were screaming encouragement at the top of their voices. Till suddenly it glimpsed a glint of glass and the gleam of chrome in the dim distance. It was the idling Ambassador car, day dreaming about fun activities like breaking speed limits and flaunting traffic laws. With renewed vigor the bullock cart creaked on, its wooden spokes grinding and groaning with effort. Soon it came within bumper-bumping distance of the Ambassador car and slowly rolled past it.

Shock showed on the faces of the big crowd gathered at the finish line, especially the politicians who had placed heavy bets on the race. Their loud shouts alerted the idling Ambassador car, which blinked its headlights hastily, shrugged its suspension swiftly, revved and reverberated its engine angrily, and flash-dashed toward the finish line, horns blaring and tires screeching. But alas, it was just a few feet too late. The bullock cart plodded and thudded across the finish line, greeted by ardent applause and hearty hurrahs from the undernourished and torn clothed section of the audience.

This upsetting finish by an upbeat upstart upset a lot of upper-class folks. The lawyers sued the Ambassador car for breach of faith and negligence of responsibilities. And the politicians decided to defy the government’s official policy of ‘be indigenous, buy indigenous’, and imported flashy yet classy, spacious and ostentatious foreign cars.

The Ambassador car retired to a nice garage which only made you work on weekends and did not mind if you leaked oil, your tires reeked of stinky soil or you creaked your springs and coils. The bullock cart, too old to roll on rocks but too young to be junked, went back to undone chores, like transporting juvenile junkies to judicial judgments and jaunty jugglers to jubilant jamborees.

[]Necessary Notes and Appreciative Acknowledgments

Politically Panchatantraed is dedicated to Mr. Vishnu Sharma, writer of short stories and tall tales.

He lived around the 3rd century BC (or so scholars suppose), and since there was no television to watch or net to surf, he wrote folk tales instead.

Thus was born The Panchatantra, a collection of animal fables from ancient India, where animals behaved like humans, humans behaved like animals, and do-gooders turned the tables on wrong-doers.

Today, there are too many versions of The Panchatantra floating around. Wouldn’t you say two hundred different versions, in more than fifty languages, including Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Czech and other Slavonic languages, is one too many?

Now coming to Politically Panchatantraed, an apology is in order. Despite the promise of Panchatantra parodies, ‘The Ambassador car and the bullock cart’ is not from The Panchatantra at all. It belongs to Aesop’s Fables, from a tale featuring a hurrying hare and a tardy tortoise. But since both collections are from an old world, fantasy folk-fable family, hopefully this theft would not be frowned upon.

Oh, and there’s this. Though the Ambassador car came in second in a two vehicle race, this tale is actually a tribute to this iconic car.

Favored by politicians and bureaucrats in the past, the Ambassador car was once proudly flag adorned, swivel-sirened and bullet-proofed… being customized according to the rank and riches of its user. Once part of pompous processions and picturesque parades, this indigenously Indian car is now just an unchic relic that’s waiting to become an antique.


Ajoy Alexander has been a cowboy, space explorer, martial artist and secret agent – in his mind.

In reality, he worked as a desk top publisher in New York City for several years, before going back to the heat and dust of India.

He is now on a quest to discover the magical, mystical side of this country, and in the process, is trying to communicate with flamboyant peacocks, timid tigers and holy cows.

When in the mood, he also does freelance writing for a few newspapers.

Politically Panchatantraed - tawdry tales of politicians, bureaucrats and other

Once upon a time, there were some woods lovely, dark and deep. Here, on an auspicious day, you could see a fox trot or a leopard change its spots. You might see pigs fly and eagles getting high. You would also notice that using on-the-spot thought, or off-the-cuff rebuff, the fly in the ointment, fish out of water, bee in the bonnet, bats in the belfry, moth near a flame, the stuck pig… all these endangered, proverbial personalities escape their inevitable fates. But even in such an amazing world, where members of the animal kingdom show off by vocalizing vociferously or dare to dream by visualizing vividly, there is one group of brute beings that remains stubbornly selfish. That’s right. Our politicians continue to go from bad to barbaric, from corrupt to cockroachy. Politically Panchatantraed is a short-story, tall-tale series, stolen and adapted from the ancient collection of animal fables from India, The Panchatantra. Written around the third century BC in Sanskrit, The Panchatantra has enthralled and entertained countless generations of avid and awed readers, with stories of fine and friendly animals getting along famously with fickle and foolish humans. Over the centuries, The Panchatantra has gone global, with over two hundred versions in over 50 languages. With a youthful, impressionable audience that extends from third world hutholds to ultra urban zip codes, one should not be surprised to see copies of The Panchatantra sitting shyly on splintering slabs in shabby shacks, or stylishly setup on shiny sliding shelves in stately skyscrapers. But all versions, all translations of these folk fables remain true to the original, and no re-teller has been irresponsible enough to disgustingly deform or pathetically parody these tales. Till now. After all, in today’s confusingly complex world, tales of animated animals and their audacious adventures, artistic acumen and altruistic aspirations are not enough. We need to know why politicians shed crocodile tears when crying wolf, why dogs of war usually bark up the wrong tree, why those in power try to cover up when curiosity kills the cat or you smell a rat, how politicians cleverly mix apples and oranges after upsetting the apple cart… This is where Politically Panchatantraed comes into play. Today, the woods have turned lousy, dreadful and depraved. Political predators with insatiable hunger for power and unquenchable thirst for wealth, hunt unscrupulously for bliss, benefit and bounties beyond. Cool, shady foliage has given way to crooked, shady corporations. And the lofty, life lesson morals at the end of folk tales have been forced into retirement due to lack of interest. But despite all those political wolves in cheap clothing trying to pull the wool over our eyes, the power of the people, and their no-nonsense common sense, will hopefully guide society toward a storybook ending. With a little help from a Holy Cow, of course.

  • Author: Ajoy Alexander
  • Published: 2017-05-09 09:50:09
  • Words: 2224
Politically Panchatantraed - tawdry tales of politicians, bureaucrats and other Politically Panchatantraed - tawdry tales of politicians, bureaucrats and other