The tiger pulled on the shepherd’s cloak,
And took care to quieten his angry roar,
He stood at the river bank and said,
“Come you creatures, young and small,
I extend my hand to you all,
Deer and rabbits, you belong here,
Walk on wildly without fear.
For now, I am a tiger no more,
I have abandoned my family’s ways
Of thirsting on lesser lives,
As I believe we share this place
Equally,
Tiger or fox or mouse,
There’s enough room for all of us.”

And all the animals who heard the tiger
Followed the young leader on his path
No doubts, and no questions asked,
About the rookie’s change of heart,
For they wanted a leader too
As they walked on through the gloom.
So they meekly trailed the striped one
Who promised them a brand new sun
In a land of equality,
And freedom for everyone.

But halfway through the long journey,
The tiger realised he was famished,
He looked around the trailing herd,
And all his virtues soon vanished,
Pounced on one humble mule,
“Hey you there, you ain’t one of us,
You’re from the north, you look too plain,
Whoever let you in our midst?”
Growling, he tore away his ribs.

Then at another deer, he sneered,
“You, your accent is too weird,
Why, you’re from Bihar, that’s a crime,
Can’t let you stay and spoil our land,
So there you go, do understand,
We need to keep our jungle free
From all of you refugees.”
And he struck down the poor beast,
Then spoke aloud to the rest,
“Brothers, we need to clean our soil
From these would-be foreign tyrants,
Their fucking tongues spew dirty words
Diluting our refined native verse,
Throw them out, we need them no more.”
And he again let out the tiger’s roar,
That so far he had restrained.

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One comment on “

  1. Kerubino says:

    i like very much. its got the right amount of subtlety i think.suketa mehta has a nice line about how the tiger himself needs bodyguards… the paradox.

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