“All men are enemies. All animals are comrades” **~ George Orwell, Animal Farm
What if all the inhuman(in assertive tone) living beings decided to revolt against you? I mean, all the cats, dogs, rats, swine(who got an elated status as of now), microbes decided to enjoy the bliss of fraternity, liberation, power! Oh, no – these are not the ranting of an animal lover. Of course, I am also a member of PETA (To be read as People Eating Tasty Animals). George Orwell managed to spook me with “Animal Farm” during my younger days.
True, I was not aware of communism, never heard of Comrade Stalin but still enjoyed the book as a fairy tale. Later when socialisation enriched me with the complex political and socio-economic movements across the globe, I have explored a new dimension of the novel. Today I realise, Animal Farm was the first novel which I managed to read in my life! It entertains, churn your grey cells and of course ridicule your idols in a big manner!
All animals who are suppressed and oppressed in the farm of Mr. Jones decided to rebel against him and establish their own kingdom. In their attempt to create a world of their own, they have decided to make the best use of the skills of each and every animal!
After driving out Mr. Jones, they have decided to follow a set of commandments – Viz
- Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy
- Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend
- No animal shall wear clothes
- No animal shall sleep in a bed
- No animal shall drink alcohol
- No animal shall kill any other animal
- All animals are equal
The most appealing of principle of solidarity nurtured the bonding between them. But alas, this wonderful utopian dream became reality and finally ended up in the dictatorship of swine! [Swine rules! Then and now!]Oh no, George Orwell, did not foresee the possibility of Swine Flu, but symbolically represent the most idle and filthy animal can also reign.
The novel could be understood as a spoof or symbolic representation of totalitarian regime where in pigs could convince all other animals, practically everything they want to sell. At first, a major propaganda in which squealer was the pioneer was engaged. The seventh commandment was amended as “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” – Supreme Utterance! Does that represent the real phase of democracy in contemporary world?
While exposing the effectiveness of communism, Orwell did not even spare the institution of church. Moses was represented as a docile person who preaches about “sugarcandy mountain‘ and was sleeping inside hangar(that might have symbolically represented as the church acting as a dormant institution during the communist regime).
How can comrades who advocated for fraternity, solidarity, equality etc. got converted as ruthless dictators was symbolically represented through the transformation of pigs.
Many critics arrived at the conclusion that Orwell was trying to share his view on “Stalinism“. In generic sense, it can be viewed as the underlying power paradigm behind political movements and the genesis of totalitarian regime.
The ending note of the novel is an alarming note ” The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which”
George Orwell(born as Eric Arthur Blair) is a favourite author of Indians(one of the reason could be he was born in British India(Motihari, Bihar). My respect for him is not because of his literary genius but being the one who introduced me to the fantastic world of literature. Personally, I feel that he belong to the class of Irwin Shaw and Somerset Maugham.His ascendancy to stardom was nurtured by anti communists. According to many critics, he is ranked along with Forster.
Except this work all other famous writings of Orwell is pervaded with the idea which was later christened ‘logocentrism’.(Including, most famous 1984). His stand is politically correct. But whatever form capitalism takes, it won’t be in information technology or anything connected with “logos”. Without getting into any hard core criticism, this is my tribute to him!