NOW THE PIGS SLEEP IN BED!

Sometime in the 1980s, a dream went around causing a lot of excitement in the Animal farm that had lived under teary times of one Man after the other. The dream painted a rosy picture of the great times that lay ahead of the farm if only the revolution to overthrow exploitative Mr Jones was supported to pass.

To make every animal realise how gruesome Man’s rule was, a litany of ills was recited. You sleeping animals, who stole Old Major’s victory in 1980? Who reigns over the military terror that makes it unsafe to walk under daylight? By whose hands has your economy been mismanaged to the sham that it is?

It was then clear to all but the perpetrator that Mr Jones and his lot were the problem of the farm. By this consensus, energies and resources were pooled together to drag Jones off the steering wheel. For all, the dream of a better farm with riches more than mind could picture was the driving force. 

The cows worked for the day when they would know the taste of milk; the chicken envisioned a time when their eggs would bring forth chicks and not end up in Jones’ frying pan. The pigs imagined a future in which their worth would be counted as more than pork. This was a dream good enough for the animals to give their whole for.

The glorious day dawned in 1986, the revolution came to pass. You should have witnessed the euphoria! The chicken pranced about, pigs jumping from one corner of the farm to the other, ducks quacking as they flapped their wings. Even rats came out of their damp holes to nibble a groundnut without the fear of Jones’ traps!Napoleon, the mastermind of the revolution, took to the podium to announce a new era. As he spoke, you saw in him a no-nonsense pig in whose hands the farm had finally found a saviour. He declared, ‘this is not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change’. He lashed at Mr Jones for the lavishness by which he slept on expensive imported beds and rode in pompous cars while animals languished in squalor.

In quick diagnosis, one of the key problems of the farms in the neighbourhood were farm managers that never wanted to leave office. And to that sincerity, a heavy round of applause was sent.

The farm needed to take a fresh path away from Jones’ extravagance, imbalance, and high handedness. Rules were thus set to that effect. All animals are equal. No animal shall sleep in bed. No animal shall kill another, and so on. Somewhere in 1995, these rules were consolidated into a master document to which all pledged allegiance.

The first years of the revolution were marked by significant changes. All animals could now afford to sleep soundly without the fear that a knife awaited them. As one movement, they worked in solidarity for the farm in which their stake was now assured. ‘I will work harder’, Boxer would always say. No one ate, or even seemed to eat, on another’s behalf.

Things start to change

But slowly things started taking a strange twist! Milk started disappearing! Yes, eggs too! Rumour took rounds on the farm that perhaps all this was happening because Mr Jones’ elements were still among the farm. But how could this be?

By some patronising sense of importance, pigs started establishing themselves above other animals. Not without justification. They reminded whoever was so forgetful as not to know that they were the masterminds of the revolution that overthrew Mr. Jones. They fought as some animals hid under straw. As such, all animals had to be forever grateful for the pigs’ heroism. Even if it meant that the pigs had to now eat on other animals’ behalf! After all, unlike in the past, the animals could now sleep. 

The pigs strategically positioned themselves there and everywhere. Among them, they had eloquent speakers that would make other animals believe that Napoleon was not only heaven-sent but also the only one of his kind that the farm was blessed to have. In his sophisticated mind lay the master plan for the farm, nowhere else.

Squiller told the attentive animals: ‘We pigs need to eat so well because it is not an easy task to think and plan for this farm. We need to drink the milk. We need some eggs too’. After all, the pigs were just sacrificing for the good of the farm. Only sacrificing!

Mr Jones’ pomp that had been castigated in Napoleon’s maiden speech started popping up its ugly head among the pig folk. They now needed a bit of wine for proper digestion. They started growing in attitude, size and appetite. Napoleon’s convoy progressively grew bigger and bigger – composed of fierce dogs, a toilet, hoof-lickers, clappers, and a herd of ‘advisors’ whom he actually advised. And for being advised they were paid, all from the sweat of other animals.

Earlier views and rules started changing. Now the problem of the farm were not managers that overstayed in office, rather those that overstayed without being elected. And, to make it possible for Napoleon to stay on, the greedy pigs were each given five bundles of grass to amend the term-limit article. Amend they did! And they grunted, ‘Napoleon is always right’.

Initially it was ‘All animals are equal’, but now it was becoming clear that ‘some are more equal than others’! For even when they ‘dipped’ their hooves into the farm’s stores, they went away with it. Proudly wagging their tails. Napoleon defended them as good cadres. He would even promote them. For as long as they sung his tune and name, no amount of dirt made them dirty enough in his sight. Only lesser animals got punished, plus a few pigs that fell out with Napoleon. Such would even be sprayed with pepper and accused of rape, sedition, engagement in subversive activities …!

Napoleon heavily relied on the security of nine dogs which he had earlier sneaked away as puppies from their mother. With these he ruthlessly responded to opposition to his rule. By their concentrated gas they would disperse in tears all animal gatherings deemed to be against the system. At one point, they even moved to introduce a law whereby any animals that gathered in groups bigger than three would have to first seek permission, or else they would be charged with involving in illegal assembly.

Pigs started to walk on twos and, yes, they slept in bed. But they had not broken any rule by so doing, for the rule had acquired a tail – no animal shall sleep in bed, with bed sheets.

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