Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Tiger King is a comment on the relationship that exists between the Bureaucrat and his Subordinates.

The Tiger King is an indirect comment on the political system that exists in the country even today. Politicians and bureaucrats treat their subordinates with an iron fist. Orders have to be obeyed by hook or crook, otherwise the consequence could include loss of job, or, transfer to a rural district.

The relationship that exists between the Maharaja is not based on sincerity or honesty, rather it is based on fear, fear of the consequences that would be the result of not being able to fulfil the order. The Maharaja's minions resort to illegal methods in order to fulfil his orders. The Diwan cheats the Maharaja by supplying him with a half dead tiger from a zoo in Madras. The hunters cheat the Maharja when they allow him to continue to believe that he has killed his hundredth tiger. None of them is ready to disillusion him about his victory lest they should incur their master's wrath and thus lose their jobs. The shopkeeper too, resorts to falsehood and dishonesty when he inflates the price of the poorly made wooden tiger many fold. He was afraid that if he told the Maharaja that the actual cost was only two annas and a quarter, 'he would be punished under the rules of the Emergency.' 

The point that Kalki is trying to driver through the short story The Tiger King is that it is high time bureaucrats and politicians in the country spent time in cultivating the trust and respect of their subordinates. It is important for people in power to be approachable, and flexible. They should be grounded and understand which orders can be fulfilled and which ones cannot be fulfilled. Subordinates who are unable to fulfil orders for a genuine reason should not be punished. The Maharaja often puts before his minions tasks that are simply absurd and simply impossible to fulfill. How do you get a tiger when there are none left in the kingdom. Why do you take stuff from a poor shopkeeper without paying telling him it is a gift from him to his son so you don't pay a cent! Why have you created a culture of terror and fear in your minions? These are just a few questions this writer seems to put before the bureaucrats and politicians of the country.


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