The Tiger King is a comment on the political system that exists in the country even today. Politicians and bureaucrats treat their subordinates harshly. 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 and his subjects is not based on sincerity or honesty, rather it is based on fear. His subjects fear the consequences for not fulfilling his orders. The Maharaja's minions will do anything to fulfil his orders, cheat, steal, lie, all for the sake of saving their necks. The Diwan cheats the Maharaja by supplying him with a half dead tiger from a zoo in Madras. The hunters cheat the Maharaja 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 his 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 folds. 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.' He lied to the Maharaja if he had told him the truth, then perhaps he wouldn't have bought the wooden tiger, and the splinter would not have pierced his hand
The point that Kalki is trying to make 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 to create a culture of mutual trust and understanding at the place of work.It is important for people in power to be approachable, and flexible. They should be grounded in reality and be practical about their expectations from their subordinates. Subordinates who are unable to fulfil orders for a genuine reason should not be punished. 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.