The Gentleman of the Jungle
Background of the story .. Europeans entered Africa in the early part of the fifteenth century. The expeditions were mainly for exploring a foreign land that was so different from their homelands in Europe. The diversity of the flora and fauna of Africa, and its humans whose skin colour was s much darker than theirs added to the zeal and curiosity of the European explorers. Soon they discovered that the native inhabitants were primitive with no knowledge and skill anywhere near to that of the Europeans. Africa was vast, and its resources were humongous. The people were tribal in mind and living. They were simple, gullible, and easy to manipulate.
The greed of the European explorers rose exponentially as they found that they could subdue the natives easily by brutal force. The natives used bows and arrows to fight. In contrast, the white invaders used rifles, and guns. This gave the whites overwhelming advantage over the black natives.
What followed thereafter makes very sorrowful reading. The natives were tricked to sign unequal treaties, and surrender their lands to the white setters. Deceit and thuggery marked the European conquest of Africa. Dispossessed of their land, and dignity, Africans became slaves condemned to wretched life in plantations of the whites in far-off lands.
In this mass plunder and subjugation of the African continent, almost all Europeans took part, but the British and the French emerged as the leading colonial powers.
After centuries of resistance, African states were freed, and the Europeans went home. Jomo Kenyatta was one of the leading freedom fighters of Africa. He served his country Kenya from 1964 till 1978 as the President. He was a great friend of Jawaharlal Nehru. This story is written by him.
The Story .. There lived a man in a hut in a jungle’s outer fringes. An elephant living in the forest befriended him. On one occasion when thunderstorm swayed the whole jungle violently, the cunning elephant sought temporary shelter in the man’s hut. The unsuspecting, good-natured man allowed the elephant to shove his trunk in to the small vacant space in the hut.
After a while, the elephant pleaded with the man to shift outside, and leave the entire hut to himself. Quite brazenly, he claimed that his skin was more tender than his host’s, and so, the host needed to move. The man was very upset with the attitude of his guest, but before he could do anything, the elephant had managed to evict him out of the hut by force.
The man made a noisy protest that drew some animals from inside the jungle. The Lion came in too walking majestically. He silenced everyone with his assertive voice. He said he will institute a commission of inquiry, and both parties will be permitted to present their case. He ordered the status quo to be maintained.
The elephant took a proactive role in selecting the members of the Commission. They were
The Rt. Hon’ble Fox was to be the Chairman
Mr. Leopard to act as the Secretary of the Commission
The man protested saying a human being should have been taken in the Commission from his side, but his concerns were cleverly brushed aside. He was made to believe that the members were eminent jurists and would be fair to both sides. The man had no option, but had to keep quiet. He feared that if he showed any resentment, the jungle animals could turn on him.
The man built another hut, but no sooner he finished that, than the Rhinoceros came in to occupy it forcibly. In the process, the man got evicted from his second hut. On his complaint, a Royal Commission was appointed. Again the same type of verdict was announced. The man was rendered homeless, he had to built a third hut.
The building, trespassing, and eviction continued multiple times till the Buffalo, Hyena, and Leopard were accommodated in newly-built huts, all at the man’s expense.
The time came when the huts occupied by the animals, all began to fall apart. The man saw this, and built a bigger and better hut some distance away. The Rhinoceros saw it, and came forward to occupy it, but to his surprise, he found the elephant already there, fast asleep. Soon, all other animals converged on the hut. A squabble for space started and that led to a full-blown fight.
The man came in and set the hut afire. It destroyed the hut, the feuding animals, and the jungle. The man regaled at the sight. He left the place to settle peacefully somewhere else.
———————–To be contd—————–
Question and answers
1.1 What favour did the elephant …………..day? Answer .. The elephant requested to be let in into the man’s hot for protecting itself from the rains.
1.2 .. According to the man ……….False
1.3.How did the elephant sneak … Answer .. First, the elephant pushed its trunk inside, and gradually entered itself after ejecting the man altogether.
1.4. According to the elephant ….. Answer .. a
1.5. How did the lion decide …Answer .. The Lion decided to institute a Commission of inquiry to verify the facts.
1.6.What kind of judgement … Answer .. The man had expected that the judgement would go in his favour, and he will get back his hut.
1.7. Why was the man unhappy ….. Answer .. The man found that the members were all jungle animals and there was no human being to protect his case.
1.8 . According to the elephant ….. Answer .. b.
1.9. In whose favour … Answer .. The judgement went in favour of the elephant, the tresspasser.
1.10. Why did the man accept …….Answer .. The Commission prevailed upon the man to build a new hut, so that he could lve comfortably there.
1.11 ..How did the man buy peace finally ……Answer .. He built hut after hut where all the animals were accommodated.
- Why was the Commission of Inquiry …. Answer .. The purpose was to gather facts and ascertain who the real owner of the hut was.
- Why do you think the animals ….. Answer .. The animals’ intention was wicked from the beginning. They wanted the elephants interest to be protected at the cost of the man’s. A human being as member would have hampered their objective. So, they decided not to take any human being as member.
- Peace is costly, but it is …. Answer .. After a great deal of labour in building a number of huts, he built his own large hut. However, he found the same animals entering it. So, he set it afire, to destroy it and kill the inhabitants. Having done this, he moved to a place quite far, built his hut and lived happily. Peace came to him after a lot of efforts and suffering.
- Every fable … Answer .. The moral is ‘Be very judicious in choosing your friends.”
- Do you think the story … Answer .. Yes it is a satire, because it portrays the way the Europeans dispossessed the native Africans of their land through deceit and use of force.