Just a gate . . !

14

MANY years ago in the Land of Andhor, there lived a mighty king who loved to do pleasing things for his subjects the people of Andhor! One day while holding court there came to him many wise men from his kingdom who pleaded with him that bandits and other robbers of bad repute jumped over the walls of his kingdom and played havoc with the people living inside, “Oh mighty king,” they prayed, “build us walls to keep away these bandits!”

The king rode to the outskirts of his city and saw for himself that what his subjects said was true, “No expense will be spared,” he roared out of his white beard, “to protect you!” The next day his subjects looked with joy as labourers and craftsmen, the best in the kingdom of Andhor came to the outskirts of the city where the city walls were to be constructed and started their work.

They looked with joy as they heard the sound of hammering and riveting, of blacksmithing and chipping and sighed that their days of anxiety were soon to get over.

Knowing the problem was in the safe hands of their majesty they even stopped going to the outskirts of the city to see the progress of the work. And then one day they heard the sound of drums.

They knew the sound, the king was arriving to inaugurate the walls. They rushed in large numbers to the outskirts of the city. “My dear subjects!” said the king as he broke a coconut or whatever it was they broke those days in the Kingdom of Andhor, “From today you will be safe!”

The people were silent: There was no wall, but in its stead rose a mighty gate, with gold and silver, and the king’s crest of arms painted on to it.

With a royal flourish that only men of royalty possess, the king broke the coconut or whatever they broke those days on the mighty gate and opened it for the people and the king went back to rule his kingdom.

A sage passing by, asked, “What use of the gate when there are no walls?” The people were silent.

“That gate,” said the wise sage, “symbolizes many of our leaders! They hug world leaders in far away lands but can’t prevent bully neighbouring countries from nibbling away their land, boast about being the fastest growing economy in the world, but have the poor dying on roads in times of disease, build lofty statues and temples but destroy love and unity, pretend to protect women but have rapes and assaults all day long!”

The people listened in silence, till suddenly the silence was broken by the whoops of dacoits as they came over the non-existent walls, and robbed the people of Andhor. Today, there are many who believe they live in the kingdom of Andhor, with show-off gates but no walls..!

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