Dear Shilpa Shetty, Animal Farm is the tale of cows in a gaushala and a grassless economy

From midnight, there will be some changes. We will not accept the vegetable waste they supply us for food.

Written by Shantanu Datta | New Delhi | Updated: November 29, 2016 3:01 pm
Moo. Moo.

Dear Shilpa Shetty,

I heard you recommended a book called Animal Farm, said it’s a book for children to learn about animals, and all hell broke loose. I am sure “Animal Farm” and “Animal Farm plot” must have ranked pretty high on Google search’s India list yesterday. So all of us, presumably know the plot by now. I do not know whether you did or did not Google it – – and I also do not see the reason why you should – – but here’s what it is.

Animal Farm is a book about an animal farm. Shorn of the initial uppercase, and when translated, it is about an Indian animal farm. It’s called a gaushala, or a cowshed. Now cow is not just another animal. It is a highly venerable animal. I have been told people had waged war over the cow in history.

Some are still waging battles over it, I am told.

Anyway, we digress.

So there were tens of cow at this animal farm the other evening, doing their share of evening grazing, when Cow 1 made an important announcement.

Cow 1: Friends, we have all seen how badly we have lived in the last 60-70 years. Now we have to do something.

All cows (although they had no clue that they were any extra worse off, say, five years ago than they were that evening, and they were not born 25 years go, what with the chaara-fodder being the same they had eaten all these days and years): Yes, yes. We agree.

Cow 1: From midnight, there will be some changes. We will not accept the vegetable waste they supply us for food.

All cows: YES. We want green grass.

Cow 1: Yes, we will have green grass. But after a few days.

All cows (confused): Yes. That sounds like a neat plan.

Cow 1: We will ask the farm keepers to stop giving us vegetable waste.

Cow 1: Friends, we will also ask them to cut the grass on the fields.

All cows (muted): But how will we eat grass then?

Cow 1: Those grass were grown using unhealthy manure. There are also weeds there that are unhealthy for us.

All cows (muted, confused but hopeful): Sounds like a plan.

Cow 1: So we will ask the farm keepers to cut all the grass and plant afresh. We will go hungry for a few days. But when the grass grows back, you know how heavenly they will taste.

All cows (muted, confused but hopeful): Sounds like a plan.

Cow 1: Of course I know the grass grown on the small grazing land we have is not enough. So I will ask the farm keepers to acquire more land.

Cow 1: Then we will ask them to uproot all the grass from those acquired plots and plant fresh grass. They will grow back in 50 days. Then we will eat.

All cows (muted, confused but hopeful): Sounds like a plan.

(NEXT DAY. ALL HUNGRY, THEY GATHER AGAIN. HAVING STOPPED PRODUCING MILK, A COUPLE OF CALVES HAVE DIED, AS HAVE A FEW OLDER COWS)

Cow 1: Friends, let this not daunt us. I know there will be small obstacles and inconveniences in this courageous path we have undertaken. But imagine the future. No unhealthy manure or weeds in our fodder.

All cows (muted, confused but hopeful): Sounds like a plan.

Cow 1: Friends, I have been told that there is not enough land in the vicinity to be acquired. But those spreading such rumours are wolves. Rest assured there’s enough land.

(DAY AFTER. ALL HUNGRY, THEY GATHER AGAIN. HAVING STOPPED PRODUCING MILK, A COUPLE OF CALVES HAVE DIED, AS HAVE A FEW OLDER COWS)

Cow 1: Friends, all those opposing this move in the neighbouring farm and outside are wolves in company of manure-producing companies.

Cow 2: I agree. Whatever Cow 1 has said is right. Anyone disagrees?

No one did. So all the cows passed a resolution hailing Cow 1’s historic and revolutionary move to go manure-less and weed-less grass.

Cow 1: Friends, I have also been told that the grass will take time to grow. So we will look at grass on grazing lands in other farms and redistribute it in our head. It’s simple arithmetic. If we had X amount of grass, and we have Y number of people, and we eat Z amount of grass every day, we would have eaten A B C D E F G H I J amount of grass if all that land is ours. Think about that future.

One cow: But we don’t have those lands. They are not ours.

Cow 1: Are you with the wolves? Of course all that land will be ours, when they won’t be theirs any longer. And if they are not theirs any longer, and they are ours, of course they will be ours. And we will have ownership right over all the grass grown on them.

Cow 2: This is called futures trading. It’s called grassless economy.

All cows (muted, confused but hopeful): Sounds like a plan.

(DAY AFTER THE DAY AFTER. ALL HUNGRY, THEY GATHER AGAIN. HAVING STOPPED PRODUCING MILK, A COUPLE OF CALVES HAVE DIED, AS HAVE A FEW OLDER COWS)

Cow 1: Forget weed, forget manure, forget health, forget cows, forget farms, forget animals. They are all part of an era we want to leave behind. The future lies with your paws. (Shows one paw). With this paw, you can draw lines on the ground to calculate. You can then calculate all the grass on all the grazing areas in all the land that lies here and beyond. All grass will be ours. We can buy all the grass and eat all the grass.

Cow 2: The future is ours!

All cows: The future is ours.

Cow 1: We are the future.

All cows: We are the future.

Cow 1: We are fighting the wolves. We won’t eat for a few days but we will fight them. We will fight them on the grazing land, we will fight them on the farmsteads, we will fight them beyond the farm.

All cows: YES. YES.

Cow 37: Cow 1 is like that late yak who is taken as leader by the yucks in the commune. Hail Cow 1.

Cow 1: All for grassless economy.

All cows: All for grassless economy.

Cow 1: Grassless economy or death.

All cows: Grassless economy or death.

(THE DAY AFTER THE DAY AFTER THE DAY AFTER…)

….