The Animal Farm | Pakistan Today

The Animal Farm

  • Questioning the characters of leaders

The Old Major, a pig, one night assembled all the animals in a barn at Mr Jones’ Manor Farm to share a dream he had where all animals live free from the tyranny of their human masters. The Old Major dies — but the animals were deeply impressed by his theory of Animalism. They decided to rebel against Mr Jones.

Napoleon and Snowball, two pigs emerged as superb planners of the desired rebellion. Once when Jones forgets to feed the animals, they rebel and Jones is chased off his property. The animals rechristen the farm as “Animal Farm” painting the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the barn wall.

The rebellion becomes a huge success. The animals take harvesting upon themselves and every Sunday held a meeting to determine upon farm policy. The intelligent pigs become the supervisors based upon their intelligence. Napoleon emerges as a leader who is power hungry, he starts stealing cows’ milk and juicy apples to feed him and other pigs. Squealer, a pig is deputed to convince other animals that any and every decision of the pigs is morally sound.

In the fall, animals win the Battle of the Cowshed fought against Jones and his friends in their attempt to take over the farm. Disintegration within animal ranks sets in soon after. Mollie the horse goes to another farm to work for a human bribed with sugar and ribbons. In order to provide better quality of life to other animals, Snowball starts making drawing designs for a windmill aimed to provide electricity. Napoleon opposes the project on grounds that animals if diverted to this project will not have adequate time to produce food. That Sunday animals cast their votes to decide on the fate of the windmill. Napoleon hires dogs to chase Snowball away. He informs the animals though the windmill will certainly be built, the reason for his anger was Snowball stealing the idea from him. For the entire story following Snowball is blamed by Napoleon for every problem faced by the animals.

Work of windmill starts, but due to bad weather collapses. Napoleon orders animals to rebuild it. Jones moves to another part of the country thinking the takeover of the farm as futile. Napoleon, in contradiction with the Seven Commandments hires a solicitor to start trading with other farms.

The Seven Commandments were reduced to one, “All Animals Are Equal/But Some Are More Equal Than Others”

Napoleon blooms into a full-fledged dictator. He started ‘forcing confessions’ from innocent animals and had them killed by his dogs in front of all other animals. He with the pigs moved into Jones house with Squealer convincing other animals of the moral wisdom of this decision.

The pigs gained weight as they got good food and the other animals less. Once windmill was completed, Napoleon sold timber to a neighbour Frederick who cheated Napoleon by making payment in forged notes. Frederick then attacked the Animal farm with his men and though defeated, managed to destroy the windmill. The Seven Commandments were broken in parts and some changed to suit the ruling elite; the pigs. One commandment stated, “No animals shall drink alcohol”, this was changed to, “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess,” when the pigs got drunk one night.

Boxer, the horse who had worked to build the windmill offered to rebuild it. Demanding hard, long hours of labour, he collapsed one day only to be promptly sold off by Napoleon. Squealer informed the animals that Boxer had fallen very sick. Napoleon out of concern and goodness had sent him to a veterinary hospital where the grateful Boxer died peacefully and went to his Maker. The animals believed Squealer, respecting Napoleon for his ise decision.

Napoleon and his pigs grew in strength. In due course, as years passed, he purchased adjoining farm from Pilkington, a neighbour. Pilkington had refused to refused to help Napoleon when Animal Farm was attacked by Frederick-later they reconciled their differences, and the latter sold part of his farm to Napoleon.

Napoleon and his coterie of pigs took over many qualities of humans, including walking n hind legs. The Seven Commandments were reduced to one, “All Animals Are Equal/But Some Are More Equal Than Others.” Pilkington now a staunch ally of Napoleon greatly praised the good done by Napoleon while giving lesser food to the animals. He compared the animals to the “lower animals” to humanity’s “lower classes.”

Pilkington offers drinks to the coterie of Napoleon pigs. Playing a game of cards with Napoleon both trying to play the card of ace of spades with the animals from the farm once again changed to Manor Farm by Napoleon-they are baffled to realise that there seems to be no difference between their new and old masters.

George Orwell forces us to question the character of leaders who in the garb of being noble violate the very ideals they purport to support. He questions how certain members of nation get themselves into position of power fooling the gullible public and once this goal is achieved; to exploit them for their own vested interests.

“Good governance never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.” Frank Herbert, Children of Dune

End Note: The summary of the masterpiece by Orwell above is reproduced with no intention to bring in comparison the politicians of Pakistan, political parties of Pakistan, efforts by some to change laws in order to suit vested interests, corruption and exploitation of the masses nor to ridicule any institution.

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: [email protected] and tweets at @yasmeen_9.