Five Scholars having won a special grant from King Chat-Pat wanted to write a treatise on the elephant. The king was inclined to think it was a rhino and not an elephant. He didn’t think it was kingly to go searching for an elephant that had no royal blood in it. So you might call him blind in a manner of speaking.
He deputed his scholars to do the job.
The five scholars were blind in the sense they had been entirely sold to an idea, each after his fashion, that they refused to see facts that would make them change from their opinions. Schooling did not change them neither did doctorates from the Nalanda university.
Ram Lal received doctorate in Philosophy by asserting Lord Ram was real. He believed in Hinduvta and he was all for revising the history of the kingdom to fit his idea of Ramraj. Pannalal advocated a vegetarian diet since it made man and animals docile. Rahmatulla believed color blue stood for purity while Ram Lal defended color saffron signified purity.
‘Allah decreed man must live under the vaults of heaven. So purity and the color blue go hand in hand.’ All along the way from Vijaynagar to Allahabad they were fighting like cats and dogs. At one point the sky rained ash. One said it was due to the ash cloud from Mount Merapi. Ram Lal was elated and asked, ‘The sky rained down ash and made us dirty. How can you say blue represents purity?’
Rahmatulla had a hard time trying to wriggle out of it. Luckily while they were in Ajmir the whole city was agog with bombing of a place of worship. The culprit was as the reports went, wore saffron robes. Rahmatulla with a look of triumph asserted that the incident proved saffron was not the sign of purity. Ram Lal shouted at the top of his voice that there was no such thing as saffron terrorist. When Rahmatulla pointed to the reports Ram Lal dismissed it as a conspiracy.
At Benares the three scholars were met by Benami Lal. Benami Lal was the Dewan of King Bhuvan Singh and he hailed from Punjab. He introduced himself with great many salaams and hand wringing. He said he was a scholar who made every problem go away. ‘There was a shortfall in the treasury and could not meet the war expenses. So I made the entire treasury disappear.’ At that moment Sambu from Mysore arrived at the scene. He wanted to know if they were politically minded. They all said they were scholars. ‘I am also a scholar but that does not prevent me from finding out if the ideology of another fit the correct Marxist-Leninist position.’
None had any idea what he meant and said they were going to write a treatise on the elephant.
Sambu also had a grant from the king and was sure that his analysis made the treatise on the animal complete.
After a couple of days they arrived at the park where the elephant was tethered.
They went directly to the animal. Rama Lal said,‘ The animal is not saffron colored so it must be milecha. For once Rahmatuulla agreed with his arch-rival. He concluded that the animal was not blue in color so it was an infidel. Pannalal saw the huge tusks and wrote in his report that the animal was a carnivore. Sambu looked at its trunk and said triumphantly, ‘The elephant is neither Right nor Left but a Centrist. He concluded that the animal could not be trusted. Other scholars were skeptical and asked, ‘Why not?’
‘In case of a Proletarian struggle the animal will prove to be a spy, Quisling, a fifth column’ He detested the sight of it.
Benami Singh said that the animal posed a problem. ‘ I must think it over, my dear sirs, tomorrow I shall give my considered opinion’. Thus they disbanded for the night.
Next morning the four scholars went to call on Benami Singh. There was no sign of Benami Singh. At that moment news spread around the town like a wild fire, ‘The elephant is gone!’
Another one queried, ‘What! Swallowed by the night?’
The four scholars knew Benami Singh had made the problem go away.
This left them with no choice but to write their own treatise.