marO! 'candamaama' katha
Fri, 10 May 1996 17:20:42 -0500

I personally rate this as the best I ever read so far.

A thief happens to land in a village and thinks of whom to choose as the
target. He comes to know that the village chief is a rich man and uses a
horse to travel to other places, as there is a forest all around the
village. So, he sets his eye on stealing the horse. He comes to know that
the village chief is going to the village nearby the next day and sets
himself on the way quite early. He drags the chief's attention pretending
as a blindman. Being kind enough, the chief offers him a ride. But the
thief pretending as a blind seeks the help to be seated on the horse back.
So, the chief gets down and places the thief on the horse first. Soon
after, the thief makes the horse run away from the chief. Stopping the
horse a few yards away, the thief laughs trimphantly at the chief. Stnned
by the unexpected, the chief quickly recovers and realizes what happened.
But he makes a request to the thief, which is the essence of the story. The
chief asks the thief 'to tell others that it is his own horse, if anyone
enquires, and not to reveal the way he got it.' He tells the reason why,
'because the people who hear the story may start suspecting the physically
handicapped and may not go forward to help even the really deserving ones.'
(What a magnanimous thought! Of course, it's being a kid's story, the thief
feels bad and returns the horse back to the chief.)

Over the years, I used to think a lot about this. In modern days, the
increasing 'knowledge' and 'intelligence', is making people do everything
to be successful in the name of 'smartness'. Very often, people are tending
to go as perilously close as possible to spoil the reputation of a
phenomenon/system in the name of being 'aggressive and smart', totally
exploiting the loop-holes. In addition, such success is often being highly
appreciated as 'adventurous' and others are very tempted to do the same.
Really I do not know how much of this is really 'true' and/or 'tricky' at
times. Certainly, some major aspects of public interests are thouroughly
being exploited in the name of 'cleverness/smartness'. I can not resist
quoting a 'sarcastic creation' by 'erramSeTTi Saayi' that I read a few
years ago.

Inspired by Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi' film, a telugu film director
wants to remake 'Gandhi'in telugu. His friend discourages him saying it
will not be a financial success. But the director says he can make it a
commercial success by introducing a 'silk smita' dance in it. His friend
gets shocked to imagine this and asks how on the earth he can do that in a
film like 'Gandhi'. The director explains. 'silk smita' is a rich lady in
the town. The 'anti foreign movement' (vidESee vastu bahishkaraNa) is at
its peak. People keep burning things that are 'foreign' in that town. Silk
Smita goes for an evening ride in her car. She would be stopped by the
organizers of the 'movement' in the town. She gets down from the car.
(There will be a guitaar music in the back ground.) She is already
influenced by the 'Western Culture'. The leader of the group tries to
impress upon her what 'nationality' is. The arguments go on for a while.
Suddenly, the guitaar music stops and instead there will be 'ravi shankar's
sitaar' music. (This transformation indicates that she got the national
feelings in her by that time.) She runs to the fire (in slow motion), where
the people are burning the foreign goods. Her soul comes out of her,
dressed in a tradional telugu lady manner and mocks at the real lady in the
Western dress. Suddenly, she starts dancing to the tune of 'vandE maataram'
and takes off her Western clothes one by one setting them on fire. After,
she disposes of the Western dress completely, the leader, covers her with
the 'national flag'. So, the 'censor board' can not object to this by any

Should we call this 'smartness/cleverness/ingenuity', if it comes true?

Hope the increasing 'knowledge' will not let the people sacrifice the
standards of ethics to exploit the loop-holes of the system in their quest
for success and more success, and propagate others to do the same

With regards,
Prabhakar Vissavajjhala