The headline might surprise you, prompting you to ask—what do the buffalo and the government have in common? And again, my answer might surprise you as well. You must have heard the saying, "Play a tune in front of a buffalo," which actually means that there’s no point in playing anything because it falls on deaf ears. The same is true of the government. It also doesn’t care no matter what you play in front of it!
That’s why, whenever I look at the government, I see a lumbering buffalo instead. There’s no difference between the two. Both are demanding. The buffalo demands hay, straw, water, and green grass, while the government demands our hard-earned money! The buffalo demands food in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. The government, too, uses every occasion and every excuse to demand this or that from the people all the time. More than cows, the people are not just milked by the government; their blood is sucked dry!
The government and the buffalo are standing in their respective places. Some are trying to charm the buffalo with music. But it’s falling on deaf ears, having no effect on it, like the government. Just as the illiterate can’t make out the difference between a black buffalo and something written in black ink, so the plans of the government have become incomprehensible in black letters, like the black buffalo.
And when the buffalo raises its tail, don’t expect it to sing a song; it’s about to defecate! In the same way, whenever the government introduces new plans, in some ways, it’s also defecating on the people! In other words, these ‘plans’ only add to the people’s woes. Any new plan by the government means new taxes. In other words, the government is always ready to snatch away whatever the people have!.
The buffalo and the government have much more in common. A buffalo’s skin is black, while the government’s deeds are black. You must have heard the famous Indian saying, "He who has the stick (lathi) owns the buffalo." Similarly, those who have canes and sticks own and run the government! Then there is another saying – "which one is bigger – the brain or the buffalo?" This question, which is often asked in primary school exams, is a really tough one to answer. But it can easily be rephrased as "which one is bigger – the brain or the government?" and many sweat while answering this question as well!
On many occasions, a buffalo looks bigger than wits or brains. Especially when the poor brain is forced to eat grass while the buffalo chews cashews, almonds, and nuts! And a buffalo is already a force to reckon with if it belongs to a lawmaker or a minister! In such situations, the poor brain is forced to sulk into a corner and rot there, much like the five-year plans lining the government shelves.
The buffalo spends its whole day eating. The government is hardly any different; it too keeps devouring the people’s hard-earned money as and when it wants, to every extent possible. Therefore, if you want to see the government, take a look at a buffalo lying prostrate at a crossroads or grazing lazily in a field. It chews the cud, baring its teeth from time to time while slowly lumbering forward.
It is indeed difficult to understand both the buffalo and the government. You have no clues whatsoever as to what is going on in a buffalo’s mind when it is slowly chewing the cud. Similarly, you cannot fathom the government’s intention whenever it introduces new policies. What more needs to be said about the incomprehensible behaviour of a government that buys petrol at Rs 90 per litre to sell it at Rs 155 per litre and still says it is making a loss? It makes a great deal about reducing the petroleum price by even Rs 2 per litre, but it doesn’t say the price has ‘increased’ even when the price rises by more than Rs 20 per litre within a matter of a couple of weeks; it makes an ‘interpretative comment’ and says the price has been ‘adjusted"!
Similarly, the government sends all the US dollars that come into the country through remittances to India to buy petroleum. It also levies additional taxes on the people in the name of hydropower development, but doesn’t move forward with the Budhi Gandaki and other hydroelectricity projects properly and continues to beat the trumpet of hydropower development. How are you supposed to understand the government in such a situation?
On the one hand, the government says the foreign exchange reserves are depleting and the trade deficit has skyrocketed. On the other hand, it says to import almonds and walnuts from the USA, apples from China, cashew nuts from Africa, mustard from Canada, and vegetables, fruits, rice, wheat, corn, and everything else from India. The government seems to be saying there is no point in working inside the country and it’s better off taking up foreign employment even if you have to die. Right? What are you supposed to make of this, though? Thus, I’m absolutely mystified as to what the difference is between the buffalo and the government.
Rather, the buffalo is better in some aspects. For example, when the government gives birth, commissions and departments are born. The burden of keeping these commissions and departments running is thrown on the people. But the buffalo gives us milk, cute calves and organic manure.
Now you tell me, which one would you choose – the government or the buffalo?