If there is one book readers turn to now more than ever to make sense of a world where “elected dictatorships ” are ruling the roost in many countries, it is George Orwell ‘s Animal Farm. Seventy-five years after it as first published, the book remains politically relevant, not only in context of the times they were written in but up to this very day.
Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in India, on June 25, 1903. The son of a British civil servant, Orwell spent his first days in India, where his father was stationed. He moved to England with his mother and siblings when he was a year and began writing at a young age.
Animal Farm was first published in August 1945 .In its Orwell characters are animals who are used to give a biting political narrative. Many have interpreted the story as that of what was unfolding in the Soviet Union under Stalin where the communist state imposed one set of rules for the masses to abide by while the leaders flaunted the rules. The rules in Animal Farm are made by way of seven commandments which are put up for all animals to follow after the humans, who are labeled the enemy, are driven out and the animals take matters into their own hands. The original commandments are:-
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.
However, as time passes, the commandments are secretly rewritten leaving most of the animals in a state of confusion. Soon they are unsure of what the original commandments were as nightly the commandments get revised. The changes take place as the leaders begin to indulge in vices and execute other animals who oppose them. The revised commandants are meant to justify their wrongdoings and read as follows:
No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.
No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.
As the book ends, the final salvo is fired with all the commandments replaced with one which says, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others“. This line remains relevant now more than ever, in a world rid of communism but replaced by elected rulers whose mode of governance remains unchanged.