NCERT Class 11 English Elective Ajamil and the Tigers

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Ajamil and the Tigers

Arun Kolatkar

The tiger people went to their king

and said, ‘We’re starving.

We’ve had nothing to eat,

not a bite,

                                              for 15 days and 16 nights.

                                              Ajamil has got

                                              a new sheep dog.

                                              He cramps our style

and won’t let us get within a mile

of meat.’ 

‘That’s shocking,’

said the tiger king.

                                                      ‘Why didn’t you come to see me before?

                                                       Make preparations for a banquet.

                                                       I’m gonna teach that sheep dog a lesson he’ll never

                                                       forget.’

‘Hear hear,’ said the tigers.

‘Careful,’ said the queen.

But he was already gone.

Alone

                                                   into the darkness before the dawn.

                                                   In an hour he was back, 

                                                   the good king.

                                                   A black patch on his eye.

His tail in a sling.

And said, ‘I’ve got it all planned

now that I know the lie of the land.

All of us will have to try.

                                                      We’ll outnumber the son of a bitch.

                                                      And this time there will be no hitch.

                                                      Because this time I shall be leading the attack.’

                                                      Quick as lightning

the sheep dog was.

He took them all in as prisoners of war,

the 50 tigers and the tiger king,

before they could get their paws

                                                                    on a single sheep.

                                                                    They never had a chance.

                                                                    The dog was in 51 places all at once.

                                                                    He strung them all out in a daisy chain

                                                                     and flung them in front of his boss in one big heap.

UNDERSTANDING THE POEM

1. The poem has a literal level and a figurative level. Why has the poet chosen ‘tigers’ and ‘sheep’ to convey his message?

2. What facet of political life does the behaviour of Ajamil illustrate?

3. Why have the words, ‘pretended’ and ‘seemed’ been used in the lines: 

...pretended to believe every single word

of what the tiger king said.

Ajamil and the Tigers 143

And seemed to be taken in by all the lies.

How does the sense of these lines connect with the line ‘Ajamil wasn’t a fool’?

4. Why did Ajamil refuse to meet the sheepdog’s eyes?

5. ‘He is free to play a flute all day as well fed tigers and fat sheep drink from the same pond with a full stomach for a common bond.’ What do the phrases ‘play the flute all day’ and ‘a common bond’ refer to?

6. The poem is a satire against the present political class. How effectively does it convey the anger and anguish of the common man trapped in the system?

TRY THIS OUT

Find out the difference between these literary forms

(a) fable (b) allegory (c) satire.


Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 11 English Elective Ajamil and the Tigers

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