Most totalitarian regimes, their excesses and inequities of socio-economic and politico treatments and the resultant rebellion; a despot for a ruler, extreme poverty and inequality faced by the masses, their growing frustration which finally leads to the birth of idealism fitting to that society and its time have been the making of human anthropological evolution world over. The most decisive and far reaching of one such revolutions in modern history will surely be the Russian revolution. Russian revolution is possibly the most significant because of the far reaching effects it had not only on the contemporary Russians, but because it culminated into a new form of government, politics, socio-economic structural laws and as a result to a new superpower that the world ridden with the second world war was in all its awe to see. Russia’s sudden come back into the world politics with a new philosophy and resultant identity of USSR was possibly what the world least expected at that time and hence it had immense impact on the entire globe. The time in which USSR rose as an economic power was the one in which most countries were themselves suffering deeply from economic depression caused either by the war or colonization and hence USSR seemed like a beacon of hope, their rapid rise to world domination almost an idyllic dream that most countries craved for and that led to a fascination for them in all spheres and aspects of public life. Its impact on the socio-politico and economic period of that time was deep and far reaching. However communism which started out in its moral ideology of social equality finally led to a totalitarian state that finally collapsed in the 1991. To understand what communism would mean was very difficult to see in the times in which it was enjoying the greatest glory that it was. However few legendary intellectuals were able to see the possible downfalls of this system and predicted the same; one such leading intellectual was George Orwell.
George Orwell was an English journalist, novelist and essayist. He is one of the classical English writers. He was born Eric Arthur Blair and later took his famous pen name George Orwell. He is known for his deep knowledge of world politics and abilities to make studied predictions. He was a staunch believer in democratic socialism and that can be seen in his writings. Among his many famous books, Animal Farm a novella, is possible the most famous. It revolves around the idea of communist socialist state and its plausible future. The Animal Farm was published as early as 1945 but it aptly predicted the fate of such a socialist state as the world would see almost 45 years later when the USSR fell.
Animal Farm is not just characterised by the accurate prediction of future of the communist revolution but also by use of lucid language and above all the classical allegory that Orwell employs. The entire novella is an allegory which brings out the peculiarities of all sets and types of social classes and predominant personalities associated with the revolution characterised by various animals that Orwell thought represented them best; for e.g. The Tsar is characterised by Mr. Jones who is a tyrannical farm owner who forgets to feed his livestock. The old major is the pig who sees the idealistic dream of how a utopian socialist state shall look after a mass revolution but we also see what is made of the old Major’s vision by the fellow pigs who go from being equals, to leaders to finally dictators in their own right. The blue collared working class is characterised by the Boxer the hard working horse who knows how to follow orders but not to question commands. The book gravitates from Mr. Jones been over thrown by his subjects to formation of an animal society which is based on social equality where efforts and rewards all are shared. We see them put up their manifesto in form of the 10 commandments that shall be a constitution of sorts of the now independent farm. One of the most significant commandments is ‘all animals are equal’. Over period we see the communist dream slowly start to fade, what starts with the passion of equality slowly fades into the pigs changing the very essence of the revolution and Manor Farm later known as Animal Farm because it is entirely run by animals just seems to change hands from Mr. Jones as a tyrant, to the pigs becoming tyrants themselves. The ideological climax in the novella is seen when someone without the knowledge of other animals changes the commandments on the walls and one of the most poignant commandments after alteration reads thus: ‘all animals are equal, some are more equal than the others’. This is possibly the first death toll and we see the downfall of animal farm start.
Animal Farm became a rage not only in its time but continues to be loved today. It was appreciated then because it allowed a glimpse in the future of such a state and more over because it to an extent brought a set of practical realities about such notions of absolute equality to fore-front. It made the world blinded with awe at the rapid rise and development of the communist state question whether it was a sustainable model for development. The fact that this was done with a smart use of allegory brings into highlight the genius of Orwell for not only being an astute political analyst but the one who could make excellent use of literature to make such complex issues understandable to a common man and making such crude and complicated realities into a riveting tale that didn’t just aptly describe the state of communist nation to the audiences but also helped create emotions and perspectives regarding the same.
Hallmark of great literature is that which brings a synthesis between realism, eternal truths and a healthy dose of imagination; it challenges the reader’s mind and broadens the horizons. In this regard, Animal Farm surely has a place of honour in modern literature, it is a timeless classic and an eternal favourite among all age groups. It’s a fable for young minds and an encoded lesson for the old, it is a recommended read.