Bandicoots by Kodavatiganti Kutumbara
Telugu original by Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, in Yuva, January 1978. Translated and posted with permission by Ananda Kishore.
Bandicoots became more and more rampant day by day. It had been accepted that ten percent of man's agricultural produce was a rightful commission for the bandicoots. But to swallow fifty percent of it was certainly wrong of them. So, some youth started hunting them. Killing bandicoots was violence; it was against the Scriptures. So the government began to gun down these killers. When caught alive they were jailed and tormented.
However, the government issued a slogan, "Eradicate the bandicoots!"
"This slogan is bogus. This government is actually providing armed protection to the bandicoots," some political pundits began to say. They brought down the old government by non-violence and set up a new government. They assured the people, "We will control the bandicoots. We will solve the food deficiency problem."
But instead of getting abated, the bandicoots became even more rampant. People asked what the new government was doing.
Asking such questions was too much. The new government was not silent; it begged the bandicoots to be under control. It asked them to grab only a ten percent of the produce. It warned them that swallowing more was unlawful and that they would be severely punished. What exactly the punishment was it didn't reveal.
The government asked the people to give it ten years time; to control the bandicoots fed by the previous government was no mean task. It assured the people as well as the bandicoots that the non-violent act of executing the killers of bandicoots would continue.
Hence , if the people elected the same government next time, there wouldn't be much difference.
P.s: Incidentally, the English word "bandicoot" is derived from Telugu "pandikokku.