Peace by Kodavatiganti Kutumbara
Telugu original by Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, in Yuva, May 1977. Translated and posted with permission by Ananda Kishore.
"We aren't learning from history; we make the same mistakes over and again. Otherwise why would there be this anarchy?" asked the Dibba pundit.
"Is there any conncetion between this and history?" I asked.
"Anarchy is a malaise that history suffers frequently from. It is as old as history itself.
"Once there arose a terrible anarchy in the time of King Bulged Eyes. Poverty prevailed everywhere. Thefts, robberies, murders, and arson were rampant. Thieves broke into the house of my grandfather's neighbor looking for food, and killed a sixty year old woman who came in their way.
"The King did whatever he could. He commanded prayers in temples, made animal sacrifices to demons. He repealed tax on rich merchants, land tax on landlords. Nothing worked.
"What do you think His Highness did then? He commanded the patrolmen to kill anyone who is found on streets, night or day not counting. Initially they killed some people on the streets. Arson, thefts, and robberies came to a halt after that.
"Some say that some patients died thanks to lack of human contact, that some died of hunger since they couldn't go out to buy food, that several others died for similar reasons. What if a lot of people died? People always die, don't they? But this tactic of His Highness worked magic, and law and order was established quickly," concluded the Dibba Pundit.