This is how you break a Tiger – Says the Ringmaster

“This is how you break a tiger”, said the ringmaster, having tamed a rebel tiger in captivity to carry out circus tricks. This is a line straight from a movie titled ‘Two Brothers’, which was telecast a few days back. Through physical and mental torture,the ringmaster virtually breaks all resistance offered by the tiger and ultimately the tiger starts obeying the commands and jumps through a flaming hoop.

I watched the movie with great interest as it depicted quite graphically how two tiger cubs(brothers) were captured by villagers – one of them was sold to a circus while the other cub ended up as a pet at the village officer’s home.The mother tiger, which escaped being captured had to go through a lot of mental agony,having lost her cubs. Finally,the cubs managed to make a great escape in the midst of an utter confusion that followed a ‘Great fight’ arranged between the two beasts by the local village prince. The movie was shot somewhere in Combodia (Indochina)in 1920’s setting in an ancient temple.

The main provocation for writing this post is that one line from the ringmaster – ‘This is how you break a tiger’. It occurred to me that we might as well say the same thing about human beings in general! Can’t we? The only difference is that while the tiger in the movie had just one ringmaster, we have several – starting with our religion, the education, the society, the institution of marriage, our jobs with 9 to 5 or worse still 9 to 9 routines etc. Each one of these ringmasters is ‘breaking’ us into submission through indoctrination,bigotry,harsh discipline and mindless compliance. Tamed thus, we lead lives which are completely devoid of freedom and creativity. Most of us go through our lives mechanically like the tamed tiger in the movie and before we realize what is happening it is time to retire. Then of course we have our role cut out for ‘shaping’ the next generation to follow our footsteps.

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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