Back to: Karnataka Board Class 11th English Guide and Notes
Jomo Kenyatta, an African political leader and Kenya’s first president, wrote a story called “The Gentlemen of the Jungle.” This tale depicts the Kikuyu people’s attitude toward European laws and commissions in Kenya. The European powers split Africa among themselves in the late nineteenth century. The plot of this narrative begins with an “act of kindness mistaken as weakness.”
The Kind Man
An elephant once formed a friendship with a man. Due to a severe thunderstorm, the elephant seeks cover with his companion. Because he only had room for him and the elephant’s trunk, the kind man volunteered to let the elephant place his trunk inside his hut. The clever elephant, on the other hand, forced his way inside and hurled the man out. The man began grumbling and arguing with his companion.
The lion, who had been disturbed, roared and demanded to know why there had been such a commotion. The elephant said that he had just been debating the ownership of the small home with a friend. In his dominion, the lion desired ‘peace and tranquillity.’
As a result, he commanded his ministers to assemble a Commission of Inquiry and provide a report. The man was pleased by the King of the Jungle’s pleasant remarks. Mr. Rhinoceros, Mr. Buffalo, Mr. Alligator, The Rt. Hon. Mr. Fox as Chairman, and Mr. Leopard as Secretary to the Commission were all appointed to the Commission.
However, no one from the man’s side was there. When he objected, he was told that no one on his side was sufficiently educated enough to grasp the complexities of jungle law. He was also informed that he had nothing to worry because the members of the Commission had been chosen by God and had teeth and claws.
So, they would conduct a thorough investigation. The Commission proceeded to hear the testimony. Mr. Elephant defended his actions by claiming that it had always been his responsibility to safeguard his friends’ interests, which had led to the misunderstanding. He said that he had been invited by a friend to help him preserve his hut from being blown away by a cyclone.
The elephant stated that he believed it was vital to sit in the underdeveloped space in order to put it to a more profitable use. Mr. Elephant’s words were supported by the jungle’s elders. The man then proceeded to tell his story.
The commission stopped him off and inquired whether anybody else had inhabited the underdeveloped area in his hut before Mr. Elephant took over. The man seemed puzzled. Finally, the commission reached a decision.
They came to the conclusion that the conflict sprang from a misunderstanding caused by man’s antiquated (old-fashioned) thinking. They defended Mr. Elephant’s conduct, claiming he had carried out his holy duty of safeguarding man’s interests.
They believed the room should have been put to the highest suitable use. They negotiated a settlement that suited both parties because man had not yet reached the stage of development. As a result, Mr. Elephant would remain in his hut, while the man was urged to hunt for a suitable location to construct a new hut.
Because he was afraid of the Commission’s teeth and claws, the man did as advised. However, the same destiny awaited them. Mr. Rhinoceros moved into a new hut, and a Royal Commission was appointed solely to reach the same conclusion. This process was repeated until all of the huts had been replaced. By this time, the man had made up his mind to use an effective option.
He constructed a bigger and finer hut as the huts previously occupied by the forest kings began to degrade. As soon as the animals noticed it, they all rushed in and took up the available space. They quickly began squabbling over their penetration rights. The man saw an opportunity and lit the cottage on fire, burning it to the ground with all of the animals inside. ‘Peace is costly, but it’s worth the expense,’ he ultimately discovered.