The political orientation of the Winged party is far from clear to anyone, including the founding fathers. Nor does it have a clear agenda. The owls and bats tended to oppose the leadership of the crows, while the eagles and vultures rarely attended the meetings.
The present meeting was presided over by a blind old bat, who was revered by all for his contribution to the cause of the avian society in the past. The powerful Crow family used him as a symbol to keep the flock together, while exercising power from behind his wings.
The meeting started on a gloomy note, with the mention of disappearing of the Swan, the beauty queen and the heartthrob of many. The disappearance had taken place in mysterious circumstances, and many felt the dog squad was not doing enough to nab the perpetrators of the heinous act.
“We must take the matter to King Sher Singh. Criminalization of the jungle is almost complete. The crocodiles or the Cat gang could be behind the crime. It is time someone raised their voice,” shrieked a woodpecker.
The Crow family – father, two sons and a daughter, all members of the party – looked distinctly uncomfortable. Papa Crow cleared his throat and tried to bring reason to the discourse:
“However sad we all may be over the disappearance of our beloved comrade, we must exercise restraint. For all we know, Swan could have flown to its native land in Europe. Conspiracy theories always lead to recriminations and disrupt the social order.”
The Crows had working relations with the cats and the crocs, and did not want the matter to escalate. They had a sneaking suspicion that someone from the Big Cats may have kidnapped the Swan, for swan meat was considered to be a delicacy in those circles. Though the new laws of the jungle gave protection to endangered species and foreigners, some animals were known to be above law.
Papa Crow’s voice of sanity did not have many takers, and in the heat of the moment, he was hooted down, and a resolution was passed for sending a strongly worded letter to the King.
The letter was read by the Wolf in the court, to derisive sniggers. Most of those present knew the final destination of the Swan, and smiled. Sher Singh also smiled, but dictated a carefully worded reply:
“The matter of the missing Swan has been brought to the notice of the government. We appreciate the seriousness of the matter, and assure our avian friends that all efforts would be made to trace the whereabouts of the respected Swan. Signed etc.”
“No need to promote these birds by sending a reply,” grumbled a leopard.
But Sher Singh knew how democracy worked. His rule from behind the veneer of democracy was based on respecting the sentiments of all, and on promoting the interests of some. He waived a hand, dismissing the objection, and indicating that next subject on the agenda be put up.
The Swan was forgotten by most within days, but the firmness and love of justice of Sher Singh, as evident from his reply to the Winged Party, was the subject of many a newspaper columns for months.
Moral of the story: Newspaper columnists know which side of their bread is buttered.