The first book of George Orwell that I laid my hands on was Nineteen Eighty-four. He wrote this book in 1949. I was fascinated by the Big Brother and the slogan ‘The Big Brother is watching you’. The beauty is that we never get a chance to meet the Big Brother in the entire novel and yet the story revolves around him. He is mentioned as the leader and figurehead of the Party that rules Oceania. I am mentioning this book because it was the first of Orwell that I read. I just want to add that if you had missed reading this book, you must grab it now. The book of his that fascinated me most was his earlier novel which he wrote four years earlier in 1945. Before I proceed with this book, I need to share with you a few words about the author. He was born in India in 1903 (the same year as my dad!) He had his education in Eton because of a scholarship. To put it in his own words, ‘I was educated at Eton, the most costly and snobbish of the English Public Schools. But I had only got in there by means of a scholarship; otherwise my father could not have afforded to send me to a school of this type.’ Of the Animal Farm, the novel that I have now come to talk about, he says ‘I do not wish to comment on the work; if it does not speak for itself, it is a failure. But I should like to emphasise two points: first, that although the various episodes are taken from the actual history of the Russian Revolution, they are dealt with schematically and their chronological order is changed; this was necessary for the symmetry of the story. The second point has been missed by most critics, possibly because I did not emphasise it sufficiently. A number of readers may finish the book with the impression that it ends in the complete reconciliation of the pigs and the humans. That was not my intention; on the contrary I meant it to end on a loud note of discord, for I wrote it immediately after the Teheran Conference which everybody thought had established the best possible relations between the USSR and the West. I personally did not believe that such good relations would last long; and as events have shown, I wasn’t far wrong.’ The story takes place on Manor Farm, which is owned by Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones’s prize-winning boar, Old Major, tells the other animals on the farm that he has determined the source of their misery—the tyranny of humans. They can enjoy an easy and comfortable life if they overthrow the humans. Old Major dies, and two pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, take up his cause. Snowball and Napoleon work together to develop a system they call Animalism, which outlines Old Major’s ideas. They preach about it to the other animals. One night, Mr. Jones forgets to feed the animals after he has too much to drink. The animals, in their hunger, become angry enough to fight the humans and chase them away from the farm. They rename it Animal Farm and scrawl the seven commandments of the Animalism system up on the barn wall. When Mr. Jones comes back with more humans to try to reclaim the farm, Snowball leads the animals to another victory. With the humans gone, Snowball and Napoleon are left in charge of Animal Farm. The problem is that they argue all the time. One of the topics they argue the most over is how to get electricity to the farm. Snowball wants to build a windmill and use electric power, but Napoleon disagrees. He gets nine dogs to work for him and trains them to chase Snowball away. After Snowball leaves, Napoleon tells the other animals via his mouthpiece, Squealer, that Snowball betrayed them and was working with the humans. Squealer also tells the other animals that the windmill was always Napoleon’s idea, and Snowball was just trying to take credit. Building the windmill is hard work that the animals couldn’t complete without help from Boxer, a carthorse. Boxer works hard and, because he is a carthorse, has the necessary strength to assemble the windmill. Napoleon begins to trade with other local farmers. The animals begin to sleep in the farmhouse, using the beds, a practice in direct contradiction to the commandments of Animalism. Winter comes. The animals are hungry, but Napoleon and Squealer keep telling them that all their hardships are Snowball’s fault. Bad crops? Snowball did it. Blocked drains? Snowball was to blame. A handful of pigs confess to being on Snowball’s side, and Napoleon looses his dogs on them. Animals who confess are killed by the dogs, and all those who don’t are stricken by fear. In order to get the machinery that will operate the windmill and draw electricity for the farm, Napoleon decides he will sell some timber to Frederick, a local farmer. Only he discovers that Frederick paid in fake money. Frederick and other humans blow up the windmill, and the animals must fight them to get them off of the farm. While Boxer is trying to repair the damage to the windmill, he is injured. Napoleon tells the animals that he has sent for a vet, but Benjamin reads the side of the supposed vet’s van. The letters read, “Horse Slaughterer.” Napoleon hasn’t called the vet, but rather has sold Boxer’s body in order to buy more whisky so they can get drunk. Years pass, and the animals are still miserable. Old Major’s promises have faded, just like the commandments that were once written on the barn wall. Some humans arrive at the farm, and play cards with the pigs. Over cards, they argue, and the animals can’t tell anymore who is a human and who is a pig. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegory. An important theme is the corruption that comes with power. Napoleon becomes powerful and that power corrupts, ultimately leading to his forsaking Animalism and selling Boxer to a horse slaughterer. Another important message in this story is that humans are no different from pigs. The pigs, who once thought themselves better than the humans they conquered, soon sink to the level of humans, using one another and wasting money on whisky. The names of the animals are important, particularly Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball is an innocent—though Napoleon labels Snowball a traitor, Snowball only ever wanted what was best for the animals of the farm. Napoleon, on the other hand, is corrupt and tries to come across as greater than he is—much how his namesake is often perceived. Those of you who had difficulty in understanding the political style of the 1900’s, would do well to read this book. That is how the politicians got evolved who we witness daily in the news now! They call it ‘Breaking News’!