Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Of Robin Hood......

Robin Hood..... A man who died centuries ago. A Man who is best remembered for stealing from the rich and giving to the needy poor. A mysterious figure worshipped by most young kids as the epitome of justice. But is this portrayal truly moral? Is this portrayal really that of a fighter for a just cause?

He is, today, remembered as the saviour of the needy, but is it right to steal for fulfilling the needs of the needy? In the stories that record his feats, he is the hero who recovers from the impotent rich, what they've 'stolen' from the productive poor. How is it that, today, the moral we glean from this story has changed from an act of justice to that of injustice, open to more grievous implications? Why isn't he remembered as the saviour of the producers?

Does this misinterpretation represent a change in the 'moral values' held in esteem by the society? Could a misinterpretation such as this be forecasting the future trends of our society where charity will be the highest moral value? Should it be the highest moral value?

Our world seems to be made up of contradictions. On one hand, we have (and have had) entrepreneurs like J.R.D. Tata, L.N. Mittal, Vijay Mallya, Dhirubai Ambani etc., while on the other hand we have the charity and senseless soap culture. Not exactly senseless... rather, the regressive soap culture. If this is a world where intelligent and sentient beings dwell, then how is it that we are able to create and nurture such a backward outlook? How can beings that have the power of comprehension and intelligence be able to stand, forget appreciate and get addicted to, such monstrosities? Why do these contradictions exist?

These are just some of the questions that keep cropping up in my mind..... Never before felt the need to ask them, but seeing that I have the platform now...... Thought I'd go ahead and do just that! Comments are appreciated..... Each and everyone of them! So, don't forget to leave your hand prints on my blog! Adieu......


  1. It is not just the present generation which glorifies Robin Hood. Most of the folk-lore I think is not based on his looting rich people and donating it to the poor; but rich people who harassed the poor or those who misused their powers to be who they were. In a way it was a parallel government of a different variety. Rules have always been open to controversy and rules are always moulded for the rich and powerful in someway or the other. It is not just the present generation and I do not think that there is any misinterpretation of this sort.
    But let us say that you do something like that today, then I surely do feel that it should be discouraged (rather vehemently opposed). Rules are there for a purpose and there are proper channels (not talking about how effective they are in some parts of the world) for the various problems that people face. Would like to know your take on this, then elaborate

  2. @Aditya : It's not about the glorification of the legend of Robin Hood that I am talking about..... It's about what the generations younger to us seem to comprehend from it..... If you were to try asking a kid today about Robin Hood, the answer which you'll receive will be the one about him helping the poor after looting the rich..... Plain and simple....!! With no real mention about his true intentions..... That's what seems to be troubling me.......

  3. @ anunay - that isn't exactly their fault. they're too young to comprehend the intricacies of the robin hood legend. so they pretty much take what they read at face value, like you did too i'm sure.

  4. Yup, Tania put it quite well there. In fact even I used to be like that!

  5. @Memyself_n_i : Yikes!! Why am I getting cornered here? By kids I didn't mean toddlers.... I meant more around 12-13 year olds..... Old enough to comprehend them..... But, then I wasn't really being specific was I?? But, then thats besides the point...... Robin Hood was just a base to build on.... See, if you can get my drift......

  6. Nope don't really get it. Do you think that kids mature by 12? Common..

  7. frankly speaking, i never really gave much thuought to what lay behind robin hood's whole -take-from-the-rich-give-to-the-poor habits. the stories were great fun to read, and that's why i read em. i'm sure the people who wrote them didn't think didn't mean it in any other way except in the straightforward way.

    if you sit down to comment on the moral uprightness (i'm not too sure if that's a word. lol) of children's stories then you have a pretty complicated task ahead of you. becasue most of them have been written only to entertain the young reader, not to be read by adults and analysed.

    of course, this is completely my personal opinion and not to be taken personally or anything. :-)

  8. Where is the reply to my comment that 12 years old are not mature enough

  9. @Memyself_n_i : Views appreciated..... Thank you for devoting so much of your precious time away from your exams to ponder on this abstract situation.....! Hope you've been just as dedicated to your studies...... Best of Luck for those papers!!

    @Aditya : Ok..... Fine.... Maybe you've not come across many such interesting 12 year olds....!! It's just that I seem to be surrounded by 10-12 year olds who like to quote Einstein, Newton and Stephen Hawking all the time.... Drives me crazy..... The feedback for this has come through some of them and their wide circle of friends..... And my own observations of the working of our world!! But then again, this is only my personal observation.....

  10. its juss sum fiction yaar..not meant to be lukd into so deeply! i think the author wntd to bring abt the moral 'do-good-to-all'..& the fact tht robin hood stole frm rich ppl & gave it all to poor ppl must be ignored! nyways..this reminds me of Warren Buffet,a multi billionaire & yet so simple & humble..who gives away so much of money as charity...definitely in this lies true greatness....really intrstin article..

  11. @♥Μőήιсå♥ : How is charity really beneficial?? I'd agree with you if we were to speak about 'charity' that provided jobs for the 'able and skilled' population..... But, anything else seems like promoting dependence on others to me..... Promoting it as a permanent fixture of society and not a temporary one....!!!

  12. Charity has not eradicated poverty. In most cases, even the the organised cahrity does not do much for the cause of eradicating poverty. The only thing it really does is to provide a momentary relief. What is needed is an effort where the poor can be made self reliant, so that there comes a day when no body need charity. There is a huge difference between living by charity and by earning!!! Earning has a pride attached to it!!!
    Glorifying Robin Hood is based on what he stands for, not for how he did. If you analyse heroes from generations, you will realise that in most cases, heros have done things, but their methods of doing things are not correct... Based on the thought, this is my story.


    Any one whose aim in life is successful is a hero, if a movement led by a leader is successful then he is a hero, even though he may be a villain to the side he was fighting against. Hero’s are not born, they are made by circumstances, their desire to lead and bring about a change. If MK Gandhi was born in 1969 instead of 1869, would he have been the father of our nation? In many cases after the movement is successful, history generally forgets the actions the hero did to achieve his goals, instead what he leaves behind is only the end result. Had the World War II been won by Germany, Hitler would have been a hero who re-installed the pride of Germans and cleansed Europe of Jews and Churchill and Roosevelt would have enjoyed the same status as enjoyed by Hitler today. What matters is weather the movement being lead is successful of not!

    History abounds with examples where heroes for some have been villain for others. General Dyer, the British autocrat who massacred innocent people at Jallianwallah Bagh in Amritsar, was sent back to England in 1919, where he was hailed as a hero for “teaching Indians a lesson” and was awarded over ₤25,000/- by the British Public. In our own country, Shivaji, an outlaw and a guerrilla fighter of the Maharats is a symbol of their pride and is their identity. History is something what is made out to be. All things makes me wonder that like Yasser Arafat, would all fighters becomes semi-Gods and Heroes. If Al-Qaeda’s Jihad is successful, Osama bin-Laden becomes a hero too, looked up by millions. If Kashmir gets ‘aazadi’ all the ‘terrorists’ would assume status of freedom fighters and the slain militants- martyrs. The Indian security forces would become the biggest villains who were against their interests. Well time would only tell the fate.
    Well my story is about a Kashmiri who took up arms and on the day of his death, the newspapers read- “Security forces kill a dreaded TERRORIST”. Parties were thrown for the bravery of the company of one hundred and twenty soldiers for killing a lone terrorist, who was not even paid for the job, but was a believer and a fighter. He was called a coward, even as he faced brave heartedly the bullets, while our soldiers faced it wearing Bullet-Proof jackets. He was out numbered, yet fought till his last breath. There was no hero’s funeral but a lone bent double eighty year old man who came to claim the body. As soon as he reached there, he was asked to identify the young handsome man’s body. His body lay on a steel table in the mortuary, a dimly lit room, with his body badly stitched. His body had been tattered by over fifty bullets. There was no tear in the old man’s eyes; instead he looked calm and composed. He looked saddened and too grieved to even react. He was soon called to a nearby police station, as the formalist to carry the body to the Idgah Graveyard was being done. In a small dark room were about ten men, belonging to IB, J&K Police, Army Intelligence, CRPF, BSF and RAW. They flooded the five feet two inches tall old man with numerous questions, about the terrorist, they had killed that day. But there was something amiss, who was the terrorist he felt. He only knew that young man who attained shahadat, as he dared to stand up for what he believed in, and took on the World’s Largest Democracy and its over two million strong defense forces of - The Republic of India!

    The sleuths knew that the old man was not involved in any anti-India activity and may only be a distant relative of the slain militant, thus let him go. The body was covered in white sheet, tied in both ends, making it appear like a gunny bag. It was meant to be a silent funeral at dusk. No guest or even distant relative were expected for the funeral. No one was wanted to be seen as a close accomplice of a ‘terrorist’. It was certainly sad that, a person who had lived and died for Kashmiriyat had to have such a quiet exit. The old man was accompanied by a tall bearded Head Constable of the J&K Police in a Black van of the hospital to the Idgah graveyard. A lone Maulvi stood there with a grave digger. As the sun was about to set, he was buried with the usual rituals. No one had cared to visit this hero. He was forgotten. Some people hid in distances, appearing to be not interested in the happenings here. Their eyes were set to watch the various any one who came to pay his/her respect to the slain militant. These were the spies of the Intelligence Bureau, who were partly responsible for the killing of the hero. They were the evidence of Delhi’s control on Kashmir.

    The sun set over the Pir-Panjal mountain range. It began to get dark. It was early January, it began to snow lightly. The old man sat next to the grave. All had left. Some spies waited in the white Maruti Car, waiting for some suspicious links to arrive.The old man broke down and there was no one to condole him. He felt alone and cursed Allah for having taken his grandson and having left him. He asked for his death. He cursed the Government of India and felt that it were a murderer.

    Next Morning at the Srinagar Air Base came a coffin of a soldier from the Indian Army. The coffin was draped in the Indian Tricolor. The Beagle rang, soldiers with tears in their eyes surrounded the coffin, saying bye to their beloved companion who had served with bravery and had sacrificed his life for the country. The coffin was put in a large Air Force Aircraft. The Headlines Today in most national dailies read,” Bihari Soldiers rewarded- Param Vir Chakra”. The aircraft became airborne, jetting across Indian Skies flying over a thousand miles, reaching the Ganges plains of Patna. The aircraft landed and was received by Soldiers of Army, who game him a guard of honor. Along came his parents, his father was proud of his son as he had won the highest Bravery award of the land, his mother could not contain her tears ,she did not want a medal with his name, she wanted her son. Her young 21 year old had attained martyrdom fighting in the valley. Everyone from the Chief Minister to near and far relatives had come to bid their farewell. The farewell happened at dusk on the banks of Ganga. The Government had ordered a state funeral, hence there were 21 gun shots fired, to remember the hero. There were a crowd of over a thousand people to bid farewell.

    These two men from Kashmir and Bihar had ended up killing each other, fighting for their causes. They had nothing against each other, it was just the greed of power, feeling of non-independence of some for which people, had ensured that the people who had nothing to do with each other had ended up killing each other. The people responsible for this mess met often in luxurious summits, spoke to each other for some time, then decide not to speak to each other and the saga continues.
    Like I had said earlier heroism lies in the faith and the view point of the beholder. Each of these two young men was heroes from the point of view of their families, but for the other family they were murders, who took away the light of their houses. The soldier got a hero’s funeral because he was fighting from a stronger, well established side. Similarly if the Kashmir freedom struggle is successful, then the young man would be remembered as a hero for its coming generations. Like Bhagat Singh, a convicted murderer according to the British Raj, today is regarded as unparallel hero, who gave his life standing up against the Raj. History is like what we like to remember it as!!!