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"I admit I am a thief; but have I become a thief of my own volition? Does someone become a thief even after having enough to eat? Look, those who claim to be virtuous .... those who shudder even at the mention of the word "thief", many of them are more irreligious than thieves. They don't steal because they do not have any need to steal. But, despite having wealth in excess they do not look into the needs of others; the thief steals from them. It is not the thief's irreverence which leads him into stealing; rather, the cause is the wealthy miser's apathy. True, the thief commits a crime, but, then, the wealthy miser is one hundred times more to blame. The thief is punished; why is the miser, who is the root cause of the crime, not punished?

"I wander about begging for food; no one gives me even a fish bone. People would rather throw away the uneaten food instead of giving that to me. You human beings have a full belly; how will you ever understand my pangs of hunger. Is it disgraceful to feel pity for the poor? Someone who has never offered alms to the poor spends sleepless nights if the king is in trouble; everyone is ready to sympathise with the rich but none to help the poor."

"Consider a situation wherein a person in a position of power had come and consumed your milk. Would you have picked up a stick and chased him? No, rather you would have folded your hands in obeisance and urged him to take some more. Why the stick in my case then? You may argue that they are people with wisdom, and very honorable people. Does this imply that just because they are honorable and wise, their hunger is severe than mine? That cannot be the case. It is human nature to apply more oil to an already oily head. No one understands the hunger of the poor. You host a feast for someone who refuses to eat, and chase away those who eat your food unable to bear their hunger; you call them thieves and punish them. Fie on you!"

"Look at our state. I wander around in search of food but no one gives me a morsel. If one of us is fortunate enough to become a house cat - if it is taken in as a companion for the old man or the girl in the house, or if it sits by the side of its rich and stupid owner as the latter plays chess, then its life is made. The cat grows lustrous hair, and other cats turn into poets upon perceiving its beauty."

"And, look at us! Lack of food has caused our hair to shed, the skeleton shows out of the skin, the teeth is bared, and the tongue hangs out. 'Mew, mew,' we call out ceaselessly asking for food. Do not be disgusted at the sight of our dark skin. We also have a right to the fish and meat in this world. Give us food, else we will steal. Don't you feel even a pang of pity at our sorry state? The thief is punished, but why isn't there any punishment for cruelty? Your society has made laws to punish the poor for his efforts to gather food; why, then, there is no law to punish the miserly rich?"

"Even you, Kamalakanta, who has developed a foresightedness owing to an addiction to opium, cannot understand that the poor turns into a thief only because of the rich man's miserliness. Why should a single man gather food that would have satisfied the hunger of five hundred poor people? And if he does that, why doesn't he give away the leftovers? The poor, then, has no alternative but to steal because no one has been born in this world to die of hunger."

I could not tolerate the cat's rant any more. "Stop! Take a pause, Miss Cat! Your words are very socialistic. If someone is not allowed to accumulate wealth as per his own ability, or cannot enjoy his wealth owing to persecution by thieves, then no one would be interested in creating wealth. The society would suffer as a result."

"How does that affect me?" the cat shot back. "A wealthy society implies an increase in wealth of the rich. The poor will in no way be affected if the rich stop getting richer.


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  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
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  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
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  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu