Nonetheless, the good-natured but simple-minded animals continue to believe the pigs. Over time, however, persistent food shortages and a heavy work load take its toll and the animals grow disheartened. Even Boxer, the cart-horse, the most diligent and loyal worker among them, doggedly supporting Napoleon and the revolution to the very end, falls ill.
Boxer had two maxims: One was ‘Napoleon is always right,” and the other, ‘I will work harder.” The construction work at Animal Farm could never have been achieved without him. However, constant over-exertion finally proves too much even for Boxer’s robust constitution and one day, he collapses. Napoleon, hearing of this, far from rewarding Boxer for all his loyalty and hard work, deceives everyone yet again and secretly delivers the ailing cart-horse to the slaughterhouse.
All vestiges of the animals’ ideal for a world of liberty and equality had long vanished. All that remained was a reign of terror by those in power.
In the end, Napoleon joins forces with the supposed enemy – human beings. In the realm of Buddhism, it would amount to engaging in underhand intrigue with people out to destroy Buddhism.
The book ends with the pigs and human beings toasting one another and discussing how to exploit the animals to their mutual profit. The other animals, peering through the window, can no longer tell who is a pig and who is a human being. The revolution has failed.
This contemporary fable describes very simply the karma of human history, that whenever one tyrant is ousted, a new, more adept tyrant emerges from amongst the original liberators.
When Orwell wrote this ‘fairy tale’, as he chose to call it, in 1943-1944, he naturally intended it as a criticism of Stalinist Russia. He had discerned that under the guise of liberating the worker, a privileged class of bureaucrats and the dictator, Stalin, had been spawned.
However, at the same time, the message which this fairy tale carries is that unless human beings conquer the diabolical nature of authority, any revolution or reformation will end in corruption and failure. This book was also meant as a stinging criticism of Hitler’s hypocrisy in championing the ‘salvation’of the German homeland. Orwell shows with brilliant lucidity that, irrespective of political persuasion, the problem is fundamentally one of human beings.
So, what are human beings to do? How will the human race be able to overcome an authoritarian nature to abuse privilege and, instead, nurture a truly democratic attitude?
The key to solving this problem lies in the Buddhist faith, which enables human beings to revolutionise themselves; our faith is of such profound significance.
The possibility of being controlled by power-hungry people always exists – even in our world of Nichiren Buddhism whose teaching is most democratic. If this happens, however, we will not be able to realise the ideal of kosen-rufu.
Therefore, it is imperative that we, the people, develop our wisdom and fight against corrupt forces. Nichiren Daishonin dedicated his entire life to fighting against forces which repressed the people’s doubts and desires and which made not the slightest attempt to win their understanding and trust. Therefore, as his disciples, it is only natural that we fight to see justice done in the same way. A truly democratic person is one who fights against the corrupt forces of power and authority throughout his or her whole life.