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Leadership Lessons from THE TIGER KING: Prioritizing Humility and Service


Being a king isn’t just about wearing a crown and making big decisions. It’s also about taking care of the people you rule over. Think about a king from history who was known for putting his people first. One such king was King Solomon from ancient times. King Solomon was famous for his wisdom and his fairness in ruling his kingdom. He was known for his dedication to serving his people and making decisions that were in their best interests. In the story “The Tiger King” by Kalki, we meet a king who becomes known as the Tiger King. He’s not like the kings we usually read about in fairy tales. Instead of focusing on what’s best for his people, he gets caught up in his own desires and ambitions.

In India, some ministers today share similarities with the Tiger King from the story. They may focus more on their personal ambitions than on serving the people, neglecting important issues for their own gain. Like the Tiger King’s reliance on superstition, some ministers might make decisions based on misguided beliefs instead of evidence. They may misuse their power, avoiding accountability for their actions, which can lead to a lack of trust in government. By recognizing these similarities, we can discuss the importance of ethical leadership and prioritizing the welfare of citizens in politics today.

Deconstructing the Maharaja’s Royal Titles and Prestige:

The author uses sarcasm to highlight the absurdity of the Maharaja’s magnificent titles. While these titles may seem impressive, they actually reflect the Maharaja’s exaggerated sense of importance rather than his true achievements. By giving himself extravagant titles like “Jamedar-General” and “Khiledar-Major,” the Maharaja appears to be mocking the traditional pomp and ceremony associated with royalty. The sarcasm lies in the contrast between the Maharaja’s self-proclaimed titles and the reality of his actions, which often prioritize personal desires over the welfare of his subjects. Ultimately, the author uses sarcasm to critique the superficiality and vanity of the Tiger King’s reign.

Satirical Commentary on Colonial Influence: The Maharaja’s Dilemma

The mention of a British officer wanting to hunt tigers reflects the influence of colonial powers in India during that time. The Maharaja’s refusal to allow the British officer to hunt tigers in his kingdom shows his defiance against colonial control. However, the satire lies in the Maharaja’s attempt to appease the British officer by offering expensive diamond rings to his wife. Instead of standing up to the colonial powers, the Maharaja uses the poor taxpayers’ money to buy extravagant gifts in an attempt to maintain his position and avoid conflict. This highlights the absurdity of the situation, as the Maharaja prioritizes his own interests over those of his people, demonstrating the unjust power dynamics between indigenous rulers and colonial authorities.

The Wooden Tiger and Political Downfall: Lessons in Irony and Fate

The wooden tiger symbolizes irony and fate. Despite being a simple and humble object, the wooden tiger ultimately leads to the downfall of the Tiger King, the Maharaja. It represents the unpredictability of life and the unexpected ways in which events unfold. The fact that the Maharaja is injured by a splinter from the wooden tiger, which later leads to his death, highlights the irony of his obsession with hunting real tigers. Essentially, the wooden tiger serves as a reminder that even seemingly insignificant things can have significant consequences, and it underscores the theme of karma or poetic justice in the story.

One example of an insignificant decision by an Indian leader that brought about her downfall could be the Emergency declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. At the time, she made the decision to declare a state of emergency, suspending civil liberties and suppressing political opposition. This decision, which may have seemed insignificant or necessary at the time, ultimately led to widespread abuse of power, censorship, and human rights violations. In a similar manner to the wooden tiger, this seemingly small decision contributed to Indira Gandhi’s eventual downfall, as it eroded public trust and led to her defeat in the subsequent elections.


This story serves as a gentle reminder to leaders of any nation. It shows how arrogance, obsession, and neglecting the needs of the people can lead to downfall. Just like the Tiger King’s mistakes, leaders must remember that their actions have consequences. They should prioritize the well-being of their citizens and avoid getting caught up in personal desires or vanity. By staying humble, compassionate, and focused on serving their people, leaders can avoid the pitfalls that befell the Tiger King and ensure a brighter future for their nation. By learning from the mistakes of the past and embracing humility and compassion, we can strive to build a better future for all.

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