MIDWAY: Beasts of wisdom

Call anyone ‘donkey’ and by the time you realise you pronounced the word — intentionally or inadvertently — you might have received a mighty slap that will hurt for donkey’s years. The reaction may be justifiable: the beast of burden (as if man were no beast, with no burden!), has always been associated with stupidity and stubbornness: two patently unenviable attributes absolutely (?) absent in man! Hence, the slap in the face of the insulter.

There are people who refuse even to touch donkeys, dishing out a purely irrational rationale against these animals of patience: the latter may pass their ‘stupidity and stubbornness’ on to the former. However, it sounds equally true the other way round.

For instance, how risible and stupid of man to eat food and to wear clothes carried by these beasts of burden but consider them untouchable! That’s pure ungratefulness and hypocrisy par excellence, I would say!

Well, donkeys may be the beasts of burden somewhere. Elsewhere, they can be the beasts carrying the burden of wisdom, too. In La Gloria, Columbia, a teacher came up with a brainchild that deserves every accolade: he owns a mobile library with a difference.

With his two donkeys — Alfa and Beto — burdened with 4,800 books, the teacher moves around with his travelling library: talking the hind legs off a donkey on matters relating to education and lending books to people in secluded areas.

Mobile libraries are a crying need in our country, both in cities and rural areas.

Hence, why not take a leaf out of each of the Columbian teacher’s 4,800 books? And it will certainly be a sight to behold: henceforth, donkeys, mules and horses carrying goods in isolated areas of Nepal — from Kagbeni to Lo-manthang and from Suketar to Olangchungola, for instance — will be carrying loads of books.

Well, man may carry his wisdom inside his head; donkeys carry it on their backs: why make a fuss, after all? Hence, hats off to the man of books! Kudos to the beasts carrying on their backs the burden of wisdom! And may the Columbian mobile library make living beings wiser — men and donkeys included.