He felt tired, oh so tired. It had been a fair bit of time since he had been fighting along with his comrades to break through the bars of his cage, where they kept him. In vain of course, otherwise he wouldn’t still be there.
Some of the others were still foolishly struggling and straining against what kept them from spreading their wings, from soaring to unchallenged heights like they used to. Before ‘they’ came and trapped him and his ilk. It had been a struggle that had lasted far too long.
Probably, because his brethren were not united amongst themselves. Some of them believed in constant struggle and violence towards their enemies, while others advocated a path of perseverance and non-violence. He had been torn between the two options, his confused mind unable to process which one was better.
Now, he lay there bleeding, broken in spirit and body, all the fight knocked out of him. But somewhere, deep within him, a faint voice whispered to him. A voice, that was frail and weak, but a voice that stirred his very being. It asked him to stand up and fight just a wee bit longer, and success would come.
He reckoned that it couldn’t possibly do any harm. What if he got himself killed while struggling against his captors? It would only improve his lot, wouldn’t it? With this thought in his mind, he resolved to launch one final onslaught and attempt a ‘do or die’ approach. With hope in his heart, he issued a clarion call to all his peers asking them to throw himself against their bonds and break free. They were sceptical at first, but he managed to win them over.
With a huge war cry, they broke through the barriers that had held them for so long. It seemed unbelievable! To breathe the fresh air again, to flap his wings in the familiarity of his beautiful meadow. He uttered a shriek of delight as he flew past more of his friends enjoying themselves thus. His cries of joy turned to those of outrage and pain. He felt a sharp beak pierce into his shoulder and turned in surprise to see someone who had been his friend trying to attack him with malevolent rage. He expressed his anguish and wondered why he was being attacked. His ‘friend’ told him that he was no longer welcome among the ‘different’ birds. Bruised and battered, he made his way dejectedly to a distant corner of the meadow as he saw various groups of birds fighting it out with each other. Soon, he was joined by a bunch of his own kind. Angry at being shunned by the others, this group attacked whoever strayed into their territory. It still hurt him to think about the irony of it all.
When they had been slaves, they had toiled side by side and striven for freedom, and now when they were finally free, all they did was squabble amongst themselves. But, he did not have the will to rebel against his fellows. So, he trudged on, keeping his feelings bottled just to keep his tribe happy. Eventually, all the groups gained control over territories that they guarded fiercely. Any truant bird who strayed here or there was dealt with strictly.
There was an element of mistrust in the air all the time. Suddenly, he hit upon a fantastic idea. To protect himself and his tribe, he devised a mechanism to keep the other birds out. He would construct a barrier that prevented his tribespeople from straying out, and other tribespeople from straying in.
The others loved this idea and hailed him as their hero, their messiah. He assembled a motley gang of enthusiastic workers and set to work. One day, the fruits of his labour were ripe. The barrier was ready. No longer would their children have to fear attacks from others, no longer would there be a chance of anyone straying. The barrier would ensure that everyone would be safe from marauders. Exhausted but happy, he went back to his nest. After all, like every year, he had an Independence Day to celebrate.