On Killing a Tree

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George Orwell was then the sub-divisional police officer of the town of Moulmein in Burma. The Burmese people had a lot of anti-European feelings. They did not do anything in an organized purposeful way like a revolt or riot to express their hatred. But they did petty things like spitting betel juice over the dress of European women or jeering at Europeans at a safe distance. They hated Orwell a little more as he was a police officer, an agent of the oppressors. If a Burmese player did a foul against him in the football field, the Burmese referee ignored it and the crowd of spectators laughed in glee. The Buddhist priest jeered at him as at every other European. Orwell found their behaviours intolerable and he hated them for personal reasons. On the other hand, Orwell had a lot of sympathy for the oppressed people. Theoretically, he regarded Imperialism as evil. As a police officer, he had seen the tyranny and oppression of the British Empire in

Thus, Orwell was in a mental conflict. He was an officer of the Empire which he hated. He had to serve the Empire and be an agent of oppression. On the other hand, he hated the Burmese for personal reasons, though he was on their side and he had sympathy. So he hated his job and thought of giving it up. While in Moulmein once, he had to shoot an elephant needlessly. It was an incident, which showed the hollowness of the British Empire, and it also showed how the British people, who seemed to be so powerful, were actually powerless puppets. The elephant which was in must had ravaged a bazaar, destroyed a hut, eaten up the fruits of a fruit stall and killed a cow. Orwell went out with his .44 Winchester Rifle to frighten the elephant away with the sound of the gun. The Burmese could not give him any definite information about the whereabouts of the elephant. At last he heard a shout from a lane of thatched huts. He went there and saw that the elephant had killed a Dravidian coolie. He thought that the...
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