Perseverance pays, even if at last

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Zamir Ahmed
Quffal Shasi was a reputed jurist in the times of Caliph Haroon Rashid. But before that, he was a skilled locksmith who would blend creativity with dexterity to make innovative locks. His locks earned him great respect not only because of their utility but also for their uniqueness and innovation.
One day Quffal created a master piece of a lock; a lock which, by virtue of its novelty, was no less than a small invention. He went to Haroon Rashid’s court to present the lock to the caliph. Haroon Rashid, impressed by the craftsmanship of Quffal, praised him for his ingenuity and creativity. While Quffal was explaining various features of the lock to the caliph, a group of scholars entered the royal court and sought an audience with the caliph.

Haroon Rashid left his conversation with the locksmith midway to welcome them into his court. Soon he was engrossed in conversation with the scholars and completely forgot about the lock and the locksmith. Quffal was dismayed as he felt neglected. A man of great self respect that he was, he immediately left the court and vowed not to enter the court till he himself became a scholar. He straightaway joined a seminary and took admission in a primary class where small children were being taught the basics.

One day the teacher asked the students to learn by heart a certain statement. The statement was: ‘The Shaikh (Teacher) has stated that if the hide of a dog is washed even a hundred times, it would still be unclean’. Quffal set to the task of consigning the statement to his memory and so did his other little classmates. After sometime each of the students was asked to recite what he had learnt. When Quffal’s turn came, he stood up nervously, fumbled and uttered, “The dog has stated that if the hide of sheikh is cleaned even a hundred times, it would still be unclean.” On hearing this, the whole class broke into an uproarious laughter.

Poor Quffal was again dismayed and decided to quit. He took leave of his teacher and headed towards his shop. While on the way, he came upon a well wherefrom he drew some water to quench his thirst. On placing the earthen pitcher back in its place, a strange epiphany struck him. He noticed that the there was a small depression in the stone slab at the place where the earthen pitcher was being placed. Quffal was a changed man. He said to himself if an earthen pitcher can make a dent in a stone by constant and persistent use, why cannot he acquire knowledge by hard work and perseverance? He went back to the seminary and came out years later as Quffal Shasi, the eminent jurist.

Perseverance has no substitute as success has no short cuts. Be it individual ambitions or national aspirations, persistence and perseverance are the keys to success. Even if being persistent earns you an epithet of a hardliner, it is worth than being seen as failure cloaked as ‘change of strategy’.

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and everyone knows it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before!

Iqbal puts it thus:

Yaqeen Muhkam , Amal Pyham, Muhabbat fatihey Aalam
Jehade Zindgani mein hein ye marduun ki shamsheerein.

And

Wafadari basharte ustuwari asl ieeman hai
Marey butkhaney mein tou kaabey mein gaado brhman ko.

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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