Why We Should Choose Our Heroes And Role Models Properly?

by Qudsia Gani

Let us admire a poor boy who overcomes poverty and becomes an achiever, but let us also value a rich boy who avoided all distractions offered by the illustrious wealth that could have otherwise spoiled him. Both are heroes and perhaps the latter has won a bigger battle.

Honesty is largely accepted as a prime example of moral virtue. It builds trust. It builds one’s image. When people are honest, they are relied on.

I am not repeating to praise honesty or public service. It is a well-known hymn, much heard and sung. Books and movies have also amply co-powered this theme.

I rather have some aversions.

Honestly speaking, honesty has turned coronic nowadays, with some incurable variants. These variants have an artificial and a digital texture, set to do good marketing of a personified honesty. Public service is more public than service. Struggles are cashed on digital media.

For instance, after qualifying for a local state level exam, someone said, “I used to go walking to my school this much distance away from my home.” I wondered who of us would go by train or plane!  If most of us cherish remembering the playful acts while on way to school, why do the heroes feel it painful? If we enjoyed taking long routes to success, why did they need a shortcut?

Similarly, someone else after coming in the job said in his self drawn interview “My salary comes from your tax. I pledge to do this and that for you. I will not do as the predecessors did. I am so and so kind of officer.”

There is full online stuff, live streaming our local heroes while they dramatise their duties.

Dear heroes, you might have risen from humble backgrounds, might have had been going to school on foot, might not be taking bribes and might be taking initiatives. So what?

Are you honest because it fetches you awards and you go viral? Or are you honest, simply for the sake of it? Duties are sacred. They are done with devotion. Yours is but an exhibition.

Remember, if you donate one kidney, you are a hero; if you donate two, then you are a saint but if you are donating three and more, then you are automatically a monster and one needs to call the police in that case. Kindly keep a check and balance of your good deeds to demarcate reality from showing off.

According to Brucelee, showing off is the fool’s idea of glory. Those who show off do not shine. Whatever you gain through self-promotion will have to be sustained through self-promotion only.  Competition is healthy, show off is shitty. Showing off has literally driven the guys crazy.

The prophet had once said, “You will vie with one another, then you will shun one another and then you will hate one another.”

The actual branding does not happen overnight. It is a life term commitment. Our prophet had an early on perfection in character, yet he was bestowed with prophethood at 40 years of age, a trusted brand ready to be accepted by then.

Moreover, one can be a brand even without owning a business or having a job. In this world of semi-permanent google records, curiously, the true heroes tend to be anonymous. They win the battles we are not even aware of.

Moreover, a true hero does not always do popular things like honesty; he may also do an unpopular thing because he believes in it. In that context, Hitler is a great hero of the darker side of history who did what he felt right and chose to die in anonymity.

Anyone who voluntarily walks into the unknown may be called a hero. He may be deviant and not always a yes man. In our sacred scriptures, we are encouraged to envy that is free from malice. The glorious Quran (23:61) says, “They are eager to do righteous works; they compete in doing them.”

Keenness for this sense of competition is praiseworthy in acts of obedience. People also need to build a sense of acknowledgement for each other. No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. Poor alone do not suffer nor are the rich always at ease.

Let us admire a poor boy who overcomes poverty and becomes an achiever, but let us also value a rich boy who avoided all distractions offered by the illustrious wealth that could have otherwise spoiled him. Both are heroes and perhaps the latter has won a bigger battle.

One yearns for a combination of riches with character and poverty with doing charity. Unless for the show, are they rarely seen? As children, we seek the attention of our parents and teachers, so we do anything to try to impress them. By the way, a boy had asked his Mathematics teacher if General Calculus was a Roman war hero!

Dr Qudsia Gani

When we get a little older, we seek the attention of our peer group to gain approval and acceptance. Most of us grow up showing off to others in one way or the other. Some of us resort to poetry and communication skill to make an impression. With or without context, we are ready with borrowed couplets to shower our wisdom. The audience is already sublime, ready with likes and comments.

I am reminded of George Mikes who once said, “In England, only uneducated people show off their knowledge; nobody quotes Latin or Greek authors in the course of conversation unless he has never read them.”

Let the literature flow from the literary, science from the scientists; let history keep the account of heroes and we better do our business. I want to democratize heroism by saying that anyone of us can be a hero but be not zeroed to be a hero.

(Dr Qudsia Gani teaches Physics at the Cluster University Srinagar. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)


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