Courage is grace under pressure




Once a king sat worried. Upon asking he told that he is thinking why his people did not ask anything from him? Why didn’t they complain about anything? Was everything really so much fine in the kingdom? He was suggested to appoint a man on one side of a specific bridge where most of the people passed. This man was to strike every person with a shoe that crossed the bridge. The king agreed.

Now he was very confident that his people will come and complain about this unjust order. Surprisingly, nobody came. After some days, he was told that a man wants to request something from the king. The king became excited that finally someone has come. The man said, “Your appointed soldier is carrying out your order, he daily strikes us with a shoe when we pass by” the king eagerly listened, “ but it would be better if you appoint two of them because a single soldier  takes much time and slows down the traffic over the bridge, we get late for work”.

Learning is a life-long phenomenon. As long as you live, there are lessons each day. Childhood to teenage and then to adulthood, you come across different people. Everyone has a unique perception of life. And some part of their perception becomes yours. Ones whom we love, ones we want to love, people we don’t want around and people we long for, everyone here is to teach us a lesson.

You might not agree but to some extent, it’s true that years of university life have the most diverse colors. I might say, it has the glimpse of the upcoming experiences of the professional world. In these years, personalities are transforming into more realistic, focused and goal-oriented characters. This is the time when you see who is looking for what.

It is the end that matters and not the beginning. It was my final year at the university. I had the idea that soon I will have to leave, so the days became more interesting and me, more absorbing.

Care, sincerity, hate, fear, boredom, jealousy, love, anxiety, struggle, every emotion and every thought had a face and a story. There was friendship, honesty, devotion, so was selfishness, greed, corruption. There were many who shared these qualities. But one thing was common, fear. I thought that we all feared that if we do not submit to the injustice and ‘the order’, we will lose everything or at least, what we have been bearing all this for. I was wrong.

You hear ‘same is lame’ more often everywhere on the TV, in the books, sign boards, but rarely find someone who is not ‘the same’. What it takes to be different from the others? What is it that pushes you to conformity, submission to the rules created by a slave mind? Why don’t you dare go against anything you feel wrong about the society? Because it takes courage, courage to put things at stake.

I found this true that most of us are corrupt ourselves but that is not all of us. Someone has to be honest, someone has to be brave, and someone ought not to be salve. Someone who is not happy with getting beaten with the royal shoe. It was him. Beyond this, I would suggest that you should not read but with a free mind.

I was scrolling down Facebook news feed, when I came across a piece of writing. It said about the problems that were faced by the students during their studies and stay at campus. At the end of the article was his picture. It was welcomed by the public because it was their voice put on paper, because it deserved to be appreciated. But it was truth, someone had to taste its bitterness.

Few days later he wrote again. It was about some major event at the campus. He pointed out the irregularities and questioned the credibility of the judgment which allotted top positions to the participants. This time it was not welcomed by all.

He had a good conduct, he was courteous and helpful. I didn’t know him much until I along with some other fellows got into a clash with the authorities. My request for help was being turned down until he found out. He put our case in front of the one of the officers and dominated the discussion with his prompt bold reasoning. There was no fear at all. He was putting arguments very efficiently but this is where system tells us its dark reality, he was turned away by force. This was enough for my judgment. I was learning.

The authorities punished him for his writing, for what they considered was rebellion. They feared it would encourage other students to speak and question all the injustice this system is hiding within itself. His writings had already caused much unrest among the authorities and they sought a way to stop it. He was expelled from the lectures and fined.

He will not pass out along with his batch fellows”, I heard.

Did he not see that coming? Did he not know that he will have to pay for speaking up? How powerful he thought he was as a student?  He knew that it was all losing but had the courage to endure. The courage we all lack.

 “Criticism is always easier than constructive solutions”

 He received a lot of criticism. There was anger among the students, the staff and everybody who knew how to manipulate the system to gain benefits. Off course, they didn’t want anybody to expose the loopholes and the short comings. One thing that can agreed to some extent that he could have used an indirect, light language. But one way or other, the truth had to be spoken.

Those were the days of pressure. It was tough time indeed. He was being deprived of his degree that he struggled all those four years for. No one was to take side with him against the authorities. He was gradually been pushed to isolation. This was the consequence of standing up for a cause. This is the thing that we all “fear”. In spite of all the pressure, he maintained a normal life. He was as helpful as always, as devoted to work as always. Those were the last days at university for the batch and not for him, still he was very energetic at organizing memorable events. He had truly maintained the grace under pressure.

Some might think that writing an article is not a big deal. For some, the royal shoe is everything. They don’t want anyone to take this away from their generations. But in such a capacity, raising your voice takes courage. It takes a free mind to stand up.

Time passed, Faseeh ud Deen completed the degree few months later. I learned that if you find that something is not right, rise against it. Speak up, do your part of the job. Give whatever you CAN give to take whatever is YOURS.

ABOUT AUTHOR: This article is written by Muhammad Shariq Khan,a graduate in Electrical Engineering from UET Taxila.