January-March 2002 issue
Tribhuwan N. Bhan
ego of one solitary person changed the course of the land of our forefathers.
It was the egoistic attitude of Maharaja Hari Singh which did not allow
him accede to either India or Pakistan within the stipulated time limit
of 14th August 1947. This tragic trait in the character and personality
of the late Maharaja is the root cause of the catastrophic events in the
Valley, which is bleeding at present. The monarch being offspring of the
feudal system of those days, could not bend according to the changing times.
It was the change of times that broke him. At the end, this monarch, who
was only next to God in his hay-day ended his journey in life un-mourned,
unknelled, unknown and unwept. Even his only child Dr. Karan Singh was
not present at the funeral to pour sacred drops of ‘Ganga Jal’ in his mouth.
Out of the twenty odd people for his funeral procession in Mumbai in 1961,
my friend and I happened to be present. The flaw in his character transformed
the ‘Paradise on Earth’ to ‘Hell on Earth’.
all the success stories of people from rags to riches are those of people,
devoid of this failing ego in their nature. While teaching Mukesh and Anil,
years ago, I asked their father Mr. Dhirubhai Ambani, as to what was the
secret of his success in life. He told me, “I always care for the sentiments
of others. Be he my peon or a top executive. My parents have taught me
to be humble, respect age and not to be egoistic. This negative aspect
of anyone’s personality does not help at all, it only creates problems
for everyone.” How correct he has been! He has imbibed this very principle
in his two sons Anil and Mukesh who are managing a multi-crore business
of various Reliance companies at present.
I saw Mr. J. R. D. Tata holding the door of his car for his driver to sit
in the front seat of his car, as he wanted to drive home himself. This
uncrowned king of an industrial empire, expanded his industry many fold
through humility and not through ego. It was this humble nature and that
of his ancestors too that is responsible for the bread and butter of all
the lakhs of workers in various Tata enterprises. The giant international
airline, Air India of today, was started by J. R. D. Tata with humble beginning
of a single engine plane carrying mail from Karachi to Bombay. Had the
doyen of Tata empire Sir Jamshedji Tata been suffering from this failing,
whole of this industrial kingdom would have been non-existent today.
Assadullah Khan, popularly known as Mirza Ghalib was born in December 1797.
Though born in the family of professional soldiers, poetry came to him
naturally. He has written some of the most outstanding romantic poems in
Urdu language. Not only poetry, he also excelled in writing prose which
is in the form of letter he has written to his friends and relatives. An
aristrocrat by temperament, he was never frugal and lived much beyond his
means. Besides writing poetry, he loved exotic wines and over-rich mangoes.
Though heavily in debt, he loved to be a good generous host. He was most
secular in his outlook and had friends from all communities. Besides these
worthy qualities, he had a failing in his character, that was ego. Due
to this negative aspect in his personality, he suffered. When he needed
a job very badly, Resident of Delhi, offered him one, to teach Persian
at a Delhi college. Ghalib sat in a planquin and went in a royal state
to meet the resident. On not finding the Resident there to receive him,
his ego took the better of him and Ghalib returned to his home. So egoistic,
he was by nature. He spent nearly three years at Calcutta so that his family
pension was sanctioned to him, but again his ego came in his way and he
refused to compromise with the Governor on certain principles, though he
needed the money very badly to clear his debts. He returned empty handed
from Calcutta. It was his ego that brought untold suffering, not only to
him, but also to his wife Umrao Begum. He was fortunate to have a very
understanding wife. When Ghalib confided to her that there was another
woman in his life, she is said to have replied, "I certainly admire her
choice!" When Ghalib died on 15th February 1869, his condition was indeed
pathetic. Ego had acted as a catalyst to reduce the state of this tragic
genius to a pitiable state.
for us to learn a lesson from the life story of these and many more successful
lives and also from the life of the haughty Dogra ruler whose negativity
in his outlook has brought untold misery to our brethren at present.