OUR NATIONAL SYMBOLS—HOW WELL DO WE KNOW THEM? In an interview of several politicians—ML As, MPs and also some ministers and government executives, by a reporter of a private television channel, a few days before the independence day, revealed that many of them did not know our National Anthem and National Song. A few who knew the difference could not sing more than the first few lines of the songs. There could be nothing more shameful and sad than not to know the symbols and identity of Independent India. Four of our National Symbols—The National Anthem, National Song, National Flag and National Emblems are the symbols of our national pride. They are deeply embedded in our rich heritage and culture, and history of our freedom struggle. It is, therefore, the sacred duty of every citizen of India to know about them, understand the depth o their meanings and hold them in highest respect and close to their hearts. Let us first take up the song — “Vande Mataram” — meaning salute to the Motherland. This National song was written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, one of the greatest nineteenth century writers of Bengal. The song was written by Bankim Babu as a prayer, when the British were trying to foist... read more
Proverb Expansion NEITHER A BORROWER NOR A LENDER BE There is an old saying ‘if you want to make a friend a foe lends him some money’. A man borrows when he faces difficulty in his life. Who knows if he will win over his problems? If he does well and good. He may return the money and there may not be any bickering between the two friends. But doesn’t always happen. To surmount the difficulties is not easy. Till he is in a position to returns the money your friend will try to avoid you. You gradually start losing a friend. Money is an evil agent that affects the mental health of both. Who knows whether the borrower is genuine or his needs are superfluous. He may be just trying to squeeze money from anyone he can dupe. Kindness too sometimes proves a curse. You may extend your help even for false need and false promises. You part with your hard earned money. If it doesn’t come back you are poorer twice. You lose your friend you lose your money. While the borrower loses the sympathy of all those who know his tricks the lender looks at all with suspicion. He loses faith in goodness the very essence... read more
Proverb Expansion TRY, TRY, TRY, AGAIN Success does not come in the first attempt. We have to try and try until we succeed. No one has an unbroken series of successes. On the other hand, everyone has faced several failures. It is only through failures that we can succeed, and we have to try again without giving up hope. Failure is not uncommon. We should not get disappointed when we meet with failure. Every failure will have something to teach us also. Those who are aware of these facts, and act accordingly will realize that failures are the stepping stones to success. It is foolish to give up effort and weep when we fail in our attempt. Instead, we must try again. The lessons we learn from our failures will help us to do better or even succeed in later attempts. None of man’s creations has been made at the first attempt. Inventors, explorers, artists, writers and scientists did not become great through their first attempts in their respective fields. Even today, man is trying to learn more about nature, space and the universe. We hear only the story of man’s achievements in various fields. We do not know about the failures he met with, we learn that he... read more
Proverb Expansion TRUTH IS OFTEN UNPLEASANT It is hard for people to accept truth. Truth is better. It is often unpleasant to speak out the truth. For example, a person does something wrong and it happens to be harmful to the society. But he does not like to be told the truth that his action is wrong. He will not accept the truth. Instead, he will try to justify his action. This is the case with all people. Sometimes, the decision of the government on certain issue may be wrong. Even if it is pointed out by the press, the leader of the government may not be ready to accept the truth. He may try to find out silly excuses to justify the decision. If someone praises us, we feel very happy. But if someone points out our mistakes, we feel annoyed. The criticism raised about us may be correct and we too know that is just. But we consider the man who criticised us as our enemy. Truth is often unpleasant. But we should learn to accept truth. Truth cannot be hidden for long. So the best thing is to accept the truth even is it is unpleasant.
Proverb Expansion THERE IS NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE This is a statement with reason and logic behind it. There cannot be any smoke without some fire. Similarly, there must be some cause for an action ground for a reaction and also for its effect and outcome. The outcome follows as a result of the occurrence of the cause. It can be seen in all aspects of life. All quarrels and disputes originate from some cause on the part of someone and then that cause leads to some consequences, good or bad. The great revolutions of the world occurred owing to some specific causes. The root causes of the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution were inequality and poverty. Communism and socialism emerged in history because of the exploitation of the labourers by the capitalists. This is true in science also when it asserts that every action has some reaction or that every cause has some effect. It is also true in law when it prescribes that for every crime thee must be some motive behind it. It is equally true in history because every epoch is regarded as a reaction to the past age. Hence, the statement is logical and apt.
Proverb Expansion SPEECH IS SILVER BUT SILENCE IS GOLDEN Oratory is an art. A person with an oratorical skill can attract people to his side. He can even reach positions in life using his skill. It is a pleasure to listen people speaking well on good things. A person having mastery of a particular subject or topic can impress his listeners with his oratorical skill. People manage to achieve a lot by speaking cleverly. But great care is to be taken while speak. We should speak only when it is necessary. When we speak, the words we choose must suit the occasion. We should speak to the point, leaving unnecessary details. Unwise words and hasty utterances do a lot of harm. When it is not necessary to speak, we should remain silent. This is the sign of wise man. He talks only when it is needed. He doesn’t blab. That is why it is said that silence is golden. When a wise man speaks, he chooses and uses the apt words. He limits his speech to the minimum. He knows when to speak and when not to. He cannot be assessed by his listeners because he does not speak out everything that is in his mind. A wise man... read more
Proverb Expansion SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE This is a well-known proverb which stresses the importance of perseverance. We can achieve great things only by perseverance. The man who is in a hurry is likely to commit mistakes and is likely to fail. If we wish to succeed, we should work calmly and patiently. In a long race, it is the man who runs with single-minded attention that wins. The man who runs in a hurry is likely to get tired soon and may not win the race. This is clearly illustrated by the famous fable of the victory. He was confident of reaching the goal and even despised the tortoise for moving slowly. He slept under a tree for some time. The slow but steady tortoise continued his race and reached the finishing point much before the hare. The tortoise won the race because he worked steadily and patiently. The fable teaches us that steady hard work will help us to win even the impossible. There are certain things in our lives which we may think are very difficult to achieve. But if we work slowly and steadily with a firm determination, certainly we will be able to win them sooner or later. Similarly, the student who... read more
Once upon a time there was a King who loved classical music very much. He used to invite great musicians to his court and would listen to their concerts. He then bestowed on them many valuables and sent them back with honour. Many people would attend these concerts. They would pretend to be lovers of music and would keep nodding their heads even before the musicians could start singing. Some could appreciate the music truly but the others would come to create a good impression on the king. Day by day the audience to the concerts grew. The King would silently observe all the people from his throne. But he could not differentiate between those who truly liked music and those who only pretended to do so. He decided to test the true lover of classical music. The King arranged for a very famous musician to give a concert in the palace. Along with the open invitation to attend the concert he also sent a proclamation. The proclamation read that nobody should not their heads or joins the beats of music and no one should voice their appreciation loudly. If anybody was found doing any of the above, their heads would be chopped off. The day of the big... read more
Long ago there was a King called Marthanda who ruled over the Kingdom of Indrapuri. He was very clever and ruled over his people wisely. One day a Brahmin came to his court and blessed the King. The King told the Brahmin to ask him for anything he wanted. The Brahmin replied. “Your Majesty, I have to get my daughter married. But I do not have any wealth. My words are my only wealth. Think of my sayings as pearls. For each sentence pay me one thousand gold coins. I shall tell you three valuable pearls of wisdom.” The King was impressed by the Brahmin. He asked him to tell his valuable words and paid him three thousand gold coins. The King got the three sayings of the Brahmin engraved on a silver plaque and hung it in the royal bed-chamber. That night the King looked at the words before retiring for the night. The first pearl of wisdom was “The King should at all times be alert.”The King then disguised himself and went into the town incognito. On the way he saw an old woman crying under the street lights. He asked her why she was crying.”O what can I tell you, My Lord? In seven days time,... read more
Long ago the Kingdom of Inder was ruled by Kalyan Malfee. One day astrologer came to his court. The King asked him “Tell me, when will I die?” The astrologer replied “My Lord, birth and death is not in our hands. You will die on the 29th of the last month of this summer. Your death will because by lightning.” The King started to laugh. During summer, the day would be so hot, the stars would shine brightly, there would hardly be any black clouds let alone rain and lightning he thought. “Alright, if what you have predicted happens I shall gift to you a part of my kingdom. But if nothing happens to me you shall be thrown into prison.” the King said to the astrologer. The astrologer agreed and stayed in that town as he was not allowed to leave. As the summer was coming to an end the King’s attendants made arrangements for the safety. They took him a cave in a mountain. Except for five strong men the others went to their homes and stayed inside. All wondered whether the astrologer’s prediction would come true. The day the astrologer had predicted came. That day two strangers came to that town. They were brothers who had... read more
In a village there lived a Zamindar. Once he went to buy a pair of bullocks at a fair and found that he was short of five hundred rupees. So he went to a pawn-broker’s shop and asked if he could borrow five hundred rupees. The moneylender replied that unless he pawned something he would not get any money. The Zamindar said that he did not have anything with him at that moment, but if given the money, he would return it very soon. The moneylender did not agree with this. At last the Zamindar took out an old rusty sword.”Look here, my good man. This sword is very precious to me. It has been handed down from my forefathers. Keep this with you carefully and give me money. You can return the sword to me when I come back with the money.” Saying this Zamindar handed over the sword. The moneylender then gave him five hundred rupees and the Zamindar went away. Months passed and the Zamindar who had taken the money did not return at all. Nor he did pay any interest. The moneylender became worried and decided that he should plan carefully to get his money back. One day moneylender went to a barber. As the... read more
“Thomas! Come and eat your breakfast. How many times must I call you?” shouted Mrs. John. There was no answer from upstairs. “Thomas”, called his mother louder. This time Thomas heard and reluctantly closed his book. His mother seemed to be angry with him. Thomas was a twelve year old boy who liked reading books a lot. That morning he was reading about buried treasures in the earth and had been so absorbed that he had not heard his mother call. “There you are. What were you doing all this while” said Mrs. John giving him breakfast. “I am sorry, mother. I did not hear you” explained Thomas. I was reading an exciting book about hidden gold.” Mr. John who was reading the newspaper looked up at that. “After you finished your breakfast come out to the backyard and I shall show you some more gold which is hidden in the earth.” He said to his son. “Yes father” said Thomas slowly. Mr. John was a lover of nature and an enthusiastic gardener. He was also a very hard worker and would work tirelessly from morning till evening in his garden. Usually Thomas would avoid going into the garden because his father would make him do some work. Mr.... read more
Long ago in a village in Russia there was an inn where all the farmers would gather in the evening. After a hard day’s work they would sit down relaxing and taking among themselves. One evening a trader entered in the inn. Immediately he started boasting to the farmers. “I am a very close friend of the village chieftain. He likes me so much that he makes me sit next to him every day for lunch.” The farmers did not like his boasting. Amongst the farmers gathered there that evening, was a very poor farmer. He stood up and challenged the trader. “What is so great about having a lunch with the chieftain? Even I can do that”. Hearing this the trader became very angry. “What did you say? Our chieftain does not speak to ordinary people like you. Let alone have lunch with them. Moreover you are a poor farmer. Do you think it is possible?” asked the trader. The farmer did not hesitate at all. He immediately replied “You just wait and see and I shall show you. In case I fail to do so, I shall serve you as a bonded labourer for three years.” The other farmers cheered him loudly. The trader then said “Alright,... read more