‘Vaishnavjan to tene kahiye je peer parai jane re’ was the famous song liked by Mahatma Gandhi. A gentleman is one who helps others who are in pain and anguish. Most of the people, in the world, are interested in their own affairs. Even an animal, even a bird looks after itself and its young ones. Even the most evil person would sacrifice his pleasures for his children. But in their dealings with others they are vice incarnate. Shall we call them gentleman? Being dear to one’s own children does not make a man gentleman. A gentleman is one who is happy in the happiness of others and weeps at the discomforts of others.
Outward appearances do not go to make a man gentleman. A handsome person may be heartless. Keats considered a la belle dame sans (without) merci (mercy)’. Modem man wears a mask on his face and tries to show himself a gentleman. A politician, a businessman, an official may be very polite. He may behave very well. He may sympathize with you. It is his outward behavior. It is either to gain something from you or to make a fool of you. One hardly meets a person who does what he promises. Most of us are not gentleman by hypocrites.
Meekness and sweet speech are the two virtues of a gentleman of course. A rough man would hardly be called a gentleman. A man may be straightforward. He tells you on your face what he thinks of you. One may call him frank. Frankness too is virtue. But he would hurt a man. If you call a Blackman black you tell the truth. But you hurt his sentiments. And one who hurts the sentiments of others is not a gentleman.
A gentleman is one who tolerates others and does not compel others to believe in his contentions. A gentleman would give more importance to the opinions of others. If he does not believe in what you opine he does not quarrel with you. He has the grace to give you importance and place his opinion for your consideration. He has a character and an imploring force which others value.
A gentleman considers himself a unit of the society. He knows he is the creation of the society. He is indebted to the society for his own position whatever it is. He considers himself a humble soul even if he is at an important position. Lai Bahadur Shastri was a humble gentleman Prime Minister. So was Abraham Lincoln, the President of the USA who on being called ‘a very ordinary man’ by a lady just retorted ‘Madam that is why God has made most of the men ordinary. I am just one of them.’