Sunday, October 25, 2015

What is their Strength?

History of mankind has been recording exploitation of the weak by the strong, from a long long time. It has been survival of the fittest as well as attack on the weak by the strong. "Might was right" when the society was unorganized and the strong always enjoyed at the expense of the weak. In order to instill a just and fair system, many alternatives were experimented. In course of time, the society evolved into a state of organized groups with a method to live under a unified command. The groups created a position of a leader whose writ ran through the members of the group. It was left to such leaders to ensure that the members of the group he led lived with a reasonable level of safety and protection. Not always that leaders of such groups dealt the subjects fairly. There were innumerable examples where a leader created for protection of all the members of the group, themselves exploited the members. These instances further aided in developing proper and acceptable codes for the leader to follow. 

To ensure such fair treatment of all the subjects under their command, the leaders were given support and guidance by a group of wise and unbiased men of high integrity. This was the beginning of the establishment of council of ministers, appointed or elected, to advise and support the leader. From a system of values suited to the times, codes were evolved to fit for all times to come. Many such codes have stood the test of time and contributed to the development of the science of rule of law and protection of the weak. These codes are also dynamic and have found revision and replacement in tune with the times. The experience was the same in all parts of the world as well as under different political systems. Kings and Monarchs to various "isms" and ultimately democracy allowing the members to choose their own systems as well as leaders. Moral and oral codes were replaced by written and enacted codes. The general idea was that everyone knows what to expect when a certain action is initiated. Ultimate objective was to provide a safe and secure system for all subjects to live peacefully and pursue individual growth within the development of the society.

Who are the weak? Who deserves to be protected? Who should initiate the action or process of protecting the weak? What is the recourse for the weak if the system is insensitive to their requirements? What is the protection if the system itself protects the strong instead of the weak? These are valid questions to be considered in the background of what is happening around us in our country as well as other parts of the world right now. This is the all the more important when some of the subjects do not know where and how to seek protection.

Physically weak, financially weak, illiterate, women and children are considered as weak in all codes and societies. These segments are not mutually exclusive and the basic weakness arises as they have more than one of these qualities. It is tragic that these weak groups are under attack in all parts of the world; it may be more in some corners and lesser in some others. The rulers and administrations are entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the weak. In other words, they are the strength of the weak. That is why ancient wisdom says, "दुर्बलस्य बलं राजा" (Durbalasya Balam Rajaa). 

Grown ups are conscious of their health and ways and means to keep fit. That is why today fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar business. What about exercise for the infants and toddlers? What is the source of strength for infants and toddlers? How do they attract the attention of their care takers? Grandmothers of yesteryears knew this secret. They always advised their daughters and young mothers to allow the child to cry a little before giving the required quota of milk. "Do not feed the child over and over on your own. Let him or her cry a little. Then the child will take the full quota and there will be no indigestion due to frequent feeding. Crying helps expand the lungs. That aids the growth process. Crying is required in some measure, but do not allow the child to cry too much as well!", they would advise. Hence the saying, "बालानम् रोदनं बलम्" (Baalaanam rodanam balam). 

What is the strength of a fool? As long as he keeps his mouth shut, at least the strangers would not come to know that he is a fool! This we experience in many meetings when some compulsive speakers always butt in with their unsolicited opinions. Ancient wisdom advises the fools to keep quiet as that is their real strength. It at least camouflages their foolishness. It is, therefore, "मूर्खस्य बलं मौनम्" (Moorkhasya balam mounam).

Where do thieves and scoundrels derive their strength from? How can they escape the law? At least try to scape? They take recourse to lies and falsehood. One lie leading to another and they can create a false world with falsehood.  Hence the old wisdom says, " चोरानाम् अनृतं बलम्" (Choranam anrutam balam).

All this is summed up in this little saying that was taught to school children fifty years ago and more:

दुर्बलस्य बलं राजा बालानां रोदनं बलम् |
मूर्खस्य बलं मौनम् चोरन्नं अनृतं बलम् ||

Durbalasya balam rajaa, baalaanam rodanam balam,
moorkhasya balam mownam, choranam anrutam balam!


  1. You have interpreted the Subhashitha very well. Long ago when I joined my Bank in Punjab as an young officer, my first manager had told me a Punjabi proverb and I quote "Jab chori karna shuru 'haan' (meaning Yes) na kar; jab naukri karna shuru 'naa' (meaning 'no') na kar". While I have never done the former, I am thriving by sticking to the later part of the proberb. ""

  2. Kehavamurthy Sir ka balam readability and clarity of thoughts in his writings! congratulations.

  3. Hi sir realy a good thaughts explored. However i have read in Gita "Munerbhawah: Maunah:". Need your opinion.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. A "Muni" keeps moun by choice. He chooses not to speak unnecessary things. A fool should keep moun to cover his foolishness. That is strength. For muni, it is a way of behavior. Though both should show moun, the purpose and nature of moun are differnt!

  4. As usual enjoed reading your lucid writing.