Essay No. 193:
Every Eel Hopes To Become A Whale: Eel is a fish that is born in a sea. The sea is full of eels. Many of the eels are eaten by the big fish as the law ‘survival of the fittest’ prevails with full force. The big fish swallows the eel and there is no one to hear its protest. This law is operative in jungle as well as in human society.
An eel if escaped form the attack of the big fish, could hope to develop and grow to whale hood. When it grows to a whale, it begins to swallow the small fish. The process continues ad infinitude. Just as an eel becomes a whale likewise man having passed through different stages of evolution, finally attains manhood.
He encounters different problems at each stage of life. In a way he struggles against adverse forces at different stages. In a developing country, the incidence of infant mortality rate is high. Many infants die before entering into childhood, having been born in poor families retain the stigma of poverty throughout their lives.
They lose their childhood in rug making factories, some are compelled to join apprenticeship in auto-rickshaw, motor workshops. Most of their childhood is consumed at these places in learning the secrets of trade. Children in the rural areas move in agricultural fields barefooted in doing odd jobs.
Some graze cattle in the scorching heat of the sun. They bear the cruelties of weather willy-nilly. This they all do to help their poor parents increase their income a bit. Poverty swallows up their childhood. Children—poor or rich, all have the longings to enjoy their childhood in one form or the other.
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The point is that the sweet period in one’s life is wasted away on account of poverty. The poor children when grown are locked up in struggle for existence. Only a few exceptional cases succeed in coming out of the poverty-trap. Poverty continues to pester man, as it is great destabilizing force in life.
A few poor countries like poor individuals seldom succeed in breaking the fetters of poverty. A number of economic, politico-socio factors contribute to the aggravation rather than diminution of their poverty. Some countries blessed with a visionary, dedicated leadership have succeed in attaining the take-off stage.
Like an eel struggling to become a whale, individuals strife to break off the shackles of poverty. Life perhaps is a tale of struggle, sometimes bearing fruit and sometimes resulting in sheer futility. It is supported by Mian Muhammad Bakash, the author of Saif-ul-Muluk in the following verse:
مالی دا کم پانی دینا’ تے بھر بھر مشکاں پاوے
مالک دا کم پھل پُھل لانا’ لاوے یا نہ لاوے
[The job of a gardener is to water plants through leather buckets, however, it is the discretion of the Creator whether to make plants bear fruit or not.]
But the gardener should not relax his efforts in taking care of the plants through continuous straggle. That is the way for an eel to attain whole hood.