Essay No. 106:
It’s Not Only Fine Feather That Makes Fine Birds: The quotation is to be interpreted symbolically. Outer appearance in the form of fine feathers does not add to the beauty of birds. It is the elegant flight, coupled with the quality of not compromising on dead prey, makes eagle the king of birds.
The eagle flies high and does not fall upon a dead prey. The eagles possess many other characteristics which distinguish it from ordinary birds. It flies high and catches its own prey. It does not build a nest of its own. It is self-confident to catch fresh prey.
These qualities make the eagle a distinct bird. Its beauty lies not in its feathers but in its other qualities. That is why Allama Iqbal compares the young to an eagle, so that they could have high ideals in life and strive hard to achieve them.
The outer appearance is an important ingredient of physical beauty. It’s not the outer beauty which makes people handsome in life. Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray was very handsome. He adopted evil ways in life. His real beauty dimmed when he committed heinous acts.
Even his physical beauty suffered a setback. When things come to a bad pass, Dorian Gray became desperate and shot himself in the early morning hours in one of the rooms of the castle. He came from an aristocratic family. His face lay besmeared with the blood of evil deeds.
His childhood photograph shed innocence as usual, while all the ugliness lay scattered on the dead face of Dorian Gray.
The physical beauty is not the yardstick to determine the handsomeness of a person. Socrates physically speaking was not attractive, but the beauty of his intellectual ideas even today embellishes books on political thought. People like birds re-judged by their physical appearance, which is not the proper criterion to judge their beauty.
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The real source of beauty lies in the self of man. If the inner self is beautiful born good deeds, then it is the case of real beauty. Real handsomeness trickles form the actions of people. If they are given to good motives and are activated to do good deeds, then they earn real beauty.
Just as the beauty of birds is not confined to use feathers, likewise the beauty of people is to be judged with reference to their good action in life. We should not go by the colour of people.
Black people may be the most handsome by virtue of their deeds. We should thus not run after appearances, which outwardly may look beautiful, but beneath them, there may be ugliness. Let us not judge the beauty of birds based on their feathers, but by other qualities such as the grace of their flight, etc.