Essay No. 195:
Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated: The quotation is with reference to Hamming way’s novel ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Santiago is the old sailor, who has the wish of catching a big fish. For full eighty-four days he goes to the sea along with his boat fitted with the fishing paraphernalia.
He returns disappointed every day. He is regarded as an unlucky sailor by his own community. He bears the criticism bravely but does not lose his heart. The old man remains undaunted by the criticism of sailors.
On the 85th day he goes to the deep sea. There is the vast ocean and he sees only flying birds, whom he lovingly calls ‘my brothers’. Meanwhile, he notices some positive development indicative of a big fish having been hooked. The fish being powerful makes him tired by its wayward movements in the sea. The old man is dead tired but does not give in to the pressure of the fish.
Ultimately, he succeeds in bringing the hooked Marlin near his boat. The fish is attacked by violent sharks. Santiago puts up a strong resistance by clubbing the sharks to save the fish but fails. The flesh of the fish is extracted out by the sharks and the poor sailor comes to inherit only a skeleton of bones. One is reminded of Faiz Ahmad Fiaz’s verse
دونوں جہان تیری محبت میں ہار کے
وہ جا رہا ہے کوئ شبِ غم گزار کے
[Having lost many worlds in your love
There goes someone having passed the night in agony.]
There is truth in the saying that defeat pales into insignificance against the resolute will of man. History bears testimony to the fact that many warriors in the past demonstrated their resoluteness to defeat the enemy, though the latter was much stronger in terms of number and weaponry.
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It was the will and determination of certain warriors which made defeat kneel down. Islamic history offers the example of ‘Ghazva-i-Badar’, in which handful of believers thrust a crushing defeat on the non-believers. The victory of the believers was due to their strong faith and determination, and better war strategy.
The point is that when man gets determined to face a situation boldly, defeat runs away in sheer disappointment. Man’s will, courage are the weapons to fight against the adverse forces in life.
Mountaineers fired with the spirit ‘do or die’ undertake the expedition of scaling mountains like ‘Nanga-parbat’, ‘K2’, ‘Mount Everest’ etc. they face the violent resistance of nature but continue to move forward in inches to reach their destined point. Many human lives are lost in the mountaineering expeditions.
Mountaineers face untold hazards but they do not give up the spirit of adventure and their undaunted determination gets them the cherished goal of conquering the most defiant mountains. Man is a wonderful specie, embodying in himself qualities of will, determination and in their presence defeat loses its hold.
Hemingway delivered a wonderful message to man, but the contradiction of the time is that he himself committed a suicide to end his life. Pakistan would be out of woods when it is blessed with a visionary, committed leadership to break the bowl of begging to attain real independence. It is hell of a job to wriggle Pakistan out of the trap of dependency. But once the leadership decides to do it, nothing could deter it.
“Man Can Be Destroyed But Not Defeated”