Essay No. 210:
Personality Cult: The meaning of cult is a system of religious belief and worship. In modern parlance, it means admiration for a particular person or idea. A cult today stands for a living leader to be followed because of his initiation for introducing new ideas, doctrines. The followers convinced of the genuineness of leaders to herald new changes in their political, social, economic life, show their blind faith in the leaders.
They begin to toe the lines as suggested by leaders in order to reap gains for themselves and community they belong to. There are some personalities in different fields of life who by virtue of their special qualities attract people of different shades towards themselves. They are certainly different from the ordinary rut of men. Hence certain personages evoke veneration and admiration from the people.
Hence when people bring to hold certain personages in respect on account of their certain special characteristics, it leads to the emergence of personality cult. It involves personal liking and sentiments of people for certain revered personages. Credibility, honesty, moral integrity, faith in democratic principles, moral and social norms are some of the characteristics, that accompany a personality cult.
The people have abiding faith in the personality to which they are emotionally attached, that it would be guided solely by good motives to promote their welfare. Promotion of good of the greatest number appears to be the watch word of the revered personality.
Quaid-e-Azam by virtue of his sincerity and tenacity of purpose emerged as a hero of the Muslims to seek their deliverance form the fetters of slavery of the Hindus and the Muslims to get them a separate homeland to shape their lives according to the Islamic tenets of life.
There thus emerged the Jinnah cult, around which Muslims of undivided India gathered to discern a change in their destiny through the selfless and dynamic leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam. Determination coupled with sincerity, initiative grit made Quaid-e-Azam emerge as the redeemer of the Muslims in India.
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Similarly, there was Gandhi cult, which made Hindus worship it as it could promote their aspirations for independence of India under the auspices of the Indian Congress. The world has witnessed a number of personality cults at different times. There was Hitler cult before the advent of the Second World War.
Hitler raised the slogan that Germans came of pure Aryan blood while the other races were of Semitic origin. That charged the German youth with the superiority complex, who thought they deserved to rule over the world. Likewise there was Stalin cult in former Russia. There was Mussolini cult in Italy, under which war was glorified as a virtue as it drew upon the patriotism of people for the good of the country.
There is a religious cult, which revolves around certain living saints, religions devoted people, who are thought to engineer a change in attitude of people for their ultimate good and that of humanity. People go to living Sufis to seek a change in their life. They seek the blessings of Sufis (if Sufis do not have any mundane / worldly motive) to bring about a change in their thinking, attitude.
The followers eulogize the qualities guide and make them extraordinary super human beings. Personality cult thus exists in every field of life. Personality cult is the result of hero worship. This appears be an inborn instinct of man. Personality cult shows bling worship on the part of man. The followers of a cult are blind to reason.
No amount of logic can convince the followers of a cult to change their thinking. They are religiously devoted to their role-models, be it in the domain of religion, politics. The followers of Bhutto cult stick to it, and they are not prepared to alter their faith, as they think, Bhutto gave the poor a sense of dignity and honor in a capitalist society, characterized by arrogance, haughtiness on the part of the elite, the feudal, the industrialist etc. personality cult thus thrives on blind faith of the followers.
However, in a developed society, where the level of consciousness is high, there the people revise their convictions in the light of day-t-day changes occurring in society. They are not rigid in their faith. An undeveloped society like ours with low level of education is found bound by rigidity, which is not a healthy sign. Cults however, curtail freedom of thought and as such they restrict freedom to man oeuvre without which a society cannot move the currents of overall growth.