Essay on “Sweet are the Uses of Adversity”

Sweet are the Uses of Adversity:

Prosperity is rough of grain but suffering ennobles us. A man brought up in the lap of luxury is unfit to face the storms and stresses of life. Rich men’s children never make heroes. Shri Nehru may be an exception; but he, too, got training in the school of adversity by having to spend 13 years in the British Jails.

Suffering brings out the best in man. The last World War, which took a toll of millions of lives, proved a blessing in disguise. It made heroes of men of mud. It gave such a fillip to war industries. Dozens of new factories were started and production touched the peak level. The unemployment problem was completely solved. There were more jobs than young men. Young boys were recruited to commissioned ranks and secured quick promotions, which exceeded their rosiest dreams. The businessmen experienced a rare boom and earned phenomenal war profits. Out of that war came the Independence of India.

In England, the war disrupted the food supplies from America. People had to live on a semi-starvation diet. This, too, proved a blessing. Over-eating was undermining the health of the British nation. Food shortage and austerity living resulted in the English nation’s enjoying the best possible health in the country.

Peace and prosperity make us soft and unfit to fight the grim battles of life. We become lotos-eaters. But eternal life is in a struggle. We should not be dumb-driven cattle; we must be heroes in strife. It is only by struggling against the buffets of fortune that men can achieve great heights. Wordsworth talks of

“Soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering”.

Out of evil comes good. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Suffering is the best teacher. Invaluable is the lessons learnt from bitter experience. Oscar Wilde turned over a new leaf in his life while in prison. Outside, this great author was proud and immoral; in the prison, he learnt humility and nobleness. Most of the great men of the world had an experience of jail life or the trials of war. Gandhi, Nehru, Churchill, Stalin and even great prophets belong to this category.

Adversity turns our thoughts to God. When we are surrounded by comforts and life flows like a song, we have no use for heaven and forget God. But a broken heart pours itself out in prayer. During the darkest days of World War, England frequently observed days of national prayers. When they had won the victory, God and prayers were relegated to the background.

Take the case of refugees from Pakistan. They passed through blood and tears. For them, heaven had fallen. The millionaires were turned into paupers. Yet this unprecedented misery made heroes of them. They started life afresh and some of them found their feet and had roaring businesses. This ability to be masters of the circumstances and architects of their fate has filled them with self-confidence. The worst had happened, but with stout hearts and iron nerves, they moved mountains. They shook off an inferiority complex. They thought they were cowards and have proved stronger than lions.

No man can be a hero without a fight. Darwin in his Theory of Evolution maintained that there was a struggle for existence; the weaker went to the wall; there was the survival of the fittest.

Gandhi was assassinated; Christ was crucified; Abraham Lincoln was shot dead. The sacrifices of these martyrs brought the kingdom of heaven on earth. Out of their ashes, violets and roses have grown.

The moving finger writes and having writ moves on. The world-movers and world-shakers were the heroes who took up arms against the sea of troubles and by opposing them ended them. Storms came, but they stood firm like a rock. They are immortal heroes of this earth.

“Our sweetest songs are those That tell of saddest thoughts”.

Tragedies are always more popular than comedies. Adversity lifts a mortal to the skies and makes a star of him. For example, when clouds darken our life, a man shows lightning flashes of energy.

Blessed be the misery and misfortune that make of us a rider on the lion!

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