The pen is mightier than the sword
Evolution is the keyword of human progress. From inferior intellect to higher intellect-the story is simply the survival of the fittest. And the fittest is not necessarily the strongest-with more muscle power. The Islamic prophet Muhammad has rightly asserted-‘the ink of the scholar is holier than the life of the martyr.’
Pen here doesn’t only stand for the simple pen of the pocket-it symbolises human thoughts and ideas embedded in the form of books, literature, written papers, and documents-anything that is capable of communicating with the mind of the other people. The readers read the creation of the pen and judge the view of the writer through his own eyes, using his own judgment and using his own perspective. The reader is simply at liberty to accept or reject the view of the writer. No force is necessary to take up a view, when the writer appeals to the heart and brain of the reader. In this way opinions are formed- a silent forceless revolution!
On the other hand when arguments and reasoning fail and there is an urgent need to superimpose a particular view to the others, persuading other to take up a task that the soul doesn’t accept- brutal force comes into action. Thus the sword symbolises the blunt force that demolishes anyone that challenges it.
The pen is definitely better than two-moulding the people in a non violent way. But in a world full of circumspect people, where reasoning doesn’t appeal to anybody, where the people around you can’t judge the good and the evil, where dishonesty is the motto- the sword is the ultimate answer. No reasoning will convince them and no eloquence will persuade them. Can a good orator survive the attack of a starving tiger with his speech?
Force may succeed where reasoning fails. But that doesn’t mean that force is desirable. Times and abode, brutal force in the hand of autocrat rulers and tyrannical kings and emperors have brought about suffering, pain and oppression to the voiceless people! Can the world ever forget what Hitler had done to the world in the name of Aryan race theory?
All reasonable persons will keep faith on pen than the sword. Today, the government ‘of the people, for the people and with the people’ is completely driven by the power of pen. Media, pressure groups, legislature-all takes a constant vigil to the works of the government. Every wrong deed is informed to the people in a whisker! There are instances of the policy of thee government being reversed with the stroke of a powerful pen by an opposition leader or a journalist. What Napoleon had commented -: “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets” is a reality of today. People are keeping more faith on pen than to sword.
Force and reasoning-both have their own place in life. When judiciously mixed-they can cause wonder. In order to maintain law and order, government still has to deploy police force. Thinking of own good is a natural instinct of human nature, resulting in unfair means. But at least people are beginning to care for others which is encouraging. But it is too early to comment that force is no longer necessary. The historic nuclear non proliferation treaty might have been signed with pen created by moulding metal of nuclear missiles but the world has many miles to go before seeing a weaponless world.
Early men had to combat the raw forces of Mother Nature, survive against the fierce attack of saber toothed tiger and still they survive in this struggle of existence. It was not force only, but their intelligence too that contributed in evolution of the species Homo sapiens. As human race progressed, destinies of nations were fixed in the battlefields. Now man has started to realise that force can’t solve all the problems-rather it creates new problems.
The impact of thought and ideas are more prolonged and intense than application of force. Force can never change the belief and idea of people. When both the heart and brain of a person is appealed, silent changes occur within the person. Thus new ideas can only change the society. World will never forget bravery shown by Admiral Nelson in the battlefield. But nobody will ever equate his contribution with William Shakespeare!
Rising above time and space, written words have helped us to reach millions with new ideas, beliefs and thought. When Johan Gutenberg invented the first machine for mass printing, a new dimension was opened. Newspapers, writings by great scholars and thinkers –all became a change agent. Public opinion has started to be developed after reading and thinking rationally. Pen started helping the people to take up their crusade against tyranny and injustice. Take the example of Nirbhaya rape case of Delhi. Can we ever forget how printed- words united common men to fight for the cause?
Pen is synonymous to knowledge and Knowledge is indeed power. Knowledge helps us conquering fear, while brutal force gives rise to new fear. Over generations, knowledge and ideas propagated by a powerful pen leaves a lasting impact. It moulds the life, according to the need of time. Wars can suppress the voice of the people; knowledge can give the voice to the voiceless. War can only destroy. Knowledge can only construct. War can’t solve problems, but rationality and knowledge can. The two world wars had such sever negative impact to the lives of billions that took many a years to be erased off!
Writers, thinkers and artists created an image of the modern era that has inspires millions to imagine a better future. The fiery words of Rousseau and Voltaire had inspired the French people to destruct Bastile and ultimately start French revolution. The scientific arguments made by Karl Marx in his immortal work Das Capital inspired Lenin, who inspired peasants and workers of Russia to stand up against the tyranny of czar and resulting in ‘ten days of revolution that shook the world’. The fiery words of Abraham Lincoln inspired the Americans to erase the word ‘slavery’ from the earth. Kafka’s novel Trial exposed the evils of apathetic, cruel, all prevailing bureaucracy and judiciary. Mahatma Gandhi’s mind kingdom was inspired by Tolstoy and Gita. His philosophy of life was embraced by ‘Unto the last’. His reading of David Thoreau inspired him to envisage the Satyagraha movement. The violation of human rights, reported by l organaisations like Amnesty International are helping people around the globe to stand up against oppression.
Indian freedom struggle is largely inspired by the pen. The major newspapers of the then India – Amrita Bazar Patrika, Keshari, Maratha,The Hindu, Tribune all virtually took up their crusade against the British rule. With satirical drama ‘Nildarpan’- Dinabandhu Mitra painted a true picture of British rule that united Bengal to stand up against the tyranny of indigo planters. Revolutionaries of India were largely inspired by the words of swami Vivekananda and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Freedom at midnight for India can in some way attributed as the victory of pen over sword.
However that doesn’t necessarily mean that force has no value. Many a wars have changed the destiny of world. Starting from the ages of Ramayana and Mahabharata application of force sometimes become a necessity when the evil infests the life of the people. To establish honesty over dishonesty, light over darkness lord Krishna induced Arjuna to fight the epic battle of Mahabharata. The two world wars have completely changed the modern world-transiting towards a more rational world!
But in most of the cases the gains of wars are very short lived. Alexander conquered half the world –but his invasion left no lasting impact. Napoleon conquered half the Europe-but nothing came of it. On the other hand writings of Rabindranth Tagore, novels of Charles Dickens, dramas of Shakespeare, poems by Keats, Wordsworth are still alive in the minds of millions. Words have the magical power to heal –both the mental and physical wound. But can the strongest of weapons do that?
Words have destructive effect as well as constructive effect. Force can physically wound anybody that can be healed, but a wound caused by words may never be healed. A fight will ultimately result in relationship mended, but a word can make or break a relation for ever! A sword can force anybody to do anything against will, but a speech or writing can convince somebody to do it with all their might –no matter it is right or wrong. Dictators like Hitler; Mussolini to the terrorist groups of today continues to take advantage of this weakness of human soul-in disguise of a philosophy or theory forcing people to cause disaster to human civilization! Thus words can do all sorts of things-inspiring, traumatising, hurting, controlling, influencing and changing a mind from inside out while weapon can only physically harm people. In the words of Napoleon-“There are only two powers in the world, saber and mind; at the end, saber is always defeated by mind.”
For more reviews,articles etc. visit
For customized articles contact on