All of us are heroes in our own right, but it is left to us to develop our potential based on our own merit, coupled with hard work, rather than depending on favours from others, says MAULANA WAHIDUDDIN KHAN

Everyone is born with special qualities. But, these qualities are present in the form of potential. It is the duty of everyone to discover this potential and make it an actuality through wise planning. Everyone is required to play a heroic role in society. But, an individual can do so only when he discovers his unique quality and tries to realise it through objective planning.

Just as a person has been endowed with a unique quality, he has been given a unique mind. If he studies himself and discovers his special quality by objectively utilising his mind, he will certainly be able to perform that special role for which he is destined.

To perform this task, one has to prevent oneself from becoming the victim of prejudice, distractions, reactionary thinking, a superiority or an inferiority complex, overestimation or underestimation of one’s case, or allowing extraneous factors to condition one’s mind. The one who can save himself from these derailing forces, will certainly discover his unique quality and emerge as the hero of his time.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Apart from these internal exercises, one has a supporting element in the external world. This external factor is a merit-based society where an inherent process is initiated, which can be described as automatic channelisation. When a person sets out in life there are a number of options open to him.

He may enter a profession, but very soon discover that he is not excelling in it. Then he tries another option. When he faces the same experience yet again, he will change his vocation, until he makes that option in which he feels he is excelling and for which society is giving him his due. He then adheres to this role and devotes his energy to it until he emerges as a hero. In this sense, society becomes a supporting factor for all individuals and helps them channelise their energies towards that for which they were born.

For the proper functioning of this supporting factor, the condition is that no favour should be expected. The individual should know that he will not be able to gain a position unless he merits it. It is this course that I have termed automatic channelisation. It is a form of internal mechanism.

Every human being is born with the great urge to achieve a high position in society. Discontent is innate in every human personality. That is why, when a person feels that he is not excelling in the course of his choice, his discontented nature pushes him towards another option. This natural course takes him toward the role for which he was born. If this course is allowed to continue in the correct way, then every person will emerge as a hero and it will become a means of better social development at the collective level.

To develop a heroic personality and build a better society, it is important to follow the course of nature. For the individual, the natural course is to discover himself through self-study. When he discovers himself in this manner, he should not become distracted by anything else. He should not let any excuse intervene in this matter. He should not allow any other person to dictate to him, but should rather aim at his discovered target with an uncompromising spirit.

The other responsibility is of the system. It is the duty of the system to run society on a purely merit-based principle. Society should open up all its opportunities on the sole basis of merit.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, 95, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has adopted peace as the mission of his life. Author of more than 200 books, he is known for his Gandhian views, and considers non-violence as the only method to achieve success.

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