Adversity has a wonderful of getting you in touch with your true self. As popular conception, or misconception, goes, I don’t think it defines you. It helps you explore a side to yourself that you never knew existed, or reaffirms you of a side that always did. It is unexpected times only that look you in the eye and challenge all beliefs that you comfortably wrap yourself in. And yet in these times, what you lose first, is your vision.
For me fortitude, is to embrace this blur and juggle with it, while believing in wisdom being as much a tool as just physical courage. When a tiger confronts you, it is nature that has decided your immediate response to be flight. Does this mean that fleeing is not courageous? Does this mean that fight is the only grand thing to do? The only thing that deserves the mark of character? I have an issue with replacement of the word ‘face’ with ‘fight.’ Just facing an issue isn’t a big deal anymore.
The recent Padmavat controversy has a root in what I am trying to say. The reaction and uprising that the film’s climax has received rekindles my faith in the power of judgement in today’s society. I won’t waste my time discussing ‘Johar’ and the evil associated with this practice, because it has already died a natural death. Had there been even a little bit of honesty or righteousness in the practice, it would have found its way to today’s world. However, I do want to talk about the thousands of people, not just women, who continue to inflict pain upon themselves, day in and day out. And it is the ‘glorification’ of this infliction that I have a problem with.
It starts with small things. Like putting up with that abusive boss, because that is how the culture today is. Almost everything falls into the ‘Chalta hai’ category. It spans out to bigger things, of dealing with mental and physical torture, and at times succumbing to it. Even media trolling, despite how trivial it sounds, has an impact on the normal life of an individual. How many mouths then, does one fight? How many tussles does one aim at conquering? And how then, does one get away from this pain, when the cool thing to do, is to take a stand?
And when you do so, you know what you are called, right? What the hushed tones define you to be. Yes! A coward. A spineless, opinion-less being who has no right to be called human. It is this stereotypical definition of courage that I have a problem with. This glorification of ‘bravery.’ So much so, that it has gone to mean revenge.
Let me go on to clarify something here. I don’t mean to degrade those who find a voice to justify themselves. That is also a form of strength. But what I mean to do instead, is take off the color of embarrassment that shades the life of a person who knows how to let go.
Who wouldn’t call the case of Avantica Maken that of immense bravery? Doesn’t it take guts to pardon someone who took away the man who means more to you than your own life? If this is not strength, then what is?
It takes immense courage to detach oneself from a situation and let go. It takes even more courage to let go. And for me, this perseverance, that meets suffering, without even a hint of malice, in thought or action, is fortitude!
No man, woman, preacher or practice that propagates this, is in any way, glorifying cowardice. That one chooses detachment from the infliction, or escape from the pain altogether, is completely a personal choice. None of it defines one’s character, or its strength. And the courage to do what naturally comes to one, in this world of judgement, is perhaps the true purpose of life.