By Maxwell Pereira
recent 'Outstanding Achiever' Award humbled me like never before!
Just comparing and observing how insignificant were my own so
called achievements against those of others similarly recognized
and awarded, now and earlier
And more importantly, of those
many others who had not received their due recognition, despite
achievements, which I suspect were far far greater than my own.
set me thinking. Are achievements subjective?
is to the eyes of the beholder?
Or biased and prejudiced,
depending on the area of activity focused on, or the area of interest
of the Benefactor, Philanthropist, Group, or Agency that evaluates
and confers the Award!
is noble to recall what's transpired in the past and evaluate
the great achievements of men and women whose actions have brought
honour not only to themselves, their own family, social group,
alma mater or community, even country! But it is far more worthy
to recognize those whose achievements have also benefited humankind
as a whole.
hand, the name of Mahatma Gandhi springs to mind, as one Indian
of world class recognition to honour and revere, since to us Indians
he is the Father of our Nation, having freed us from the yoke
of colonial rule and spread the message to the world of achieving
through non-violence. Likewise perhaps for the Americans it is
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who fought against slavery;
and for the South Africans Nelson Mandela who fought apartheid.
years ago, I learn, the British formed a panel to select the greatest
Britons of all times. And after much thought and deliberation
zeroed in on ten greats, and one among them, the greatest Briton
over all ages! Across the board, the principle and guidelines
that underlined the selection are noteworthy.
first of the ten was Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805),
who became a national hero for his victories at sea in the Napoleonic
Wars. His crowning glory came from the Battle of Trafalgar in
which he was mortally wounded. It was recognized and said that
had there been no Nelson, there would have been no British Empire.
Cromwell (1599-1658) featured as the next name. An English general
and statesman, he opposed monarchy and fought for democracy, leading
the victorious Parliamentary forces (Roundheads) in the British
Civil War. He was named Lord Protector of the Commonwealth in
1653, a position he held till his death.
(1533-1603) was the third name. Daughter of Henry-VIII, she was
crowned Queen of England and Ireland in 1558, succeeding her Catholic
sister Mary-I. In a reign dominated by conflict with Catholic
Spain, she re-established Protestantism as the State religion,
parting ways with Rome.
panel then voted John Lennon (1940-80), the pop icon, to the fourth
place among the ten greats! He was the leading member of the Beatles
- the famous 1960s rock group.
fifth on the list was Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), the
Chief Engineer of the Great Western Railway and designer of the
Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol. He also started the trans-Atlantic
steamship in 1838, known as the Great Western. Belonging to the
period of the Industrial Revolution, he invented useful machinery
and locomotives for the East Bengal Railways.
Robert Darwin (1809-82) is the sixth. A naturalist, he propounded
the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, and authored the
Origin of Species and Descent of Man. His theories that man's
ancestor is the Ape, better still, that both Man and Ape had the
same ancestor, challenged the Christian belief of 'The Creation'
according to the Bible, and revolutionised the thinking about
nature and man's place in it.
Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) claimed seventh
place. A dramatist and poet, his plays and comedies made him immortal;
also his sonnets, more than 150 in number.
latest darling of the masses - Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997)
was the eighth. Of stuff fairy tales are made up of, her death
in a car crash in Paris catapulted her to greater stardom, giving
rise to intense national mourning. Britons identified her as a
mother all children would love to have.
ninth place went to Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) the British
Conservative Statesman and Prime Minister of two terms (1940-45
and 1951-55). Heading the British Wartime Coalition Government,
he was instrumental in leading the Allies to victory. Remembered
for his ever present cigar in a mouth that mouthed words like
"I have nothing to offer you, but blood, sweat and toil",
he opposed the Independence of India. In his youth, he had served
in the British Army at Bangalore and in Bengal. He was knighted
for the tenth slot, was Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1747), the great
mathematician and physicist known for his laws of Nature, Mechanics
and Gravitation. He discovered that white light was made up of
a spectrum of different colours, developed the differential calculus
for mathematics, proved that every object exerts an influence
over other objects, and that Gravitation is the power that rules
the Universe. Most modern technology depends ultimately on fundamental
laws discovered by Newton.
selecting the greats of all time, the British were not parochial.
The test employed: "Have the achievements benefited the entire
world!?" By this very application, Sir Isaac Newton was declared
the greatest Briton over all ages, of all times!
someone among us measure up?
to select ten great Indians
down the ages? And among them, may be some, who have benefited
humanity as a whole?
words 24.01.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and email@example.com
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