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Ordinary Man

Ordinary Man


We do not usually think of ordinary people. Sometimes they are described as average folk or normal men. The term common Man refers to him. Our mission ultimately is to present the concept of human personality that can change the entire world. No such individual has so far been born, outside the galaxy of great religions or spiritual figures described as vibhutis or avatars. The world knows of a few hundred souls known as great pioneers, geniuses, revolutionaries, outstanding leaders. In a sense, they were products of changing times, not always Men who initiated changes. Our Individual, when born, will be outstanding. But it is necessary to distinguish him from all other great Men the world has so far seen. That is a crucial discrimination absolutely necessary to this narrative, but it can wait to be dealt with when its turn comes.


For today’s piece, by ordinary Man I mean the typical ordinary Man who loves to sail safely in the current of social change. He is one who is anxious to belong to the safe net of Social Stability. He plans not to cross any borders social, psychological or even political. Whichever the sector that contemplates the change, for him the change must be within the social establishment. In short, he is not a rebel. He may change, as long as that change is within a wider known stability. He certainly is not one of those fanatic fads of any orthodoxy.


Life offers him vast scope, can even be said to be infinite scope, within those borders of unshakable stability. Such men can accomplish in their own profession as those fields offer eminence. Among them are men of charisma like Radhakrishnan, resourcefulness like V.P.Menon, integrity of work like the twin brothers of Madras. In pre-Independent India, talented Men distinguished themselves in the services, others founded banks, universities, insurance companies by their dynamism. They are certainly dynamic like Tata and Birla. Professional eminence or dynamism alone cannot lift one from the description of ordinary men. They certainly are extraordinary but among ordinary men. Motilal was a great lawyer. Nehru himself would have ended as his father, except for the endowment of the psychic. Sri Aurobindo called him a pure type of the Aryan, sreshta. The psychic qualified him to rule the nation.


The ordinary Man is a class by himself, wedded to stability, averse to change, especially if that change is to be initiated by him.Within those limits, he rises sky high by various endowments. By any description we may seriously consider hereafter, Radhakrishnan truly belongs to this category. But he was a gifted speaker and as a teacher unexcelled. On top of that, he had charisma. His students loved him so much that they disbanded the horses from the carriage that was to take him to the railway station, and pulled it themselves all the way from the college. He was loved, adored, and admired deservedly. His Mental and psychological endowments raised him in life. It was Ashutosh Mukherjee who spotted him out and almost compelled him to quit his safe haven of a local college to move to Calcutta, a great distance in those days.


By ordinary Men I mean Men who conform. Not to conform requires a great strength as well as idealism. Those who conform can be very strong and excel in their careers of the profession. There are others whose very profession is NOT to conform if their ideals are not accepted by the society. Society takes note of those who are successful. By success it is always, without exception, meant rich. Tata has excelled anyone else. His steel had the quality of the best steel. But neither the Indian Freedom Movement nor any progressive movement in the world attracted him. Rather, he knew the support of the rulers, whoever they were, was necessary for his industrial existence.


Among those who conform, there were Men of character, integrity, ability and even professional personality. Many rose to the Viceroy’s Executive Council before 1947. Radhakrishnan himself was a recipient of a knighthood for distinguished services to the King Emperor. I mean by extraordinary Men, Men who would change the society for the better by their own ideals. The height to which ordinary men, by my description, can rise is building institutions. Annamalai Chettiar founded Annamalai University, a unique event till recently. Benaras Hindu University was mainly the work of Bhagavan Doss. He was a rare scholar for whose scholarship Bharatratna was awarded. Also BHO was founded as part of a National Movement as the college in Calcutta was founded. Sri Aurobindo and Vidyasagar taught there. Of course, Rabindranath Tagore founded Viswabharathi long ago. He was no ordinary personality by any standard. In law and medicine, outstanding personalities were produced in all states of India.


For instance, both the Patel brothers were Barristers-at-law. For a family of 20 acres, it was no mean achievement. Both migrated to the National Movement later. It is difficult to think of Extraordinary Personalities in India outside Gandhiji. He moved the nation by his stirring call. The greatest thing that was to his credit was the team of Men of character he built up in the cause of Freedom. His word was law and those who acted, acted for his sake. Nehru went to him in Naokali and returned rejuvenated. He said Gandhiji was a young man of 70 years. He made ordinary Men do extraordinary things. That was his forte.


Ordinary Men can do extraordinary things under a great leader or in a great institution. Otherwise they prefer or tend to remain ordinary. Among their ranks there are several divisions from the worthless to outstanding personalities. In one sense, they are the bulwark of any nation who form the solid foundation for great men to build on.


story | by Dr. Radut