Success in human life is an ambiguous term. It is true that often a man of character fails to succeed in life. This is more so in our present day context. It is an opportunistic culture in which we have to live today. Men in general are self-seekers, right from the corrupt politicians to even a layman on the street. It is a sad irony of an age when money is more important than merit. Naturally, although this sounds a bit unpalatable, yet it is the hard truth, and I shall paint this bitter truth that opportunity, today, is the main ladder to success. But a look back for a while would be rewarding. 

In ancient days ‘character’ used to be considered the greatest virtue, in battles bravery and in trade honesty. In education knowledge and in general conduct integrity was paramount.

But today the reverse becomes true, both at the national and, to some extent, at the international level. We see everyday how our so-called leaders sell their values at the altar of power, rank and selfish objectives. Our students, in general, quote high and mighty phrases like; if character is lost everything is lost. But script after script reveals that the answers are all copied form one essay book. Teachers in meetings make tall speeches of unity and moral strength, but throw them to the winds for a mess of pottage. The headmaster or the principal, who are the custodians of favour, so easily make them the slave of the authority by distributing petty favours. 

Today we have coined a typical phrase befitting our age: honesty is another name for lack of opportunity. To whatever facet of our life we turn today, the fitness of the above phrase is self-evident. We see how, almost every day, the advocates of character, morality and integrity slide into the camp of opportunity seekers. In fact it is a kind of vermin that slowly infects our body-politic. But it does not remain merely confined to the wielders of power. On the contrary it infects even their families like cancer. The sons, daughters, marital and other relations of political bosses promptly mount the applecart of opportunity. They make dents into our economy and eat into the vitals of our national life. They indulge in the dirtiest and the most scandalous activities being shielded by the powerful parents. Thus, today, politics has become their primrose path and the cross-section of value-loving, morally erect and cultured people withdraws into oblivion. 

I regret that the painful irony of our time has forced me to sing in praise of ‘opportunity’ at the expense of character, I conclude that the remark of Brutus to Cassius could not have more befitting that today:

There is a tide in the affairs of men, 

Which, when taken at its flood, 

Leads on to fortune

Brutus meant it in right earnest although it proved fatal. But today it has become the truth for men, although in a changed context. Character is set at naught as it never leads to success.


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