The Pugnacious Fella’
– AASHNAM KULSHRESTHA CCAP – V
“A great boxer is not the one who punches the hardest, but the one who gets punched the hardest… and then gets up again, to take some more.”
The above lines were, rather famously, said by Mohammed Ali; a boxing legend if ever there was one. These lines could not have defined the man himself any better; a boxer by profession and a tenacious pugilist at heart. He gave coma inducing blows to his opponents but did not mind taking “some of his own medicine”, and that made him the legend he is, because he could take the punishment dished out and still be the last man standing, the hallmark of a true pugilist, a true fighter.
Being a fighter has nothing to do with being in CCAP or otherwise; it is a virtue that will help succeed in every walk of life. History is replete with heroes and ‘villains’ alike who took the world by storm and they did so because they refused to be the ones taking orders. But how do you define a fighter, how do you identify a particular action or incident as manifesting fighting spirit or the proverbial never say die attitude??
Most of the time, our fallacies are stemmed in the fact that we just refuse to or ignore conveniently what is the right thing to do. A true fighter is the one who does, well simply put, what should be done. You wake up one chilly, damp morning and you think to your self “Bah…its too cold to go jogging” and after 10 minutes you grudgingly put on your shoes and head for a jog; you may not like it but you did what should be done, and that my friends, make you a fighter.
It is not about who wins, but it is about the satisfaction that you get when you know “well I sweated buckets trying, I could not have done anything more (human i.e.), bad luck to me.” Most of us mortals are just one among many; yes the world has its fair share of literary virtuosos, geniuses of science and technology, academic pioneers, enviably talented sportsmen or people who are just simply “well endowed” ( read born with a silver spoon), but many of us do not fall in any of the esteemed category mentioned above. So does that imply we are destined to be a failure?? That we, forever, will lead a plebian life. The answer is no, we can still be ‘one among many’ and carve a niche for ourselves. All that is to be done is to create a fighting spirit.
Julius Caesar, Hitler, Lenin are 3 of the most awed men in history and Abraham Lincoln is one of the most loved presidents of the States , these men have nothing in common save the fact that they were ordinary, ‘from the crowd’ men that made the world there own because they were unfazed, relentless fighters from heart. These men were not extraordinarily gifted but they did not let that deprivation act as a hurdle in there path, and continued to fight there way through to the top, overlooking men much stronger in virtue and ability but trepid in spirit. How else would men such small and weak as Hitler and Stalin strike fear in much stronger antagonists of theirs or how Lincoln ,a slave’s son , would become the president of the U.S or a old someone called Mahatma Gandhi could overthrow an empire that many ‘strong’ kingdoms and maharajas could not as much as budge for 200 years. The great thing about these men is that they saw failure after failure and each failure invigorated the fighter, the pugilist in them to endure and then succeed (remember Ali’s words about taking blows??)-
Lincoln’s attainment of power in 1861 as a result of his loss of the Senate race in 1858; Lenin’s capture of power in Russia in 1917, having returned from exile as the result of World War I and the Germans high command’s decision to send him in a sealed train through Germany to Finland; Hitler’s attainment of power in 1933, ten years after he was put in prison for treason, where he wrote Mein Kampf, as a result of the great depression; Franklin Roosevelt’s attainment of power, 13 years after he had failed to win as a Vice Presidential candidate and 12 years after he contracted polio (or possibly Guillain-Barre syndrome),Lance Armstrong winning successive tour-de-France (despite of a mutated leg): all are examples of men who stuck with it and fought it out.
So whether you choose the rigorous path of CCAP or for that matter any other challenging journey, just remember that there is a fight lurking, waiting for you…and you have to decide between cowering out or giving the fight the fight of its life.
But being a fighter comes at a price. Not everybody may appreciate the virtue. I mean, people do like those who kowtow without asking questions and be, sort of, intimidated by those who retort and stand up. So you can toss the ‘please all’ policy out the window.
Being a fighter is not about being obstinate or insolent, neither it is a show of shallow aggression; it working in a team but not compromising what is right, it is absorbing the criticism that comes your way with a goal of shutting up the critic the next time you face him.
Be not the one who is wilted and subdued, and caught in the tentacles of trepidation and surrender, but be the pugnacious one; or better –as the old Irish warriors would have put it-be pugnacious Fella’