Writing assignment_The Rebellion & The Succumber
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Writing assignment_The Rebellion & The Succumber

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When I was a small child, my mother told me a story from one of the sacred Hindu books – The ...

When I was a small child, my mother told me a story from one of the sacred Hindu books – The
Ramayana. In the story, Guru Vishwamitra asks Rama to come to forest to help him. The first
challenge Rama faces in the forest is an attack from a demoness. But Rama says that it is a woman and
I have been told not to attack a woman. Vishwamitra tells him that sometimes a person needs to break
all the rules and react according to his or her intuition. Rama kills the demoness. Guru Vishwamitra
takes him to another spot where he shows him a stone, which is actually a woman Ahalya embodied in
the form of a stone due to some curse given in the past for her extra-marital affairs. His guru says that
if Rama touches the stone, it will turn back in to a woman. Ahalya is turned to stone by a curse and
only returns to her human form after she is brushed by Rama's foot.

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Writing assignment_The Rebellion & The Succumber Document Transcript

  • 1. Mahesh Jakhotia 11M25 THE REBELLION & THE SUCCUMBERWhen I was a small child, my mother told me a story from one of the sacred Hindu books – TheRamayana. In the story, Guru Vishwamitra asks Rama to come to forest to help him. The firstchallenge Rama faces in the forest is an attack from a demoness. But Rama says that it is a woman andI have been told not to attack a woman. Vishwamitra tells him that sometimes a person needs to breakall the rules and react according to his or her intuition. Rama kills the demoness. Guru Vishwamitratakes him to another spot where he shows him a stone, which is actually a woman Ahalya embodied inthe form of a stone due to some curse given in the past for her extra-marital affairs. His guru says thatif Rama touches the stone, it will turn back in to a woman. Ahalya is turned to stone by a curse andonly returns to her human form after she is brushed by Ramas foot.This tale shows two characteristics of a person – the ruthless nature in which he rebels his rules, andthe compassionate nature in which he acts according to people’s wishes. Why do people react indifferent ways in different situations?Two years back I was leading one of the teams involved in conducting an online game. The game wascompleted and the winners were announced. But little later I got to know that there was somediscrepancy in the software because of which the wrong winners were announced. Now there was abig problem in front of me – should I go and inform people that there had been some problem in thegame and it would be conducted again or should I suppress the matter? If I told them that there wassome problem in the game, my team’s reputation would be at stake.Though my team advised me to keep the matter concealed, my inner voice was telling me that it wouldbe unethical if the award was not given to the rightful winner. I went ahead and informed theparticipants. A few participants showed some frustration and I felt as if I took the worst decision ever.I felt that I broke the unity and the team spirit of my department. But once the game was conductedagain, the people who participated in the event came forward and appreciated us for letting them knowthe problem instead of hiding it. Even though we faced a lot of criticism at the start, by the end of thegame everyone was happy. My team told me that I had taken the right decision.Sherman Alexie, in his essay “The joy of reading and writing”, illustrates the pressures a person facesto conform to society. He is the son of a Spokane Indian mother and a Coeur d’Alene Indian father,despite being from an Indian Reservation he fought with the society to become a good writer and poet.He turned out to be an advanced reader and was purportedly reading novels like The Grapes ofWrath at the age of five. In this essay, Alexie’s class mates wanted him to fail in the non-Indian world. 1|Page
  • 2. Mahesh Jakhotia 11M25He was forced to be like any other Indian not to outperform the non-Indians. But he rebelled againstthem because of his inner gut feeling.Is it always true that the best decision is the one, which gets the support from majority of people? Ifmajority of people tell you not to act in a particular way would you agree to them or rebel them? I feelthat Alexie was in a similar situation, of course much intense than what I was in, wherein the people,his non-Indian friends forced him to remain uncompetitive like the other Indians. But he went againstthem and took the decision intuitively.But is it always good to be a rebel and listen to your intuition? What if people had criticized me at theend of the game? And what makes a person rebel? Did Sherman become a rebel because he readstories of superman comic books “Superman is breaking down the door”, which inspired him to breakthe metaphorical prison around him or is there a deeper reason behind this nature of Sherman? Ibelieve that either he was born in this way or his father might have influenced him. His quote - “Myfather loved books, and since I loved my father with an aching devotion, I decided to love books aswell.” explains this point.But not everyone rebels against the people around him and takes a decision. In George Orwell’s essay– “The shooting of an elephant”, the author conforms to the pressure of the society. Orwell was theson of an English civil servant in the British Raj, as was his father. He strongly believed in democraticsocialism and hence he hated his job of serving in the British army at the Burmese location. He alsohated the fact that the Burmese mocked him on the streets. He was stuck between his hatred of theempire he served, and his rage against the Burmese. In one of his incidents an Elephant enters one ofthe villages in his cadre area and he was forced to kill the elephant because the people expected him tokill it. His inner mind told him not to kill the elephant but the outer world pressurized him to followtheir ideas and plans.Even I faced a situation similar to that of George Orwell’s; I did things because I was expected to dothem by other people. One day my friends made a bet in which they asked me to complete 5 kms in 25minutes. I thought to spend my maximum energy and complete the task, while listening to the mostpowerful inspiring music. It was a circular track, so my friends and I can see each other all the time.By the time I completed 3 kms I was exhausted and panting for air. But I saw my friends; they wereeagerly looking at me. They had a high image of me. They thought that I had the stamina and I couldperform the most challenging tasks. If I would have stopped they would have lost that image aboutme. This forced me to run despite the pain I had or the stomach cramps I developed. I completed 4.5kms and I was in the last lap. I strongly wanted this to over. I was looking forward for the time when Icomplete the five kilometers finish line so that I can have some cold refreshing water. I spent all myavailable potential energy in the last lap and completed the task within twenty-five minutes. I looked 2|Page
  • 3. Mahesh Jakhotia 11M25at my friends and they were applauding me. I would have never done this task if my friends were notpresent there looking at me. I felt inspired. Though there were a few negative consequences because Iperformed beyond my boundaries which caused physical problems later.It was the same case with George Orwell. He would have never killed the Elephant if the people hadnot wanted him to kill it. But the people expected him to kill the elephant and he already committed tothe task of killing the elephant as he asked for a rifle, so he can neither leave his commitments asidenor follow his people.But what makes him succumb to the pressure of the people. Does this nature come because of hisBritish military background, as he quotes in his essay -“I had committed myself to doing it when I sentfor the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mindand do definite things.” One important point he states is that he wanted the elephant to be captured buthe didn’t want it to be killed. Does the elephant act like a metaphor for the British army, because hehates the imperial government, and the locals were happy and excited that the elephant is going to bekilled? He actually wanted the owner of the elephant to capture the elephant and take it back to its ownplace. By making this statement the author might have wanted the British army to go back from Indiato its own country.The essays by Sherman Alexie and George Orwell explain how they tackle the peer pressure indifferent manners. I believe that the aspect which covers Rama, Alexie and I in this essay is the factthat we have a strong belief in ourselves and our intuition. We took the decisions keeping a long-termvision in mind. In the short term there was a lot of criticism faced but when we look it from a longterm perspective everything looked beautiful. A common thread which covered both George Orwell’sessay and my personal incident on running was that we valued our short-term goals more than ourlong-term goals in this case. I ran so that I was not humiliated in the short term though I could havehad a few health problems from a long term scenario. George Orwell reacted because he didn’t want toface the humiliation that day though in the long term the owner of the elephant would have come andcaptured the elephant.What makes Rama react in a ruthless manner in the first test and in a compassionate manner in thesecond test? People have a set of values prioritized in their life which they follow while doing theirwork. What builds this nature is one of the most difficult questions to answer. I sometimes react in arebelling nature and sometimes I am totally compassionate. What makes me do so? I believe that thisstory of Rama heard in my childhood might have impacted my decisions in the above mentionedpersonal incidents. 3|Page
  • 4. Mahesh Jakhotia 11M25REFERENCES:1. Alexie, Sherman. "The joy of reading & writing: Superman and me" 50 Essays: A portableanthology, Third Edition. Ed. Samuel Cohen. Boston: Bedford/St.Martins. 2011. 15-192. Orwell, George. "Shooting an Elephant" 50 Essays: A portable anthology, Third Edition. Ed.Samuel Cohen. Boston: Bedford/St.Martins. 2011.284-91 4|Page