When I was a young officer, I would occasionally come across a poem, written by Josiah Gilbert Holland in the late 1800s, hung in offices, which impressed upon me with an everlasting effect. And I really wanted men of the following creed as dreamt by Gilbert Holland and most of the people around the world:
GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honour; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
Today, even after decades thereafter, I still wish to find a semblance of such men around me. But we do see many a demagogue who are in abundance everywhere. James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) defined a demagogue as: “The demagogue is usually sly, a detractor of others, a professor of humility and disinterestedness, a great stickler for equality as respects all above him, a man who acts in corners, and avoids open and manly expositions of his course, calls blackguards gentlemen, and gentlemen folks, appeals to passions and prejudices rather than to reason, and is in all respects, a man of intrigue and deception, of sly cunning and management.
These charming people are all around us, making us fool and making us believe in them and we so easily fall in their charm and do whatever they demand of us for their sake and lose our own self somewhere. And then some of us who are disheartened, would once again wish the Almighty to Give us men, a time like this demands …….
Originally posted at Jaho Jalal