Where practical argument freezes

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 02 Dec 2018 10:28:04

 THE story of Ashok Munne, originally a resident of a village near Nagpur, is one narrative where any practical argument just freezes. As he relates his own story at the fifth edition of Global Nagpur Summit, he starts telling how he scaled Mount Everest, how he swims both ways across Nagpur’s huge Ambazari Lake every day, how he practices pranayam that enables him to stay fit even in sub-zero temperatures, how he is now launching an entrepreneurial venture near Nagpur to promote adventure sport and its philosophy by seeking out investor-partners, the whole audience is spell-bound. But then comes a very dramatic twist when Mr. Dinesh Jain, the promoter of the idea of Global Nagpur Summit, organised each year by a group that wants itself to be known by the sobriquet ‘Nagpur First’, stops Ashok Munne in the tracks: “Ashokji, please don’t be unnecessarily humble about yourself. Tell them the real story”.

Munne smiles, stands erect, bends forward and pulls up his right trouser. Everybody watches with gaping mouths and eyes widened in wonderment. Within seconds, Ashok Munne removes his artificial leg and stands on his one leg holding himself firmly planted to the ground. The whole audience just rises to its feet and starts clapping as a mark of salute to a story of tremendous courage. For, Ashok Munne had achieved all the feats of adventure with one artificial leg.

When one hears such a story, all practical arguments freeze. One has no scope to complain about life’s vagaries and injustices. Yet, one’s mind refuses to believe what one has just seen. For, “how can you run a 400-meter race when your nail is hurting”, is the argument one often hears at sports meets, coming particularly from parents.

There is no doubt that an ordinary Vijay Phanshikar cannot replicate the story of Ashok Munne. The reason is simple: Vijay Phanshikar is a master at the science and art of designing excuses for not doing the right thing. For, Vijay Phanshikar also is a master ducker of responsibilities that must be shouldered. ...! But the story of Ashok Munne, and countless such people all over the world, offers a point where all practical-sounding arguments just lose their relevance.

Unfortunately, in our homes and schools and colleges, we get training to furnish excuses for not doing the thing of courage, or fortitude, or bravery or adventure. We are told countless times that being fool-hardy is not good. And as this sentence is thrown to our faces, we are reminded that anything that is extra-ordinary comes in the category of being fool-hardy. Unfortunately, no one realises that by throwing such sentences to youngsters’ faces, we are only debilitating them from a life of courage.

It is at such moments that a story like that of Ashok Munne stands out by way of its uniqueness not of having one artificial leg but by way of trying to live a courageous life despite the artificial leg.

Even as I salute the young man, I make a silent decision ...
... and I know that everybody knows what I mean.