Essay and Answer Writing

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on”

‘A word, an idea has the power to change the world’. The oft repeated adage has been proven right, time and again. As Victor Hugo had once famously said, ‘no army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come’. An idea can withstand the tests of time, no matter how hard the opposition is. Great ideas have influenced societies since time immemorial. Be it the works of centuries old philosophers, writers, painters etc. or great discoveries in science and medicine, all of these have and continue to influence us today. Renaissance and Enlightenment ideals are followed widely even today; as are the theories of French Revolution which gave birth to the notions of ‘equality’ and ‘liberty’. Lenin, the leader of Russian Revolution in the 20th century was moved by Karl Marx’s ‘Das Capital’, written in the 19th century. It is perhaps because of this reason that one is repeatedly reminded that a ‘pen can achieve what a sword can’t’. 
Death and mortality of all beings is ensured by the natural law of life. The same is somewhat true for nations too. History has witnessed the rise and fall of great nations – civilisations of Egypt and Indus, the Roman Empire, the Ashokan Empire, or more recently the Soviet Union – all of which highlight the infallibility of nature. Discovery and exploration are key to human survival. Exploration of one’s surroundings, provides for a gateway to new discoveries and understandings of our purpose here on earth. However, it is also important for one strive to gain knowledge while maintaining an acceptance of their mental limits. Blindly soaring high above the ground and a wilful ignorance for one’s surroundings cannot lead to greatness. 
Political manoeuvres, or a war won solely on the backs of violence and bloodshed is temporary. The power of the sword ends in loss, defeat, and destruction because of the incurring death and loss. It may help someone conquer lands but can never conquer someone’s mind. The famous sonnet of 1818 ‘Ozymandias’ too explores the fate of history and the ravages of time - even the greatest men and the empires they forge are impermanent, their legacies fated to decay into oblivion.
There are many examples where writers have changed the world and demonstrated the power of the written word. Machiavelli, the Italian diplomat of 15th century is often called the father of modern political theory whose work the ‘The Price’ remains a handbook for political scientists. Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence, hard-work and spirituality have withstood centuries. Adam Smith and Karl Marx’s economic and social theories continue to shape young minds. And these are only few of the many such examples of globally acknowledged thinkers and writers whose ideas have broken shackles of time, age, society and boundaries. Ideas have also led to revolutions and toppling of society’s evils. Fight against slavery, racism, child labour, female infanticide, rights for women, etc. were all fought with the power of pen and mind. It is perhaps for this reason that every nation today strives at protecting and nurturing its ‘intelligentsia’. They are a nation’s cultural and social vanguard, whose critique, guidance and mental labour helps a nation strive for success. 
The vitality of an ‘idea’ can be compared to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem “The Brook” where the poet writes that ‘men may come and men may go, but I go on forever’. A powerful idea remains forever, long after its birth-giver is gone. An idea has the power to influence thousands of minds, and the uniqueness of human kind lies in their ability to think and act. Despite human’s mortality, the power an idea remains eternal.

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