Most paradoxes are clever rather thantrue, but there is enough to be said for this one to give it at least the colorof truth. Lord Lytton was a prolific and popular Victorian author, but wellaware of his limited powers, not to claim originality for what is clearly anancient aphorism. His play 'Richelieu' of 1839, at any rate, defines theinterpretation, he himself would have put on it. Richelieu adroitly savedhimself from his enemies and scored them off by his pertinent writing.Moreover, he enabled his country to sidestep an alliance with Spain. Thus, helimits the application of this borrowed paradox :-
'Beneath the ruleof men entirely greatThe pen is mightierthan the swordtake away the swordStates can be savedwithout it.'
Early man lived on the strength of his muscle power. In thestruggle for existence, it was the survival of the fittest. Gradually, manbecame civilised and progressed in various fields. The destinies of nationswere shaped by wars. Later on, man realised that the use of weapons could notsolve all problems. Weapons could kill a man but could not bring about a changeof heart.
Ideas have a much larger impact than violence. Force isincapable of changing the ideas and beliefs of the people. When people areinfluenced by new ideas, changes occur in the society. Ideas are propagated bywriting. Brave deeds and valour shown in the battlefield are certainlypraiseworthy. But no clash of arms could achieve what great men through theirwritings have achieved.
No doubt in his own day and age ! But there are aggressorswhose swords must be met by swords. There are the Hitlers of the world who dubthe Treaty of Versailles a 'scrap of paper.' There is the pathetic 1938 pictureof Neville Chamberlain waving another scrap of paper, as he returned from themeeting at Peterburg, promising the deluded British 'peace in our time.'
But nobody could accuse Hitler of 'greatness' in any truesense, or Chamberlain of 'greatness' in any sense, at all, so Lytton might eventoday maintain his argument holds good. The unilateral disarmed believes thatit holds good at all times; that irrespective of the temporary triumph of thesword, whether that 'sword' takes the shape of the bully's fist or theaggressor's nuclear bomb, the triumph is ultimately gained by peacefulacceptance of tyranny, possibly without even a written protest. that tyrannycarried its own seeds of destruction is true, but history has many a case ofsuch seeds taking a very long time to ripen. Meanwhile, millions suffer, and wereflect that much suffering might have been saved by a sword raised in defense.
So the paradox is at best a half-truth, but the half that istrue is very true indeed, because we must define real 'might' as somethingother than military power. Man is basically a spiritual and mental rather thana physical creature. he can be more easily led by the pen than driven by thesword, and there is ample evidence in all spheres of writing to prove this.
The invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg hashelped man to store and propagate his thoughts, beliefs and ideas. The printedword has become the most powerful medium of propagation of the same. Newspapershave become a mighty weapon. Public opinion is generally built up not by clashof arms but by the writings of great men and by newspapers. The pen has beenable to make the people stand up against tyranny and injustice.
Pen stands for expression, for literature, for what comes outof a writer’s pen. And it is true that literature or writing wields far morepower than arms can ever wield. Battles are fought over a certain period timeand within a particular area. They certainly affect and influence events but ina limited way. The effect of the pen or literature is wide. Sometimes it isuniversal. The messages of Buddha, Christ, Confucius, Gandhi and Marx areuniversal in their appeal. They are valid for all times and for all climes. Thesword has a physical effect, it hardly affects times and for all climes. Thesword has a physical effect, it hardly affects the mind and the spirit, whilethe pen affects the mind, intellect and spirit. The latter can shape the minds,hearts and spirit of people in a desired way if only the wielder has themastery of its use in the required measure.
The civilising power of world religions down the ages hasbeen incalculable, and the perpetuation of religion has always depended onwriting. The great Roman Empire was christianised by the Bible 300 years afterthe life of Christ; today, the purity of the Muslim way of life depends on thelearning of the Koran by the followers; the Vedas still inspire millions ofIndians, and the record made of the Sayings of Confucius by his disciplesprovided the basis of the social order of much of the Far East. Moderndemocratic theory owes much to the writings of Aristotle, philosophy to thoseof Plato, and law to those of Gaius. The law student at Oxford today, begins bystudying his 'Institutes'.
On the narrower canvas, social reformers have sees the newspaperand magazine article and especially the novel as a means of stating their caseand moving public opinion to take legal action in their favor, this makingvalid gains for humanity. Charles Kingsly's 'Water Babies' castigated theinfamies of child exploitation. Harriet Beecher Stowe, those of negro slavery,Charles Dickens, those of a harsh legal system and of a society which condemnedthe multitude to poverty and class oppression.
There is a famous saying that the role of pen is mightierthan that of the sword. But unfortunately there are people who believe that theuse of force is necessary. The pen expresses a personnel or public opinion. Itstands for the press, literature, news-papers, books, and other writings. Thepurpose of all writing is to connect one's mind with another, to persuade thereader to take up the view which the writer holds on a particular subject. Thereader has the right to hold his own view; he may not be convinced of thewriter's judgement and opinions presented to him. We may, therefore, say thatthe pen stands for the peaceful means by which a person is persuaded to acceptthe views which the writer holds. No force is used to persuade the reader. Buta good and forceful writer forms opinion. But the sword on the other hand, standsfor force. It forces views on others. If they do not accept those views theymust be challenged. The sword, therefore, implies force, not reason. The pen isthus preferred of the two. But the sword has its own uses. In the world, thereexist not only good, sincere, honest and responsible people but also those whoare wicked, dishonest and unreasonable. No argument will convince them and noeloquence can persuade them.
The pen is a source of power and inspiration for all timesand for people in all walks of life. The fact of superiorty of the pen over thesword should not lead us to believe that the sword has no value. Arms havechanged history. Sometimes only force brings about results. When everythingfails, when persuasion negotiations etc., fail, the use force to teach Ravan alesson. Arms were used to ensure the victory of the forces of good over theforces of evil. If the great war of Mahabharat had not been fought, the forcesof evil which the Kauravas represented would have continued to plague thekingdom and the rule of justice and righteousness could never have beenestablished. Lord Krishna, therefore, induced Arjuna to fight a violent war todestroy the forces of evil and rehabilitate the rule of the right. There ismight in the sword, nobody can gain say this, but there is more might in thepen. The American Revolution of 1776 was the product of the writings of a hostof political philosophers and statesmen. The very slogan of liberty, equalityand pursuit of happiness raised in their writings by the Americanrevolutionaries and almost the identical slogan liberty, equality andfraternity raised in the writings of French revolutionaries not only did muchto change the history of these two countries, but also revolutionized the verythought and outlook of the people about the role of the state. It is a matterof common knowledge for a student of History that, what Benjamin Franklin,Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in America and Rousseau, Voltaire and Motesquieuin France, could do by their writings could never have been achieved by was anoutburst of the centuries old people’s grievances, but the background for ithad been prepared by the writings of a host of creative writers as well asstatesmen like Trotsky and Lenin. Erroneous view is held by some people thatthe sword is mightier than the pen. They actually do not understand the meaningof pen. When comparing with the sword they have in mind only some object sixinches long with which one can write. This object of six inches in length andabout one inch in thickness compares ridiculously in power with the one or twofeet long sword with sharp edges, the very sight of which sends shudders offear down the spine.
Editors' ideas are expressed through the power of the pen.The printed word makes a permanent impact on several generations. It mouldslife according to the times. Violence can only suppress the beliefs of apeople. The pen stands for positive and constructive efforts. while the swordsignifies negative postures and destruction all around. The sword can forcepeople into submission but cannot propagate an idea. The pen can solve manycomplex issues. The sword can only destroy. Wars have no significant impact onthe development of a nation. Writers, thinkers and artists created the spirit ofthe modern world by the power of the pen. The French Revolution of 1789 owedinspiration to the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire. Karl Marx's Das Capitalinspired Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The CommunistManifesto, the combined work of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx in 1848 formedthe basis of modern international communism.
Charles Dickens (1812-70) exposed the evils of capitalism inhis works like David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. Mahatma Gandhi'sphilosophy of life was based on the teachings of the Gita. David
Disobedience inspired Gandhiji for Satyagraha during thefreedom struggle in India. In the Vietnam journalists and photographers playeda key role in bringing about an end to the conflict.
India's freedom struggle was based on the supremacy of thepen over the sword. The major national newspapers, The Hindu, The Tribune,Bengalee, Mahratta, Kesari and The Amrita Bazar Patrika waged a campaignagainst the British rule. The leaders were able to communicate their ideas tothe people through the press. They were able to promote among them a feeling ofnationalism and unity. Gandhiji himself edited two newspapers, Navyug andHarijan to mobilise the masses. The victory of our freedom movement over theBritish to some extent was the victory of the pen over the sword.
The victories of the sword are short-lived. Alexander'sdesire to conquer the world remained unfulfilled. Hitler overran Europe but wasdefeated in the Second World War. The plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Keatsand Words worth, or the novels of Dickens still appeal to the people. In theirwritings they present a graphic account of the political situation, the socialconditions and the beliefs prevalent in the period they lived in and wrote. Thepen is mightier because it gives good counsel, promotes cultural values andgraces of life. It thus removes the cobwebs from society. War, on the otherhand, cultures and negates the cultural values. It takes decades for nations tore-build what wars destroy and to rehabilitate the countless victims of thewar. There are some people who think that resort to the sword and thecompulsions of war encourage some virtues like unity. tenacity. heroism,inventiveness and valour. But this is nothing but an illusion. The pen canpromote these virtues more effectively and permanently than a war can. Thesword implies the use of brute force while the pen relies on reason andthought. The pen stands for positive and constructive efforts, but the swordstands for destruction. The pen can solve many complex problems throughpeaceful means. It can plead for progress and social reform. It promotescultural values. Wars, on the other hand, tend to destroy civilisation. Awriter who records his noble thoughts is a teacher of humanity. The pen has astronger influence than the sword.The written word can change a person. It caninfluence people for many a generation. The pen is indeed mightier than thesword. It is the power of the pen that has through the ages shaped humanhistory.
Thus, where arguments fail, the sword succeeds. But this doesnot mean that the use of the sword is desirable. More often than not the swordhas been misused. History shows how kings and generals owed power and used itto oppress the people. Give a man the sword for good purposes and in most caseshe will use it for evil purposes. All thoughtful men, therefore, prefer the pento the sword. The government of today is carried on through the help of thepress. We are soon warned if we are in the wrong. No government of today canstand against a powerful pen. The writer or the debater by his writing orreasoning power rules the day. People have a greater faith in the power of thepen than in that of the sword. Both the pen and the sword have their uses inlife. Both reason and force properly mixed are necessary for good government.The time has not yet come when people will care for the good of others morethan their own. But it is a sign of good times coming. The force is no longeran argument with us. But we have not yet reached the stage when all swords maybe beaten into ploughshares.
The Pen is Mightier than the Swords, the sword mightier thanthe pen or vice-versa? I think the pen is inevitably mightier than the sword. Apen can do a lot more things than a sword. Unlike a sword, it can be bothconstructive and destructive. And its destructive power is stronger than thesword’s. The power of a pen is out of people’s imagination. First, the pen ismuch more influential than the sword. Some may say that a pen cannot hurtanyone, but a sword can actually kill someone. However, what matters the mostis not the pen itself, but the words. As history and facts have revealed, theimpacts of wars cannot last long. It can last for a few centuries, at most. Yetbooks can last for thousands of years. For example, the Holy Bible is the mostinfluential book that has ever been published. Many people study and read itevery day. Moreover, it changes people’s lives. It is not only that the HolyBible that influence people, but a lot of classic books are also playing animportant role in inspiring and guiding people. Moreover, a pen can hurt otherseternally.
As a matter of fact, a sword can cause trauma in someone. Yetthat kind of trauma is physical and can be healed. However, for most of thetime, the wound, which is caused by words, cannot be healed easily. Forexample, if you have a fight with your friends, and you quarrel with them, youmay talk to each other after a few days. But if you write a letter to revileyour friends, you may not be able to be friends with them anymore. It isbecause the harms that words can bring to others can be huge. Finally, a pencan control people’s minds. People can use a sword to force others to dosomething, but they are never willing to do. Yet, a pen can actually makepeople to something with all their might, no matter whether the thing ismerciful or felonious. There was a notorious man in history, which knew thefact that a pen can control people’s minds, caused a big war. That man wasAdolf Hitler. He used his speeches to control people’s minds, and caused apoignant disaster in history. In conclusion, people can do huge things with apen, as it can control people’s minds, cause trauma on others eternally, andinfluence people. The power of a pen can change a person’s mind from insideout, while a sword can only hurt or kill the body. The sword is powerful, butthe pen is much more powerful.
Humor and satire have a sharper point then any sword. Even intimes of tyranny and oppressive laws, the lampoon and the political'broadsheet' pilloried hated public figures and institutions, preserved a senseof humor in the community, and sometimes gave pause to the pressers, whereasphysical attack or revolt would have been punished to the full extent of thelaw. 'Punch' castigated the crown and the lawyer in the days when no less than200 felonies were punishable by death. In earlier days, Pope and Dryden usedthe barbed rhyming couplet to ridicule dominant political figures, who in themodern, 'free' days would have won fantastic libel damages. But the tyrant isalways 'touchy', and the pen always finds the weak spot ! And abroad, need wedo more than mention the explosive power of Voltaire and Rousseau, Marx andEngels ?
And today, the mass-molding popular press, of which modernman is becoming heartily sick. Today's need is for independent and logicalthought. Let us hope that this will supersede both the pen and the sword in thehands of others.
It is therefore imperative that the sword is used for tyrannyand oppression as well as implement justices. Whereas the pen whose second nameis knowledge and wisdom makes the nation literate, cultured, and well behaved.The words from pen are always better than blood spilt out by the sword. Wecould express and convey our feelings of justice and peace through words ofwisdom. Our thoughts and opinions, justice and belief, laws of human rights andhumanitarian principles can only be written through the pen. You cannot enforcejustice and peace through the mightiest sword. The pen is the pioneer of truthand justice, teaches us to help poor, oppressed and downtrodden. The rule ofthe pen can make the world a peaceful place and a paradise on the Earth.
Pakistan was won by means of the words written by a pen.Quaid-e-Azam, Sir Sayed Ahmad Khan and other Muslim leaders never used thesword to get Pakistan. They wrote the peaceful speeches and publicised theirthoughts in words to win Pakistan for the Muslims of India.
Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot simultaneouslyprevent and prepare for war” Franklin Delano Roosevelt also said, “When peacehas been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries is in danger.”
Allah almighty says in the Holy Quran “…if anyone killed aperson not in retaliation of murder, or to spread mischief in the land – itwould be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would beas if he saved the life of all mankind…” (05:32)
Let us be united through one agenda of peace for saving theentire humanity by preaching for the global peace through pen, and throw awaythe sword and destroy all mass- destructive weapons to prevent any future war.