Principles of Life

Soon after the completion of a multi-storeyed building called Akashdeep in Bombay, the whole construction collapsed. The engineers said that the reason for its collapse was that less cement had been used than specified by safety regulations. In another statement the director of a technical institute said, “RCC construction is a scientific process which is excellent in the hands of qualified and experienced people, but dangerous if managed by incompetent engineers and contractors.” The Times of India, 4 September 1983)

If an engine driver is to set his locomotive in motion, he has to stand before the fire and endure its fierce heat. This huge and complex machine, built up of so many parts, will remain immobile unless he is prepared to do so. The same goes for society. It will not function unless the individuals who have to make all its parts work are prepared to sacrifice something of their own and are ready to endure difficulties, if not actual hardship.

“When one’s ego is touched,” an eminent psychologist once observed, “it turns into super-ego, and the result is breakdown.” Much the same thing was said some thirteen hundred years back by ‘Umair ibn Habib ibn Hamashah. During his last days this Companion of the Prophet Muhammad gave some advice to his grandson, Abu Ja‘afar al-Khatmi, part of which was about patience. “One who does not bear with a small hurt from a foolish person will have to bear with great harm,” was what he said.

A luckless passenger rushed, panting, into the station just as his train was steaming out. His watch—unaccountably slow by ten minutes—had let him down. “Don’t worry, Babuji,” sympathised a passing porter, there will be another train along in about a couple of hours. Why go away? Just wait here for it on this same platform.” The passenger, keen to reach his destination, decided to accept his advice, even if it meant waiting two, long tedious hours.

The bees make their hives at one place, but often have to travel many miles to other places to suck the nectar from the flowers. Sometimes they have to keep flying the whole day in order to do so, and observation of the bees has shown that when they leave home in the early morning, it is still dark, but that when they set off for home in the evening, the sun has not yet set and it is still light.

A certain student from Rajasthan had failed in his high school examinations. He appeared again the following year, but failed again. After having failed for the third time the next year he was so ashamed of his performance that he left his home, unable to show his face to his family.

The Bata Shoe Company is named after the family, which founded it. Originally the Bata family lived in Czechoslovakia, where they began manufacturing shoes as far back as 1620. Thomas Bata Senior, father of the present proprietor, established a shoe factory for the first time in 1925. His career was cut short though when his private plane lost its bearings in heavy fog and crashed, burning him to death on the spot. On his father’s death, Thomas Bata Junior became president of Bata Ltd.

Iana Devangaddy of Bangalore was a student at Cambridge when Jawahar Lal Nehru went to study there. He developed a close association with Nehru. It was because of this relationship that his son, Deren Angaddy, heard a lot about Nehru during his childhood. Impressed with his personality, Deren used to impersonate him. Later Deren became a film actor.

Elias Howe (1819-1867) was born in Massachusetts, U.S.A. He died at the young age of 48. Although his life was short, his contribution to the world of clothes—that of the sewing machine—will always be remembered.

The sewing machine invented by Elias Howe was at first utilized, not for sewing clothes, but for stitching shoes. The main breakthrough was the development of a lock stitch by a shuttle carrying a lower thread and a needle carrying an upper thread which passed through a hole situated at the tip of the needle.