No Shortcuts

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I The Sunday Guardian I  Oct 24, 2021

November 16, 2013 was a special date for the Indian cricket star, Sachin Tendulkar. It marked the end of a career in cricket spanning 24 years, in which he emerged as a superman of India. In a short speech, he gave the credit for his success to his late father, Mr. Ramesh Tendulkar. He said that when he was eleven years old and had just started playing cricket, his father gave him this advice: “Chase your dreams, but do not take shortcuts.” Sachin Tendulkar took this advice and it brought him success.

What is meant by taking a shortcut? It means travelling by a shorter route or by-pass so as to reduce the distance to one’s destination. By thus avoiding the normal longer route, one spends much less time on the road. This kind of by-pass is commonly taken on road journeys. But when it comes to the purposeful journey of human life, it is seldom the best course to follow.

For example, if you are a student and try to sit for a master’s degree without graduation, or if you are a moneyless person and want to become a billionaire without doing any hard work, or if you start your career in politics and try to attain a high position in the political system without doing the required field work, shortcuts of this kind will not get you anywhere in real life. In such instances, planning to reach one’s goal by taking shortcuts is ill-conceived and is destined to lead nowhere.

This formula does not pertain only to individual life. It also holds true for the life of a community or a nation. Leaders of the Muslim community in India invariably insist that, for some reason or the other, Indian Muslims have become a backward community and that the only way to give them a boost is to give them reservations in jobs and services. Failing this, they will remain backward.

A demand of this nature is a demand for a shortcut. But, according to the law of nature, this is not feasible. No amount of favour shown to any community can bring about its uplift. The only way to empower its members is to enable them to meet the challenges posed to them. Life is based on competition and challenge. Without facing competition and challenge, no community can prosper. There is no escape for anyone in this regard. Offering favours only paralyzes the ability of a community, whereas when a community has to face challenges, this proves to be an energizing factor for it. Shortcut is a word that may be found in the dictionary, but it has no relevance in real life.