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Saturday, Oct 16, 2021
Outlook.com

On Greatness

We bestow ‘greatness’ easily in India. What makes a person great, do we really need great people, and drawing a lakshmanrekha for it in every life.

On Greatness
On Greatness
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Let us begin with the Bard of Avon. In his less renowned comedy, Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare observes, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Consider poor Rahul Gandhi, desperately trying to escape the clutches of greatness.) I believe Willie’s bandwidth says it all.

In our day-to-day social and professional conversations we tend to overuse, trivialise and devalue the word ‘great’ to the point of parody. It seems everything, or almost everything, has an in-built potential for greatness. An ice-cream can be great, a square-cut can be great, a barber can be great, a hotel can be great, a magician can be great. So, as we commence our detailed examination of what constitutes greatness, we need to move from the ridiculous to the sublime.

But first, a warning. Great individuals, who acquire the rare virtue by one of the three routes suggested by Shakespeare, must be rigorously evaluated, subjecting them to an appraisal which is at once...

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