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On Courage

June 23, 2020

cour·​age | \ ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij \
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Venture, persevere. Fear, or difficulty. This paints pictures of the strength and valour of knights, soldiers and the numerous people who defy odds to fight for another person's rights. But there is another, often overlooked expression of courage, one of going against societal norms for something that you believe in. 

My maternal great grandparents were uneducated. They knew only what was necessary to earn a living—my great grandfather was a blacksmith and great grandmother a homemaker; he knew enough to earn a livelihood and she knew enough to manage the household. They were getting along well enough in life and like most people around them, could've taught their children these skills, helping their sons become blacksmiths and their daughter a homemaker. But they decided to educate them. 

This was colonial India, when for the vast majority of Indians, the one daily trial was to not go to bed with an empty stomach. To them, more children meant more helping hands and education, just a waste of time. But my great grandparents believed differently. In a tumultuous and violent time when the country's future seemed clouded and the promised freedom a far-fetched dream, they decided that their children’s lives would be better than their own. 

My great grandparents’ children went on to be much better educated than them, and have jobs that allowed them to spend on more than just the very necessities of life. But this demanded courage. Courage to disregard what society expected of them and do what people warned them against, only because they thought it right.


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  • June 23, 2020 - 9:33am (Now Viewing)

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  • Bhavya's Treasure

    That's called Courage!
    I liked the fact that you began your tale by describing the meaning of courage first and then proving it at the end!
    My ancestors too have a similar story. In my case it was my maternal great-great-grandparents who had seen the tough time of partition as adults and had made sure that their children were educated! They passed on the legacy to my great grandmother who further educated her six kids (my grandparents) and then my mum and here it's me... :)

    4 months ago
  • black_and_red_ink

    I love this. Great response to the prompt.

    5 months ago
  • sunny.v

    ah, this is a wonderful use of the prompt :’) thank you for sharing their story! your great grandparents seem so admirable

    5 months ago