Early man lived on the strength of his muscle power. In the struggle for existence, it was the survival of the fittest. Gradually, man become civilized and progressed in various fields. The destinies of nations were shaped by wars. Later on man realized that the use of weapons could not solve problems. Weapons could kill a man but could not bring about a change of heart.
Ideas have a much larger impact than violence. Force is incapable of changing the ideas and beliefs of the people. When people are influenced by new ideas, changes occur in the society. Ideas are propagated by writing. Brave deeds and valour shown in the battlefield are certainly praiseworthy. But no clash of arms could achieve what great men through their writing have archived.
The invention of the written word has helped man to store and propagate his thoughts, beliefs, and ideas. After the development of the printing press by Johanns Guttenberg , the printed word became the most powerful medium of propagating the same. Newspapers became a mighty weapon. Public opinion is generally built up not by clash of arms but by the writings of great men and by newspapers. The pen has been able to make the people standup against tyranny and injustice.
Ideas are expressed through the power of the pen. The written word makes a permanent impact on several generations. It moulds life according to the times. Violence can only suppress the beliefs of the people. The pen stands for positive and constructive efforts, while the sword signifies negative postures and destruction all around. The sword can force them into submission but cannot propagate and idea. Pen can solve many complex issues. The sword can only destroy. Wars have no significance impact on the development of a nation.
Writers, thinkers and artists created the sprit of the modern world by the power of the pen. The French Revolution owned inspiration to the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire. Karl Marx’s Das Capital inspired Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution. The Communist Manifesto, the combined work of Fredrick Engels and Karl Marx formed the basic of modern international communism.
Charles Dickens exposed the evils of capitalism in his works like David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of life was based on the teachings of the Gita. David Thoreau’s The Civil Disobedience inspired Gandhiji for Satyagraha during the freedom struggle in India. In the Vietnam war, journalists and photographers played a key role in bringing about an end to the conflict.
India’s freedom struggle was based on the supremacy of the pen over the sword. The major national newspapers, The Hindu, The Tribune, Bengalee, Kesari and the Amrita Bazar Patrika waged a campaign against the British rule. The leaders were able to communicate their ideas to the people through the press. They were able to promote among them a feeling of nationalism and unity. Gandhiji himself edited two newspapers, Navyug and Harihan to mobilize the masses. The victory of our freedom movement over the British to some extent was the victory of the pen over the sword.
The victories of the sword are short lived. Alexander’s desire to conquer the world remained unfulfilled. Hitler overran Europe but was defeated in the Second World War. The plays of Shakespeare, the poetry of Keats and Wordsworth, or the novels of Dickens still alive among readers. Pen is mightier because it gives good counsel, promotes cultural values and graces of life. Thus helping to remove Cob-webs from society. One the contrary, war destroys cultures and negates the cultural values.
A writer who records his noble thoughts is a teacher of humanity. The pen has a stronger influence than the sword. The written word can change a person. It can influence people for many a generation. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. It is the power of the pen that has through the ages shaped human history.