“A Stitch in Times Saves Nine” is a well known proverb. It is frequently used in conversation. It passes on from one hand to another like a current coin. It means that evil should be nipped in the bud, and thus much future trouble would be avoided. A cloth which is torn must be stitched at once for otherwise the torn portion would increase in size and many more stitches would be required. Similarly, in every walk of life things must be set right in the very beginning in order to avoid much future trouble and expenditure. Sometime, if the evil is not put down in the very beginning, it may become unmanageable and may not be remedied at all. Hence we may say that the proverb “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” has much truth and wisdom in it.
The truth of the proverb will become clear, if we consider a few examples from day to day life. It is early in life that many bad habit is acquired and if the evil habit is not checked then and there, it grows and gives rise to many other evil habits. If a growing child tells lies, he should be at once taken to task so that the habit doesn’t take roots, and he learns to tell the truth. If the child does not relish the food prepared at home or if he refuses to teak some particular dish, this bad habit should be put down in the very beginning. Fond, indulgent parents over-look such evils. They forget that in this way they are spoiling their darling child, that one evil leads to another and ultimately it would all recoil on themselves.
The point is illustrated by the well known story of the boy who acquired the evil habit of stealing and his indulgent and his fond mother did not punish him for it. He was encouraged by her attitude, and petty thefts soon led on to much greater thefts. Ultimately the result was dacoity and murder and he was sentenced to be hanged till death. His lat wish was a few words with his mother. When his mother came he pretended as if he wanted to whisper something in her ears. But when she came nearer, he cut off her ears, and told she was responsible for his disgraceful death. If she had punished him for stealing in the very beginning, he would never have become a dacoit and murdered.
Many a social evil flourishes in Indian society to-day and it has become impossible to put it down. This is so because the wise proverb in question was forgotten and evil was not nipped in the very beginning. Corruptions, nepotism, black-marketing, hoarding, smuggling, etc, are rampant today, for this very reason. On the other hand, terrorism was put down with an iron hand, in the very beginning and so it is dying out. The wisdom of the proverb is well-illustrated by the facts of Indian society.