Courage is the readiness or the strength to face difficulties. It helps people to do things better even when it is difficult or painful. Doing small things with courage can help us to be courageous when we need to do greater things.

In 1965, Major HPS Ahluwalia climbed Mount Everest. The same year, in the Indo-Pakistan war, he received injuries to his spine. He had to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Undefeated, the major joined the Central Services in 1968. He retired in 1994 as Additional Director General in the ministry of defence. The same year he decided to make a journey along the ancient Silk Route – Uzbekistan, Kirghistan, Kazaghistan, China, Nepal and back to India. This trip was broadcasted by Discovery Channel in five episodes. He has won numerous awards for his books. He continues to give enormous help to people with serious spinal injuries like his own.

In July 2004, Udhab Das took his six and a half year old daughter, Swapna, on his shoulders and walked 12km through water to reach dry land to Dhamdhama in Assam. Swapna had high fever and her father wanted to take her to Guwahati for treatment. There was a flood. Swapna’s parents first hired a handcart and her in it to keep her out of the water. When the water became too deep they got a chair and put it on the handcart. Finally he had to make her sit on his shoulders as he pushed his way through the rising water. He took two hours for the final four kilometres.

On September 5, 1986, an airplane took off from Mumbai to fly to USA with 394 passengers on board. The flight landed at Karachi for a one-hour stop. 23 year old Neerja Bhanot was welcoming the passengers aboard. She noticed four people who were heavily armed. They hijacked the plane. She hid the passports of all the passengers since the hijackers said they wanted all the Americans. Without the passports no one knew what countries they came from. Neerja thus saved the lives of the 44 Americans on board. She even helped some of the passengers to escape. The hijackers realized that their mission had partly failed because of her. They then shot her four times. Neerja’s family gives every year two awards of Rs. 7 Lakhs each to two persons who show courage as Neerja did. Later a biopic was also made on this event by Bollywood. 

These are examples of people who faced difficult situations with extraordinary courage. Every human being has problems. Overcoming them depends on how courageously we face these problems. We do not suddenly become very courageous in very difficult situations. Our courage grows a little at a time. If we are courageous to do the right thing at all times, we build our capacity to face greater dangers.

It is not easy to be good always. Sometimes it takes courage to help our friends even in small things. It takes courage not to copy in examinations when we are afraid of failing. It takes courage to tell the truth, when we may be punished for what we have done. It takes courage to sacrifice an ice cream in order to give the money to some poor person. It takes courage to admit a mistake we have made. But if we do little things like these without fear, we get the courage even in difficult moments to do what we ought to do.


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