The sword is mightier than the pen

The sword is mightier than the pen

It is generally believed that the ‘pen’ is mightier than the 'sword’, and certain people, especially those who are optimistic about the worth of knowledge and education, tend to promote this proverb to a great extent. Well, I don’t agree. I don’t think the ‘pen’ is mightier than the ‘sword’. By the way, there is no laboratory test that can prove the statement that ‘pen’ is mightier and I am not even sure that there were any laboratories when this proverb was first coined.

If you are not convinced by pure logic in above statements, I have other ways of proving that it is not ‘pen’ that is mightier rather it is the ‘sword’. For making it easier to comprehend, first we need to understand the meaning of ‘pen’ and ‘sword’. ‘Pen’ here means obviously not only pen but everything that we write with; even a keyboard. And, it does not represent the tools alone but the masters of the tools as well; means the writers. In still broader terms, it may even represent the intellectuals; those who hold their authority (if any), based on knowledge and education. And, what is ‘sword’? Obviously, opposite to what ‘pen’ means – authority and power not mainly derived from writing or knowledge or education but from social, legal or religious rank or status. It doesn’t mean that the bearers of such authority are uneducated; they may be educated, but education is not a necessity for their authority and neither is wisdom. Some political and religious leaders and efficient businessmen may be counted in this category. It may even mean military authority or might; that is what ‘sword’ meant during the old times.

Now, only after the definitions of the terms ‘pen’ and ‘sword’ you might have sided with me. However, to make sure you truly and completely do that, I have some more arguments to share. Keeping in mind the above definitions, what are the roles and responsibilities of ‘pen’ bearing and ‘sword’ bearing individuals? The pen bearers – the writers and intellectuals, are strange beings; doubtful in their ideas and dubious in their nature; not satisfied with the status-quo; always complaining and giving weird ideas about improving things. Sometimes they even raise questions about religious beliefs. Many of them are not even aware of their own conditions, like they never comb their hair or do not notice that their cloth is not properly pressed, yet they know of others, their troubles, problems and their grief. And, what do people think about them? They consider them worthless. They think what they talk about has nothing to do with the actual world where the status and dignity are measured through a person’s wealth, strong religious beliefs and power.

And what do these writers and intellectuals talk about? They talk about ‘feminine’ concepts like peace, tranquility, flowers and spring; they even come up with poetry, listen to music or get indulged in evil artist pleasures. They, sometimes, want to change the world according to their ideas! If, God forbid, they are able to do so, can there be any adventure without wars, clashes and troubles? On the other hand, can you call them mighty if they talk about butterflies and roses?

Take the example of the ‘sword’ bearing individuals. They are powerful, which in itself is authority and legitimacy; they don’t need to get others’ approval for that. They are always sure about themselves and what they do – even they have the potential to turn their lies in truths by standing firm on them. They are disciplined and properly dressed and most importantly reliable and easy to predict as they continue their journey on a straight line towards a predefined destination. They hate change and don’t want to change the world. Why should they do it, as it is what it is! Doesn’t the status quo further strengthen them and their position? And just observe the prestige and status they enjoy within the people. The same people who are dodged, dominated and ruled by them, like them and, in certain cases, even worship them. If it is not might, what do you call it?

If you are still not convinced, just check who wins if they both have to confront each other. In such occasions, the pen is so powerless that it cannot defend itself. It can be beaten, abducted and even killed. Law cannot save it; neither can justice. It is so helpless that the people for whom it has been making every effort, don’t do anything. And, this should be enough to terrify you and make you believe that it is ‘sword’ that is mightier not the poor ‘pen’.

Sajjad Hussain

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