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The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

by Dr Surya Kumar Daimari  
8/22/2014 / Writing

"The Pen is Mightier than the Sword"

By Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari

"The pen is mightier than the sword"is a metonymic phrase which was first coined by an English author named Edward Blwer Lytton in 1839. Of course, Mr. Lytton spoke this verse in a most special circumstance in a play in a London Theatre on March 1839 through the voice of Cardinal Richelleu. The name of the play was "Richellew or the Conspiracy."The full verse goes like this,-
"True, This-
Beneath the rule of men-
Entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Behold, the archenchanters
Wand ! itself is nothing !
But taking sorcery from
The masterhand
To paralyse the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth
Breathless !- Take away the sword-
States can be saved without it."

The simple paraphrase of the verse will go like this,
It seems true that beneath the rule of men everything is great. But any way the pen is mightier than the sword. Look, the arch-magician's stick. It is nothing in itself, when you take away the sorcery (i.e., the magic done with the help of the evil spirit) from the hand of the mastereverything will go vain. In order to paralyze (destroy) the Caesar (the Roman King) and to strike the loud earth breathless (Lifeless)- it is easy just take away the sword. The state (the country) can be saved without the sword.
The meaning is obvious. The pen is more powerful than the military power of the king. Here the Caesar refers to the power of the Roman Empire. "Two thousand years ago, the world was ruled by Rome, from England to Africa and from Syria to Spain, one in every four on earth lived and died under Roman Law. The Roman Empire in the first century AD mixed sophistication with brutality and could suddenly lurch from civilization, strength and power to terror, tyranny and greed." The Roman Empire, PBS. The Pride of Roman Empire dashed to ruin forever , never to rise again. The history tells us that the past Roman Empire is chattered to pieces like the pieces of stone into small nations. And the real weapon behind this carnage was perhaps the power of the pen, the Renaissance of the Age.
"The Pen is mightier than the sword"is an old old saying which is really sharper than the double-edged swordnow more powerful than AK47, yes, more powerful than a nuclear bomb.
There were similar phrases like this as has been quoted above coined by the predecessors of Lytton such as these
"The word is mightier than the sword", by Assyrian sage, Ahiquar, 500B.C.
"The tongue is mightier than the blade", by Eurides, a Greek playwright in 406B.C.
However, the ideas of these phrases are almost the same. But all of these, "the pen is mightier than the sword"- remains to be a popular one. It's like a proverb now, a wisdom quote or a phrase, a dictum and truly an epitome of truth throughout the history. The idea of the phrase is that the pen is the vehicle of human thought and ideas, the knowledge and wisdom that have helped the man to rise above all the savage conditions of the past, thus superior to the sword, i.e., violence. The sword can only destroy but the pen , i.e., the ideas can build and rebuild. The words oozing out of the pen are really powerful and precious because they are the ideas of a living human mind that can cause to life.
"The pen is mightier than the sword"is also said to be an ancient Arab proverb. In Arab country, tribal groups were too often engaged in tribal warfare against each other , destroying each other. Some of the wars lasted for 40 years even for a camel owned by one tribe drinking from the other's water and the fight went on . The same can be true to our own tribes in the North Eastern Region of India. How many often the tribal groups fought against each other , killed each other and still fighting ! This could be the vital reason why the tribal people are slacked to civilization.
"The pen is mightier than the sword",- - A sword can cause only trauma in someone's heart and in someone's society. But the pen can cause solace in someone's heart and a solace in the entire society.
The pen is a symbolic of the vehicle of literature and learning . A good literature , on the other hand , is the store house of knowledge and wisdom that promote the growth of the human mind and thus changes the whole society. Books, "the result of the pen"- can last for thousands of years. For example, the Holy Bible is the most influential book that has ever been published which can give peace to the heart, knowledge to the mind and wisdom to your conscience. A piece of good writing can become a piece of good literature . Literature is not only a history of mankind but also a creation of beauty and truth , a creation of human passion, emotion, love, joy, sorrow, anger, sympathy etc. Literature is a good vehicle of transmitting our ideas and knowledge from generation to generation . Literature is also essentially an art through which an artist paints the whole society with different colors. It reflects the social life, art and culture, the aspirations of a nation in a particular period. Thus it becomes the mirror of the very spirit of the age.
"It is the literature of a nation that we find the history of its life and the motives of its deeds." Says O.M. Myers.
A good literature knows no national boundary and the boundary of the age. It often transcends both and becomes the literature of all age.
"Social and cultural progress develops normally when the hands teach the head, after which the head now grown more wise teaches the hands and the wise hands once again , this time even more effectually, promote the growth of the mind." Said Maxim Gorky
Literature is thus an essential part of a human society. It is the backbone of a society without which the society remains a cripple without any shape and without any identity. A revolution in literature can change the entire face of the society.

The Renaissance in Europe.

The word, "Renaissance" refers to "The Revival of Learning , which occurred during the age of Queen Elizabeth I in the fifteen century in entire Europe when the Roman Empire was dominant. The phrase, "revival of learning" , refers to the re-awakening of the people in the field of classical literature and learning, art and culture, scientific discoveries , music and humanitarian. People showed their interest in the rediscovery of Greek and Roman literature. The spirit of renaissance brought in the minds of the people a passion for knowledge and a spirit of daring adventures. People became optimistic to achieve great things by using their magnificent potentials. During this period, the arts of painting , sculpture, architecture and literature reached to a high flowering position than any other period in the history of the world civilization . The spirit of renaissance brought a new era in every sphere of life in whole Europe. Basically, the discovery of printing , the geographical discoveries and scientific advancement have changed the entire face of the English way of life . The discovering of printing created a new avenue to great literatures. People began to write freely with generous spirit which gave birth to many great literatures like that of Shakespeare, Bacon, Mantaigne and Erasmas.


"The pen is mightier than the sword",- should be the guiding principle of our life and society. The pen, what I understand, is a symbolic of a good literature. A good literature , on the other hand, means the literature that reaches the level of sophistication , both beauty and odor in the form of poetry or story, novel or history etc.. But however, sometimes pen can be misused . Three deadly weapons were demonstrated by a South Kurean intelligence officer recently. These deadly weapons looked like innocuous pens and were employed by a would be North Kurean assassin to kill a prominent pro-democracy campaigner, "Park-Sang-Hale. Sometimes pens are used in this manner in order to bring chaos in the society rather than peace. They are like deadly virus and like cancer may spread in the human society. This is not a literature in the true sense. A true literature can no way be harmful. We should always strive to create good literature to be preserved for the welfare of the human kind and for the growth of the human mind for generations to come.
Reading and writing online has become yet another popular pursuit in these modern days . It has been reported by Clifford Coonan, the Irish Times correspondent in Beijing that "almost half of Chinese adults read books in different forms and about 25 percent of readers, some 220 million people use their mobile phone to read. And almost 25 million people only use their cell phones to read books." This change can be recognized as a marvelous change all over the world. In the same way ,the mode of writing also has gone a change. The popularity of writing on line or on key board has been ever growing. Young people do not write letters on paper now a days but usually gonna write on keyboards of a computer or cell phones for an e-mail or SMS. This however doesn't mean that the pen has become outdated like an old bullock cart. The pen remains to be a symbol of vehicle of transporting the ideas of human mind to the mind of another.
Whether key board or pen in a different mode has become the greatest force ever in transforming the entire face of the whole world and defending the mankind as well.

Literature is one of the most integral part of our Christian life and ministry. We should take the privilege of it. Through this art of literature we can tell the love of Jesus and bring deliberate changes in the whole world. Young people should strife for the gift of literature. The great potential stored in them should be brought to light. For this we need a well established platform and an exposure. is such a wonderful platform where you can fully rely upon. Taste it.

Name of the Author of this article: Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari, MA,M.Ed, PGDTE,D.Min.(Doctor of Ministry)
The author is a freelance writer.
Book published: The Names of the Believers in the Bible in Types and Symbols .

Article Source: WRITERS

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