prominent among the urges that inspire and drive a person in life, is the urge to be a somebody. It is quite human, especially in the early stages of life, to want to do something to win laurels and admiration of all around. There's a partial through- the very process of becoming a somebody may subtly reduce you to a nobody.
     American poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in obscurity, has an interesting poem on this theme."I'm nobody!" she declares, with apparent pride.'
          "Who are you?
            Are you nobody,too?"
            Why should anybody be happy about being nobody? The poem explains:
            "How dreary to be somebody!
             How public, like a frog
             To tell your name the livelong day
             To an admiring bog!"
           The word 'bog' is significant. When you become a somebody, you invite adulation: this then begins to bog you down. The moment you think you have arrived, you begin to stagnate,or,worse, your down slide begins. An endless list of writers, artists, sportsmen, this pattern of personal history.
          To sustain your development in absolute terms, to become a true somebody, it is important to remain a temporal nobody. Even if destiny makes you a temporal somebody, you should be able to see yourself as merely an agent of a superior power; no more. This requires an exercise of will. you have to constantly watch out and talk to yourself morning and evening. Rahim, the Hindi poet, was a pious man, always keen to help the needy. He made no noise about it, but his fame kept spreading. When praised by people, Rahim would shrink back in discomfort. He wrote a couplet on this.
           "Denewala aur hai, bhejat woh din-rain.
           Log bharam hum par kare, neeche howat rain."
           "The Giver is someone else; He showers His gifts through day and night. People mistake and extol me. My eyes, abashed, are lowered!"
               In more recent times Gandhiji, perhaps, is one who assiduously brushed aside adulation to remain a free 'nobody'. At the Congress session when he, the star of the session, stunned everybody by cleaning up the latrines, his act was calculated to purge Congress workers of their false sense of status, and so to return the movement to its down-to-earth roots. The point of guarding against becoming a self-defeating somebody applies to the upbringing of children as well. Doting parents often stunt the natural growth of their children through excessive adulation. Commonplace acts and utterances of the child are praised and quoted beyond reason. Talent that otherwise might have flowered under proper training, is lauded to the extent of killing it.
             John Stuart Mill's education and training began very early. At an age when many kids can barely lisp a few words, he had learnt enough Greek and Latin to read the classic in the original. Before he was five he had read more than what many scholars normally read in their career. Did this make the child John feel heady? No! Because, he tells us, his father(who was also his tutor) always made him believe that there was nothing extraordinary about his achievement: that he was doing only what anybody is capable of doing. Mill was made to believe that other boys of his age had, in fact, grossly underestimated their capabilities and were wasting their early years striving for too little.
         The sequence of somebody-nobody holds true, in a way, in respect of institutions and nations as well. C Northcote Parkinson, enunciation one of his famous laws, has tried to read  this pattern in the case of great empires worldwide. He connects the raising of imposing palace to the beginning of the empire's decline.

K S Ram