Mandi Gobind Garh is a medium town of Punjab known for its steel industry. The entrepreneurship of this place is appreciated all over the country. The industry here is engaged in almost all activities related to steel. I had the opportunity of visiting this town several times when I was posted in the department of steel during 1991-96. On one such visit, I observed a very interesting process of breaking steel ingots (big steel blocks coming directly from the steel plants). In this process, steel ingots were first marked by a chisel and then hammered at a line around the periphery of the ingot from where it was to be broken. This was normally done in the evening and the ingot was then left open during the night. In the morning, the portion to be broken was hammered repeatedly. During the course of this process, the ingot used to break in one of the hammerings. The beauty of the operation was that the ingot broke in one hammering only, but it was not certain in which one would it happen.
It could be the fifth or the tenth or even the seventy-fifth. I was told that in some rare cases it happened in the first hammering also. Even with my mechanical engineering background, I could not clearly understand the science of this process. But certainly, I tried to give it a philosophical meaning. The message I got from this was that when we have a goal before us, our duty is to proceed in the direction of its achievement. If we strive with full sincerity and zeal, the goal would certainly be achieved. It is a different matter whether it is achieved after one failure or more than one failure. If we achieve our target after a few failures, it would not be proper to say that the failures before success had no purpose. In a way, each failure is a step towards success provided we don’t give up after failure.
I often compare this process with our freedom struggle, which began in the year 1857. To begin with, it was felt that independence was just round the corner but it was not to be so. It took us 90 years after that to get freedom. In the meantime, thousands gave up their lives for its sake. But to say that their sacrifice had no role in achieving this freedom would be totally wrong. In fact, each sacrifice was a definite step in the direction of freedom and should be acknowledged with gratefulness. Let us live life in this spirit and if we do so, we enjoy our failures too, as much as we do our successes.