Self-reliance is the best support, best tool and, more often than not, the shortest way to success. Lord Buddha once said, “You are both friend and enemy of yourself. The heaven and the hell lie within you. It is up to you what you choose. You are your own lamp, guide and staff. Never depend on others. Be the makers of your destiny. Help yourself and the world will help you.” These lines remind us of the time-tested adage, “God helps those who helps themselves”. The Almighty has given every human being two hands to work and a mind to distinguish between good and bad. Why should one then try to walk on somebody else’s crutches?
It has also been found that those who develop the habit of depending on others lose their capabilities of doing even the small things. This happens because their body becomes lethargic, their mind lazy and their muscles want to rest all the time. Such people want someone at their beck and call all the time to fetch and carry for them. They get so used to asking for help for everything that they lose their confidence and are afraid of trying to do something themselves. They are not liked by anyone because they irritate others by asking for one thing or the other all the time.
There is a direct relationship between self-reliance and success. Studying the way of working of highly successful people shows us that they imbibed the habit of being self reliant at an early age. Dhirubhai Ambani started his business with small means but was able to create Reliance Industries-today the biggest private company in India. He managed his own affairs till his business grew so big that many professionals had to be employed to look after it. Lai Bahadur Shastri was born in a poor family. As a student he had to cross a lake to reach his school, but he never took a boat; he swam through it.
The self- reliant ways, along with other qualities took him to the position of India’s Prime Minister. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam earned his first income by collecting tamarind seeds and selling them in the market, and felt very proud. As a child he joined his cousin to collect newspaper bundles and earn some amount. He did not belong to a poor family but had an urge to do something himself-the first step towards self-reliance.
This urge one day made him a great scientist and then the President of India. Mahatma Gandhi belonged to a rich family and had adequate means all through his life. But he chose to curtail his needs and live with a small piece of cloth and on goat’s milk. The great man wanted to embrace self-reliance so that he could concentrate on the major target of mobilising people for the freedom struggle. His simplicity touched everyone and his efforts brought independence for the country.
Self-reliance should not be misunderstood by isolation, arrogance or cynicism.
It does not mean that one should remain aloof and should not seek help where it is necessary. As a matter of fact mutual help is the basis on which society is built. At times we need to seek others’ help and extend a helping hand to others who need it. A student needs guidance from his teachers, an employee needs cooperation from others, and passengers need the services of a driver. In other words, for various activities and tasks we need the services or help of others. Self-reliance does not demand that we should not take such help.
It only demands that we should not depend on others for activities and actions that we are supposed to do ourselves. A student needs guidance of his teachers but he is supposed to learn his lessons, do his homework and build the level of intelligence and knowledge to pass the exams with his own efforts and hard-work. An income earner for the family is supposed to enjoy the services available for various functions. Self-reliance for him means that he should earn enough to fulfil the needs of his family including himself. Not to seek others’ help when you need it or not to avail of the services which are at our disposal shall be foolishness not self- reliance.
Taking or seeking help because of being at some advantageous position of post, power, or self is exploitation. An honest and self-respecting person would never resort to such an action. Thus, self-reliance also brings self-respect.
Self-reliance does not stop people from helping others. It does not mean that we should do our work ourselves and tell others not to expect any help from us. On the contrary self-reliant people become helpful by nature. They are not only able to finish their own work but also offer help to others. This is because they do not find doing any work difficult or a cumbersome activity. They believe that work is worship. Therefore, self- reliant people earn a reputation of being helpful. They are admired and befriended by others.
Self-reliance is not confined to individuals and families. There are self-reliant villages, societies and nations. History tells us that before the Englishmen came to India as traders and became the rulers and exploited the country, almost each Indian village was a self-reliant unit. All the necessary items of consumption were produced in the village. There were farmers to grow cereals; pulses and fruits; weavers to make cloth; blacksmiths, tailors, cobblers and other artisans to take care of odd jobs. Milch cattle and other animals were domesticated for milk, transportation and work in the fields.
The midwives took care of the childbirth needs of pregnant women and traditional doctors called vaids or hakims treated patients. Although some facilities were absent, yet the self-sufficiency was there. Because of being self-sufficient, our villages were peaceful and prosperous before the Britishers exploited them, broke their self- reliance and impoverished them.
Self-reliant nations are generally considered that who have a food security for their population through local foodgrain production, have adequate sources to achieve the target growth of economy and has the proper means to maintain the security and integrity of the country. Lacking some of the resources like oil for power or some products does not take away from the self- sufficiency of a nation. A nation should be self-reliant in major parameters. Being self-reliant in food saves the country from hunger, famines and distress among people. Adequate defence helps the country maintain its independence.
Economic self- sufficiency maintains its growth to achieve the targets and improve the standard of living of people. Self-reliant nations not only prosper fast, but also are the most respected among nations. They dominate the regional and world politics and help other nations in many ways. In order to achieve self-reliance the nation has to make proper policies and implement them in right earnest utilising its resources and adopting modern technology.
Self-reliance is not easy to acquire. It needs some degree of sacrifice to forgo ease and comfort to gear oneself up to get on with various types of activities. It needs a great sense of discipline to follow the given or set schedule to perform those activities. Parents and other elders in the family, and teachers play a great role in making children self-reliant. Self-reliance takes a lot of hard work and endeavour but it gives back much more.