Friday, April 30, 2010


Recently an animation movie called “The Tale of Despereaux” was up on HBO. Story of a un-mouse-ly mouse who reads books instead of eating them, who’s not timid or afraid of anything, even cats, and dreams to be a Knight who saves a Princess - straight out of the story book he reads!

Don’t stories of Knights and Princesses always make us feel that we are missing something in life? The closest knights we come across are Sir Sean Connery and Sir Ben Kingsley ;-) bestowed knighthood by Her Majesty. Wonder how the real knights might feel in their graves! Surely some might have tried to come out of their deep lumber to avenge this ‘insult’.

We just see brave men in movies these days. Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Troy, King Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven, etc, etc. Fiction it may seem, but there were brave men who existed in past. History is full of fine examples of men who were known and respected, in their times, for their bravery, courage, loyalty, chivalry. Every nation, every religion, every race, every society had them - from the Crusaders to the Kshatriyas, from the Bedouin and Moorish knights to the Oriental Samurais. These were the people who inspired others. They did things which seem impossible, outrageously crazy. They pledged undying loyalty. Even died defending the values they stood by. And it was not just bravery in the battlefields which made them famous. They were respected even among the enemies. Some examples:

Achilles, moved by Priam's actions and following his mother's orders sent by Zeus, returns Hector's body, and promises Priam a truce of twelve days to allow the Trojans to perform funeral rites for Hector. (More on wiki here )

The armies of Saladin engaged in combat with the army of King Richard I of England at the Battle of Arsuf on September 7, 1191, at which Saladin was defeated. All attempts made by Richard the Lionheart to re-take Jerusalem failed. However, Saladin's relationship with Richard was one of chivalrous mutual respect as well as military rivalry. When Richard became ill with fever, Saladin offered the services of his personal physician. Saladin also sent him fresh fruit with snow, to chill the drink, as treatment. At Arsuf, when Richard lost his horse, Saladin sent him two replacements. (More on wiki here )

Examples are countless, some legends, some fairy-tales, some a part of well documented history. They did exist in the “good old days”, at least few of them if not all.

Alas, they don’t make such men any longer. Do they? We just have thugs and thieves these days. War mongers, greedy, sleazy men - all wanting just power and money.

A modern day knight – what would he be like?? Do we need such an awe-inspiring figure?? Has the time arrived of a “Second Coming”?? Would he be received with open arms?? Would he be a he or a she ;) ?? Could there be respect and honor even among the enemies today??

Or would he be just a hero in some animation movie or a video game, or some actor who would be called ‘Sir’??


  1. The real heroes are the same now as they were then - ordinary people who live their lives with kindness towards themselves and others.

    There will always be BIG men and women to do the things that get recorded as history, but those things wouldn't happen without the "little - ordinary" people who do the actual work.

  2. You see, there are no knights or heroes like they were before. But you cannot compare them, for an example, take Sachin Tendulkar, he is not a king but people compare him with even the Almighty. I guess, then after 10 or 20 years, your daughter will be watching a movie with her friends on Sachin Tendulkar.

  3. Thanks merrymusing

    I agree that you cannot compare different 'ages', the contexts and the heroes. But don't you think that, we need good people, who can steer the course of our 'history-in-the-making'? Although, I have my reservations about Anna Hazare and his teams' activities in recent times but I wouldn't mind categorizing him as a modern day knight!

    Sachin Tendulkar!?! Once upon a time, I revered him for his nationalist sentiments and his pride towards nation. But of-late, he's fallen to disgrace after selling off his 'gifted' Ferrari Modena! Statistics may make him 'master-blaster' - but certainly not a better person!

    People who 'worship' him or Amitabh for that matter or any other celebrities, are nothing but fools!!!