Sunday, June 7, 2009


                       The World has a weakness for people who are modest. We all love the person who belittles his own abilities and achievements. He endears himself to us by embracing mediocrity and coming down to our level. He is virtuous and noble. Had he exhorted us to come up to his level and become his equal, he would have been termed arrogant and blasphemous. It puzzles me.

                                 Isn’t being modest akin to being dishonest? And isn’t dishonesty the worst disease that afflicts mankind? What is wrong in acknowledging the fact that one is a gifted singer without looking down upon people who cannot sing? Isn’t that accepting and thanking God for a wonderful gift? We certainly don’t do justice to God for bestowing a rare gift by feigning modesty to gain acceptance in the society and feed our dark, conceited self in loneliness.

          We all despise the smooth tongued hypocrite who sings praises in our presence and becomes the exact opposite when we turn our backs to him. Worse perhaps, he despises us from deepest recesses of his heart. Similar is the person who feigns modesty. He has a glib tongue, he uses it to endear himself to us but deep down he despises the same people for being so mediocre.

                   People often misconstrue honesty with arrogance. There is a huge difference between the two. For the honest person, an attempt to feign modesty is akin to flirting with dishonesty. For the others, the lines are blurred. Whenever I said that I did not believe in modesty and that I feel that modesty promotes mediocrity, I have seen knowing glances being exchanged. Some look at me with a wry smile as if I am proud of being arrogant. Maybe I was not coherent enough, or my audience just couldn’t see the point I was trying to make.

              Maybe the list of virtues was prepared by a person who was dishonest himself. It has been drilled into us since time immemorial and has become a very indispensable evil now. Imagine a world full of honest individuals. Modesty would not find a place in our list of virtues. Modesty helps mediocrity survive. I believe that we would have gone a long way had we not been taught to feign modesty in every walk of life!

14 Grumblings:

kunwar said...

I read this post of yours with so much anger.
It just reflects what I've been through. Whenever I have been better and been open about it, there is always some cribbing. For the same reason I've been termed arrogant and high-headed and it's so very irritating. Plus the world is full of sympathy for mediocre people!

Andrews Chinnamallela said...

Really modesty is a virtue and its a rare element found elsewhere...we often look down people...but it hurts later that we have done that...For example take Susan Boyle..when she first walked onto the stage on the "Britain got talent"...everyone welcomed her with a big boo...including the judges...but later everyone were filled with awe and started to love her...
We need to respect the insight of a person and not the outer being..

Andrews Chinnamallela said...

It reals hurts a real pain to go through and takes a courage to stand it...

srikesh said...

hey ayyo... modesty might not be all that bad if you look at it in a different way..
it's not about belittling your achievements instead i would define it as being restrained or moderate in estimating own ability...and that is not being dishonest rather its being cautious in estimating ones worth...
" He has a glib tongue, he uses it to endear himself to us but deep down he despises the same people for being so mediocre".....hmmm do you mean to say that a roger fedrer or tiger woods despise other 'medicore' players???
@kunwar... yup the world is full of sympathy for medicore and thats coz ALL of us are medicore in most areas of our lives...besides genius and excellence are not born in isolation rather it is born in an ocean of medicority

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

I kind of disagree (not because I'm mediocre myself but for other reasons :p)

Not everyone around us may have had opportunities that you have, or no everyone may be born with a gene pool or intellect that you've been bestowed with. So when you are being humble, you are not embracing mediocrity, but you are actually not making the mediocre feel bad for what they don't have, or haven't achieved. The one who's gifted may not know the value of that gift they way ones who are 'not gifted' would know.

Even if you are humble and modest people would still know about your achievements, or you being a genius. the word would automatically spread, may be a bit slower that you would have liked. But then your modesty would be an added 'feather' in your cap, along with being brilliant and gifted. So you'd get an appreciation manifold.

ayyo.... said...

I am sorry..! I am terribly busy.
I will reply to all your comments in a day or two..! :)

meerasworld said...

a tough post:)

ketki said...

i think its aboutbeing polite rather than modest...

ayyo.... said...

Real Modesty is a virtue.. but it is not rare.. look around you everywhere you'll find conceited individuals feigning modesty...!

ayyo.... said...

I would not say that Roger Federer is a dishonest individual or that he hates other mediocre players.
What I meant was that if Genius can accept genius unconditionally.. then why a different yardstick when it comes to mediocre people? Why can we just be candid about things..!
Again, my rant was not against someone like Federer or AR Rehman for that matter. They are geniuses and are very unassuming by nature. Even when Rehman got the Oscars, he was his same, unassuming self.
This post is about people who are not so Humble and think highly of their abilities or are proud of their talents but feign modesty to seek acceptance from the people. It is this person who despises the mediocre deep down.
The belief that "Modesty above honesty" approach has been drilled into us since childhood and it has made liars out of all of us!

ayyo.... said...

I knew you'd disagree because you're a dimplomat as well!! :)
Still I feel that you and Sriki missed the point I was trying to make. "
'By being humble, I am not embracing mediocrity, but I make the mediocre feel better..!"
Well, this is what everybody says..! And I have mentioned this part in the post as well. It's not about making the mediocre feel better. The question is "WHY SHOULD WE LIE?!"
Even in school, the kid who was very happy or candid about topping the Class was dubbed as arrogant by most of his peers and teachers. Even if the kid turned out to be a helpful child. Whereas the child who 'embraces' mediocrity by saying Ï don't know how I topped the class.. I was pretty sure that XYZ would top this time as usual!" is the Ideal person as he is being modest.
We are expected to answer on those lines. Can the Kid not honestly say, "I wanted to top the class very badly. I was tired of seeing XYZ topping every time."

I hope I was coherent enough..!

ayyo.... said...

And lastly about Roger Federer..! He is the kind of person I was talking about. Remember what he said after he lost to Nadal in the Wimbledon?
"He (Nadal) is the worst opponent in the best court."
He was not trying to hide his disappointment about his loss nor did he go ga-ga over Nadal for the victory..!
That was the approach I was talking about..!

Siddhesh said...

That was a nice peice of argumentative para......though i agree with you but things will be different if you try to see from another perspective....anyways u r a deep thinker...

ayyo.... said...

Now, you're the second person who said that things might appear different if looked at from a different perspective... can you elaborate?!
I have said what I feel and believe in.. you seem to differ... I'd like to listen to your views...! :)