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  The Oxford dictionary defines action as “the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim”. The Sun shines, therefore it is.  It is the harbinger of day.  It is clearly distinguished by its ability to transform night into day.  How is the position of a mother determined in society?  Mother is someone who would not only give birth to a child, but also nurture her and shower uncompromised and selfless love on her while undergoing the trials and tribulations of life herself.  She does not have to tell her child time and again that she loves her.  Marriage survives on trust; the husband and wife do not need to profess their love to each other all the time.  The infuriated look of a school principal can make the most garrulous of students fall in line.  The approving smile of a father while teaching a child how to ride a bicycle is enough to encourage him to learn it faster.  Staying calm in moments of adversity is an example of action.  It is much better than constantly complaining.  A soldier is not respected for the uniform he dons; he is known for his undiminished love and sacrifice for his nation.  He does not need to go around beating his chest to prove his patriotism.  It is evident in his sense of duty.  In sports, the team that actually claims the trophy is respected the most, not the team that makes the tallest of promises to do it.
   The subjects mentioned above are clearly defined by their activity that gives them a distinct identity.  Natural phenomena like rainfall and sunrise do not speak the language of human beings per se, yet they have shaped our lives since our existence and continue to do so.  Neither do the carnivorous animals or poisonous reptiles, yet man is always alive to the threat posed by them.  Many a time parents or teachers do not actually need to articulate their joy or annoyance with harsh words, but rely on facial expressions to convey the same.  The inhabitants of the world are characterised by action.  Thus it is action – be it on part of human beings or animals or natural phenomena that has driven the world since time immemorial.  The world is forever in search of evidence and action provides that exactly.
  Broadly, human beings can be classified into two categories – those who talk and those who walk the talk.  It is much tougher to translate a sermon into action than to sermonise.  The ability to utter and write words simply forms a part of communication, but the ability to transform the words into activity involves an assiduously crafted amalgam of intellect, wisdom, far-sightedness and physical exercise.  Words promise hope, but action lends credibility to them.  Words are intangible, but actions are not only tangible, but actions are not only tangible, but actions are not only tangible and conspicuous but contagious also.  The effect of words may be lost in a few hours, but the effect of action lingers on.  Words may remain unsaid or unwritten or may at times be said or written without being really meaning them but action cannot deceive in the long run.  Most importantly, words may or may not win a person’s trust, but affirmative action would surely do.  That is why history – contemporary as well as modern – bestows the highest esteem on people who led through their actions.  Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and others of their ilk were men who not only acted rationally, but also single – handedly flagged off revolutions that altered the history of their respective countries and the world forever.  One of the finest examples of action being superior to mere words is the renunciation of violence by King Ashoka after the Kalinga War.  Had he stood on a podium and merely promised to abjure violence, his tears would have been dismissed as those of a crocodile and history would not have made him an epitome of humanity and compassion.  His greatness lies in the fact that he truly abjured violence thereafter and devoted himself to the cause of his people.
    A parent who teaches his child to shun smoking, but indulges in it himself can hardly expect himself to be taken seriously by his child.  Practise what you preach, as the saying goes.  If one aspires to lead, then he has to be a role model worth emulating.  There is a reason why individuals in positions of power and authority are also among the most closely scrutinised.  Successful leaders believe in being the change they themselves want to see in others.  A leader may be an orator par excellence and his oratory may win him legions of followers.  However, if he is less of a man of action and more of a rhetorical flourish, he may not be able to capture the attention for long and sooner rather than later his infirmities would stand exposed before the whole world.  The metamorphosis of the barrister Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would have been impossible, had it not been for his action that illustrated his firm and unshakeable belief in the virtue of relentless struggle for truth by being non-violent (Satyagraha).  His action rallied the entire country behind him irrespective of barriers of caste, creed or language.  Great men live in public memory through their deeds. People may forget their speeches, but their legacies are kept alive through what they did for the society, that is, by their actions.
   For institutions like democracy and its attributes like freedom to choose and transparency to hold, it is imperative for all those who value and cherish them to put in persistent and coherent efforts to make sure that over a period of time these words do not end up as a travesty.  In democracies across the globe, people vote for those leaders who would mitigate their problems by facilitating their well-being as agents of change.  If they deliver the goods as promised, their aura is strengthened.  If they turn up to canvass for votes next time, their candidature alone would be enough to set the vote register ringing.  Failure to deliver on the promises would result in loss for them in the next elections.  The voter neither forget nor forgives a leader who reneges on his pre-poll promises or betrays him.  Posturing may be appealing, even beneficial, in the short run, but it is definitely impossible to do for a long time. No wold can stay clothed in sheep’s clothing for perpetuity.
    In today’s era of instantaneous gratification where memory is fickle, the concept of action assumes greater significance.  Those in service and hospitality sector need to constantly receive feedback from their customers about the quality of services they provide.  This would enable them to build what management professors call `customer loyalty’.  Engaging in lip service about providing the best of facilities would not fetch customers but following up their promises would do.  Similarly, political leadership too cannot afford to stay insulated once votes are bagged.  It is essential to keep its ears to the ground to stay updated on the popular mood. Merely announcing schemes on cleanliness or poverty alleviation or education would not impress enlightened voters. As societies across the world go on becoming more and more egalitarian in character and the difference between a leader and follower goes on lessening, people would expect their leaders to be more  humane and sympathetic towards their concerns.  They would expect those in the higher echelons to sweep the streets, travel in crowded buses and live in dingy houses to feel the pain of the regular struggle ordinary man undergoes on the streets.  A government that claims to be pro-poor cannot afford its own ministers to travel by air all the time.  Hence to be seen as pro-poor, it truly has to live the life of a poor man and not for a day or photogenic purpose, but on a sustained basis and device polices accordingly.  In the same vein, talking about development in one breath and engaging in politics of hatred in the other certainly does not send the right message to the electorate.  In emergency situations too, people look up to those who can deliver remedies and relief measures.  Even silence, otherwise a golden virtue in such circumstances, can be misleading, Staying silent can be perceived as complicity or inefficiency or both.
   To sum up, in order to make words retain their meaning, it is important to keep proving them true through action. Action is that much needed messenger through which the message of optimism must be transmitted and made visible.  Words and action must match each other.  Tall claims without action are hollow.  True achievers in life talk less and work more. They believe in making their actions speak for them.  And not only do actions speak louder, but they speak a language also that is lucid and easy for everyone to understand.  So, let’s raise a toast to action!.

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