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Unity is Strength

The family’s produce was in high demand, making them a beacon of success in the village
12:00 AM Jun 09, 2024 IST | Dr. Showkat Rashid Wani
unity is strength

“A house divided against itself cannot stand” is a profound statement often attributed to Abraham Lincoln. This phrase underscores the importance of unity within a group or community. When there is internal division, conflict, or discord, it weakens the foundation and makes it difficult for the entity to thrive or even survive.


Unity fosters strength, stability, and resilience, enabling individuals or groups to face challenges together and achieve common goals. It serves as a reminder of the necessity of harmony, cooperation, and mutual respect in maintaining the integrity and well-being of any organization, family, or society.


In a beautiful village of Handwara lived Abdul Razaq, a respected headman. He was blessed with a good-natured wife, Saleema, and a healthy one-year-old son. Their happiness seemed unbreakable until tragedy struck; Saleema died of a fever, leaving Abdul Razaq and his son in deep sorrow. Every night, Abdul Razaq walked up and down the courtyard with his weeping son on his shoulder. In desperation, he found a way to soothe the child by wrapping him in one of Saleema’s cloths, which carried her scent, calming the boy to sleep.


The villagers, seeing his grief, persuaded Abdul Razaq to remarry, for his son’s sake and his own. Fortunately, his second wife, Nayeema, was kind-hearted and embraced the motherless boy as her own. She soon bore Abdul Razaq two more sons, Owais and Shahid.


Her love for her stepson was so profound and equal that the younger boys never knew he was not their full brother, and the villagers soon forgot as well. Under Abdul Razaq’s guidance, the family’s farm became the most prosperous in the district. They grew staple crops, spices, vegetables, and apples, and raised cows, goats, and chickens.


They even had a herb garden managed by Nayeema. The family’s produce was in high demand, making them a beacon of success in the village. When Abdul Razaq passed away, the eldest son took over as head of the household. He continued his father’s work with diligence and wisdom, ensuring their prosperity.


As the family flourished, the jealousy of the villagers grew. The less successful neighbours, particularly the second-most prosperous villager, could not bear to see the family’s happiness. They conspired to sow discord by reminding the younger brothers of their eldest sibling’s status as their step-brother. The younger brothers, shocked and confused, confronted their mother. “How do we stop him from dispossessing us? We’ll have to kill him,” they said in anger. Nayeema, knowing her eldest son’s integrity, assured them, “Leave it to me.”


Believing his mother distrusted him, the eldest son was heartbroken. He lost his appetite and strength, eventually taking to his bed, surviving on thin gruel. His health deteriorated as he mourned the perceived loss of his mother’s trust. Meanwhile, the villagers took advantage of his weakness, encroaching on the family’s land and even bribing the patwari, the keeper of land records, to legalize their theft.

The younger brothers, witnessing the encroachment and unable to defend their property, regretted their actions. They confessed their mistake to their mother. “Mother, we made a big mistake,” they said. “If our elder brother were up and about, nobody would have dared to harm us.” Nayeema’s silence spoke volumes, her heart heavy with disappointment. She talked to her elder son of the developments. There were tears of sincere repentance in her eyes of casting doubts on the integrity of her elder son.

The kind words of the mother served as an antidote for the wounds of the elder son . He quickly regained his strength and confronted the villagers, demanding the removal of the wall they had built in the courtyard. The villagers, frightened, complied immediately. He then inspected the fields and reclaimed their land from the intruders, who begged for forgiveness. A messenger was sent to the patwari to stop any changes to the land records. The younger brothers fell at their elder brother’s feet, begging for forgiveness.

He, embodying magnanimity, patted their heads in silent forgiveness. Their mother, however, wept as she looked at her sons, realizing how close jealousy had come to destroying their family. With the eldest son’s leadership restored, the family’s prosperity returned. He initiated new farming techniques and diversified their produce, further cementing their reputation in the district.

The younger brothers, now wiser and more united, worked alongside him, ensuring the farm’s success. Nayeema, seeing her family thriving again, found peace. Years passed, and the family faced another challenge. A severe drought threatened their crops and livestock. The eldest son, showing resilience and foresight, led the efforts to dig a new well and implement water-saving techniques.

The entire family worked tirelessly, and with the cooperation of the villagers, they managed to save enough water to sustain their farm. Their unity and determination turned the potential disaster into a triumph, reinforcing the strength of their bond. The family’s reputation grew, and they became a symbol of unity and resilience in the village.

The eldest son married and had children of his own, teaching them the values of hard work, trust, and love that had sustained their family. The younger brothers also married and started families, ensuring that the bond between them remained strong. As Nayeema grew older, she gathered her family and shared the story of their past, the trials they had faced, and the lessons they had learned.

She emphasized the importance of trust and unity, warning them against the destructive power of jealousy and mistrust. Her words left a lasting impact, ensuring that future generations would remember and uphold the values that had made their family strong. This extended tale of Abdul Razaq’s family highlights the enduring power of love, trust, and unity in overcoming adversity and achieving prosperity. It serves as a reminder of the strength of familial bonds and the importance of safeguarding them against internal and external threats.

From a family perspective, unity against jealousy and external aggression involves fostering a strong bond among family members and creating a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Here are some family-specific strategies:

Build Strong Relationships: Encourage open communication, trust, and mutual support among family members. Spend quality time together, engage in activities that promote bonding, and celebrate each other’s achievements.

Promote Equality: Treat all family members equally and avoid favouritism. Ensure that each individual’s needs and contributions are recognized and valued within the family unit.

Address Jealousy Promptly: Be vigilant for signs of jealousy or resentment among family members and address any issues promptly and constructively. Encourage empathy and understanding, and help individuals navigate their emotions in healthy ways.

Set Clear Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries within the family regarding acceptable behaviour and conflict resolution. Teach family members how to express themselves respectfully and resolve disagreements peacefully.

Lead by Example: Parents and older family members should lead by example by demonstrating positive behaviours, such as cooperation, empathy, and forgiveness. Children often model their behaviour after their parents, so setting a good example is crucial.

Encourage Individual Growth: Support each family member’s personal growth and development. Encourage them to pursue their interests, goals, and aspirations while providing guidance and encouragement along the way.

Create a United Front: Present a united front as a family when facing external challenges or aggression. Support each other in times of adversity and work together to overcome obstacles.

Celebrate Successes Together: Celebrate family achievements and milestones together as a unit. Recognize each member’s contributions and reinforce the idea that the family succeeds when everyone works together.

Stay Connected: Maintain strong connections with extended family members and relatives. Family gatherings, reunions, and traditions can help strengthen family ties and provide a sense of belonging and support.

Seek Professional Help if Needed: If family conflicts or issues become overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a counsellor or therapist. Professional guidance can provide valuable insights and strategies for resolving family issues and strengthening relationships.


Dr Showkat Rashid Wani is Senior Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir