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Don Quixotes Among Us

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Don Quixote by Pablo Picasso, circa 1955

Don Quixote, written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes (1547 – 1616), is considered by many to be one of the greatest novels ever penned. The main protagonist is an older gentleman living in the countryside in Spain who has read every book on the daring exploits of the knights of the yesteryears. He is so obsessed by the brave and chivalrous knights that he fancies himself to be one of them. One day he dons an armor, gets himself a lance and sets off on his horse to defend the weak and destroy the oppressors. He is accompanied on this mission by his sidekick Sancho Panza who is riding a donkey. Together they fight evil creatures, one of which happens to be actually a windmill.

It is this character Don Quixote that has given the English language the word quixotic that means unrealistic or foolhardy. One reason for the greatness of this book is its timelessness and universality. At every point in history, and everywhere, there is a Don Quixote amongst us.

I was reminded of the book as I saw the umpteenth post on facebook on the enthusiasm generated by Imran Khan’s announcement that we would build the Diamir Bhasha dam by donations from Pakistanis. Now given that it is not even certain that this is the right way forward for addressing the water and power shortage in Pakistan, an attempt to build a $14 billion........

© Newsline Magazine