Its meaning: ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is very well-known saying which is designed to stir people up to greater unity.
It means ‘it is better to stick together’. We all know that unity is strength. Unity is of great value in every walk of life. If there is unity among people then their strength increases. On the other hand, their strength decreases if there is disunity or conflict among them.
The words stand and fall here are metaphorical. The phrase means is that we will succeed (or ‘stand’) when united and fail (or ‘fall’) when divided.
A group of people or an organisation of people is much more powerful and can achieve great accomplishments, if they:
- act as a group,
- collaborate with each other,
- for mutual benefits,
- have a common purpose,
- move towards a common goal.
So, the proverb:
- Emphasizes the importance of unity.
- Uses a metaphor of standing to mean success.
- Uses a metaphor of falling to mean failure.
- States that success depends on unity.
- States that failure comes from divisions.
Thus, it means that ‘if we all support each other our goals will succeed, but if we try to act alone without the support of other people, then we are less likely to succeed’.
Explanation: A single man cannot do everything. Many men together can easily perform a difficult job. We know the story of the Farmer and his quarrelling sons. The sons could easily break a single piece of stick. But when several sticks were made into a bundle none of them was able to break it. The sons understood the value of unity and gave up their quarrels. Unity is strength, disunity is weakness. Hence, we should unite with our fellow humans.
When we unite with other people for a common aim, all of our pooled resources can amount to something much more powerful and impressive than if everyone attempted to fight for their aim in their own way, just using their own resources.
Peace comes from overcoming our differences. If we divide ourselves against our fellow humans and descend into infighting over petty issues, we will ultimately damage ourselves and others – we will ‘fall’. If we want to succeed and live peaceful and prosperous lives, it is crucial to overcome any perceived differences that we have with other people and to learn to live as one community.
This proverb is so effective because it relies on a simple yet powerful juxtaposition of two pairs of opposing terms: stand and fall, and united and divided.
Relevance of the above proverb is discussed below:
Family: If the members of a family take care of each other and stay united, they live happily. When the members of a family quarrel among themselves, the peace of the family is disturbed.
Friendship: When it comes to friendships, for example, we feel much better when we are being supported by our friends.
Society: If the different sections of the people in society fall out, there is a social disorder. When the people in a society live together in peace, social progress quickens. This proverb reminds us to be a caring and good neighbor. Good neighbors make up a good society.
Nation: Unity brings wealth and prosperity to a nation. A nation cannot prosper if the people are not united. It should be the duty of all people to sink their petty differences and come together. Disunity should always be discouraged. A country torn by strife becomes weak and cannot resist a foreign enemy. A nation becomes stronger when the citizens of a nation stand together. On the other hand, it becomes weak when the citizens fight over trival issues.
Emotional relevance. When other people support us, we can surmount all of life’s challenges. If you are fighting a cause all by yourself, it can be easier to become exhausted or discouraged in the fact of adversity. However, with other people around you, all cheering you on (as you do the same for them) you can feel ready for anything that life may throw at you.
In the workplace. Working as a group means we get our work done more effectively. Teamwork is of immense importance for success, both at the individual level and at the organizational level.
Group activity. From environmental protests to charity fundraising, we achieve our goals better when we work together.
Mass movements: It can also be applied to mass movements such as non violent protests. If one single person protests against an unjust state of affairs in their society, they will be less impactful than if thousands of people show up for a mass protest, supporting and uniting with each other.
Conclusion: Union is strength. Division weakens and ruins a country. Hence, we should all try our best to stay together and develop the feelings of unity and harmony so that we can support other people in their struggles for their rights.