Reverse Publicity. By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan


Abdullah & Co. Ltd. was a cigarette company that was started in London in 1902. One of its cigarette brands was called Abdulla, and it was very popular. How it became so famous is a very interesting story. Once, some people associated with the company met with the famous British writer George Bernard Shaw (d. 1950) and requested him to write something about their cigarette. Shaw replied saying that he was against smoking. So, how, he asked, could he heed their request? The men said to him to write precisely that! Shaw got angry. In his anger, he picked a piece of paper and on it wrote:
Don’t smoke, even Abdulla.
The company folks published these words of Shaw’s in the newspaper! When people read this, it led to a soaring in the popularity and sales of Abdulla cigarettes! People started flocking to shops selling the cigarette, so much so that for a time it became the largest-selling brand, raking in for the company huge profits!
The lesson one can draw from this is that if the result of what you say will turn out to be just the opposite of what you intend, it is better that you stay quiet. Sometimes, you can attain your goal in a much better way by remaining silent than by speaking. The main thing is to achieve your goal, rather than to speak.
In this world, just as it is necessary sometimes to speak, it is also sometimes necessary to remain silent. It is a test of one’s wisdom to know when one should speak and when one should not. One should gauge the situation, and, accordingly, should act, keeping in mind the consequences. Only that action is proper that produces the proper results.

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