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John James Ingalls

About The Author

John James Ingalls was born in Middleton, Massachusetts, on December 29, 1833. He graduated from Williams College in 1855. Foreshadowing his later reputation as a wit, his commencement oration, entitled "Mummy Life," was a satire of college life. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1857. Moving to Kansas Territory, Ingalls settled in Atchison in 1860. He joined the anti-slavery forces and worked to make Kansas a free state. He was a member of the Wyandotte constitutional convention in 1859 and is reputed to have coined the state motto, Ad Astra per Aspera.

When Kansas was admitted to the Union in 1861, he became secretary of the first state Senate and state senator in 1862. During the Civil War he served as judge advocate in the Kansas militia. As an editor of the Atchison newspaper, Freedom's Champion, for three years, he won a national reputation for a series of magazine articles. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1873, succeeding Samuel C. Pomeroy, Ingalls served for 18 years. He supported labor and agriculture against monopolies. He also favored the Interstate Commerce Act and the Pendleton Civil Service Act. Ingalls rejected the nomination of James Campbell Matthews to the recorder of deeds in 1886. Ingalls claimed that his rejection was because of Matthews' non-residency of Washington, D.C.; however, journalists[who?] argued that his rejection was racially based.

In 1887 Ingalls was elected President pro tempore of the Senate. Praised throughout his life for his keen sarcasm and quick wit, John James Ingalls died in Las Vegas, New Mexico on August 16, 1900. He was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Atchison.


About The Poem

There is a famous idiom, “Make hay while the sun shines”, that is, to make the best use of opportunity while it is available. This is what the inspirational poem “Opportunity” by John James Ingalls centres around. This poem on “Opportunity,” is a gem sufficient in itself to immortalize the author.

The poem, “Opportunity” is an ode that speaks about the transient and fleeting nature of opportunity. An opportunity well-utilized has the power to shape our destiny. Procrastination does not help. The world today is an intensively competitive place. Successful persons are the ones who make the best use of the opportunity that comes their way. One should be ready to make the most of on an opportunity, seize the day and take advantage of favourable circumstances when the time is right. The poet personifies Opportunity and speaks of it as though it is a human entity.


by:  John James Ingalls

Master of human destinies am I;

Fame, love and fortune on my footsteps wait.

Cities and fields I walk. I penetrate

Deserts and seas remote, and, passing by

Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late,

I knock unbidden once at every gate.


If sleeping, wake; if feasting, rise, before I turn away. It is the hour of fate,

And they who follow me reach every state

Mortals desire, and conquer every foe

Save death; but those who hesitate

Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,

Seek me in vain, and uselessly implore.

I answer not, and I return no more.


Transcreated by
'Ambar' Kharbanda

मैं हूँ मौक़ा, मैं हूँ अवसर, तुम भी मेरी पहचान करो
मैं क़िस्मत हूँ, मैं हूँ शोहरत, मुझसे यूँ मत अनजान बनो
मैं तो हर जगह पहुँचता हूँ, हर दर पर दस्तक देता हूँ
चाहे हो छोटी या हो बड़ी, हर मुश्किल का हल देता हूँ 
जो मुझको पहचानते हैं वो कामयाब हो जाते हैं 
अपने ही हाथों से वो फिर अपनी क़िस्मत लिख पाते हैं 

इससे पहले मैं चल दूँ,  तुम उठ बैठो, समझो मुझको 
उपयोग करो मेरा जी भर, जाने ही न दो रोको मुझको
जो मेरी बात समझते हैं,  उनको सब कुछ मिल सकता है
आसान है हर मुश्किल उनकी आसान सफ़र है, रस्ता है 
(जो मेरी बात समझते हैं,  उनको सब कुछ मिल सकता है)

लेकिन जो झिझक दिखाते हैं वो उलझन में पड़ जाते हैं 
इक बार जो मौक़ा खो जाए, वो जीवन भर पछताते हैं 

मैं सब का साथ निभाता हूँ,  मैं सबके ही काम आता हूँ
लेकिन एक बार चला जाऊँ तो मुश्किल से हाथ आता हूँ। 
मैं हूँ मौक़ा, मैं हूँ अवसर, तुम भी मेरी पहचान करो
मैं क़िस्मत हूँ, मैं हूँ शोहरत, मुझसे यूँ मत अनजान बनो
(मैं हूँ मौक़ा, मैं हूँ अवसर, तुम भी मेरी पहचान करो)

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