Humanity, as defined by the Oxford dictionary refers to “the quality of being humane and benevolent”. Thus humanity is nothing but the act of being helpful to our brothers and sisters in need, rather than acting as agents of devil for one’s own material gains. It is the act of tirelessly striving to give the others what they don’t have.
It is the act of giving hope to the hopeless and home to the homeless. It is also the act that takes us one step closer to an eternal bliss and peace of mind.
Why should we be humane?
As God made this earth, he gave numerous opportunities to each one of us and made us unique with special talents and abilities of our own. In the course of time, the detoriating distributive justice because of crooked grotesque men has ruined the social balance.
As a result of their clandestine ploy for self-enrichment, innocent people suffered. The tactful tricksters consolidated their wealth on the altar of innocent poor men. The situation became so worse that the poor went on getting poorer and the rich richer. If effort was not made to right the wrongs, this socio-economic difference would increase thereby creating a very distorted and unhealthy social environment.
Few individuals, however, realized that God has given few of his children more resources only so that they could be used to suffice his other children with lesser resources.
These individuals were known as humanitarians. History is replete with examples of these selfless people who have come forward with their own resources to help the needy, expecting nothing in return. It is because of them that the march of civilization is still moving forward or else we would have been burnt in our own fire of selfish greed.
Examples of people with exemplary humanitarian contribution
The world has seen many people who have done a selfless service to the needy and less privileged. Few names that cannot be overlooked are:
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta – Mother Teresa is perhaps one of the best examples of people exhibiting impeccable humanity. She was an Albanian by birth and had come to India at a very young age in her early twenties, and lived the rest of her life here in Calcutta helping the under-privileged and needy. She also found the organization known as the Missionaries of Charity which cares for people who have diseases that are a taboo all over the globe, like leprosy, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis etc.
- Bill Gates – The technological giant Bill Gates along with his wife Melinda has set up the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation that is the largest transparently operated private organization in the world. They provide global help to various causes in developing countries, like grants-in-aids for developing of schools and toilets in rural areas, for proper sanitation of women, etc.
- Princess of Wales, Lady Diana – In spite of coming from a very privileged background, Princess of Wales, Diana, always worked for the upliftment of the downtrodden. She was associated with numerous humanitarian organizations including those that helped to feed the hungry and heal the ailing.
- Martin Luther King – Martin Luther King Jr. was the first of his kind in the USA to have raised a district voice for his people. He worked tirelessly for the upliftment for the African Americans and non-white colored citizens of America. Martin Luther King had a tremendous impact over the ongoing beliefs and stigma about black people and had shaken the entire moral structure of the nation that was primarily based on white supremacy.
Several humanitarian organizations have also surfaced through the ages that have come forward to help the people in need:
- International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) – Commonly referred to as ‘Red Cross’, it is one of the oldest organized union of groups devoted to the cause of humanity. It was set up soon after the Second Italian War of Independence(1859) when the wounds of the great war was still afresh and about 40,000 soldiers died in a single day. Appalled by this calamity of human lives, Henry Dunant set up the ICRC in Geneva in 1863.
- Doctors without Borders – This organization was set up by doctors and journalists to provide medical aid to the most controversial and politically conflicted areas and war zones where most people would not dare to venture. They also provide lifesaving medical aid to the people inflicted with communicable diseases and to areas of epidemics.
- Action against Hunger – This organization is instrumental in providing food resources in places inflicted with famines and torn war zones where food is a scarcity. Their principal aim is to end world hunger. A world free from all kinds of ‘want’ is the need of the hour.
From these above examples, we can understand with further clarity, what humanity is. It is the act of doing something good for someone who doesn’t even know you and might never come to know you.
Humanity is to work expecting nothing in return. Many individuals see the act of doing something good for others as a means of promoting themselves as a band and getting fame. They use the charity just to endear to the hearts of the people and get popular.
In today’s world, it has become a trend to do humanitarian work not for helping others but so that they could click selfies with downtrodden people ad post the pictures online for mere ‘likes’ . To such levels has our moral structure relegated that once in a blue moon, one billionaire goes to the street and clicks pictures with a broomstick, and he becomes the face of an entire campaign for cleanliness. This strange contradiction is perhaps what is called civilization.
Our world is in a very dilapidated state of morally crumbling framework. We need to be humane and promote humanity. Schools should put more emphasis on moral science not just for mere parks and passing but to inculcate in children the qualities of being just with the downtrodden and benevolent with the needy.