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ARTICLES > RELEVANCE OF GANDHI > Service to Humanity
Service to Humanity
By Balamurali Balaji
Humanity is not about maintaining a gracious relationship between one another in the society but it is about building a bond amongst the society with the help of a sustainable values. Humanity is not about showing passion and empathy to each other at times of need but about regarding love in high esteem and kindness in all walks of life. Humanity is not just a word for symbolizing the human compassion and civilization but it goes beyond the horizons of human nature and his creations. It is all about using hearts along with the minds in all the endeavours of human kind.
Human kind has come a long way in learning the ways of building relations and creating civilizations in order to inhabit this world with livelihood full of love and harmony. Every human has a part in doing this great task of taking ahead the human race to a dignified and noble place on this planet. And this is where we all have to be proud of ourselves and pass this message on to the future generations.
Humanity, in general, is perceived as a charity. As the old saying goes, it begins at home. It spreads across the roads we travel, places we dwell, and people we meet. Humanity, not as many criticise, is scarce today. It is very much available in plenty. In fact, it has grown and evolved much better than centuries ago. From the individualistic aspect to a social, or even in a much larger perspective, humanity has thrived well in embracing and supporting the human race in many different forms. Nevertheless, more and more people are still out there who are not that fortunate to live the humanity in its central point of its existence; they are out there to seek the rays of hope and love and brace the traces of passion and kindness.
In Young India (1924) Gandhiji wrote, “I want to identify myself with everything that lives.” He had an incredible experience with the people, their lives not only in India but across South Africa and England as well. He believed that the salvation of his life is through serving the nation and people whom he loved beyond anything else in the world. His communication and connection with the people was so splendid that the whole world could visualize in him the love and care revealed by Jesus Christ and Buddha. The rich or poor, literate or educated, Indian or a foreigner, Gandhiji did the service to all and his principles stand even today as a bond connecting people belonging to various communities, nations and races. He remains dispelled every where around the world as the tallest symbol of humanity.
Today’s’ world, when we look at it in a social point of view, is full of greed, commotion, distress and distrust. Besides becoming more civilized and learning about the intricacies of human race and development, we humans are mired by the new wave of modernization and outcomes of transformation due to technology innovations and cultural incursions. As a result, we are preoccupied with our television, mobile phones, computers, etc., spending less time with the fellow humans. Our direct interactions with our children, neighbours, and friends are taken away by this massive modern hi-tech living style. We do realise many times a day the importance of humanity, love and kindness to other living beings but could not divulge them directly upon any one. We keep humanity in high regard in principle but have no time to give it a meaning in our own life. We do not expend even a little time, a few seconds in the service of humanity, in the form of prayers or meditation or by any deeds. Throughout his life, Gandhiji was a humble servant of India and humanity.
“I believe in absolute oneness of God and, therefore, also of humanity. What though we have many bodies? We have but one soul. The rays of the sun are many through refraction. But they have the same source. It comprehends the whole of humanity. Its realization would thus mean the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.”
All humans are one and only one, regardless of caste, creed, religion and race. This oneness would bring the world full of peace and harmony. The future of humanity lies in this oneness. As we narrow down the differences amongst us, broader the outlook on humanity arises; out of which the whole human race can live unto peace. For centuries, the world was gripped with the evils of untouchability, religious conflicts and the affluent’s dominance over the poor. In battling against the untouchability, Gandhiji had a vision of no less than a complete regeneration of humanity. His ideology of non-violence itself is the mirror of humanity. In Harijan dated 20-7-1935, he wrote “Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity.”
Gandhiji always held the service in high regard and in his own words, “I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity; for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in everyone.” Service to humanity has taken many forms in today’s society. From individuals to self-interested groups, small charity organizations to a larger corporate houses, private entities to non-governmental organizations, humanity has been served with a wide range of services that include education, food, health measures, housing, accessibility assistance to the physically challenged, re-orientation programmes to the socially excluded, mentally challenged and victimized people from all sects of the society. People nowadays get more access, than yesteryears’, to the schemes and plans meant for the deprived and under-privileged.
One shall have the courage to face the hard-times in life. Human kind, right from its birth, always try hard to survive doing all sorts of work. There is no divide between the poor and the rich in doing the hard work. The rich works hard to become richer; poor works hard to earn his days’ bread. By whatever means we divide the humanity based on caste, creed, religion or colour, the hardship remains the same. But, social inequalities often tend to instil a divide among the people even in sharing the hardships. An ailing man may perhaps be seen as a social iniquity or a starving child may well be seen as a social illness. Our views on the society draw a major attention in today’s world. A sect or a group shall not be neglected for any grounds that thrash them down to pitiable conditions. Overlooking on any such issue would be a social disharmony and disorder. Every human born on this planet do have all the rights what he ought to have. The dignity of the human kind lies in equality and justice for all. As Gandhiji put it “Dignity of human nature requires that we must face the storms of life.”
As the life is getting hard day by day, it is natural for any human to disregard the needy impoverished; it is natural for us to go with the business of the world everyday, not giving enough to the deprived; it is natural for us to forget the fact that it is our obligation to help the destitute. Very rarely we turn to what the others do or want. As we focus more and more on our self, the social tensions and imbalance arouse and lastly the peace is getting disturbed. We must remember Gandhiji’s words, “Not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve in the godliness of human nature. “ We shall have to see god within ourselves and strive to believe others too in our selves. When we see everyone as a single embodiment of the God, peace would emerge within us; slowly, we would realize that such calmness getting inducted in our surroundings as well. And, thus could the whole society see the all within it in unison.
Needless to say how religious harmony takes an essential place in the nations’ peaceful conditions. Had we look in to the colour, race and religious sentiments of each and every person we meet every day, our living conditions would have worsened to an unbelievable amounts. Differences among ourselves had hurt us in the past. Divisiveness had cost us social inequality and economic disparity. It was only during the rigorous freedom struggle led by Gandhiji and the leaders like Nehru, Patel, Netaji, had we realized the need for oneness. Not only the nation’s liberty and integrity commanded the oneness. The whole of humanity lies in the oneness of all and the oneness of every caste, creed, religion and culture. While leading the freedom movement for India, Gandhiji had to face so many social evils such as Casteism, Atheism, Untouchability, Hindu-Muslim conflicts, Sati etc. that endanger the very existence of humanity. He was determined to forbid all these barriers and led the country to freedom. He was persistent in his ideology of oneness and service to humanity as a whole. “I can neither serve God nor humanity if as an Indian I do not serve India, and as a Hindu I do not serve Indian Muslims.” On this particular issue of conversion from one religion to another, he was very much ardent in maintaining humanity and its real spirit. At one time, he said, “I hold that proselytizing (religious conversions) under the cover of humanitarian work is, to say the least, unhealthy.”
“What… does Jesus mean to me? To me, He was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had.” These words from Gandhiji were not just for soliciting votes from various religious sects. They do not mean that he was propping up for the British rulers either. But, they signify the true purpose of the birth of Jesus who left (?) the world with the message of love and brotherhood. His life was a perfect example for how humanity has both the lighter and darker sides through which the whole of humanity and its nature can be adjudicated.
Thus, the service to humanity results in the oneness. It brings hope and life to the downtrodden and the disheartened. When peace and harmony becomes the main cause of every kind of service rendered to the nation and its people, it becomes the service to God. When an orphan gets a cuddling hand to light their life, it becomes a Godly gesture. When a deprived lives blissfully along with the rest of the humanity, it is the kingdom of God.