From the Viewsroom

India’s soul of kindness

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on August 13, 2020

This shines through even at a time when intolerance is on the rise

In the aftermath of the plane-crash in Kozhikode, the helpful nature of residents in Malappuram became a talking point. Residents had reached the crash site in their private cars and rushed the injured to hospital. There was no looting of injured passengers and residents queued up at hospitals till late in the night to donate blood. Praiseworthy behaviour that was acknowledged by Air India in its #BraveheartsOfMalappuram tweet that read “Indebted to you”.

While this is heart-warming, it also reveals why we get overwhelmed when people respond in a manner that should, in fact, be second-nature to citizens. Helping another without differentiating along religious or other considerations and working in the interest of the community, is what responsible citizens do, without a fuss.

But is that sense of nation and character-building getting eroded, as dehumanised behaviour is seen, increasingly, in the violence that erupts between people on the slightest of pretexts? Is the idea of India, united in all its differences, under pressure, as it gets pulled in different ideological directions? It’s in the face of such disconcerting violence, that a kind gesture shines through. And it’s not isolated. Film actor Sonu Sood’s efforts to send migrants home, for example, stands out for one striking feature: He sent them in swanky buses, armed with food and water. He sent them with dignity.

From New York, Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna pulled-off another cross-country logistic effort to get food across to underprivileged people in India. And in less visible efforts across India, many support initiatives to make extra food and feed needy families, others feed hungry stray animals and still others look up elderly residents living alone in a lockdown, getting them their daily food and medicine.

The soul of India is alive and well, and it shines through in the many acts of kindness and character of its people. And it’s that soul that is to be protected, as the nation celebrates Independence Day, this week.

Published on August 13, 2020

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