Monday 22nd, April 2019
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Humanity versus Sadism

Published On : 09 Sep 2018   |  Pic On: Photo credit : Indian Express

- Mathew C. Ninan, Director, Little Rock Indian School, Brahmavar

The true nature of man comes to the surface when disaster strikes one's neighbour. It's an occasion when humanity is put to test. You will see some rushing to rescue those in trouble, some others looking the other way. Worse still is when somebody derives pleasure seeing others’ misery.

Look at the floods that engulfed Kerala State recently. The devastation has been colossal and most dreadful. A whole State has been reduced to penury. Poverty and deprivation are staring at the face of a huge number of our brethren in Kerala. We have been reading about the valorous fishermen who rushed to the flood-hit areas risking their own lives. But for their timely efforts, the death-toll would have been several times the present count of nearly 400. In similar disasters the death-toll has been several thousands. No wonder then that the fishermen have been described as the Kerala army.

The humanity shown by them will be etched in our memories for a long time to come. We need such images and such legends to live on and build a healthy and harmonious society. Helping fellow human beings in times of distress is a noble cathartic experience.

People from all over India - I mean the common folk - rose to the occasion to join in the rescue efforts in various ways. Kerala has also demonstrated its unity in times of distress. All differences and distinctions disappeared into thin air and Kerala stood as one man. People helped each other with absolutely no distinction of religion, caste or economic status. Kerala has always kept its secular fabric unblemished, and that spirit has been further cemented during this tragedy. The way young people slogged day and night to save the thousands marooned by the floods is an example for the rest of India.

However even when tragedy struck such a huge number of people, there are some who spoke or behaved in the most uncharitable manner. Some said it was a punishment for the kind of food they eat, while some others sought to polarise the society by wanting to help only some sections and leave the rest to languish. This is most contemptible. It’s shocking to see to what level people can stoop to wreak vengeance. That even some people who are in responsible positions have done this is most heinous. Sadism has never been unabashedly stark as in this instance. Hate-mongers didn’t have any qualms to celebrate the misery of their fellowmen. Hate-mongering even in the face of such human tragedy is depravity of the worst kind. Only Shakespeare can sum up this situation.

“O Judgment ! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason!” (Julius Caesar)

Contributions are pouring in from all over the world to rebuild the lives of the people who lost their abodes and everything that once belonged to them This is the silver lining in the otherwise cloudy situation.

Kodagu also has endured nature’s fury in an unprecedented manner. Several hundreds have lost their houses, and their source of living –whether agriculture, industry or business.

As a School, our students and their parents, and our staff have responded to this natural calamity that struck the two States with sensitivity and generosity.

We launched a campaign to raise funds for Kerala’s Flood Relief as soon as it happened. Even as contributions started pouring in, disaster struck Kodagu district in Karnataka. So we decided to apportion the contributions received in an equitable manner considering the extent of damage suffered by the two States.

Our students and their parents, our teachers and staff have together contributed Rs 15,33,640. We have sent Rs 9 lacs to the Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund. And we have contributed Rs 6,33,640 to the Karnataka Chief Minister's Calamity Relief Fund. I am reporting this here not for publicity, but to say that many can follow the example of our students and staff.

I am sure if all those who have ‘the milk of human kindness’ in them come forward, it is quite possible to rebuild the two States and give food, clothing and shelter to all those who are deprived of these basic necessities of life.

We need to learn a lesson or two from this episode. Number one – we shall not interfere and upset ‘nature’ except at our own peril. Number two – calamities can befall anybody any time. We need to stand by those who suffer, not jeer at others misery.

We have to act rationally and if necessary swim against the bandwagon tendency and make choices without being swayed by the shouting brigades around. It’s not enough we speak against corruption and communalism – the two enemies of our country – we must also act against the forces that patronise these two curses that beset our country, for their short-term gains.

The hope for our country is with the young people. If they stand up against corruption and communalism, we will be able to usher in a resurgent India of our hopes and dreams. Let’s hope that it will happen soon.

- Mathew C. Ninan, Director, Little Rock Indian School, Brahmavar


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