Reach out, to the man in need,~A Shruti
Reach out, in every deed.
Reach out, to help and share,
Reach out, to show you care.
Reach out to wish well,
Reach out to bridge and gel.
Humanity to me, is, to reach out,
And be there, without doubt.
If someone was to ask who you are and what do you do? The most likely answer that one would give is his name and profession respectively. Further prodding may make one say his or her gender, religion, state s/he belongs to and on even further questioning, the answer might be that one is a human being. Now what does it mean to be a human? Is it to be able to think, make use of the thumb, be able to communicate, device machines, use logic, have feelings, be kind, caring, responsible etc. etc. It is all this and much more. Everyone knows about the Nobel Prize. This prize was established by Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. It was invented to help with mining, but was exploited as a weapon for war. When Ludwig, the elder brother of Alfred Nobel, was killed due to an explosion at a bomb factory during research. A French newspaper mistook Ludwig to be Alfred Nobel and reported, “The merchant of death is dead.” Nobel was shocked when he realised what people thought about him and willed all his estate for establishing the Nobel Prize in sciences for humanity, in the sense of an apology about his life and inventions.
Likewise, Kevin Carter’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, ‘The vulture and the little girl’ outraged the world and depicted the famine in Sudan. The photo shows a starving Sudanese child struggling to reach a UN food centre, watched patiently by a hungry vulture. It is said that when someone asked Carter what happened to the child, he replied that he had no idea, he left immediately after taking the photo since he had a flight to catch. The person told Carter that there were two vultures at the site, one hungry for food, the other for fame. He further added that if Carter were human enough he would have dropped the child at the UN centre which was just half a mile away. The photos of the Napalm girl during the Vietnam was or of the lifeless body of a young Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach and recently of a drowned Salvadoran migrant and his daughter trying to cross the Rio Grande, have caused global outrage and catalysed debates worldwide but have they been successful in finding a solution to these problems? Does being human mean to sympathise with a fellow human being?
No, to me being human means to be able to empathise with another fellow human. To not only feel outraged but to feel outraged enough to do something concrete to reach out to another human being. Mahatma Gandhi did not only feel bad to see the plight of ill – clad fellow Indians but went on to shun his own attire. He has written in his autobiography, “I entered into conversation with some of them and pleaded for Khadi. …. They shook their heads as they said, ‘We are too poor to buy Khadi and it is so dear.’ I realized the substratum of truth behind the remark. I had my vest, cap and full dhoti on. When these uttered only partial truth, the millions of compulsorily naked men, save for their langoti four inches wide and nearly as many feet long, gave through their limbs the naked truth. What effective answer could I give them, if it was not to divest myself of every inch of clothing I decently could and thus to a still greater extent bring myself in line with ill-clad masses? And this I did the very next morning after the Madura meeting.” Likewise, Sister Teresa was not only moved by the plight of the homeless, she tried hard to do something and went on to be a Mother to them. In her own words, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
The world is marred by problems, and there are so many of them at the global level that we can only feel saddened by them. One might feel incapable of doing anything and may ask what difference can one person make? Mother Teresa’s response to such a thought is, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” John Green, the American author once said, “The marks humans leave are too often scars.” Let us try to be more human and be the reason someone smiles. Make a difference in someone’s life by not only willing but also trying to reach out. That is what it means, being a human.