The following article was written sometime after the Indian Ocean Tsunaami. The article is still relevant - may be it will be relavent always. So, reproducing it here.
What about the other victims?
By now every one of us might have donated whatever little we could give to the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. It is very heartening to see the outpouring of our innate quality of lending a helping hand to the people in distress. Many people have done a commendable work by doing their part wherever they happen to be at that point of time. Those who were near the Ground Zero were quick enough to get there to be of some help to the victims of the calamity. Those who were far off did their part in organizing the collection of relief materials and in donating money to the relief organizations. It is very inspiring and elevating to see all these.
But recently I started asking a question myself. We see these flurries of actions of Kindness only during the times of disasters. Where does this innate quality of Kindness hide during the so-called normal periods of time? Why are the people, including myself, oblivious of the suffering of the people around us? There are millions of people living around us who, day in and day out, are struggling to make the ends to meet. Why do we leave them high and dry? Our hearts go out only to the victims of tragedies and not worry about the victims of other Social Evils like Poverty and Social Injustice? Why?
If we just look around little more consciously, we can see that most of them are at the end of their rope and by chipping in little bit of our fortune and time, we could make a great difference in their life. But why don’t we do that? What is stopping us? Why have we become so rigid? Why have we become so selfish to bother only about our kith and kin and ourselves, during the normal times?
It would be very cruel of me if I say that I can be kind only when a catastrophe hits someone who is somehow related to me directly or indirectly. If being kind is my innate quality, then I would keep my eyes and ears open always to see every thing including the suffering of the people who are just existing, as one of my good friend said about these unfortunate people - they are not living but just existing - around us everywhere.
I feel bad that someone else has to tell me about my innate quality of kindness. I feel ashamed that I need to read the inspiring words of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Mother Theresa or any other social worker to get out my daily quota of kindness. There are plenty of ways I can express my kindness to the people around me, whether they are fortunate like me or not, especially to those who are unfortunate. I want myself to be more conscious and do some random acts of kindness every day. I promise myself that I do not need another disaster to bring out my inherent quality of kindness. I promise myself that I will continue to read the inspiring words of the great people but that does not need to drive me to do some acts of kindness daily. It will be more spontaneous. I pray to God to give me the steadfastness in this endeavor but at the same time feel guilty that I had to call these simple acts of kindness as ‘endeavor’ to get myself committed.
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. - The Dalai Lama"