It has been rightly said that “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted”. World Kindness Movement was conceived in Japan in the year 1999 with the aim of fostering goodwill at the local, national and international levels, through acts of kindness, and thus bringing the people all over the world together. The WKM is a worldwide coalition of various kindness movements—organizations that study and promote improved individual and collective human behaviour.
The countries that are members of the World Kindness Movement are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Romania, Scotland, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and the USA. Pending applications from Kenya, Spain, Argentina, Uganda, Liberia and South Africa will be determined following a review by the membership committee on December 18, 2014. Recently, on November 13, World Kindness Day was celebrated by all the member-countries.
India must take the lead to push the movement forward. Kindness is universal. India, while forging ahead with goals like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Make in India, surely will benefit from the World Kindness Movement. In fact, the World Kindness Card arrived in Mumbai, India, after travelling 56,000 km, collecting many smiles along the way.
What anybody can do
India is a country where people, specifically the upper middle class, do not hesitate to spend without bargaining in Malls and boutiques, but when buying from a road side vendor, decide to haggle over a price, which in comparison to the same malls, hardly have any margin of profit. Kindness would be to allow these small vendors to make whatever profit they can make so that they can also make a living.
Recently, during Diwali, the social websites carried a message from the BJP, urging people not to bargain over the price of earthen diyas and pay the quoted amount, for it would help the poor to also make a living with hardly a scratch on our pockets. Those who followed the advice participated in a kindness movement.
Every day, each one of us complain about the cost of living, but while hiring domestic help, most of us forget that they too live in the same world with the rising expenses. We are always unhappy about the amount that we are paying them and feel that they should come 365 days a year without fail and if they do not, some of us even deduct the amount from their wages. Kindness would be if we understood their plight and helped them with financial and emotional support whenever possible. One must remember that as such domestic workers are currently not within the scope of most labour laws. They cannot demand rights over working conditions, minimum wages, social security, hours of work, weekly offs, paid leaves or medical benefits, among others. It is our duty to be kind and take care of them.
The list of people who need our kindness is endless. They range from porters at railway and bus stations to young children working as labourers in spite of the law banning child labour and waiters in restaurants. An act of kindness may just involve we being nice to them and acknowledging their presence.
Random acts of kindness
When we step out of the comforts of our homes, we will find there are innumerable people who await an act of kindness. For example, if one ever steps into a State-run old age home, or goes to a lepers’ colony, one will be shocked to see their plight. Just one sponsored nourishing meal is enough to bring a smile on those sad faces. So if every privileged person in India starts celebrating occasions in their lives like birthdays and anniversaries, by sponsoring a meal in one such home, those smiles will remain etched forever.
However, a random act of kindness will never look for anything in return, because if one expects something in return, then it is not an act of kindness but a trade of favours for favours.
Can power spring from compassion?
Kindness is one of the greatest gifts one can bestow upon another. Lend a helping hand without expecting anything in return. The Dalai Lama has said, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness”.
Kindness should be an integral part of every human being. It should be a second nature. Acts of kindness will instill a sense of well-being in the population and help a country, say India, realise its dreams of coming to the forefront of the comity of nations because after all it is the people who make a nation. So let’s join hands with the World Kindness Movement and walk into a kind and bright future where the great divide between the privileged happy people and the under-privileged unhappy no longer exists.
It’s time for a better tomorrow.