Remember the first time you saw a baby? This tiny being someone you know just placed in your arms to hold.
This tiny bundle of dreams, so weak… so helpless… so unbearably beautiful.
It doesn’t matter how old you were then… this memory never really fades, because there’s something too pure in it. So incredibly aware of this little one’s breaths… the heartbeat, the small sounds the baby is making. You touch it for the first time… tenderly in the tiny hands, and then all of a sudden the baby reaches out and grabs your finger (the thrill of that moment, the adrenaline rush you feel then is unlike anything you would ever feel again.)
in that one moment, no matter what your age, your belief is… all your pain, all your prejudices are emptied out. There is nothing left inside you that is negative. The first time you hold a baby all you remember feeling, is what you knew instinctively when you arrived in the world. To love and to protect.
Today, when hate seems to run the world, and fear grows deeper into the heart, every now and then we hear about instances where people, normal everyday folks like you and I, do the extraordinary for sake of others.
Dar Yasin was on duty as he had been for a couple of years now, as a photojournalist covering the social and political turmoil going on in the Kashmir valley, that particular day he was covering protests in Srinagar. He noticed a group of school girls caught in the crossfire between military and locals, one of their friends, 18-year-old Khushboo was struck with stone already bleeding. Now what he did next was important, he dropped his camera on the ground and picked up Khushboo; carrying the unconscious girl and leading her friends to safety. Khushboo was taken to a nearby hospital by a cab and one of Yasin’s colleague photographed him in the process. Think about it for a moment, Yasin wasn’t the only onlooker… he wasn’t fighting for the “Azadi”, the liberation of all Kashmiris as the protesters claimed they were doing nor was he one of the army, the ones who tried to maintain and peace and order in the state. He was working as an observer, his job adventurous as it was involved no such heroics but he became a hero anyway because in the heat of the moment he chose the greater good.
Debendra Kapri, on May 4 walked into the Police station near IGI Domestic Airport in Delhi. He was there to deposit a backpack some passenger had left in the backseat of his cab earlier that day. With gold, an iPhone and foreign currency worth 700000 rs (roughly 11000 USD); he comes from hinterlands of Northern India with a chip on his shoulder to bear expenses for a large family and to pay back a loan of roughly 1000 USD. It’s not that he didn’t know what the backpack contained; in his statement, he admitted opening it before depositing it to the cops… that single backpack could have been an answer to all his problems and then some. Only, the 22-year old did the impossible, choosing to do the right thing.
Yasin… Kapri… Abdlkar… these are a just handful of names we know, every day out there unnoticed and unseen there are ordinary people at work doing extraordinary for others.
Their deeds may not seem to make much difference not when you put in perspective against the horrors people fueled by hate and fear do every day.
But their deeds inspire people… ordinary people around them to do similar things. Simple deeds, seemingly insignificant favors to others. A chain of goodness that goes on, slower but steadier in-deterring in the face of crisis, sometimes even enhanced by it.
Maybe people are inherently good maybe we all meant well when we started out but lost our ways somewhere down the road, or maybe we are all dark deep down and only good we do is a pretense for acceptance from our peers. Or maybe humans are entirely amoral, the notions of good and evil are constructs entirely in the mind of the judge… there is evidence supporting every perspective.
Only when you think about it this way, that a five-year-old child won’t hate another because they are of the different cast or because they belong to different regions and follow different religions. The child must be taught this… hatred must be learned.
In phylogeny, an acquired trait is something every organism learns in the course of its life to assist better chances in its survival but unlike the inherited traits, these cannot be passed down the line and each individual must learn it from the start.
Thus we can assume hatred and prejudice are very loosely analogous to acquired trait, I say loosely because neither of two does anything remarkable to improve the quality of life either for the perpetrator or the victim. Love, on the other hand, tendency to safeguard young ones and helping the helpless are not only common in all social animals (ants, termites, bees right up to elephants and apes.) but has been coded into their genome and passed down through generations, why?
Because love is evolutionary advantageous… loving and protecting someone ensures increased security in future(read up about Altruism in the biological sense). So logically speaking at this point love becomes selfish. Protecting others and overlooking one’s own good for sake of others are inherited down the generations only because it’s beneficial to the parties involved either as direct fitness or indirect security.
However, in an interaction where both parties are benefited even if for a selfish reason is better than when one of the two involved ends up harming the other.
So where do we stand in the end? I do not really know… call me a skeptic, but here’s what someone told me not too long ago
“true that world statistics about population etc are bad… but true nature of humans is to love and be kind…and till how long do you think anyone can run away from their true nature?”
well, Spes! I give you this one. Maybe not all of us are bad, maybe not all of us are good… maybe most of us are just lost and scared… logic dictates there’s always an equilibrium in-universe, destruction and creation… extinction and evolution… order and chaos… safe to say therefore, for every terrified jihadi doing horrific atrocity there must be at least ten ordinary people doing unbelievable feats of goodness, none of them as large in magnitude as the single act of terror individually, but combined together these acts of kindness give us hope that perhaps someday world would be a better place. Maybe Gandalf got it right
“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love… small acts of kindness and love.”