I always consider myself as a humanist. 10 years ago, I have mentioned in the bio for my blog that I’m an atheist and my religion is humanism. The paradox is that while I wrote that bio, I didn’t even know the true meaning of humanity or humanism.
On August 16th 2018, while my home state, Kerala was reeling under catastrophic floods, a place named Ambadimukku, a few kilometers away from my house got ravaged by landslide.
Subsequently, Ambadimukku has been put on red alert. 160 residents of that place got evacuated and transferred to my school where my brother and I had completed our secondary education.
I have heard that a landslide had occurred near to my house but I wasn’t aware that my school has transformed itself into a relief camp.
During the evening of August 16th 2018, while I was taking a stroll through school premises, I have seen huge crowd, policemen and ambulances in that area. I’m prompted to go and ask what is happening there.
There, I met Vijin Raj, president of our Past Pupil’s Association (PPA) in which I’m also a member. I asked him how the financial side of the camp is taking care of. He replied that some community organizations have offered help and he is waiting for their response. I understood that PPA is short of cash and a fund raising should be done.
I reached home after visiting the camp and I was thinking about how to raise money for the camp.
At night, I got a phone call from one of my friends in Chennai. He asked for my bank account number and I asked him why.
He told that he came to know that Kerala is reeling under floods and offered to donate money by transferring it to my bank account. He also added that I can use it in anyway according to my wish.
I thanked him for his kind heart and told him to transfer money to our Past Pupil’s Association’s bank account. He transferred money and send me the receipt.
Inspired by his contribution, I turned towards my school mates’ Whatsapp group. Through a voice clip I requested donations from my friends who are part of PPA.
By next day afternoon, the PPA bank account filled with enough money to take care of the people who are staying in the relief camp. I have made contribution from my side too.
I was overwhelmed by joy since I didn’t expect I can collect good amount of money with a single Whatsapp voice clip.
By evening, I got more calls from friends in Chennai and Cochin who were not even the part of PPA by offering financial support. I thanked them and also told them that I have gathered enough money. I also reminded them that I will get back to them if I needed more cash.
The real issue started when several people who came to know that a good chunk of cash had been collected for the relief camp at our school. I even started getting phone calls personally from people asking for financial aids on behalf of the needy.
I have observed selfishness, egotism and vanity in people who were working for the relief camp. I had also met and interacted with people who were trying to politicize a disaster and spreading gossips.
12 days of volunteering at the relief camp, made me ponder that, do we really need a political or a religious brand to help the needy? Surely, we need not.
Only selfish humans need a brand or a reason to help other humans. A person who helps another person only because his religion or holy book says so, lacks humanity. He may be helping a person for a heavenly reward or a political gain. In a situation where a reward or gain is absent, he never lend a helping hand.
My friends who provided financial aid for the relief camp are real symbols of humanism. They lend a helping hand without expecting a reward. They did it because of their love for the school and the trust they placed on me. Some of my friends even scolded me for putting their name in the donors list with the amount of money they donated.
I’m really proud on the fact that even though we have received help from various social clubs and community organizations, the majority of the financial support for the relief camp which lasted for 12 days from 16th August 2018 was taken care of Past Pupil’s Association. Our love for our school keep us united.
To me, it took 10 long years, a catastrophic flood and 12 days of volunteering at a relief camp to understand the true meaning of humanism. It is what matters most in this world.