Philanthropy: An antidote to our sufferings

Few days back my picture went viral on social media depicting my selfless act of helping a helpless driver in a scorching sun. Since then,my act has been applauded across all the ranks of my professional and social sphere. I have been called by the senior higher command to the lower cadre of my department with words of praise and pride. I was also contacted by different media outlets for interview to highlight my service to the people beyond my professional limits.
However, all this on the one hand surprised me and shocked me that how holding an umbrella for a poor man is a big thing, on the other hand. Why the small gesture of empathy and help is not a common act in our state and society? Why people questionsincerity of a helping hand? I think it is mainly becauseit is new normal now that poor man is not entitled to get same respect and reverence as elite class does here.
Though, I feel immense pleasure to see people appreciating my work But at the same time I am appalled by overall behavior of society and have some questions for the society like why respect and help is monopolized by a few? Why empathy has no place for a deprived and generally excluded poor people? Indeed, constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal status of every individual in the eyes of law irrespective of their social, political or ethnicity and gender status. Indeed its sad status of affair in this regard thatcollectively we have been unsuccessful to protect the rights of people above caste,color and creed, enshrined and guaranteed by the Constitution. I did nothing revolutionary by holding umbrella for an impoverished man who was trying to fix his Qingqi rickshaw in scorching sun. I just tried to empathize with driver; because I myself come from similar working-class backgroundandam well aware how our people in state service should change their behavior to win people’s trust.
This particular act ofempathy which compelled me to go out of my car and hold umbrella for him is a normal thing for me. This gesture should be taken as normal as anything else in our society but unfortunately it is not have been. Secondly, I held umbrella for him because we know that we are a poor country facing multiple crisis. These crises put us into dangerous financial situation where the percentage of people under poverty in Pakistan is 31.3% according to latest statistics.
According to a local English daily, the percentage of people under poverty in Pakistan is predicted to jump to 40% by numerical standards, the poverty population will increase from 69 million to 87 million by the end of 2021. Further more, we are dealing with COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the industries that provide bread for all and sundry.
The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year. Pakistan is no exception to this unfolding global crisis.However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an epidemiological and psychological crisis. The enormity of living in isolation, changes in our daily lives, job loss, financial hardship, and grief over the death of loved ones have severely affected the mental health of people.
In this situation of distress and despair responsible people must come forward to give psychological and material support to the people, however of small acts of kindness build trust and promote harmony in the society. As they say acts of kindness and help promote goodness, much needed in this hour. Such gestures promote self-esteem among common people by giving them respect so that they are able to deal with unwanted situations.
In fact, a healthy level of self-esteem is a precious psychological resource and generally a positive factor in life; Self-esteem can influence life in a myriad of ways, from academic and professional success to relationships and mental health. At the end it is concluded that respect is something that carries a lot of power. It has the power to bring people together.Indeed, oppressed communities have long used strategies of caring for and protecting each other to ensure their collective survival.
Respect and admiration in this act once again reminded me and people around me that situation of crises need empathy and goodwill so that collectively we can pass this unprecedented crisis together and come resilient as society and state is in need of egalitarian and empathetic gestures. That particular act also is a reminder for those of us in state services that gap between people and servants needed to be filled with kindness and empathy not with arrogance of exercising power in authoritarian way. Admitting and correcting this will further strengthen not weaken in relation between the people and civil servants no matter what their grade or responsibility.

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