Few of the people in Bangladesh, including the educated and philanthropists, are aware of a globally observed annual day focused on kindness. The day is called World Kindness Day. It falls on November 13.
A lot of countries observe the day in befitting solemnity. They include Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Singapore, the UK, the USA, South Korea, Nigeria and the UAE. Bangladesh joined these countries this year.
To be kind to a fellow human being doesn't require one to spend money or put in extra efforts. The latent faculty of compassion and empathy makes one filled with feelings of kindness. Becoming humane to even one's archenemy at a stage of hostility is a special trait that makes man unique. It is this human feature, which has put an end to many apparently unending feuds at individual and community levels.
Nobody knows exactly when the glow of kindness for the weak would start glowing in the subterranean level of a supremacist nation leading to peace and amicability. It is unpredictable; and a riddle of nature as well. Humans by nature are blessed with virtues of kindness and forgivingness. At the same time, they are enriched with quality of making truces even after centuries of enmities. Or else national or regional maps in many parts of the world would have remained unchanged since wars and aggressions.
At the individual and community levels, instances of cruelty and unkindness are plenty, around the world. Bangladesh is no exception. Notwithstanding the fact that Bengalees as a race are kindhearted and moderate by nature, occasional expressions of cruelty sully their age-old reputation.
According to media reports, village elders and the local administration people have lately rescued two octogenarian women from cowsheds, where they were dumped by their sons. Assaulting an infirm and aged teacher by his erstwhile students due to his being from a different community, pouring kerosene on a young woman by her husband and in-laws and burning her dead thanks to unmet demands for dowry stay on as deep scars on the face of society. Poisoning the fishes of an optimistic and enterprising young man in a pond by his business rivals is a common scenario in rural Bangladesh.
At the same time, Bangladesh can take pride in endeavours of a couple running a free school giving its students free meal and boarding facilities. In both rural and urban landscapes, scores of affluent people are constantly found beside the needy and the destitute.
But there are people with humble backgrounds as well. Here we can recall the memories of the indefatigable Polan Sarkar. He took it upon himself as a mission to help reading habit grow among the rural youth. For this venture to become successful, he used to distribute books for free.
How can one belittle the efforts of a rich villager feeding patients and their attendants at an outlying health complex with meals for Tk 1 only? These people are also engaged in philanthropic missions in the cities as well. But they remain mostly undetected due to density of urban population.
After Bangladesh's joining the countries observing the World Kindness Day from this year, the outside world can be expected to discover a new face of the country. It will be an identity completely different from its hackneyed image of remaining aloof while others suffer. Now on its path to middle-income country status, it's free of the curse of extreme poverty. It's a universal truth that the state of being mired in poverty makes man selfish, self-centred and unkind. But, kindness is a positive power, which can bring individuals and nations closer under a common umbrella.