The age-old philosophy of the Hindu way of Life, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the world is one family, is now everywhere. “We were informed that Muslims at the quarantine center are observing fast, need food early in the morning and in the evening. So, we changed our schedule accordingly. We will try to provide special recipes to them on Eid”, said Ramesh Kumar, CEO of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Jammu, India, to ANI. (TOI, May 23, 2020).
There have been enough ‘half the glass is empty’ commentators who had called Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam dysfunctional or vague diplomacy. I hope they are around to see it is functioning and thriving, all over the world. The best is everyone is coming forward with whatever he or she is able to donate Dhan (Money), Man (Prayers), Tan (Physical Labor). In the Hindu philosophy, Ann (Food) daan (donation) is considered the highest, after gyan (knowledge) daan. All living beings require food, water and air to survive. Food is something, with a certain quantity of which, every human being feels full or satisfied or contented. The desire for money is insatiable. Food is essential to move on with daily life.
I am not talking of the Government efforts. They would just spend or release taxpayers’ dollars. That itself is good because the resources at their command are the largest. And if those tax dollars actually reach the intended beneficiaries, it is always very helpful. But when private individual money and resources start flowing in that is the most gratifying. That is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, in action.
During COVID-19, the biggest challenge has been taken upon themselves by our frontline healthcare workers. They have been our frontline fighters with this pandemic. They are saving lives. They have been in the most vulnerable situation. They have been risking their own lives (and their families). They have been our true heroes.
It is gratifying to note that general public have responded with different ways to say thank you to our frontline healthcare workers. I marked Masks, Meals and Life Insurance, above all. Meals were provided by many not- for- profit religious organizations. Masks were provided by administration and employers, and they had gone in shortage soon, very badly.
Did you hear homemade masks and homemade food? Others may have done it, but I am personally aware of what Sewa International, Phoenix, did it. Its volunteers did it. How many volunteers? 90 or so. How many masks? 4000 or so. How many meals? 90 or so. In how many days? 45 or so. O’ they didn’t have sewing machines. They borrowed those from the neighborhood. Small and grown-up kids along with their parents participated.
Mask making went through a number of iterations and innovations. The latest avatar is unstitched masks, ready to make in minutes. What you require is a string and a small piece of cloth. Nothing to buy from the store. Just recycle.
Then came Free 3 year, $25,000 term life insurance policy for frontline healthcare workers, earning less than 250,000 annually, by MassMutual. It is as of the day of writing available in 7 States including AZ, CA, NY, NJ, IL, MA, CT. That is to provide a bit of peace of mind to our frontline healthcare workers and protect their families.
Protecting our protectors is awesome. It is Vasudhaiva Kutambakum. We shall prevail!
Dr Sat Parashar, PhD has been actively associated with Sewa International, Phoenix, AZ as well as MassMutual Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org