We often hear of celebrity endorsements of social causes – anti-smoking and anti-fracking campaigns, child and women empowerment, environmental protection, wildlife conservation, the fight against racial and gender discrimination – and a score of other social justice concerns. I offer my complete respect and gratitude to these men and women of accomplishment, who use their fame to power good. At the same time however, I want to extend my humble respect and deep appreciation to that section of community that tirelessly acts in the background, doing everything in their power and within their means (often even going beyond their means) to add drop by drop to that ocean of compassion. Having been intimately connected with animal welfare all my life, I can say this with certainty – our country is literally awash with these silent crusaders of compassion.
There are of course the donors who give of their wealth freely, keeping the wheels of our establishment in uninterrupted motion. Always in the background, constantly giving, and inadvertently becoming the messiahs of the hundreds and thousands of God’s creatures we cater to. It is impossible to properly justify their importance to our work, and the difference they make to the lives of every bird, mammal and reptile that comes through our doors.
And then there are those people – those jewels among the so called ‘common’ classes – ordinary men and women and children who would wade through flooded roads, and travels hundreds of kilometres with the stray or hurt animals they love – just for the sake of love. That my friends, is the GREATEST strength of the human race – the strength of spirit anchored in pure love, complete selflessness, and untainted compassion.
What can be more inspiring than a little child trudging to our hospital from his home in the slums far away, in tattered chappals, faded t-shirt, and a tiny little puppy or kitten or bird in little hands? What can be more motivating for us than a regular, ordinary factory worker who barely has enough food to put on his family’s plate, and yet makes that long trip to our hospital with a goat he rescued from sacrifice, his face hopeful for a better life for that animal? What could drive us more than troubled youngsters and struggling elderly people and exhausted working women, who keep their personal physical/financial/emotional aches aside, just to pick up animals from gutters, walk long distances with the animals in their arms, at any hour night or day, hiring autos or handcarts – whatever it takes to save a life.
These are the real percussionists that keep life’s rhythm from missing beats. These are the musicians that soundlessly weave harmony into the world. These are the invisible writers and artists that make life palatable and worth the fight. They act noiselessly, always giving, without a though of receiving. These are the diamonds that sparkle in silence bringing light into the darkest corners of our world. These slivers of God’s spirit energise us, electrify us, and give us the drive to keep hammering day after day, working selflessly towards a cause – not asking, not questioning, not arguing, not debating – but simply acting out of love.
These honourable men and women and children of our country are real heroes – they are worthy of our salutes and accolades not just on the Indian Independence Day, but every day of every year, in every part of the country, in every way.