VAHALI DIKRI YOJNA FULL DETAILS

Vahali Dikri Yojna


As we absorb the results of a civil war, a famine, an earthquake, a hurricane, an air crash, we tend to put ourselves in the position of the victims and wonder how we would react. In such situations, most people act instinctively, and what they do is more spontaneous than calculated.

That spontaneity is usually the subconscious reflection of character, and because life for most of us is lived on an even keel, how we behave in emergency is largely unpredictable, unless we have been previously conditioned to react in certain ways.

So what governs our reaction to an emergency? The answer is character. Character is governed by genetic structure, by upbringing and training, and by self-discipline, or its absence.

If we react badly, we show cowardice, selfishness and indifference to the plight of others. If we react well, our conduct reflects the opposite of these failings. In the latter case, genetic history alone may govern our actions, but in most cases, people are poised between good and bad. It is then that external conditioning will tip the scalesin one direction or the other.

Even more important than training is love, the kind which puts others first and helps us to forget self. This is relatively easy where our nearest and dearest are concerned, more difficult and perhaps more admirable where the others concerned have no emotional claim on us. The old Latin tag "amor vincit omnia", love conquers all things, is most germane to our reaction to disaster.

The Second World War gave me a vivid example of two contrasting reactions to the same event. The house of a neighbor received a direct hit from a bomb which killed one of the daughters of the family. The father was a sincere Christian. Most people would have shaken their fist at the skies over Coventry which were still full of German dive-bombers.

Instead, he fell on his knees and prayed for the souls of the German pilots. The following day, what remained of his possessions lying round the shattered house were looted. Two very different reactions to disaster. Looting often follows the breakdown of law and order. It is never justifiable, but it may be less reprehensible in some circumstances than others. Some would disagree, but they are those who have never seen a disaster such as a famine.

If my children were crying for food and I had the chance to steal a bag of flour to make bread for them, I think I would steal the flour. Would this action reflect the best or the worst in me?

There is no worse disaster than war, and the trench warfare of 1914-18 saw perhaps the greatest slaughter of humanity of all time. Caught in machine-gun crossfire and by artillery barrages, hundreds of thousands of men were killed or maimed in a single battle. Yet there were countless examples of bravery and unselfishness on both sides when men would help the wounded or engage hopeless odds with total disregard for their own survival.

Some or these actions were recognized by the award of medals and decorations. Most were not. The unknown soldier was in some ways the most admirable product of this century.

And whether the disaster be a war, an earthquake or a hurricane, adversity tends to bring people together in a way that nothing else can. It goes without saying that the effectiveness of a service unit depends on the fact that every man knows he can depend on his colleague, whether he likes him or not.

Whatever the disaster, the same spirit is seen in most of the civilian population. People open their homes to each other, offer help, comfort and encouragement in a way which is never seen when life is easy and normal.

Cowardice accounts for most of people's worst reactions to disaster. In fact few people, if any, are fearless. What, then, accounts for acts of bravery? The truth lies in the old Biblical saying -- Perfect love casteth out fear. Another classic example of the dual result of disaster is the sinking of the SS Titanic in 1912.

More than 1,500 people were drowned, because there was insufficient lifeboat space. First-class passengers had lifeboat priority; some voluntarily relinquished their seats to women sailing in the second class. Since it was a matter of women and children first , some men dressed themselves up as women. Thus, disaster brings out character.

Not all of us would react to disaster as we think. Self- preservation is the strongest natural impulse of all. Indifference to self has to be a very powerful counter-impulse if we are to be confident of behaving in the way we would hope.



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