History is graced with so many stories about great emperors like Alexander, warriors like the Samurais of Japan and even someone as feared or probably loathed and admired by some for his administrative qualities, Adolf Hitler. But throughout world history, you will also find stories of unsung heroes that only see the light of day when some inquisitive historian wants to quench his/ her thirst for unravelling history.
Very recently I read this book, “Schindler’s list” and Oskar is no unsung hero by any means but the immense power of the story has made me write this. And my only regret after reading that book is that I wish I had read it a little sooner in life. But never mind.
Every person needs to read this story about Oskar Schindler and his “Schindlerjuden”, not to learn about the horrors of the holocaust or of the genocide of those millions of Jews but simply to understand the human being that was Oskar Schindler. A profiteer initially, who risked everything dear to him, even his own life to protect his more than 1000 Jewish employees.
His is a story that will inspire every bone, every nerve in your body to strive to be a better person everyday. In times of unreasonable brutality when one can show such exemplary kindness, almost to the extent of lunacy, why can we (in these very less perilous times as compared to then) not be capable of being kind and compassionate? Why do we hesitate to fight back when we come across eve teasers or when after an accident, we would rather click a picture and circulate on the social media but think twice before reaching out for help?
Coming back to Oskar, he spent his entire life savings to supply adequate rations for his Jews and bribing Nazi officials to protect them. Now we don’t need to be Oskar like but is it too much to ask to be kind and helpful to those who need our help? We are always ready for self pity and are so lost in our own silly trouble land that we almost turn a blind eye to everything else. At times we really need an eye opener only to realize our problems are minscule if we just look out there. So instead of sulking, why not make someone happy? If only momentarily.
You know, it is often really easier to give a helping hand and see that beautiful smile on a stranger’s face. It’ll surely add more meaning to your life. It is what our soul desires. To uplift not just ourselves but also others.
A random act of kindness and you will be forever etched in their memory? One could ask for no more glory than that.
After all, Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Give, there is no bigger virtue than that.