Vox Popli: Kashmir and the ‘Wall of Kindness’!
‘Wall of Kindness’- the first of its kind initiative was seen in Mashhad Iran in the year 2015 when Iran was facing an economic crisis and many people were living a life of poverty and desolation so much so that they were unable to buy even clothing for themselves. The concept spread rapidly across the globe for its nuance of anonymously donating cloths for those who might not be in a position to buy. The simplicity of idea- you hang cloths if you have and pick from the wall if you need- caught the eye of media across the globe and when it was started in Kashmir, early December, it immediately became the talk of the town and quickly spread into other districts.
Seen as a very righteous and praiseworthy concept to help the needy, the 'Wall of Kindness' isn’t limited to clothes alone and offers space for books, eatables, and footwear as well. While many people believe that the initiative was praiseworthy, there are some who believe that the concept is too modern or too ambiguous for a conservative society like Kashmir where people hide their economic woes even from their close relatives. Some believe that there were better ways of helping the poor while keeping their identity concealed.
However, soon after it was initiated in Srinagar, the concept reached Budgam, Handwara, Sopore and Pulwama and people seemed to have accepted and supported the charitable wall as both givers and takers can be spotted here quite frequently.
Abid Hussain of Kashmir Images spoke to different people about the initiative. Here are the excerpts:
The initiation of such a concept depicts the inclination of people towards realizing the social and humanitarian roles that all must play according to their capacity. In today’s materialistic era, when people leave all the social obligations aside and only concentrate on their wellbeing ignoring not just the neighbours but close relatives as well, such initiative should be encouraged. This trend should reach every corner of the valley so that needy people in these chilly days can get benefitted.
The concept of voluntary benevolence- the Wall of Kindness has spread swiftly across nations and has reached here as well. This initiative shows, quite emphatically, the societal bonding and concerns that we as a people have and determines the very essence of sharing and caring. However, such initiatives are best suited when carried out anonymously and must spread to not just towns and cities but villages as well. Islam lays great emphasis on welfare of the needy and the poor and this initiative falls in line with the teachings of our beloved prophet and his companions!
Wall of Kindness is a good Initiative to help the poor and needy of the society. But this needs further improvement too. As this may work well in the main city but won't be a good option outside the city. To help the needy, Wall of Kindness should be transformed to the ‘Community of Kindness’ wherein shelter and the main commodities would be provided to the people in need. Most importantly, not all needy and poor are actually aware about this initiative. Most of the people don't tend to come up in the public even if they are needy, so privacy is a must.
I think there are some absurd things which I observed regarding this very mission were people feel shy to get help because of their social status and respect. Picking up a thing or two when all eyes are staring at you might not be a good idea, particularly in Kashmir as people here tend to conceal their economic status even from the closest of their relatives. I feel that it might be a better idea to do our bit secretly and we know that in our relationship, among our neighbours, there are many who deserve help. But taking it to the road won’t help as we are a conservative society in all respects of the term and hesitate to seek or get help even when it is delivered at our door steps. Nonetheless, the concept needs some modifications even in the current shape of it.
The Wall of Kindness is a much advanced concept for a society like ours. We are bound to fulfil the basic requirements and needs of poor people around us and in our society there are still numerous who do not have shelter, food etc. We must focus on them and take care of their needs. Also, how can an illiterate person be informed about this initiative?
While the concept is good, the location might be an issue and I feel it should be located somewhere where there are fewer footfalls. In an open area were hundreds are roaming around, I doubt how a poor and needy person could muster courage to pick up a thing or two. Further, it should not be restricted to clothes only as other day-to-day items should be included as well.