Red Cross Society: Philanthropic Association


War is detrimental wherever it occurs in the world. It leads to a significant reduction in population. The armed conflict not only affects the population but those who are survived face epidemic and spend rest of their lives in perpetual paranoia. A keen observant of such harsh realities Henry Dunant, Swiss Humanitarian, business and social activist assembled likeminded people and formed an amalgam called Red Cross Truce which provide service to humans in their difficult times during emergencies. The idea of making such committee influenced his mind when he was crossing over the battleground of Franco-Austrian war, Italy, 1859. Apart from it he himself saw a horrid encounter that left wounded soldiers on the combat zone of Solferno. Astonished by the plight of soldiers who were in great pain and suffering and nobody providing them anything not even water, inspired him to do something for those injured Army personals. He laid the foundation and launched it with a denomination of “Red Cross”. The international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement started in 1863 under the motivational thoughts of Henry Dunant. The movement gained momentum and his proposal adopted in Geneva Convention in 1864. His worked admired by all and he became first recipient of Noble Prize winner in 1901. After that in England few resolutions were enacted to help sick and wounded in war emergencies and other calamities. Being philanthropist he continued his venture and expanded Red Cross Committee. That time most of the countries joined it and more than five hundred volunteers vowed to contribute in it. During world wars first and Second Red Cross volunteers showed unconventional dedication for victims. In 1933, Red Cross established as full-fledged body and began to observe its foundation day. The institution framed some principles that are essential for carrying out the service of Red Cross. First is humanity, the organization focuses on healing touch for any suffers. It is first element. Impartiality is the second principle. It stresses on equality and whatever will be given, given should be on impartial outlook. Neutrality, the third principle advocates the supporting, coordination and assistance to the needy one. Independence, the fourth principle, the organization is independent. It provides relief to everyone irrespective of country name, caste and creed but it does not work under any governmental and non- governmental agencies. Voluntary service, it gives voluntary selfless assistance to anyone. This service brings unity with an outlook of universality. In India, Red Cross plays paramount part during the time of natural and unnatural calamities. It came into being on 3rd March, June 1920 with the nomination of 50 members under the chairmanship of Malcolm Haily. Above all, Sir Claude Hill, Member of the viceroy’s Executive Council and Chairman of the joint war committee in India was mainly responsible for its establishment in country under the title of “British Red Cross”. The group coordinated duties through St. John Ambulance. He did so as Indian soldiers were supporting Britian in world wars. To compensate them for their lose he took initiative in country. As India got freedom the erstwhile government constituted own indigenous body. In it the president of India holds the charge of a head. The Minister of Health and Family welfare acts as chairman, Vice Chairman who performs additional duties, is being elected by the rest members. In India, it provides relief, supply food and medicines to survivors, offers First Aid and safety measures to victims, arranges training for general public to sensitize them about disaster management, and extends aids to destitute. During Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat the team of Red Cross rushed to Bhuj and save the survivors by clearing the rubbles of buildings and brought free food, blankets and medicines for the people. This earthquake left 20,000 dead and many wounded. In wake of that disaster Red Cross has constructed field hospital for wounded victims. The worst tragedy hit Jammu and Kashmir in 2005 in form of earthquake that time Red Cross pressed all agencies for the deployment of relief service in state. On September 5 Jammu and Kashmir witnessed deluge that submerged the entire state, in those circumstances Red Cross Society provided relief to flood affected population with food, blankets and tents. Russian- Ukraine conflict which is still going on affecting human community specifically and posing a constant threat to world peace needs to be addressed. Since the day the war began Red Cross Society has deployed 800 staff at different localities to provide medicines, health care facilities, restore water supply and electricity for common Ukrainians. Even volunteers have been assisting people to find their missing family members, pressing the governments to make available better facilities to war detainees and presented recommendation of granting amnesty to war prisoners. Red Cross society is humanitarian organization which works to alleviate the human suffering. This reputed syndicate does not work for name and fame. Each year its voluntary celebrates on 8th May as a Red Cross Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of its founder Henry Dunant. This year too it shall be solemnized on theme “I give with Joy and the joy I give is a reward”   Along with Red Cross Day 8 May is also designated as a World Thalassemia day to create awareness about this genetic disease. This illness does not come to anyone from foreign agency but it appears silently in human body. Actually thalassemia passes to child from his one parent or both. It is life threatening disease. The first observance of this day began in 1994 by Panos Englizos, founder of the international federation for prevention of this malady. He set up the federation in memory of his son George who died only because of this untreatable infection. Through this day commemoration the attention is being paid to the severity of disease. If anybody has this ailment he should be given proper care and support to outlive the serious medical issue. This year Thalassemia day shall be observed on theme “Empowering lives, embracing progress, Equitable and accessible Thalassemia treatment for all”

Dr. Geeta Lakhotra

Assistant Professor in English and NSS.PO in GDC, Bishnah.