When Charles Darwin published ‘Survival of the fittest’, a breakthrough in theory of evolution, he perhaps assumed that the race will be in same manner for every animal. And thus he deliberately did not mention the use of ‘fair means’ in case of human. This virtue of fairness and righteousness can be called justice. Greek philosopher Plato used the term ‘Dikaisyne’ for justice, which comes very near to the word ‘morality’. The word ‘justice’ originates from Latin word ‘justus’ which means a man of true, honest heart; he is God’s favorite one. American philosopher John Rawls has described it as ‘the first virtue of social institutions’. Every blow to this probity shivers the humanity, challenges the steel-frame of principles, every war of imperial aggression, every depravity of basic needs, every incidence of helplessness gnaws the ivory tower of uprightness, bloodsheds mankind. This is at every nook and corner of earth. This is the dark side of Man. This is injustice.
The ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ was the reflection of the wretched condition of the African-American communities who were tormented, humiliated from outside and their souls were mutilated from inside. They were the prey of the injustice called racism. One could either have turned his eyes from the situation or have launched a direct action. Martin Luther King Jr chose the second one. Birmingham’s condition was bitter. His letter came as a clarion call to fight, to turn back, to march for rights.
Justice is integrity, justice is fraternity, it is the tie of brotherhood, guardian knot of unity. It ensures equality. It bridges the gaps in society, eradicates the depravity. Injustice is a gangrene which if not operated early can turn into cancer. It engulfs the whole body. King truly said that we all are “tied in a single garment of destiny”. Thus he boasted of liberty, equality, solidarity, kinship and togetherness to defend justice from the threat of injustice.
It was the Second World War. Hitler and his Nazi force were on the verge of usurping the whole world. India was struggling for independence from the British Raj. It was a golden opportunity for India to uproot the British rule. But the then undisputed leader of India Mahatma Gandhi urged Indians to join British Army. He was criticized severely for his decision. But Gandhi foresaw the consequences of Nazi conquest. His action was for the sake of greater mankind, for the long term benefit of the world. He was determined to save the world from injustice. King was influenced by Gandhi’s ideals.
Greatest rulers and leaders of all times have always marked their era by their principles, universal brotherhood, tolerance, freedom of speech and thought. Akbar The Great, a great administrator, abolished the religious taxes, banned slavery of prisoners, religious conversion and established a magnificent administration of mosaic culture inviting people from every walk of life, different religion and caste. Napoleon Bonaparte’s contributions are still lasting. The Napoleonic Code is the basis of modern day Europe’s legal code. He abolished slavery, allowed religious freedom, stopped discrimination against Jews, and promoted education for girls and general public. Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest Presidents of the USA, emancipated slaves, allowed land for poor people; his leadership
during Civil War made possible for the USA to remain as an undivided nation. Malala Yousafazai, the youngest noble laureate, was shot in the head for her fight for women education. But she lived and continued her journey with whole world beside her.
All these leaders tried their best for solidarity, unity and fraternity. Their views can be stated in the same way as the great leader of South Africa – Nelson Mandela said “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Mother earth has been passing through various examinations since last century. The toughest among these are climate change, war, poverty, food scarcity, malnutrition and lack of education. On December, 2015 “Paris Climate Agreement” was signed, on which a total of 195 countries took the pledge to save mother earth by fixing their objectives together. “This agreement represents the best chance we’ve had to save the one planet we’ve got.” US President Barack Obama said. Perhaps that describes the need of the situation best.
Poverty is another malign engulfing a number of nations. In ‘The Future We Want’, the outcome document of Rio+20, 192 Member States emphasized poverty eradication with country specific solutions. They highlighted on collaboration of national and international efforts. For the improvement of general health WHO launched ‘Global Health Promotion’. The International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes, ‘Healthy Cities’ program, Global Strategy on Diet and Nutrition-all these were successful endeavors despite several hurdles. Wars for vested interests of few groups indulge the sufferings of common man. UNESCO is constantly putting efforts to bring stability to the conflict prone zones. Thus international bodies bring together the nations to help each other. They are trying to facilitate justice to mother earth. A number of nations are there without a moral code. Extremists are mushrooming in several countries. Their false religious propaganda is poisoning the hearts of the youth. They have established their own ominous code of conduct. People in these areas are suffering a lot. They can’t fetch proper resources for development be it education or be it culture. Superpowers must act to ensure justice. “Justice delayed is justice denied” -the proud democracies where already a proper judiciary system is functioning, the general populace faces procrastination. This is another kind of injustice. It is a shame to the democracies. To reduce this delay in delivering justice nations must put effort by engaging experts. We have to end it.
Lord Krishna told Arjun that whenever there is decline of ‘dharma’ or justice and exaltation of ‘adharma’ or injustice, He appears in mortal form to protect the good and to destroy the evil. In ages leaders appear to fight injustice, to bind people together. Poverty may be in Africa, but an Asian heart should empathize it. War may be in Middle East, but West will have to step in. The decriminalization of homosexuality by the apex court of the largest democracy shows how society can journey towards less discrimination. Warren Buffet said “If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.” Justice comes through sustainable inclusive development. If we serve the poor with a little of our excess wealth, if we provide a plate of food to a
hungry, if we impart a little education to the underprivileged, if we create jobs for few, if we spread a little love, a better universe is not too far.