Kindness- The Way to Unity : Rekha Shahani

I feel your feelings.

My wisdom flows from the Highest source.

I salute that source in you.

Let’s work for unity and love.

-Mahatma Gandhi


Kindness unites us. It has the power to change the world, if we choose to. It can cut across barriers of language, region, race or class. It has the potential to reduce fears and light up hearts. Taking it further, it could improve relationships and collective health, both emotional and physical. Kindness is contagious. In this fragmented world, challenges and conflicts may increase the divide but sympathy and empathy can unite. 

Kindness and unity come in various forms and situations. It does not come with invitation or any notice. But one experiences it time and again. In my journey of life, I have experienced kindness at every step. My teacher gathered resources and people to ensure that I learn the most. And I carried forward her legacy by ensuring that all my students get the most from me or my friends.  

Life is more harmonious when we accept and respect diversity of race, thought and action. Unity requires opening of the hearts, not just doors of a house or organization. 

While growing up, I have seen how my parents invited people from various religions as house guests. From their conversations, I gathered the essence of all religions which is kindness to people and nature. That other people with their differences can also be right is the greatest lesson I learnt from hosting these people. Thanks to the legacy left by my parents, I passed it on to my children. I hosted many people from different parts of the country and the world. My children learnt about unity in diversity while hosting them. It is not about caste, class, community or creed. It’s a way of life that helps us to bond with each other. 

One experience of kindness was when a friend sent all three meals for three months during my second delivery. This was 30 years ago but till date I never forget to mention this gesture of kindness. This has helped me to pass it forward to as many acquaintances and friends as possible. 

20 years ago, as a part of ‘Action for Life’, an initiative of IoFC, I hosted three young boys from three different countries in my house for a few weeks. From language, eating or living habits to social background, everything was different. But what helped was our mutual respect and acceptance. Today, we are a united family, though living in different continents. 

When we talk of diversity we think of varied kind of diversities . But the one that prominently stands out is the CULTURAL DIVERSITY & if we are able to connect all the 3 ‘A’s with it we can truly look forward towards a world that is united with hearts.

Kindness comes to the forefront when we stand at the threshold of different cultures like egalitarian, hierarchical, collectivist or individualistic cultures. If we wish to identify ourselves and others with their cultures and connect with them wholeheartedly , all that we need is kindness and compassion .

If we wish to see a unified world we also need to with utmost kindness understand the language that every culture speaks .


Today is National Unity Day,  also known as Rashtriya Ekta Divas! It commemorates the birth anniversary of Iron Man of India, Sardar Valllabhai Patel. This year, 2022, will mark the 147th anniversary. A man who played an important role in integrating the princely states with independent India was also the deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.  


The most befitting way to celebrate his legacy is to work towards a kinder humanity and which is united in spirit. 

Jai Hind.

Click here to read more stories of change, awareness, inspiration and practising  kindness!

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About the Guest Author:  Ms. Rekha Shahani is an educator and changemaker. She has served as the Principal of Kamla High School from 2003 to 2015 and a teacher at Kamla High School from 1990 to 2003.During her stint as the Principal of the school, Ms. Shahani was instrumental in setting up successful various school link programmes, instrumental amongst those being with UK. She was successful in overseeing the longest partnership of an Indian school with the UK, of about 14 years commencing from 2001 to 2015. She has won many accolades, been a part of various unity based programmes and changed the way school education is imagined in India.


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