|Indian Red Cross|
Red Cross is a movement embracing humanity as a whole. The originator of this great organization, Henry Dunant was born in an affluent business family. In 1859, when he was thirty one years old, he embarked on a business deal in France. It was during his stay in Solferino that he witnessed the ghastly scenes of war between Austria and Napoleon, the French emperor. The wounded and the dying soldiers strewn over the vast plains desperately needed help. Medical facilities were either out of their reach or far inadequate to meet the requirement of the increasing number of causalities. As many as forty thousand people were either dead or lost. Henry Dunant was first aghast but soon awakened to the realization that something should be done to rush aid to the wounded victims of war.
It was the book that Henry Dunant published in 1862 titled “A memory of Solferino” spelt out his ideas that he was committed to realize. One of them was the establishment of a Relief society in every country to rush aid to the wounded war victims. The second was to formulate an international humanitarian code to assure humane treatment and uphold the dignity of persons who came under the control of hostile power.
The Red Cross movement came into being as a result of the first objective put -forth by Henry Dunant. The first Geneva Convention, the blossoming hope for millions of hopeless victim of war, sought to translate the second ideal, which Henry Dunant held supremely noble. The historic revelation that Henry Dunant made known to the world, in the form of his book was the turning point in the annals of war history.
Henry dispatched copies of his book to all leaders and statesmen of Europe, army chiefs and social organizations. Support and encouragement followed from all quarters of the continent. Within three months, the public welfare society of Geneva, a local charitable organization, appointed a committee of five to take steps suggested by Dunant.
The chairman of the committee was General Guillaume Dufour, Swiss army commander; two doctors, a lawyer and Dunant himself were members of steering committee. An international conference was the first important thing that the committee decided to hold. Henry Dunant explained to the members his working plan, which envisaged the setting up of a task force consisting of doctor volunteers in every country.
These volunteers were to be in readiness to serve anywhere at any time as need arose. The members invited delegates from all countries to discuss Dunant’s proposals in Geneva.
In October 1863, sixteen leading statesmen deliberated on this for four days and thus born the Red Cross Society. For the first time volunteers of Red Cross wore white armband emblazoned with a Red cross, when they were called upon to rush for help during the war between Russia and Denmark in 1864.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF RED CROSS:
5. Voluntary service
The international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battle field, endeavors in its international and national capacity. The most significant role of Red Cross is its deep concern and caring for the human being.
It makes no discrimination as to the nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavors to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs and to give priority to the most urgent case of distress.
In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial or ideological nature.
The movement is independent. The national societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their government and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of movement.
It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
Red Cross involves people with different backgrounds, knowledge and ideas. Humanity unites different contributions from all people without any discrimination.
People wherever they live, find this movement a source of comfort in distress, hope in despair and strength to overcome the agony caused.