‘Social Justice’ is the concept of fair and just relations between the society and an individual, measured using parameters like distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity and social privileges. In many ancient cultures, the concept of social justice often referred to individuals fulfilling their societal roles and in turn, receiving their dues from society. Currently, the global movement for social justice is focused on the grassroots level, with an emphasis on social mobility, creation of safety nets and economic justice.
All this jargon about social justice makes it sounds like a standard that can only be achieved by the multi-national companies, housed in high-rise buildings. However, that is not the case. It, in simple terms, is ensuring that people are aware of their fundamental rights, duties and responsibilities towards society, and are treated in a just and fair manner.
It is the underlying principle of peace within and among nations. It upholds and promotes gender equality, rights of indigenous people and migrants, and aims to remove barriers based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. The UN observes February 20 as World Social Justice Day. It is at the core of the UN’s global mission of promoting development and human dignity. Their commitment was fairly evident after the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted the ‘Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation’, which promotes decent work through an approach to achieve four main objectives – employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.
An organisation like Smile Foundation, that works for the empowerment of children, youth and women at the grassroots level, is an inherent supporter of social justice. The vision and mission of the foundation is in line with the fundamental basics that social justice embodies. The campaigns of Smile Foundation and initiatives towards empowering the youth and ensuring they have a steady stream of income is a fairly good example of individuals getting their due from society by performing their duties. The basic rights of education, information and healthcare, empowerment of women and livelihood training for youth are championed for through Smile Foundation’s Mission Education, Smile on Wheels, Swabhiman and STeP programmes. Their work aims at providing for the underprivileged, thereby ensuring peace, prosperity, development and dignity within the nation.
Social justice is the need of the hour with the ongoing safety and economic crisis. It maintains the social fabric of society and ensures that both inter-social treatment and government policies are regulated and in check.