Actually, the people in Bangla Desh weren't starving. Well, I'm sure they were, but anyway.
Their country had been ravaged by monsoons and floods, and most importantly, the Bengalis were commiting horrible genocides to the Bangladeshis in their yearlong campaign to gain control of Bangla Desh. Maps of mass graves were left behind by the Pakistanis, who then as now enjoyed the patronage of America, in this case because Henry Kissinger thought they were geopolitically significant.

Ravi Shankar was a native of Bangla Desh and was planning on having a benefit concert "and maybe raise $20,000, $25,000, $30,000, and send it." He asked his friend George Harrison if he would maybe come introduce him and play a song or two. George accepted, and then decided to play a whole concert with Ravi. George invited a few friends like Leon Russel and Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan just sort of showed up.

It's hard now, 30 years later, to imagine rock stars as being honest-to-god caring of anything. But clearly, the late George Harrison wasn't doing this for his image, because it wasn't initially his idea. This, in no doubt, paved the way for benefits like Live Aid, Band Aid, countless other concerts, and most recently, The Concert For New York City.