After Pratul wrote so much on the issue-‘Indian Billionaires and their Sensitivity’ in comments on face book, I started thinking again and here are some stray thoughts:
There are many unique aspects in the game of charity or more in its sophisticated nomenclature, philanthropy.
It is unfortunate but true that most of the Indians, even the needy ones, wish to get a direct dole without doing anything to deserve it.
Once after the demise of my parents, I wanted to donate my house and the landed property at Bodarhi, my maternal place in Bihar for some benevolent work. I wished some institutions to take over and open a school or a primary health-care centre in the village. I wanted it that way, as I could have pulled on even without the inputs from that property that was inherited. I failed in every attempt that I made through many known people.
My own near and dear ones from my paternal side and from the in-law side wished that I directly handover the whole lot to them free. The nearest ones in Bodarhi thought that they would grab it without any trouble after my mother dies. And then with a heavy heart I decided to sell the property and even the house that I got built to please my mother. I succeeded to sell that without moving out from Hind Motor. I might have got a little less in value, but what could have I done if there was no one to assist me?
On every Thursday, I see a crowd of a number of handicapped poor persons on all sorts of wheeled chairs or tricycles and aged women outside the Sai temple in Sector 40. With the clothes on them, they appear to be the real destitute class. Can’t the Sai Temple with rich Noida donors do something to rehabilitate them instead of giving few coins to them that they may be using for satisfying their bad habits such as smoking and drinking?
The task of rehabilitation of those handicapped persons is difficult and it requires painful and focused work to establish the infrastructure and organization. A normal person fails to endeavour. But the temple organization can certainly do that. And the affluent donors of Noida can certainly contribute more generously for the cause.
I wish these temples change their way of helping the society through praying the god through aarati, prasaad and langars and switch over to some work that make us all proud with a society without any beggars.
And look at the donors. They want to go to heaven by giving all their black money in charity and so they mostly pay in cash. They want to give it to the institutions that allow tax exemptions on the donations.
But then there are some real ones too among those. They have compassion for the needy. Otherwise, why does a beggar give away his accumulated little to the needy?
Khimjibhai Prajapati, a beggar in tatters and on crutches, hobbled into a school for the deaf in Mehsana in Gujarat the other day and donated clothes to 11 poor girls. He used to be a tea-stall owner in Rajkot but his business failed. From what he gets outside a local temple, he sends money home for his ailing wife and shares the rest with other poor. Whether rich or poor, we should try to help the needy, he says. A trustee of the school says he has never seen such philanthropy in 35 years.
The government always keeps on crying about the shortage of funds as the reason behind the lack of some basic facilities for the common people related to education and healthcare. If that be so, why does it again bark against the black money going to education sector? Why can’t it officially launch a national fund for education and healthcare in which any one can donate any amount in cash and kind? Why can’t it make mandatory for the temples to donate all the money coming through the hoondies for the purpose of investing in these essential services?
I wish the trade associations such as CII and Assocham and its state branches take a lead and focus on one or two services, particularly rural education and healthcare that are still not attractive enough for making profit.