It has to be one of the world’s most enduring myths that philanthropy and giving is only for the well-off. High Networth Individuals, in India or in any part of the world, constitute a very small 1% minority when compared to the entire human population. Although, the sheer scale at which HNIs can contribute to philanthropy is well known, people generally never realise the collective power of giving, when the remaining 99% come together to bring about social change through giving. In a middle-income country like India, most families are working hard to improve their standards of living and a growing economy is in many ways helping them achieve their goals.
But, even in the midst of these struggles, we can take a few moments to do kind deeds that sometimes even do not cost anything at all. A few weeks ago, when I decided to donate my organs to Jeeva Sarthakathe constituted by the Government of Karnataka, i was thinking to myself that this simple act of charity can in fact be emulated by any member of our society. To begin with, it doesn’t cost anything at all, and secondly your actions can bring hope into the lives of many people even after you have left this world.
One of my employees once told me that even when he was earning a very basic salary he used to do charity in his own way. Like many Indians, he too begins his day with a copy of the local newspaper. Once he is done he just places them neatly in a cardboard box in his house. Every month when it gets filled, he hands it over to the first scrap guy who shows up at his door. Most people still sell old newspapers to get maybe 50 odd rupees. But he believes that even though those extra 50 rupees may not make a big difference in his life, for the scrap guy it could be the difference between getting a meal or sleeping on an empty stomach.
Giving can be in any form. It’s the intention that matters. These are simple acts of giving, each one of us can do to make things a little easier for the people around us. Agreed, that it may not bring about an immediate change; sooner than later such acts of kindness will become force multipliers to inspire more and more people. Such an inspired society can come together to achieve great things for uplifting underserved individuals in our society. I would actually urge you to make giving a part of your life that’s as common as maybe watching your favourite TV show. No matter what your financial background is, you can find ways to keep giving. As and when your financial situation improves, you can scale up the process of giving by becoming a part of highly focussed charitable organisations like Rotary International to leave behind a legacy of kindness, compassion and love for humanity.