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5 September 2007

Give till it hurts

I find it hugely laughable every time in India, especially in the business world when I hear about so and so having donated or given away to charity so many rupees to support "charity of choice"-a cause of education or girl child or some such thing or in the name of development. I wonder why there is no mention either in conversation or in the news or in print, about what percentage is it of the individuals total net worth and personal wealth. This has some notable exceptions of course but for the others, is it because then the much touted largesse would show up for what it really is? Sometimes not even the amount they'd pay for a personal party held at a 5 star hotel or the amount paid for a designer sofa or pure leather car seat covers. Or in the corporate sector show up for how minuscle the amount is in context of their earnings, salary, stock options and such.

I fail to be impressed also because these are people who would not increase the wages of their employees, personal or at work but will make a great show of Corporate Social Responsibility and social conscience. They'd not care of an employee has died on the job unless it is a statutory requirement. Their personal lives will not display any austerity or simplicity and inclusiveness would mean taking the maid along on a foreign trip so that the baby or lil one is taken care of. They'd be seen at all the happening events espousing "inclusive" causes but would not include a word of praise or share the credits with others who make it happen and any such mention is made only if it furthers a personal or political agenda.

So it is like a breath of fresh air when one comes across true charity, social responsibility and conscience and such. As when one compares the words and actions of these people with a group of small wage earners and employees in Mumbai some of who are in government jobs such as teachers, clerks and peons who give their time, money and efforts to give back to society. As they support students and schools some of them which are their childhood schools in the village, they bring meaning to the phrase, charity begins at home.

Obviously the rich and powerful don't seem to have heard about the lesson in ego in the story of the golden mongoose in the epic Mahabharata.

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