Monday, August 9, 2010

OF HUNDI DONATIONS & VOLUNTARY WORK!!!

Last week I was talking to a friend on how we Indians are more comfortable donating to temples than to real issues and causes. Every time we go around "begging" for financial support we have to answer a million questions regarding whether it will reach the beneficiary or not...how it will be spent...can they actually see the results? All questions justified and I personally feel we are accountable and responsible for every pie we collect and we should jolly well make sure that it benefits the right person.

But what bugs me is the fact that the same persons will close their eyes(practically) and donate huge amounts of money ( sometime billions) in a temple or a church or a mosque's 'hundi'( the money collection box). Do they ever ask whether God will receive it or not (it is meant to be given to him/her right)? Why would somebody who is already owning the world...creating it...protecting it and is supposed to be showering prosperity to everybody need any further donation. In fact he/she is supposed to be so wealthy that he/she can look after billions living on the earth.

Why do we think a million times over to support or help a fellow human being...analyzing how deserving...how much tax exemption...and most importantly should I at all? And all those analyses just vanishes into thin air if Gods & Goddess come into picture.
Lets keep monetary contributions aside. Lets look at voluntary work. Why don't we allow our 10 or 12 yr old child to do voluntary work for a cause...(but all of ensure our children our God fearing and drag them to all temples...mosques...churches)
Why is it that in most Indian civil society organizations we find more foreign volunteers(sometimes even NRI's) but hardly any Indians living in India? In fact in my own organization I get at least 150 requests a month to work as volunteers out which 145 will be foreigners and hardly 5 Indians.

Today in the old city of Hyderabad everybody is celebrating "Bonalu"...a festival of the Mother Goddess...
I see millions of rupees being spent for pujas(prayers in temples)...to take huge processions on the road...the band...the music...the fireworks...the fanfare.
I also see the hungry & starving children...the illiterate population...the community living below poverty line...the shack holes in unhygienic slums...the pathetic potholes on the roads...the pain of broken souls...COULDN'T THEY SPEND THE MILLIONS HERE?
COULDN'T WE GIVE OURSELVES TO CHANGE THE SITUATION IN THE EARTH THAT WE LIVE TODAY...BEFORE WE JOIN THE GODS IN HEAVEN!

40 comments:

  1. my thoughts too! something i tell my family.. but m shunned and looked upon as a radicalist if i persist.. where do we have to change? rather how do we change? evn if we try being the change we wanna see.. it always doesnt work our way!

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  2. This is what i can do for the time being :

    http://paamyu.blogspot.com/2010/08/real-human-being.html#comments

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  3. Very well said, Sunitha.
    I totally agree with you.

    Even the milk (and various other offerings) that are poured on various idols in temples, in the name of "abhishek", could be better used to feed starving children.

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  4. Very true Sunitha Today by chance i came across ur videto at the TED, Infosys and i was actually shocked to listen all vat u said.
    u r right that v say, v shout n v scream that this should be done that should be done but at the time of doing something we are the first to take a step back.

    I really want to do something and to become a volunteer. I know that this is not an easy task but i strongly believe that its better to do something aginst this exploitation.

    Moreover being a girl and an indian its my duty to do it.

    Please tell me how can i contact you.

    God's grace
    An INDIAN

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  5. the problem is that we Indians are very much involved with the family,even-though one decides to do something for the society family will hinder him from going further,for us Indians family comes above all other interests,its not the case with the foreigners,they have individuality and the benefits of it,we have dependency and many benefits are there for it also,when a normal person compares his family responsibility with his social responsibility if he is an Indian he would always find that he should give his family responsibilities more importance because we are brought up like that.Most of the youngsters will be having a mind to work for the society and people but they all keeps it inside for being a normal Indian,ie a a family person

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  6. God does not need anyone's money, in Gita it is said that a little water or a flower is all that He needs. Such huge contributions to places of worship are mostly ill gotten cash when the beneficiary decides to share it with God in the hope that pleasing Him will ensure more of such deals ...

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  7. Annie Zaidi's post on this issue:

    http://www.anniezaidi.com/2010/06/money-on-my-mind.html

    The comments are worth reading too.

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  8. Donations to temples/religious institutions make their way into govt coffers these days. Earlier, they used to be utilized for sponsoring the free prasadam (usually some thing to eat) for those visiting the temple/religious place. Since temples and religious places are usually places where the community gathered, it made sense to donate there so the needy there could be taken care of. But yes, donations to temples that are already glamorous and can take care of themselves, do not help much.

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  9. Thanks for the post Mam.
    I agree with your viewpoints, those big Celebs will donate lacs of rupees to famous Mandirs but they won't give a single pie for a Genuine cause. Its really painful to see.

    Well, I too am working on a big fund-raising campaign involving Rs 70 lacs INR to save an innocent 3 yr. old child's life and the family has already been able to collect 45 lacs INR, but will you believe it, no Celebs or Big Industrialists has come out with any small help. Not even state Govt. has given any financial help yet(just some vague assurances),
    One single MLA has helped a lot in the campaign.
    And the most amazing fact is that a major portion of the fund has come from foreign Donors(though the campaign was more concentrated in India)....

    As far as this Indian Vs Foreign is concerned, I think Mr. sky r's point is very close to the mark that, in India family comes before anything else, In my opinion, another reason for this might be that India is a RELIGIOUS Country,Here Religious scriptures, traditions, values are followed blindly,but more foreigners are Spiritual. Religious persons FEAR GOD but Spiritual person LOVE GOD.....
    Religion is fine but HUMANITY comes above all...

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  10. Hi Sunita,
    Very well put! I am a volunteer with a non-profit organization and I understand the problems with raising donations. We always kid ourselves saying, we can compete with any other non-profit for the funds, but not with god. His fundraising skills are just too good to match!
    Hemanth

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  11. I appreciate your philanthropic urge.... to do something ...but it stems from your belief that some people among us are underprivileged because of the society.

    If you look deeper, the problem of underprivileged is not due to your making or the making of any one person in the society. Infact it is not the making of anyone.

    You can surely hold wealth that is exactly sufficient for your survival and rest can be given back to society. Religion and religious festivals were coined just to foster those ideas. Unfortunately overenthusiasm lets people jump up the gun and blame religion for their ills. We don't have to quit celebrating nor give up our vanity.... why you want to dampen the spirits of fetivities when we all waste a million times more on our day to day vanities. at least festivals and religion brings a sense of belonging.

    Poverty of someone is not your creation and your anguish is not a solution. Infact there is no solution to it... there is a solution to your anguish..ofcourse its upto you to find out independently... don't rope in the society for that.

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  12. if i may add to my previous post. festivities have been arranged in ancient times for the community to share the goodies they reaped in their personal businesses with society. The sharing part is gone due to greed.

    A scientist invents mass energy equivalence for society. you harness energy out of it or bomb others is upto your own good sense. religion and festivals too have same equation.

    If the people posting here are so pumped up by the recent hoopla about giving back to society i advice them to look into their daily lives ...probably there are things you feel ashamed of ...correct them and society will be benifitted 10 times more than blaming the society or someone for not sharing their wealth

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  13. And to add more... all ills of society are partly because we have become less religious. We dont care for the samskars and traditions as prescribed in ancient texts. instead we have become pompous in almost every aspect of life. the best course of action is to frequent temples. follow ancient rituals to the dot and you will find out that you have become a good individual urself and also balanced in ur spendings and service to society at large.

    in a nutshell - stop superficial show off efforts and try to follow dharma....become salt of the earth...

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  14. I am 100% in terms with you sunitha. last week I advised my family who were about to attend our relative's retirement function about spending the money on a charity instead of buying him gifts/expensive clothing. They all disagreed saying that won't appeal at the receiving end. This is how our people think.
    But I believe we can bring awareness among children, easy to mold.

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  15. to give back what you have in excess to the society is a personal decision. it should neither be forced nor believed to be the solution to the misery of other people.

    You do charity because you are feeling bad, not because the other person is suffering. your service will have purpose and meaning if you can remove your self from your acts. then whatever you do goes into that eternal ocean of life. Rest ...no offence meant, is all hogwash

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  16. you can teach kids to be frugal. be optimum with themselves and their surroundings...but you have no right to brainwash them from doing something that YOU think is right. this is like moral policing and talibanistation on the name of charity.

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  17. Alas on a happy and realized note .. Not very long ago I was also moved by impoverished people like you. to the point of tears. As i finished my vanity lunch and stepped out i saw this gang of beggars...among them some tender hands that rose up in anticipation.... too ashamed of my vanity lunch i took out my wallet...soon came some baddie old beggars along and started negotiating... well i gave out a number 50 promissory note and asked them to distribute.... the big baddies snatched it and thrashed the kiddies and ran away ....before i could shout...i realized the futility of emotions... i realized that people in dire need dont have commonsense ...they have absolute necessitysense.... the person who is not in immediate need should have commonsense... then he can better manage his emotions and that of others around him ;)

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  18. How many of us writing here -
    atleast try to tell parents not to do?

    If half the people who are supporting these statements, Follows the same. it will make a huge difference.

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  19. hi sunitha,
    Amazing thought and a very welcoming one... I love to be a volunteer and working with ur organization from chennai...

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  20. Sunitha!

    I had the same discussion exactly abt the same time when you posted your blog with a friend of mine.Me my kid along with some friends are volunteering to deliver food packets to a homeless shelter and spread a message to people if interested to volunteer/sponsor for the event.Some of them responded positively and most of the responses were as usual not very encouraging and moreover had to answer if the food packet would really reach the person who is really homeless.This really took me by surprise just one meal of supply and do we have to answer this question.On the other side last week there was a very big puja event conducted on the ocassion of a temple being constructed in our area basically a fundraiser for constructing temple or home for god ;),people donated for both construction of the temple and anna dhanam(free food) for people who attended the puja( all of them rich enough to buy their own food).Surprisingly no questions asked.

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  21. I somehow don't like to use this word charity when you do something for the society ...you do it because you have that belongingness and thts wht makes you feel the responsibility to volunteer to do something....

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  22. And many times, the priests or so called religious guardians of society will abuse children in more ways than one and that's how the money of many innocent believers ends up ultimately....

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  23. The fact is that we are unable to acknowledge the truth.God has created the whole universe including human being and our duty is to worship him by our good work. He has all the riches and is eager to bless us. We the creation of god has made a choice to worship him with the materialistic things although it is not his desire.By doing this man has lost the real blessing of god and hence face the problems.

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  24. What's the link to donate for your organization ?

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  25. well sunitha a very intelligent post...i already asked my dad the same question only to get shunted for around two hours on the importance of temples. i would be glad to work as a volunteer to your organization and i live in hyd.i know the position here. there are slums right behind posh buildings and bunglows. illiterates all over the streets, beggars who could do some work, but prefer to beg, old aged people getting driven away from their homes by their children and having no other option except to sleep on roads and wait for a good Samaritan to give them food or money so that they could spend their day, beggars acting like leprosy people...name it i have seen it...alone we can't change it, but every person from a single household, if they unite for a good cause such things can be removed and fought against. the first thing in our country for the reason us still being a developing country is corruption and second illiteracy and third unemployment and fourth...well the list would go on...

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  26. Hi Sunitha,
    I agree with you that we spent more money with Abhishekams, Archanas in temples to please God to support us and give luck in endevouring our wishes. But, we dont care how that money is reaches to God, I am a pious person, but now I agree that Helping other person who is in REAL need is more worth then please the REAL GOD.....

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  27. totally agreed Sunitha!!!! Truly inspired by your actions!!!!

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  28. thats where our level of education is ma'm... we say rather we claim that we have rich cultural heritage... knowledge of the past... saddest part is we still keep of claiming...

    Your fight to create awareness is amazing ma'm..

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  29. To me, it's greed. Even when we give to temples, we give with selfish motive. It's either given to make oneself seem pious, request god for something of larger value than what is being deposited in the hundi, or with some other self-centered motive.

    When you have to give to a cause, you cannot have yourself in mind.

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  30. Well said Sunitha. First, you must know that many share your thoughts on this topic, but sadly, several more don't. I personally feel that it is the selfishness within to protect oneself or one's family in terms of material wealth, success, health etc that blindfolds the so called religious man in donating "generously" to temples rather than the living Gods in the needy. They would much rather offer milk, butter and honey to a stone statue than feed the poor child outside the temple. It is unfortunate that reading Gita and numerous prayers don't seem to make an impact to the individual's thought process.
    But you must carry on the good work that you are doing and though I am unable to offer you anything useful at the moment, I can only offer you my best wishes and blessings.
    Hats off to you!

    Anandi

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  31. Rightly said Sunitha.God has never asked anything in return in any form. I have been following it a little bit in my way and always spreading a word about it. Guess tht makes a huge difference.
    I know many people doing the same.
    You are doing an excellent job carry on the same.
    I would like to support and help you in any possible way from my end
    my id -madhura.kc@gmail.com

    Best wishes and blessings

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  32. Sunitha,

    Hats off to you...you are doing a great job and I would like to donate for your organization, please please let me know how can i do that, you can reply me back on shwetapatil05@gmail.com.

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  33. Contributions to religion are offerings to god and the giver and god know that. The benefit and result people seek there is spiritual and not material.

    While donating to a group which helps underprevileged (there are many which are fraudulent as well, unlike yours) / paying tax / etc., people will try to check that their money is not going to corrupt people or people with ulterior motives. Sad, but true and understandable.

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  34. It is another matter that everything that goes into religious centres creates a web of corruption and communalism.

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  35. Our own Indians and others are ignorant about the fact that charity and charitable works are not a choice! They are a mandate for all of us. Everyone of us need to do charity, not once or twice in lifetime, but EVERYDAY, in some way or other. It is actually a scriptural injunction. Without charity, society will never survive.

    Volunteer work is as important as monetary charitable works. Even if donations are done to the Temples, money should be put for good use. Money should be directed towards doing everyday fire sacrifices, as it is essential to do them. Temples in turn should teach the society to be charitable. This is what is lacking in all Indian temples today!! Maybe a few temples still have Gurukulam. But the impact is not there at all.

    Everything starts with knowledge. When ignorance is removed, and knowledge sets in, the society will improve. When you don't even realize that charity is a mandate, when you don't even know why it is a mandate in our lives, then when would you charity?

    In fact, if one were to do volunteer work in any charitable organization, then one need not feel "guilty" for spending so much money and materials for doing Puja, prayers, abhishekam and so on.

    ~Priya~

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  36. kindly let us know the means of contributing.. People might actually bring in change after reading your blog. But you must guide them on to the right path..

    I dont find your replies to any of the above comments asking a way to support your cause. If that being the case, there is no point in feeling bad about OF HUNDI DONATIONS.. sorry
    I'm nt being mean. I actually want to help.

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  37. You are right. I will do the same from now and encourage everybody i know too :)

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