This is it. Another year is almost over. ’Tis the time now, to take stock of your year gone by. And while I know ‘charity’ as a theme (a topic of discussion) is much discussed and sometimes over bearing, I think it is the apt time for me to discuss it.
Much has been said and hyped about benefits and auctions, about foreigners raising money for India, and foreigners raising money for other parts for the world from India (really!). We have spoken about charities, about NGOs and the people behind them. Now let’s break it all down.
I am a firm believer of charity. Who isn’t, you ask? There are plenty of non-believers out there.
Plenty who believe that ‘charity starts at home’ and therefore are charitable only at home.
Living in a country like ours where the disparity between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor is literally in our faces, it is tough to look the other way all of the time. Our children get immune to watching children their own age sit naked on street corners as they drive past in chauffer driven air-conditioned cars. We scorn at beggars who stain our windows, and long for a better India. But we all know deep within, we are the ones who can bring about this greater India.
In the recent past there was a book called The Help that made waves in the US and other parts of the world. The point that everyone was most aghast about was when it was noted that in the days of slavery, the ‘help’ was not allowed to share restrooms /bathrooms/toilets, with the people they worked for. This was considered a very ancient way of living and yet in India, this is the norm. We have ‘help’ that bathe our children, feed them with their bare hands, wipe their tears when mummy and daddy are out partying and the child wakes up with a bad dream. These are the people who stay up nights when the child is ill and share cuddles with them in bed, but we treat them just like the ‘help’ in that book. There are homes where food is rationed out to these people and an idle afternoon considered a crime.
When we say, ‘charity begins at home,’ this is the first place we need to start. Treating the kind human beings who have left their own families and young ones to service our families, like family.
Can we do that? Can we find it in our hearts to let them eat the food that we do and sleep in the conditions that we sleep in? Can we educate their children so they may grow to live a better a life?
Let’s end the year by taking stock of what good we did this year, to make our country a better place. One step at a time. One child at a time. One human being at a time.