Thursday, June 24, 2010


We take a break from writing about events related to JGW specifically, to share with you stories from The Times of India, stories about anonymous Indians for whom giving is as natural as breathing.

Indrani Rajkhowa Banerjee reports:

You don’t need much to be an everyday philanthropist. As Ajit Singh Narulla from Delhi’s Rajouri Garden realised. A real estate builder, Narulla and his friends set out on mini trucks every evening with potable water tanks to distribute drinking water in the shanties of west Delhi. Narulla says, “These shanties have no water supply and it can be terrible in Delhi’s punishing heat. We thought that we could help by getting a little proactive.” They take turns and bear the expense themselves. “The remaining water is used to fill huge earthen pots that we’ve installed in strategic points in Rajouri,” he adds.

A Parsi from Kutch, Mrs Chheda unflinchingly delivers five litres of buttermilk everyday for the three summer months at a nearby milk booth to be distributed amongst the thirsty vendors, watchmen and taxi drivers.

Delhi-based businessman Nitin Gupta’s family doesn’t make offerings to priests on shraadh ceremonies. The entire family shares food and spends the day playing antakshri with blind kids from an orphanage in Vikaspuri, Delhi on such occasions. “There is so much hunger around that food never gets wasted here,” says a known lady restaurateur from Delhi, letting out a trade secret. “The leftover food in every restaurant is eaten by the waiters and their families.” Five-star hotels like the Taj Palace Delhi gives away surplus food to Father Agnel Bal Bhavan, a hostel for lepers. The Le Meridien gives excess food to Asian Food Bank and other leftovers to People for Animals. Meridien regularly gives wilted flowers to an NGO for women and children where natural colour is turned into dye. The remaining food from the Times of India Mumbai’s director and executive canteens goes to Pavement Club, a project for street and underprivileged children.

If you’ve wondered about the authenticity of those mute donation boxes in malls, we would say it’s safe to dip into your wallet. Pradyuman of CRY, Delhi, says, “Though the percentage of these collections is less than donations from corporates and individuals, it definitely helps our cause.”

Prasad Dhume, a former engineer, gave up his job to dedicate full time to the cause of those who have their upper knee amputated, by providing them low-cost artificial limb accessories.

What is it that drives these people to do what they have been doing, with no thought for publicity or personal reward? Perhaps Dhume has the answer when he says, "Giving is our culture.", and we need to remember this as we gear up for the Joy of Giving Week, 2010.

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