Thursday, February 25, 2010


This morning while thinking aloud, just like that a stray thought entered my mind. It has to do with each one of us; we all want to be altruistic, we all in some way or the other wish to do some sort of charity or social service and all of us always lack time for that. Charity is often the most neglected task of our lives. Today, I was thinking about what exactly do we mean by charity?

The dictionary defines it as
“generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity.” But let’s go a little deeper; is it only about giving a currency note to some NGO or is it taking pains to provide relief to a needy? Since the world is not same, each individual holds a different viewpoint on what exactly charity means. Some even consider the entire concept of charity a crap.

Ask a busy executive, for him charity is donating a yearly cheque to some well known NGO; for a businessman charity may be a good means to get tax rebates, while youngsters, mostly students, are confused about where should they start off as they wish to do a lot but their plans are hazy and ambiguous most of the times. I know some people who visit orphanages and NGOs to volunteer their money or services but they also make sure that it’s well known to people that X goes there every Sunday to do this service or that. Is charity a mode to be perceived as a local celebrity?

Some people although perform social services but behave exactly the opposite with people they hold power over like old family members, servants, pets etc. The old customs of doing charity like it used to be depicted in films has worn out. Now for most people, specially busy urbanites, it means simply donating money since it’s easy and saves their precious time.

But I view it differently. I feel the real charity is done when you take pains to provide relief to someone else in some way. Big or small doesn’t matter, but without expecting any returns including recognition from acquaintances, otherwise it would be akin to a business investment or a bond you expect to encash at an opportune moment in future! If you stand in a long queue to get a ticket reserved or pay the bill for an old citizen, that’s real charity.

I feel charity has nothing to do with money, whether you can donate it or not. What really matters is whether you are willing to make an extra effort to help someone you do not know. It may not be done only in an NGO; the basic attitude of charity can be and should be inculcated in daily life too, for example giving a piece of left over food to a stray canine is a kind of charity too :)


  1. Charity is also a way to shell out excess black money!

    Yes, just by giving some token of love, we can do better than giving out money. Token of love can in the form of clothes, toys and best is spending time with the needy!

  2. Hey Good one AS jee.

    I dont have anything against the busy executive who sends out a cheque every year. In this maddening rush, every individual has allocated responsibilities and i belive it would be a better world if everyone remained sincere and dedicated to their vocations. An exceutive being a good one and a NGO worker, a good one.

    However at a personal level, I believe that charity begins at home. It is about the love that we show to our family especaially the very old elders. They really need our attention and affection. Then comes our family paraphernalia, the workers, helpers,the cylinderwallah, the cablewallah..lets be nice to them. I once saw a rich family eating their hearts out at sravana Bhavan in CP. a family of 8 with a helper girl, barely 17,18. She sat through the meal taking care of a toddler and feeding him while the rest gorged on delicacies. Why cant they let her have some food?

    Then comes our behaviour towards animals and birds, we can feed them in our terraces and respect the animals with dignity. Someone rightly said that 'A good country is one that treats its animals and elders properly'. India lags on that respect.

    I really appreicate your idea of going to orphanages. Kudos to you. Please share your experiences as and when you do it. Cheers.


  3. giving donations are ok...but even i agree that spending time for a cause or helping poor people is better.

    I also would like to point out that by helping I mean not making them dependent...what I mean is that one must help them in becoming self sufficient.

  4. hii Abhinav

    heheh! right :P

    yes, I agree the best is spending time with the needy :)

  5. hii UA jee!

    thanks for linking the post firstly :)

    ya!its cent percent true that charity begins at home and we should inculcate that attitude too. yes our behavior towards animals shows our real character.

  6. hii G3

    yes! u have hit the nail..making pple self-sufficient is good.

  7. Very very thought provoking article I must say. I've read it thrice since yesterday.

    I totally agree with you that charity has nothing to do with the money.
    Giving should be a habit (which is not the case in India), for selfless giving is much more than charity, it is sharing.
    And the concept of NGO is nothing but as you pointed out that NGO is a brainchild of the rich for the obvious reasons.

    One NGO which you might also be aware is GiveIndia & I believe that to a certain extent it is really doing the ground work.

  8. hii Sunil!

    is it? thanks a ton buddy :D
    yes! giving and that too selfless giving must be a part of the basic attitude :)

    I went through the site, ya it seems genuine :)

  9. AS Abhinav said, people do charity to turn black money to white money. The same with donations. I recently went to a famous temple to do my bit. Wanted to sponser food for 2 kids for 1 year. I could only afford that.

    The temple priests are all MBAs, really they knew how to sell. They were trying so much to sell me a membership which was 25000/-


  10. hii Insignia

    yes u r right, religion is a full fledged profession now. m amazed yaar! MBA priests! such experiences make one averse to temples and all

  11. u r rite

    charity should be done not only in monetary terms but also in kind- big or small doesnt matter

    n yeah also some ppl give away old clothes n books etc on the name of charity...giving away what u dont need is not charity ..is it...??sharing a part of wat u hv n is valuable to u n u make it vaued 4 others- is charity in the real sense ,acc 2 me.. :)

  12. hii Urvashi!

    thanks! ya, charity is more of an attitude of selflessly helping the needy. dumping ur junk in the name of charity is disgusting.......I agree fully wid u , intention matters.

  13. charity is a way to make black money white
    or charity may become the bribe for god

  14. hii sm

    yes, its it true in most cases

  15. wat i wanted to say G3 has said!

  16. hii Hary!
    heheh! okii :)

  17. "Some people although perform social services but behave exactly the opposite with people they hold power over like old family members, servants, pets etc. "
    yeah have seen this,,

    " I feel the real charity is done when you take pains to provide relief to someone else in some way."
    true but not many think of it that way, but even I try to be charitable everyday in anyway I can.

    and yes.. you have been presented with an award..just head to my blog!!

  18. hii Sankoobaba

    ya, the first case is very common. I have myself seen some cases where the wives of the army officers literally treat the orderly very badly as their personal servant, where step mothers make life hellish for their step children although they make a lot of drama of the whatever little social service they do outside.
    its gud that u do charity everyday, that will set as an example for others.
    and ya.. thanks a ton for the award, i'll take up the tag asap :)

  19. Had written about Charity on my blog a while ago. Do read - http://bystanderdiaries.blogspot.com/search?q=halo+effect

  20. hii Kavita

    I think our views are more or less the same

    keep coming :)

  21. For me charity is money i give to a unknown charity/NGO, where i hv absolutely no transparency. Other cases, where i see the money being used the right way i dont think it is charity.

    My junior was suffering from a rare case of blood cancer and we pooled together a substantial amount for him. For me this is not charity but something i should do. Yes but if u ask me 2 donate 2 some random org, i will think twice.

  22. Well, on the business front - can't argue with tax rebate part but that is not what I count under charity coz we give them a check and take most of that back in case.. shhh.. don't say that loud.. but jokes apart charity to me has different meaning at different times.. and it does not need a special occasion or to search for needy . it can happen anywhere and you just need that willingness and truthfulness to do that.

    Secondly, the moment you boasted or told about it to someone else, the purpose is defeated so that is the last thing I will do..

    BTW, for standing a long queue for some old citizen, charity is not the right word.. you can say help or humanity but not charity.. no?

    or finding the right guy.. it can be anywhere with

  23. hii Sid

    everyone has his/her own notions of charity. most NGO are money siphoning machines I agree. what u did for ur junior is charity for most, but its a great thing that u perceive it as a sense of duty. u deserve respect :)

  24. hii ST

    right, its must be a part of ur basic attitude and yaa one does not need a special occasion to help someone.

    I think helping unknown with out any expectations is charity :)