‘To Give’ or ‘Not to Give’

Posted: January 27, 2010 in i_THINK_therefore_i_am, Management

 

 

This
was a long settled thought, which resurfaced after reading a blog post ‘It pays
to be unemployed’.
‘To Give
or Not To Give’ (donate money for charity) is the case in point. The thought
first struck when I was discussing the issue of charity with one of my close
friend Prasoon. Both of us started up with entirely opposing stands. Prasoon at
that time was looking out for charities where he could contribute some money
and was a proponent of ‘Giving’. And with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged still fresh
in my mind, I stood as a proponent of ‘Not Giving’ and a non believer in
charity.
This
was a long discussion but briefly the arguments somewhat followed like this:
Arguments
in favor of ‘To Give’
·
We should help (financially) who are under
privileged.
·
We should help (financially) who are not born
lucky.
Arguments
in favor of ‘Not to Give’
·
People should first earn and then eat.
·
People should not be living on alms without producing/contributing
anything.
Arguments
against ‘To Give’
·
Will it not be injustice to people who are born
with under privileged conditions but work hard to earn a living?
·
Will it not be injustice to people (poor,
physically challenged, etc.) who follow their dreams with grit and perseverance
against all odds?
·
Will it not encourage idling and non working
environment?
Arguments
against ‘Not to Give’
·
What is their fault if they are born in a poor
family which cannot provide a decent two time meals to them?
Amidst
all these arguments, agreements and disagreements, we realized that there is a
middle way and which came out to be the best alternative on which both of us
principally agreed.
‘Give
to Facilitate’
We
realized that purpose of ‘Giving’ should be ‘To Facilitate’ under privileged to
produce, earn and then eat. The charity contributions should be towards creating
an environment and ecosystem to help the under privileged learn required skills
and become more productive.
If
an individual decides to contribute for the sake of social responsibility, the
responsibility should not end with giving money alone. As a matter of fact, responsibility
of individual should start with giving money. He should ensure that the money
or effort which he is contributing should be to facilitate people to produce
and earn, and should not encourage spoon feeding.
In
Buddhism alms are not considered as simple charity – “In Theravada
Buddhism, monks (Pāli: bhikkhus)
and nuns go on a daily almsround (or pindacara) to collect food. Alms are given
by lay people to monks and nuns to nurture virtue, merit and blessings and to
ensure monastic continuity”. Alms are given to monks to facilitate them
to continue their spiritual quest. Isn’t it elementary!
So, towards
the end, we concluded that there are two efficient ways of contributing that
would make real difference:
1.
Imparting skills and knowledge to make under privileged
self-sufficient.
2.
Money and Voluntary contributions to those NGOs
which facilitates the under-privileged and not to those who spoon feed them.
Ideally
speaking, even Non-profits and NGOs should work for ‘Facilitating’
under-privileged and not just for ‘Giving’ or ‘Channelizing’ money they arrange
from fund raising. There should be a single definitive purpose for which the
NGOs operate and that purpose should be ‘Facilitation’. What these people
really need out there is no pittance, no mercy… It’s just ‘facilitation’. ‘Facilitation’
to stand on their own… to Earn their own living.
The
irony is that even today individuals, organizations and governments fail to
understand and appreciate the basic principles of ‘Giving’ Vs ‘Facilitating’.
Or, maybe we have not got them right yet!

Read
more on irony of such government policies in article ‘It pays to be
unemployed’ here.

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Comments
  1. Keith Prabhu says:

    Kahlil Gibran on Giving

    You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
    The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.

    They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

    Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.

    And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

    And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?

    And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

    See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.

    For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

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