There's this proverb in Hindi: Neki kar aur darya mein daal. Roughly translated, it means do good and move on. The underlying sentiment is that you don't talk about it (the good and generous stuff you do) or tell anyone what you did. It is a value that most of us from India's middle class are familiar with.
Our parents raised us to be modest about good work. Moral science classes stayed with, you could even say messed us up to be too good, to be sensitive, to be aware of our humanity and more often than not, made us slightly inept for the commercial world. But fact remains that this stayed in our hearts, deep within. If you stood first in class, you didn't shout about it from the rooftops. Doing so was as awful as a mother saying that she fed her child but stayed hungry herself. It was simply not done. The same applied to supporting a good cause or a charity.
In the aftermath of the Kerala floods, we have seen plenty of controversy arise over contributions made (and talked about). Some say if you are doing some good, why talk about it? Or if you want to talk about it, why not do that once the spotlight has passed? And if you're making a contribution, do you really need to mention that amount?
But here's the thing, how many of us even take that step to make a contribution?
In India, charity is largely restricted to religious causes and institutions, or hospitals. And more often than not, we find the names of contributors prominently displayed. So it's not like we've traditionally shied away from talking about our benevolence.
And who are we to judge? In the US and many other countries, philanthropy is a routine thing - you succeed and you give back to society, and even if you're talking about it, you do so without telling anyone. And in India, I know so many who do the same.
So here's my counter to the argument. If you do good and don't talk about it, that's great. If someone decides to talk about what they've done, they may well inspire others to do the same. Isn’t that a possibility? What do you think? This especially applies to people who have a following and are influencers.
Personally, I know entrepreneurs who have spoken about their efforts, and I know one of them for many years and how he has helped without ever talking about what he does. So if he speaks up once, can’t we just see the spontaneity in helping out? So in a way, such contributions can prompt others to action in a time of need.
In times of crisis, it's the help that you can provide that counts; everything else is just a storm in a teacup. And let’s not forget, we have to be honest in our hearts and that’s what matters.
So let's all just focus on what needs to be done. Let’s just DO. If you haven't done your bit already, check out this list of ways in which you can help out.