Posts Tagged 'social service'

Buffett should learn our ethos of giving

Buffett should learn our ethos of giving

R Vaidyanathan

First Published : 22 Mar 2011 11:09:00 PM IST
Last Updated : 23 Mar 2011 01:29:02 AM IST

The rootless wonders are agog with ecstasy that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are visiting India. They will not only explore about investing in India but also urge the Indian business to allocate at least half of their wealth to charity and this year is called year of ‘giving’.
It is important that both of them are educated about our system and ethos of giving which exist from ancient times and do not need lectures through business channels which live and even die for TRPs.
Buffett should know that the greatest hero of all times in India in our puranas is Karna who gave all and his name is interchangeably used for the art of giving in many Indian languages.
Ratan Tata may be shy to point out to Bill Gates that ‘the Tata founders bequeathed most of their individual wealth to many trusts they created for the greater good of India and its people’. So is the case with G D Birla and Jamnalal Bajaj. This may not be trumpeted by Kumara Mangalam Birla and Rahul Bajaj. As a perceptive blogger Sandeep Singh says that as early as 1895 Dayal Singh Majithia bequeathed away three million rupees for noble causes including new ventures by Indians. Actually Majithia was an early ‘venture capitalist’ in India even though not many know about him.
We also find that Swami Vivekananda could not have gone to USA but for local business people funding him and the weightlifters and wrestlers could not have won gold medals at the recent Commonwealth Games but for local traders financing their clubs in remote parts of Orissa and Manipur. Many may not have heard about Ekal Vidyalayas which are one-teacher schools functioning in remote parts of India, particularly in tribal areas. They are in as many as 35,000 villages, educating more than one million children. Take the other example of Satya Sai initiative to bring water to Rayalseema using private donations. The Ninth Plan document of Planning Commission says, “The Sathya Sai Charity has set an unparalleled initiative of implementing on their own without any budgetary support a massive water supply project with an expenditure of `3 billion to benefit 731 villages, etc.”
Later this project was extended to Chennai costing more than `600 crore. Ramakrishna Mission runs around 200 hospitals serving nearly one crore people annually mostly in rural areas. It also runs around 1,200 educational institutions serving more than 3.5 lakh students of which more than 1.25 lakh are in rural areas.
Nadars engaged in business in Tamil Nadu have funded hundreds of educational institutions and hospitals and so the Marwaris/Chettiars/Katchis/Bhoras all over India.
A lot of our education, healthcare, arts, literature and spirituality efforts/ventures have been fully financed by businessmen who are even shy to talk about it. Herein is the secret to the fundamental ethos of giving in India. It is done without advertisements and trumpets. Actually in our tradition the giver is reluctant to talk about it since it embarrasses the receiver. The fact that it could demean the receiver is reason enough for the giver to keep silent. Remember the way Nitish Kumar reacted when the donation from Gujarat for flood relief in Bihar was advertised? Nitish Kumar recalled our tradition of giving without revealing.
It is told in our ancient wisdom that one should give till the hand bleeds and one should not talk about it. The action will speak even centuries later. The upstarts of today write on every tubelight their names before donating it to a temple or call press conferences to declare their ‘intentions’. That is the US culture. Everything from lovemaking to charity should be advertised and shown on prime time television. Then only you prove that the spouses and receivers are happy.
But why this sudden wallowing in self pity and whining about giving? It all started with the Indira Gandhi Prize being given to Bill Gates on July 25, 2009, and wherein the chairman of National Advisory Council Sonia Gandhi read a speech on the need for Indian businessmen to give for charity (like Bill Gates) and it was published in full by Wall Street Journal and a columnist in that paper pontificated the “rich in India to open their wallets”. Leaders and media in India who are clueless about Indian ethos are setting the Gates and Buffett’s to further pontificate to our business people.
It is interesting that Bill Gates who has operations in Cayman islands and Reno of Nevada to minimise or evade taxes to be paid to the United States government is enthusiastic about “Giving by India Inc”. Warren Buffett is planning to give his dollar assets to the Gates foundation which will reduce estate taxes in the future. Interestingly both of them are some of the few US business barons supporting estate taxes. It is not clear who are their dinner guests in India. If it is Forbes billionaires from India we hope Shahid Balwa of the Spectrum fame is not going to be there!
Somebody should also tell Bill Gates and Warren Buffett that India Inc constitutes less than 15 per cent of our GDP and the real growth masters are small partnership and proprietorship firms which are deeply involved in giving. Actually India Inc in our economy is like an item number in a Bollywood movie. Good to talk about on TV but only has the glamour quotient. Also can we suggest to Gates and Buffett to stop investing in firms in tax havens since that sucks away billions of dollars of money from countries like India. If they really want to help India then they should start a campaign to close down all these tax havens rather than having expensive company-paid dinners at five star hotels of our country urging Balwas to give.
(The writer is professor, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore.
The views are personal)

Flash floods – RSS relief updates and appeal

Flash floods – RSS relief updates and appeal
Ladhakh Aapdha Sahayata Samiti (LASS) appeals the people to donate for Leh victims.
Jammu 12 August 2010

Hundreds of people killed and thousands are missing and numerous injured in worst ever cloud burst and flash floods in Leh which caused unprecedented destruction in the entire district in general and Leh town in particular. In adverse conditions, Volunteers of Sewa Bharati and RSS have started all-out rescue and relief operations.

Leh preview- Affected area

Before the people and administration could wake up to the prevailing situation, the natural calamity had caused unprecedented damages everywhere. The district hospital was flooded, bus stands flattened and vehicles were seen floating in the heart of town. The communication equipment of BSNL got completely damaged in the flash floods thereby tying the hands of the administration in starting early relief and rescue operations as damage to the telephone exchange rendered all the mobiles and landline phones useless.

Flooded hospitals, flattened bus stands, washed away houses and floating cars amidst echo of wailing people were all that was left after the flash floods. What to talk of road connectivity with Kargil, the road link of Leh town with adjoining villages got completely snapped as numerous culverts and bridges got washed away in the floods.

The update on RSS and seva bharati relief work

RSS at Leh flood relief programmes- Photos

Meanwhile RSS training camp (ITC) was under way near Leh when this disaster struck. Suspending the Camp activity, all Swayamseveks immediately rushed at the catastrophe site and started rescue and relief operations immediately. In the meantime the Sewa Bharti J&K through its unit in Leh in cooperation with Ladakh Singhay Chospa has already established a relief operation camp in Leh and is looking after the needs of the affected people.

In Jammu, Sewa Bharati Jammu and Kashmir organised an emergency meeting in which social workers of many organizations attended the meeting to chalk out the strategy to provide immediate relief to the victims of Natural Disaster in Leh. All members paid homage to those who died in this disaster and formed a trust under the Name Ladhak Aapdha Sahayata Samiti to assist the victims and affected families in Leh. Brig. (Retd.) Suchet Singh has been unanimously elected President of this trust. Dr. Kuldeep Gupta will work as secretary and Sh. Abay Pargal will be the treasure of this trust.

As an immediate measure, some cash donations were immediately transferred from Jammu to the group of Swayamsevaks working in Leh. They have purchased whatever relief material they can get form nearby local markets and started distributing them. According to latest report, a relief package of 2000 blankets, a set of utensils for 500 families, 2000 clothes and 500 shoes is on the way and will reach the calamity site any time today. Some injured from Leh who have now arrived at Jammu are also being contacted by Seva Bharati workers to provide them necessary help.
LASS has opened an account in Punjab National Bank for this purpose having A/c No. 1948000101057923. LASS requested the people to donate liberally for the flood Victims of Leh.

Nele – an orphanage in Bengaluru

Here is a post abaout ‘Nele’ – an orphanage run by Hindu Seva Pratishthana in Bengaluru, Karnataka. I have visited the place. It is a very good project. One can see the transformation that they have brought in Street children and rag pickers! It’s amazing!

RSS service projectsmultiply ten-fold

RSS service projectsmultiply ten-fold
TNN 4 November 2009, 07:58am IST

NAGPUR: It’s political offshoot, Bharatiya Janata Party, may be in a disarray and desperately trying to get out of the knots it has tied for

itself. But the parent organisation and Hindutva fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) can take immense pride in having spread its wings far and wide through its social service projects. Recording an impressive growth, the service units of the Sangh parivar grew ten times in little over one decade.

‘Sewa Disha’ a special journal published by RSS front organisation released to the media on Tuesday reveals that its service projects all over the country that numbered 15,063 in 1997 have grown into a massive network of 1,57,776 in 2009. The journal, published once in five years, gives full account of the service work done by the innumerable units of the Sangh parivar, said RSS spokesman Manmohan Vaidya.

The service projects are engaged mainly in four fields– education, healthcare, social work and economic self-reliance. Of the total 1.5 lakh projects, nearly 40% or 59,498 are into imparting education. This work is mainly done through Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (3147 units), Rashtriya Sewa Bharti (20,500 schools), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (25, 922 units), Vidya Bharti (9682) units, Rashtriya Sevika Sangh (149 units) and Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (98 units). Similarly, 38,582 health-related units are being currently operated through mainly Seva Bharti, VHP, Bharat Vikas Parishad and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams. While the number of social projects that do village development to disaster management have now grown 42,304, economic activity is being executed through 17,392 projects, according to the journal.

Its in Kerala that the RSS projects have grown the most– from 688 in 2004 to 8921 this year while Karnataka follows with 9662 projects, up from 2535 in five years ago. Practically every state has RSS presence through these projects. Special attention is paid to north-eastern states that are reeling under insurgency problem and in difficult terrains like jungles, hills and the strife-ridden Jammu and Kashmir to spread education and health in places where the government facilities are non-existent or neglected.

“I can tell my personal experience having been associated with such projects in Gujarat. At Deoghar village in Kutch, the Sangh shakhas have succeeded in eradicating vices like alcoholism and brought harmony by ending group rivalries among villagers,” said Vaidya who worked for a long time in the western state. From basic education through ‘Ekal Vidyalaya'( one-teacher schools) launched by the Pophali couple in Jharkhand to special projects for higher learning, research and promoting sustainable, organic farming the ‘Seva’ units are holding the RSS flag high across the nation, said Vaidya.

Seva bharati Flood relief video

Relief Work in Cyclone Affected Sunderbans of Bengal by RSS

Relief Work in Cyclone Affected Sunderbans of Bengal

Hingalganj, June 5:
It was a nightmarish experience for 50-odd swayamsevaks who were desperate to reach Hingalganj jetighat criss-crossing other inaccessible riverine villages in the Sunderbans after Aila cyclone battered and ravaged the Bengal’s famous archipelago of islands on May 25. The rivers Kalindi and Raimangal were turbulent and wind speed was not less than 60 km per hour even 24 hours after the cyclone lashed the Sunderbans.
They hired a large vessel with a capacity to carry about 6 tonnes relief materials for distributing among cyclone hit villagers separated from the main land.

Risking lives, they finally reached Jetighat, Hemnagar, Mandirghat and Parghumta villages where thousands of marooned villagers awaiting government relief past three days since the Aila blown away their hamlets. They had no food and drinking water during the past 72 hours.

Indeed, the marooned villagers had lost all hopes to survive as the area remained inaccessible due to swelling of Dasha river following the cyclone. The team of swayamsevaks, led by North 24 Pargana zilla karyabaha Shri Sukumar Vaidya, was the first batch of volunteers to reach them braving nature’s fury. Initially, starving villagers took swayamsevaks as state government relief employees and started to hurl abuses.

However, when the distressed villagers discovered that they were RSS volunteers and had risked their lives to bring them relief materials, they were simply over-joyed and begged pardon for their initial mistake. Women blew conch-shells to welcome the swayamsevaks in their mud houses.

Packets of dry food, water pouches, milk powder and clothes brought by swayamsevaks were distributed with full cooperation of the distressed villagers.
This is the same area where the local CPI (M) MLA Gopal Gayen from Hingalganj was roughed-up and the chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee received abuses from relief deprived villagers on June 2. The distressed villagers in Hingalganj block in the riverine Sunderbans made it amply clear that even in misery they had more respect for honest and hard-working swayamsevaks of the RSS than callous elected communist leaders strutting about in the corridors of power.
Nearly a week after cyclone Aila hit West Bengal’s coast, thousands of people are still stranded in the Sunderbans. People with boats have left, but many have no choice but to stay. The human misery is telling. “I have nothing left. Utensils, pans, plates and glasses. Even the three bags of rice, we had saved from the last harvest, are gone. It would have been good had we been given a house to live in by the administration. What else do poor people have, money? My daughter has to be married off, but there’s nothing left,” Purnima Mondal, resident of Dakshin Yogeshganj near Bangladesh border said. The villagers here are facing an added misery as robbers from Bangladesh are raiding border villages as they left their homes and sheltered in relief camps.
The RSS has a well-knit organization in the Sunderbans under north and south 24 Parganas. There are ‘one teacher-one school’ establishments in 90 villages. Swayamsevaks of the two neighbouring districts have set up 32 relief camps and feeding about 30,000 cyclone hit hapless villagers daily since 26 May. The worst affected are the five blocks, Hasnabad, Najat, Sandeshkhali I & II and Hingalganj. Here 50 sakhas are affected due to large-scale inundation. Even after flooding, swayamsevaks are running two relief camps in Basantitala where cooked food is supplied to nearly 4,000 villagers daily.

Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh, Dr. Manmohan Vaidya, visited several relief camps in the affected areas in Hasnabad block in north 24 Parganas on June 3 and took a stock of the grim situation prevailing there. He was told that the RSS volunteers braved the storm and rains and started distributing relief to distressed villagers at Basanti, Sonakhali, Kultuli, Gosaba, Pathankhali, Hemnagar, Mandirghat within six hours after the Aila lashed villages in the Sunderbans on May 26.

As the villagers have lost everything and have no means to cook rice, the meals are being cooked at the RSS relief centres in the main land and then transported daily by country boats to relief camps set up by swayamsevaks in far-flung Sunderban islands.
This mammoth relief operation requires huge amount of money. Shri Vaidya appealed to people all over the country to come forward at this time of crisis and shoulder some social responsibility by donating liberally to organizations like Bastuhara Sahayata Samiti, RSS Samaj Seva Bharati, and Friends of Tribal Society.
For further information, contact:

Vishwa Samvad Kendra,
36A, Sahitya Parishad Street (Flat- F/1), Kolkata – 700 006
Phone: (033) 2543-1976

The truth about World Vision – by V. K. Shashikumar

The truth about World Vision
by V. K. Shashikumar
The author is a noted investigative journalist for Tehelka. This article was prepared by him for (the online arm of CNN-IBN, owned and funded by the Southern Baptist Church in the US) under the title “Preparing for the Harvest”, which IBNLive so far has not published as it exposes World Vision’s Christian missionary activities in India. Donors to World Vision India – Rs 256 crores collected in 2008 – believe it to be the premier NGO working in India for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. In fact it is the premier Christian missionary organisation working in India for the harvesting souls for Jesus. Since the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda and the resultant communal violence in Orissa in August 2008, World Vision’s funding and missionary activities have come under the scanner of the Home Ministry in New Delhi. — Ishwar Sharan
Somebody should bell the cat!
By Dr. Mrs. Hilda Raja
I know about World Vision personally because many of my students were recruited to work in it. But invariably at the interview the question which they asked is about “evangalisation”. Even a friend of mine who had applied for a chartered accountant post in response to an advertisement, was asked not of his professional and knowledge skills but about evengalisation. He came home and shared this with me and wanted to know if World Vision was a purely a development organization or one for evangalisation. Poor fellow does not know that development is the cover up for its evangalisation.
At a public meeting I raised this issue in Chennai. I had even responded to Mani Shankar Iyer who stated that to his knowledge there is not a single Christian development agency involved in evangalisation. I reacted to that by citing the case of World Vision. It was published in the papers. I can cite quite a few examples. World Vision will not recruit a single non-Christian, no matter the competence. They will not even recruit a Catholic because they do not trust the Catholics.
They once offered one of my Catholic students a job provided she leaves the Catholic church and joins in a Protestant church. She did convert because she was in dire need of a job for financial support. Two Brahmins were converted to the Protestant church and placed in high official positions.
In fact World Vision looks out for Brahmin converts to make them show pieces. These head the various departments which is highly remunerative. This is my own micro-level first hand knowledge. So what will it be on the all India level?
World Vision has a narrow, myopic vision of the world where their main agenda is evangalisation. The government of India must be aware of it. I have been always advocating for a ban on foreign funds. China, France and so many countries will not tolerate what India not only tolerates but even abets. The fight against terrorism will be futile unless and until foreign funds for “development” are monitored and banned.
Dr. Mrs. Hilda Raja is a retired professor of social sciences from Stella Maris College, Chennai (Madras). She is Catholic by religion and an outspoken critic of religious conversion as it is practiced by Christian missionaries in India.
World Vision, the world’s largest Christian church mission agency, has traditionally been closely linked with successive American governments. The former US Ambassador for International Religious Freedoms, Dr Robert Seiple, was World Vision chief for 11 years till 1998 when he was picked by former president, Bill Clinton, to head the office of International Religious Freedoms. Around the period when Seiple was the president of World Vision, its vice-president from 1993 to 1998 was Andrew S. Natsios. He is now the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). For more than 40 years, USAID has been the leading government agency providing economic and humanitarian assistance to developing countries.
World Vision’s focus is children and community development. It is involved in more than 162 projects in 25 states. It projects its community development programmes as “holistic development”. This is implemented through Area Development Programmes (ADP). Each ADP works in an area that is contiguous geographically, economically or ethnically. These programmes provide access to clean drinking water, healthcare, education and setting up of income generating projects. But infused with such development works is the spiritual component – Bible classes.
In India, World Vision projects itself as a “Christian relief and development agency with more than 40 years experience in working with the poorest of the poor in India without respect to race, region, religion, gender or caste.” However, Tehelka has in its possession US-based World Vision Inc.’s financial statement filed before the Internal Revenue Service, wherein, it is classified as a Christian church ministry. In any case, its mission statement is self-explanatory: “World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in working with the poor and oppressed, to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the Good News of the Kingdom of God.”
Though World Vision has consultative status with UNESCO and partnerships with UN agencies like UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and ILO, the fact is that its financial records reveal that it has funded evangelical activities all over the world including India. World Vision uses its international clout and its close links with the US government through USAID to network with governments and corporate entities in the developing world.
World Vision has an ongoing channel of interaction with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII); in its 2003 financial report it states that “the Rural Development Department of the Government of Assam recognized World Vision India as a leading development agency in the state and has recommended that World Vision be the choice for receiving bilateral funds. The government has also sought World Vision’s assistance in creating a proposal for US$ 80 million for development work in the state.”
The income and expenditure account for the year ended September 30, 2002 shows that its total income was Rs 95.5 crores, which included foreign contribution of Rs 87.8 crores. For an organisation that claims to be only involved in development and relief work, it is quite secretive about its positioning and exact nature of activities. When approached by Tehelka as part of its undercover operation for an interview, World Vision India’s national director, Dr Jayakumar Christian, after having agreed to the interview backed out because he wanted copies of the fictitious Christian magazine that Tehelka claimed to be representing.
However, what goes unnoticed by the governments and the corporate world is World Vision India’s evangelical missions as part of its development agenda. Proselytisation (conversion of faith) is an integral part of its provision of development services under its much-touted ADP programmes. Though none of the literature published by World Vision India even mentions its evangelisation missions, foreign publications of World Vision India proudly proclaim its “spiritual” component.
Take, for instance, World Vision New Zealand’s report (4 September 2002) on the funding of ADP in Dahod, Gujarat. Under the head, “spiritual development” the report states:
“Held a vacation Bible school for 150 children from different villages. The children participated in games, Bible quizzes, drama and other activities. Organised a one-day spiritual retreat for 40 young people and a children’s Christmas party. Each of Dahod’s 45 villages chose five needy children to attend the party.” In Dumaria, Banka district, eastern Bihar, “the ADP supports local churches by running leadership-training courses for pastors and church leaders.”
What has an Area Development Programme (ADP) got to do with running leadership training courses for pastors and church leaders? Incidentally, World Vision New Zealand funds ADP programmes in the tribal pockets of India. The New Zealand Government’s Voluntary Agencies Support Scheme (VASS) jointly fund the two-year project, the NZ government matching World Vision contributions on a 2:1 basis. There are many other instances of evangelical programmes run by World Vision India.
In the Gajapati ADP, situated in Gumma Block of Orissa’s Gajapati district, a World Vision report admits that “Canadian missionaries have worked in the area for just over 50 years and today 85-90 percent of the community is Christian. However, local church leaders had little understanding of the importance of their role in community development. ADP staff build relationships with these leaders to improve church co-operation and participation in development initiatives.” Here World Vision organised two training camps for local church leaders in holistic development.
In Mayurbhanj, again in Orissa, World Vision regularly organises spiritual development programmes as part of its ADP package. The World Vision report says: “Opposition to Christian workers and organisations flares up occasionally in this area, generally from those with vested interests in tribal people remaining illiterate and powerless. World Vision supports local churches by organising leadership courses for pastors and church leaders.”
In India is active in Bhil tribal areas and openly admits its evangelical intentions: “The Bhil people worship ancestral spirits but also celebrate all the Hindu festivals. Their superstitions about evil spirits make them suspicious of change, which hinders community development. ADP staff live among the Bhil people they work with, gaining the villagers’ trust and showing their Christian love for the people by their actions and commitment.”
This being the case it is not surprising that World Vision India was honoured with the 2003 Mahatma Gandhi Award for Social Justice. This award is hosted by the All India Christian Council. Incidentally, Joseph D’Souza who was AICC’s President during that year also heads an evangelical network, Operation Mobilisation, in India. Operation Mobilisation, again, is an American missionary organisation. It was founded by Georg Verwer and today is a global ministry “committed to working in partnership with churches and other Christian organisations for the purpose of World mission.”
Courtesy: Hindu Voice, December 2008
See also:
• Christian NGOs receive huge funds for conversion activities
• Foreign Contribution Regulation Act Report 2006-7
• “Preparing for the Harvest” by V.K. Shashikumar
• World Vision chief and Congress MP Radhakant Nayak accused of Lakshmanananda’s murder
• Part I of “President Bush sponsors the evangelization of India” by V. Sundaram
• Part II of “President Bush sponsors the evangelization of India” by V. Sundaram
• Part III of “President Bush sponsors the evangelization of India” by V. Sundaram
• Indian Media’s War on Hinduism ( & World Vision)
• “VHP Secretary Pravin Tagodia demands special commission to probe missionary activities”
• American government funds Christian missionaries in India
• “The truth about World Vision” with references on Vivekajyoti Blog