An act of #charity
Corona times have been a game changer. Novel Covid 19 has made underdog, sanitizer and his not so underdog friend, hand wash the king of products. It has transformed mask, from a hardly used commodity to an essential face accessory. Corona has made clear skies and birds in it the new normal. And amongst many such changes, it has also made #charitypictures the new fad. Gone are the times when charity was about selflessly helping the needy. Today charity is all about flaunting your kindness and wearing it as a medal. There was a time when elderly preached that true charity is one where a person’s left hand doesn’t know what his right hand gives to the needy. But somehow in 2020 people have derived that an act of kindness or charity unless posted on social media isn’t eligible for being considered charity. For them the entire purpose of helping someone becomes meaningless unless everyone they know and even the ones they don’t know are aware of it.
Social media these days is flooded with selfies and videos of people posing flawlessly along with their acts of charity. These pictures or videos weave a story of kindness around the giver, glorifying his concern for the poor. However, these very kind and helpful people don’t even bother to take into consideration that the other character of their story- the poor, in spite of being needy is a human with similar feelings as theirs and not an object. Is it morally justified to display his misery to the world just for your selfish glorification? Pre-corona lockdown most of these people, who are in need of help today were working and earning their bread respectably. A cobbler, or a rag picker might be starving due to loss of work in current situations but is their hunger and the food in your hand reason enough to transform them from humans to mere subject of your ostentatious Instagram picture?
All religions in the world be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Jainism emphasize on selfless service of the poor and needy. They specify charity as an essential duty of every being with means. The word ‘selfless’ holds immense importance here. As real charity is one which is done without expecting anything in return and it should not induce pride or ego in giver’s heart. Rather it should be an act of humility and compassion. It is such unconditional service of God’s beings which is considered service of God itself. However, the pattern of charity followed by majority of people today is neither unconditional nor selfless. Charity in these times has merely become an act of publicity. An act in which the privileged ones provide food and monetary help to the needy and in return humiliate them and their poor state for one’s ego satisfaction and popularity. It is more like a compensation for making the needy play a part in one’s act. Is it justified to call such compensation, charity? I leave the answer to your kind hearts and wise minds.Next time when you take your camera out for such a photograph, do remember to click a happy picture. A picture portraying all beings as equals, holding hands or standing side by side. Don’t make your donation a part of it. Don’t make their humiliation a part of it. Let your picture just be about smiles and the fact that life is unpredictable and temporary for all.