“Charity”, #WesternUniversalism examined: ≠ Daana

Abbakka Prerana

|| श्री ||

When we hear the word “charity” what comes to our mind is helping the needy, magnanimity, selflessness, etc. But do you know about the different varieties of charity? Let me describe some versions of charity I have come across.

The Selling GenerationCatching them young

My first encounter with charity was in the US – a child visited us with her parents and told us that she was doing charity. We felt proud of her, that she had such noble intentions at such a young age. Then she told us that she was selling something for charity. And because of our Indian upbringing we assumed she must have made something, so that she will donate whatever money she collects by selling it. So, we asked her what she was selling. And she handed us a booklet of a cosmetics company! And told us that for every product we buy, the company will use some amount for charity. Culture Shock to us!!

A lot of questions went racing through my mind – Does this company really use that part of the money for charity as promised? It is such a big company; they will have billions of dollars that they can use for the betterment of society. So why not use their own profits for charity? If they really did not have money to spare, would they ask me to buy their product or just ask me for donations to their NGO? If they wanted me to buy their product, they could just advertise. Why do they need to disguise it under charity? And then send a young child to sell it? Isn’t this child labor? But looks like if you name it as “charity”, it stops being child labor.

Are the parents also convinced that their child is doing charity? If not charity, then some people might think that their child might learn the skill of selling. But that is not true either. The kid is not going to random people who do not know her. The parents take these kids to family and friends. So, when you know the child, it becomes like an emotional blackmail. “A young child is doing this great work for charity and if I refuse to spare even a little bit of money, I will sound very selfish”. That is the thought that the company exactly wants us to have. 

The “Donor” nudge

These companies also have donation offers in their stores of similar sort. They tell the customer “If you buy this then we will donate part of this amount” – just to make it sound like “you are this selfish person who is not helping poor people by refusing to buy our products”. But looks like this trick was not sufficient for their bottom-line targets. Probably because when a salesperson in the store says that, some people might still think of whether they really need the product. But a young child from family or friends gives you the same offer? There is no way you can refuse to buy the product. Even worse is the case when some parent sends out an email to colleagues in the office to buy what their child is selling. If the parent is a boss, people will just buy the product even if they do not want to. So, the child is not even learning marketing skills. In fact, the company is using the parent’s already established network which means the parents are acting like unpaid salespersons for the company. Shouldn’t the parents complain about this kind of “education”?

From what I understood later; this is not just a single instance, but the same process is carried out by multiple companies across schools in US & Canada. 

“Philanthropic” NGOs as Agents of Death

There was a news around 10 years back which sounded like – a group of people hired some agents to pray for their long life. And these agents abducted somebody else’s children and did human sacrifice. Horrifying! Who are these group of people? – all of us. Which religion does this human sacrifice belong to ? – Allopathy. And who were these agents? – American NGOs like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) and pharma companies Merck, GSK, and agencies responsible for public health DCGI, ICMR, USFDA, WHO. To explain in short – These organizations claim to work for creating new medicines and vaccines which will prevent us from falling sick and help live a long life. One such experiment was done on tribal girls in India, even when it was obvious that they or their parents would not be able to make an informed decision whether to take part in the trial. These vaccine trials led to sickness and death for several children. On other occasions if innocent people are killed, we have a lot of protests from people working for “humanity”, but do we hear them complaining about these organizations involved in such kind of “scientific studies”? Why not? Is Science the new religion? Among the organizations mentioned above, NGOs like BMGF, GAVI, PHFI claim to be doing charity. It creates an image that they are helping save or improve lives of so many people so we should excuse them for such mistakes. But investigations into the details of these organizations shows conflict of interest as they have working relationship or affiliation with pharma companies which leads to the question – Philanthropy or business in disguise?

Charity as Entertainment

Now let us look at a recent news where a 99-year-old man walked 100 laps around his garden and raised money for the UK’s NHS. There are lot of such other fund-raising activities in the western world where someone performs something after which people donate money. And that person’s efforts for charity are highly appreciated, which I agree. But I would like to understand why other people could not donate on their own. Why do they need somebody to perform some stunt, only after which they will donate? Some people might think he is “raising awareness” but if awareness were the only goal then only sending out a message on media or social media would have helped people know that NHS needs funds. But if a simple message is not sufficient to motivate people to donate, it means people are excited by the stunt performed rather than being influenced by the need of the society. In this case, I would say the people are paying for the entertainment they enjoyed out of watching the stunt or hearing the news. The 99-year-old man is the only one really donating his earnings.

Confused Charity

These days there are marathons being arranged to help some social cause. But how much of it is really helping the cause? There is some fee to take part in the marathon, let us say ₹1000. Many people mistakenly think that they are donating the entire ₹1000. But that is not true. Some part of it will go towards arranging the marathon. Let us consider those expenses to be ₹400. Which means only ₹600 would go towards the cause and I am using ₹400 for the fun or sense of achievement that comes with running a marathon. If I wanted to donate ₹1000, I could have just donated the entire amount to whichever organization I like. Why do I need a marathon? And if I wanted to run a marathon, I could take part in a non-charity marathon so that I am clear about how much amount is going towards the marathon. As far as awareness is concerned, the organizers sending out a message about the work they are doing and need of funds is sufficient for me to donate. 

Some of these marathons claim to “fight cancer”. But can a marathon help solve some issue like a health problem? Worst part of some of the marathons is that they will be sponsored by companies who are selling products having toxic ingredients. And their advertisements during the marathon which will lead to more buying of these products and in turn a higher occurrence of cancer! 

Advertising Space

Let us also talk about what is happening in the land of Karna, the Daanveer. There are yoga institutes or temple management asking for donations and offering to name some part of the institute or room after the donor. The donor might name it after himself/herself or name it after some family member. If instead this donor asked to display name of some product, we would call it advertising. But because a person’s name is being displayed there, and the space is sold to individuals rather than companies, it is hard to figure out the underlying intention of publicity and we end up thinking it is daan.

Daan is definitely NOT CHARITY.We need to stay as far away from Charity as possible , if we have to have any hope of reviving Sanatana Dharma


Controversial vaccine studies: Why is Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation under fire from critics in India? https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/controversial-vaccine-studies-why-is-bill-melinda-gates-foundation-under-fire-from-critics-in-india/articleshow/41280050.cms?from=mdr

Abbakka Prerana
Abbakka Prerana

2 thoughts on ““Charity”, #WesternUniversalism examined: ≠ Daana”

  1. I believe Activity and Magnitude are the keywords here.

    You can compare fundraising to special type of milk churning that throws up butter and you take some part of it and give some part to the party that needs it.

    Without the churning , butter itself would not get separated.

  2. Pingback: Culture and anti-culture in philanthropy - Philanthropic Giving

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