Spirituality & CSR had deep-rooted connection in India

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By Ganesh Gupta

A Greek playwright coined the term Philanthropy 2,000 years ago which meant Love for mankind. Nevertheless, I rediscovered the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in my first decade of upbringing. Being raised by socially conscious folks, I was always exposed to social advocacy on a personal level.

Spirituality and Corporate Social Responsibility always had a deep-rooted connection in India. Philanthropic Spirit has always been an Integral part in our Nation’s History. We have always defined it from the size from the heart and not from the Size of the wallet. However, many of us have forgotten to do so. India and Indus has always been a land of Philanthropists. Giving time, effort and wealth to another being stems from the feeling of compassion. The first example that comes to mind is that of the Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka.

Amongst Indian Muslims there is tdkr zakaat. Every year, a proportion of the wealth held throughout the year has to be given away to the poor and indigent.  From great Philantrophists like  Aga Khan III, Ashoka, Baldeo Das Birla, J.d. Tata to next philanthropic leaders like S. (Kris) Gopalakrishnan, Katherina M. Rosqueta, Arpan Sheth, partner at Bain & Co, India and Indians have always braced the theory of charity and a sense of Individual Social Responsibility. Nevertheless, many women business personalities such as Biocon’s CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Anu Aga of Thermax, Kiran Nadar and Rohini Nilekani are also leading the chartist way amongst others.

Not only have these, even a common Indian involved himself into Denominational charities during the anniversaries of the deaths of ancestors when food, raiment, beds and utensils were given to Brahmins. A few copper coins or cooked rotis is always given to a beggar enroute. Even in the kitchen, the first jksVh (a miniature but smeared with clarified butter) is fed to the fire. Some of them are fed to a cow.

CSR is not only defined by doing something good to society. It is rather held on the principle of creating better human relations. It’s the platform to foster connections with family, community and the world at large. It is a desire to engage others in charitable activity and to imbue a philanthropic spirit in peers as well as in the next generation of givers.

“It is not unreasonable to ask whether culture and personal desire to give away things has more or less impact on society. “How often has one heard the lack of philanthropic or developmental attention to culture defended on the ground that it falls low on any scale of priorities?” It’s rather a personal perception and the spirit of contributing something to the society.

I think, for being a great Business Leader, a sense of Camaraderie and Individual Social Responsibility is expected from a person to be a part of this unique facet of Business. True Success of a company is not only dependent on its balance sheets but also on its socialistic commitment, entrepreneurial responsibility and business ethics. A Company should regard the balance sheets and social commitment as objectives of equal rank.

Responsibility is normally said to be accepted. I think, we should take rather take it on. But regardless whatever it may be, I think it means nothing without having the power to shape events and the ability to envisage the long term perspective. A Company should always have a traditional commitment to the principles of sustainable development and to the role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. They should find the way to re-define its socialistic commitment on the current societal status and demands so that they can initiate the process of “rethink” and embark the change for future.

One should never forget the Philanthropic lines from our epic “Bhagavad Gita”

On action alone be thy interest,
Never on its fruits.
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
Nor be thy attachment to inaction.

Ganesh Gupta is Marketing and CSR Professional working in the field of Hygiene, Health Care, Nutrition and Food Safety. He thinks that CSR is a career where you can explore and discover your inner conscience as a person and moreover as a human. It gives you an unique opportunity to elucidate your own status of desirability in the society thus driving your core competencies at the most. He can be reached at gupta.ganesh@hotmail.com

 

 

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