Let me start this one with sort of disclaimer. Majority of you who bother to read to the end may shut down this idea and say this ought to be left as your own private business. What I’m going to talk about is the while elephant in the room. It is not going to be popular among many to whom it is addressed. But, hey, if no one points it out we may never realise that it is not OK what we are doing. So here we go.
Majority of my fellow Nepali friends within home and overseas are the middle class who have worked really hard to climb up the ladder of economic prosperity. They are today living a fairly comfortable life. Their progress is purely a function of their knowledge and hard work. There is absolutely no doubt of that. Each of ours success stories is that of determination and strong resolution to do better in life.
A quick and dirty observation tells me that most of us are selfish. That is a strong and controversial statement. The potential provocation from any perceived blame is deliberate. That is because we do not tend to wake up until a loud band is rocked right next to our ears.
We are selfish for we are self-centred. Whether at home or abroad ours is hardly a culture of charity and giving. Those of us who have migrated to the Western countries know well that majority of people in those countries set aside certain sum of their annual income for charitable purpose. Those charity money ends up in countries such as Nepal in the form humanitarian aid through various non-governmental organisations.
However, we ourselves hardly give anything to our less fortunate fellows back home. We have learned to ignore and yet live in peace by so easily passing this buck to someone else. Thanks to some good charitable organisations and a few exceptional charitable souls, there has been a steady but slow rise in the culture of giving among Nepalis. However, the situation is a far cry from being satisfactory. "It is none of my business. Nobody did for me why should I be now doing for someone else" are kind of statements made in chit-chat among Nepalis' gatherings when the talk of giving and charity comes up. So who's business is it then?
It must be our business. It should be business of every Nepali living within the country and overseas. It is our business to take some responsibility and be morally responsible towards our home country. Especially, those of us that are out of the stage in life where we are no longer struggling to make our needs meet. It is our business to help our fellow citizens in need in whatever way we can.
We see investment in charitable donations as an utter waste of our hard earned money. When it comes to giving even a few hundred rupees for charity we literally sweat from teeth (data bata pasina). We are, however, glad to throw thousands of rupees for a single jam up session with our buddies. Remember that get together when the weather is a little challenging? Some of us don’t mind loosing even a major chunk of our earning in ridiculous and utter waste of time such as our favourite past time Marriage card game.
We all have our own valid reasons for our acts of selfishness. Some of us may be harbouring this trait unknowingly but majority are conscious decisions. Our most popular excuses are political instability, corruption and the attitude of “not my business”. I should not forget to mention the ever popular expression of despair - ‘Kei hune wala chaina” (nothings going to happen).
We cannot and should not expect much from those who are hardly meeting their and their family’s neet. But those among us who have some disposable income should make a habit of setting aside a small part of our income for the benefit of those who are less fortunate than ourselves. This charitable habit is fundamental to a peaceful and harmonious society for “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”.
I am a strong believer that the leverage of initiation of things getting better in Nepal lies in all of us starting to be little less greedy, more selfless and more giving. Nothing beats the peace of mind that is achieved from giving and helping out those in need. One actually gets more, in return than what she or he gives away, in the form of gratification. We need to look at our won behaviour and practices before we point and blame others for all the ills that is ongoing in our society. A good start is to self reflect and ask yourself questions such as – what have I done? Have I made a difference?
If my readers fall in the category of givers already, thank you very much. If you happen to be in the selfish camp and have taken offense, well, that is the main purpose of this write-up. You have to start feeling a little more guilty, than you were before, after reading this for sticking to continually remain selfish.
It is observed that the selfish breed won’t depart with their hard earned cash until and unless the pain of their guilt crosses certain threshold. I hope you have been pushed a little forward today after reading this. I really sincerely hope.