Charity begins at home but should not end there. It has been truly said that “We make a living by what we get, and we make a life by what we give.” India is surely on a path of progression and development, however the country’s meteoric GDP growth rate of about 9% does not reflect the actual status of poverty in India. Poverty in India is still rampant especially in rural areas. According to a recent study by United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MGD), 21.9% people – which amounts to 27 million people – out of the 1.2 billion of Indians lived below poverty line as of the 2011-2012 consensus.
It is indeed unfortunate that though India is gaining momentum as a growing economy, the wealth is concentrated in specific pockets and not redistributed across the population. However, there are a few philanthropists in India who are trying to bring about a change for the better through charities and donations. Here is a comprehensive list of a few celebrities who believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s words which say “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Azim Premji: The tech tycoon and chairman of Wipro remains the most charitable Indian. He has been awarded the ‘Most charitable person in India’ by Shanghai (China) based Hurun Research Institute. In the period April 2013-October 2014, Azim Premji has donated an amount of Rs 12,316 crore to his Azim Premji Foundation.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Former Miss World and the most beautiful woman in the world is also a known philanthropist. She is the ambassador for Goodwill Ambassador of Smile Train, an international organisation which is involved in free surgery for cleft lip and palate surgery for children. She has initiated the Aishwarya Rai Foundation for helping the underprivileged. Aishwarya has also pledged her eyes with the Eye Bank Association of India.
Shiv Nadar: HCL founder Shiv Nadar sold 2.5 % of his stake in the company to raise an amount of Rs 580 crore. This money will be used towards educational causes in India through the Shiv Nadar Foundation.
John Abraham: John Abraham has been actively involved in charity for many years now. He has volunteered for raising funds for the poor to build them safe and decent homes. He is also an animal lover and supports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) through its numerous campaigns.
Dia Mirza: Dia Mirza has been actively involved in the campaign to spread HIV awareness and prevent female foeticide in Andhra Pradesh. She is also involved in causes like Cancer Patients Aid Association, PETA (inset) and CRY.
Shilpa Shetty: The Big Brother winner donated the entire winnings towards the AIDS awareness campaign in India. She is also involved in many campaigns like PETS, Act against Bullying, etc.
Shabana Azmi: The founder of the NGO Mizwan, Shabana Azmi works towards a better and a more secure future for underprivileged children. With the help of fund raising activities, Shabana Azmi has set up a school, college, computer centre and a sewing and chikankari centre in a village in UP called Mijwan.
Rahul Bose: Here is someone who does charity without allowing the limelight to fall on him. Rahul Bose has actively contributed towards the rehabilitation of the people of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He also is very active in initiatives like the Teach for India Movement and Spastic Society of India. Rahul Bose has also set up a foundation that works towards a world without discrimination.
Amitabh Bachchan: This philanthropist again is known for keeping his charitable donations a secret. Recently, he donated the Yash Bharatee Award pension of a monthly sum of Rs. 50,000 towards any noble charitable scheme or cause that benefits the poor and the needy in U.P. He has also donated an amount of Rs 25 Lakh towards the upliftment of the girl child in India.
Shah Rukh Khan: He is a member of the board of directors of an NGO called Make a Wish Foundation. This NGO works towards making the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions come true. He is also known to have charged the media for interview during the release of one of his block buster, and then donated the money towards charitable purposes. Shah Rukh also helps the people who work with him on the sets.
Buddha has truly said ‘Charity bestowed upon those who are worthy of it is like good seed sown in good soil that yields an abundance of fruits.’ India does have a fair share of philanthropists, but if more such people stepped in to help the needy, the status of the people at the BPL level would take a turn for the better. After all, the development of India would remain incomplete unless we hold the hands of the underprivileged and march into a brighter future together.
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