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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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On Charity and Extravagance Durable Link to this BLOG
Charity and Extravagance

Last week, along with some of my friends, I donated money to Udavum Karangal, a great charitable organization run by selfless volunteers in Tamilnadu. This week I am donating to United Way. Both my donations were encouraged and matched 100% by friends, and I thank them for thier generosity and leadership.

I believe that volunteering and donating money is a civil duty. I think that we all must make some sacrifices so others can have a chance.

Today, Tintin my puppy, went to school. Since she is too young, she was not allowed to sit in a group class, and had to take private tutions. Of course, the school also sells its own academic supplies, and text books for parents. After this elementary class, she will also take intermediate, and advanced lessons. It's hilarious.

It's also very expensive, and troubles me deeply if such extravagance is appropriate.

I felt the same discomfort when I bought a large house, and a large TV.

Then I always find solace in Shivaram Karanth's famous words during the first World Kannada Conference in Mysore (year 1985; I was in college and was in the audience).

1985 was a bad year for the farmers in Karnataka and there was wide-spread drought. A lot of people (including me) at that time felt it was unwise to host a cultural conference or engage in celebration, because the cattle were dying and there was no water.

As Shivaram Karanth inaugurated the conference, a number of people stood up and protested the holding of the cultural conference. Dr. Karanth had said in his characteristic style --"I know there is a drought, a severe drought. And I want to ask how many of you have stopped watching movies because there is a drought. I want to know how many of you have stopped eating spicy pan-cakes (masale dosa) because there is a drought."

Of course, Karanth was a genius. He put it so well. Not having the cultural show did not mean there was going to be rains, or prosperity. Similarly, not sending my puppy to a pricey dog-school does not mean poor children elsewhere would have benefited.

See Also:
• Jyotsna with Karanth at All India Radio
• Work an Hour for India -- my appeal for ASHA

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, October 8, 2003
Last Modified: 10/12/2003

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