Sunday, January 13, 2008


“ Nothing strengthens the judgement and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility”, Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

There is growing importance attached to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the companies looking up aggressively and making good profits. Every company is giving returns to its shareholders, paying salaries to its employees making payment to its raw material vendors, paying interest to its financial institutions. And all the people are involved in the company right from the stakeholders to the shareholders are benefited by different ways. But what is about the common man? He too expects something from the companies, which are generating a lot of wealth. William Pollard aptly said, “It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute”.

Prof. Amartya Sen bagged Noble prize for Economics in 1998 for his contribution to the cause of Welfare Economics. All the companies across the world are contributing something towards the people by way of CSR. Bill Gates donated funds for various social causes and back at home Reliance, Tatas, Brilas, Wipro, TCS, ICFAI University (by way of Alpha Foundation), Air Tel are contributing for the upliftment of society.

In developed countries, people are protected by way of social security measures. The unemployed will get some allowance to maintain himself if there is no job or loss of job. Old age homes are there to protect the old people. Pensions are provided to the old people so as to sustain themselves. Even if children do not take care of their parents, there are securities provided to the aged people by various means. People have the trend of spending and borrowing, as the people are not bothered about their old age. The risk taking capacity is higher in those developed countries because one finds himself protected by all means. Whereas in the case of India, unfortunately, we do not have such social security measures as we are still a developing economy.

In this context, it is the people in general should take up the responsibility individually to support the social groups and communities. The author would like to coin it as Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) because society is the collection of all individuals. As too many tiny drops become a great ocean. The collective contribution of all individuals can make our society both qualitative and quantitative. The combined contribution of ISR and CSR will make our country prosperous and progressive rapidly.

Each individual must come forward to donate either physically or monetarily towards the society, as charity begins at home. Mahatma Gandhi aptly said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Individuals can donate his/her eyes after death to eye banks so that the eyes can bring light to the blind people. Individuals can donate whatever the possible amount for the marriage of the daughters of poor families. Similarly everyone must do something on the eve of their birthday or marriage or any auspicious day to the orphan homes. Those who are not blessed with children can adopt children from orphan homes. Where there is a will there is a way. If there is an attitude of charity then everyone can contribute to the society in many ways.

Each literate must make a firm commitment and take a pledge to create one more literate. India still lives in villages and the majority of illiterates are there in the villages who still grope in darkness. It is time we wake them up and raised their expectations and aspirations towards contributing for a better society. To put it in the words of Jonas Salk, “Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors”. One should always be proud of being a good ancestor rather than a good inheritor.

A few people do not have time but they have a big heart and they contribute a lot towards the society after adjusting their hectic schedules. Tollywood megastar Chiranjivi began blood banks and is involved in various social causes, that is an indication of positive and healthy sign. To put him in the lines of Anthony Robbins, “Life is a gift and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back, by becoming more”.

Teaching professionals can teach the poor and needy daily for an hour and can contribute for the society. They must train the less privileged lot so that they can earn their own living. Those who get good salaries can part away a month of their annual salary for sponsoring a poor student or they can monthly earmark an amount for the education of poor children.

Child labor is a matter of grave concern in India. Many parents, due to lack of economic resources, send their children to work although they know that it is illegal to exploit their children. Every individual must look at the problem at the root level and find out and check it. Paul Tillich said, “The first duty of love is to listen”. Every individual must be proactive and should listen to the conscience of the needy to meet their needs.

Women at home are still the untapped potential in India. Teaching skills like knitting, making jute bags, tailoring, beauty parlor services, cloth printing, mat making, repairing TV and radio, making cotton and nylon bags will help them learn and make extra income. The extra income so generated will improve their life standards. And also teaching about yoga and meditation can help them establish their own establishments. Now a days people work harder and they are developing high stress levels. Opening meditation or yoga centers relieves their stress levels and enhances their productivity levels also.

There is a limitation to the charity work and the best thing is to help them stand on their own feet. There is a Chinese proverb, which says, ‘Give a fishnet and teach a man how to fish so that he can have plenty of fish regularly’. Instead of giving fish daily, teach a man how to catch fish so that he can become confident and independent. All individuals must look forward to teach the things or concepts in such a way that they stand on their own legs and live independent and dignified life.

Children can also participate in various constructive activities such a bringing awareness about ecology by planting one at their homes and watering regularly. They can once in a while go in groups to bring awareness about rain water harvesting, controlling the traffic, helping the blind people to cross over the busy roads etc.,

When some one extends an help and in return he should not demand for a simple ‘thanks’, he must take a firm commitment from the person to extend such help to two more people and ensure that the network grows exponentially. Over a period of time we would find a society filled with great charitable people resulting in the concept of ‘Sarwa Jano Sukhino Bavanthu (let all people live with peace and happiness).

In our country a lot of dry land is lying unutilized/untapped. Individuals must come forwards to make it fertile and cultivable so as to increase the revenue.

AIDS is a major threat to mankind. Individuals must take precautions individually to check it and also should make all out efforts to bring awareness about this dreaded disease. Abraham Lincoln aptly said, “You can’t escape the responsibility to tomorrow by evading it today”. What could become a major problem tomorrow must be addressed right now.

The idea of ISR (Individual Social Responsibility) has come and it is here to stay because ‘No one can stop the idea whose time has come’.

1 comment:

Anup Tiwari said...

Hi it appears that ISR brainwave is happening to several individuals around the world.

I am trying to generate collective content, definitions, documentation etc.

Please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Social_Responsibility

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Social_Responsibility

to help compile