Dignity of Labour and Large-heartedness in Poverty

Tarun Kothari:

I am a hostel student with a college campus at Kharagpur. Tech market, with numerous shops sells most of the essential commodities for our student base and residential professors. Once my watch ceased to function and after a good search, in one corner was a small clock mechanic shop. He was very old and his shop seemed to be empty most of the time. I approached him and handed him a metallic watch. He analysed the parts and began fixing it with care. He had serious eyes, a wrinkled face. One from which one can make easily make out a passion for his work. The guy seemed aged and I wondered how he managed his living. When it was finished he asked me five rupees only. I was surprised and felt sympathetic for him. I handed him a ten rupee note and asked him to keep it. But he showed his five fingers demanding five rupees only. It was not the first time such a thing had happened to me. I’m a tea lover and when sometimes I have a lovely tea and am asked just two rupees from the local tea-boy, I feel it’s not just, and hand a rupee or two extra but then I sense uneasiness in his eyes.

Your browser may not support display of this image.After the watch incident I realized something which I’ll never forget. No doubt India is a wounded state rich in poverty, unemployment and poor living standards but “if you really want to help them, do so by creating opportunities so that they can have their own bread with dignity than contributing money”.

The richest Indian

I always thought money was important for charity. And considered people’s who said it’s the heart thing (motive) that matters in charity to be impractical because at the end of the day it’s not your charitable motives that can feed a hungry stomach. I thought that wealth of a person was directly proportional to the charity he can make. The wealthier the person, the more is he capable of social services and donations. But then one article in a leading paper changed my views. Beautiful story of Khimji that every Indian must know:

Khimjibhai, 64 who has been begging since a decade in Ahmedabad donated clothes to 11 poor hearing and speech-impaired girls at the Shrimati Kesarbai Kilachand School for the Deaf.

So why did he give alms to the unfortunate children at the school? Khimjibhai said, “I just need two meals a day and some money to send back to my ailing wife in Rajkot to cure her ulcers and lung infection. Apart from this, whatever I earn I use to buy food for poor, hungry people. Since a long time I wished to do something for girls and I am happy to donate for them”.

His faith in God brought him to Mehsana where he took shelter outside the Jain temple. “Whether rich or poor, one should always try to help the needy,” he says. Khimjibhai helped an orphaned girl marry some time ago.

I feel, he’s one the richest Indians. Not a Mukesh Ambani who can enjoy a luxurious life in his residence which is the world’s only billion dollar home surrounded by world’s largest slum in Mumbai. His decisions and power impact millions of lives. But it is philanthropy by people like Khimji that can impact one’s soul.

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