There is a week of celebration that is removed from religion, alliances, parties or state-lines. A week of celebration that binds our strongest and most unifying trait- humanity.
Daan Utsav or ‘Joy of Giving Week’ is a beautiful and much needed week of philanthropy that has taken India by storm since the fall of 2009. Solely allocated to celebrating philanthropy, this week-long observance can serve to remind us of a very misunderstood fact. Generosity or openness of spirit does not mean large donations or clocking in hours of community work. The joy of giving can be as simple as holding the door for the guard bhaiyas or didis, complementing someone genuinely or buying a homeless person a coffee. Generosity can come from the littlest to the biggest of actions. Daan Utsav is simply about giving back to society.
There are no long rituals, no complex mythological histories, Daan Utsav is a simple week that allows us to celebrate humanity. One can ask why we need specific days to be generous. Why not always follow ‘Daan Utsav’? Well, this week-long event, which commences on Gandhi Jayanti and ends on the 8th of October, manages to make all of India simultaneously practice generosity. This has become a nation-wide phenomenon today! There are some 10,000 school children making and giving gifts with their peers from different socio-economic backgrounds. There are numerous organisations like our very own MASH Project included, who actively propagates this week to create an Indian ethos of care and generosity. Goonj runs a Vastradaan initiative that provides clothes and other amenities to far-flung villages. They amass nearly 20,000 kg worth of clothes in this week! ‘Stories of Joy’ brings together five short films that carry the message of Daan Utsav. This one week, the week of humanity, brings India together! It is an effort into making compassion the foundation of human-interaction.
Come join this nation-wide effort. If every person reading this makes a tiny effort into doing a small good, we can collectively create a large wave of joy in giving.
Be the change-makers, the little ripples of good will that inspire a nation.
Written by: Pooja K Kumar