Many a person with money and wealth not only fail to win name and acclaim but also become butts of jokes simply because they are skimpy and alien to generosity – a much loved human trait. Nizam Hydrabad’s image (of pre-partition days) looms large in this context. He would accept a cigarette from his guests, and preserving it, would offer them the same on their next visit.
Big sacrifices like that of Panna Bai getting slain her own child to save the Rana’s son, or other patriots kissing the gallows smilingly may not be expected from ordinary mortals but there are many other generous acts that endear one to others and raise one's stature in their eyes.
Any small gesture or expression emanating from generous emotions registers itself automatically and imperceptibly on the minds of interacting persons. Sharing of happiness on a friend’s success or rendering helpful cooperation in his hour of need bespeaks generosity of mind.
Recently, a person had come to condole a bereaved family. After a few days it was learnt that he exerted his influence and literally moved from desk to desk to bring to the widow her family pension and a job for her on compassionate grounds. This was indeed a great relief to the bereaved family.
It reminds me of a line of Mirza Ghalib who with his inimitable knack of voicing human emotions, hints at the subtle nuance of generosity:
Koi charasaz hota, Koi ghamgusar hota (would that someone resolved my tangle, someone shared my grief!) When we mentally attune ourselves with others, our wavelengths converge and the joy of happy concurrence oozes out for us to share.
One’s mind has to be trained to trudge the track of generosity, then the mind seeks and finds the ways to get there. A man even with no material resources can be ‘rich’ in generosity and a man rich in money can be ‘poor’ if he lacks the noble instinct of generosity. The great Hebraic sage Hillel wisely used to ask, “If you care only for yourself, who are you?”