The line between the giver and the receiver must blur
I signed up for #LivingMyPromise because it gave me the opportunity to actualise the thinking that there is no “other”. We are all in this together. The one motivation that has been a perennial driver is to see a fairer, inclusive and egalitarian world, and to take part meaningfully in realising this vision.
I have been a recipient of life’s most precious gifts — the love of my parents, a good education and a career that has, so far, afforded me the opportunity to follow a diverse set of passions. A lottery that makes it incumbent upon me to take things forward by giving back some of what I have received.
In my adolescence, money was hard to come by, and for a number of years, it seemed to be the one thing that stood between me and the life of my dreams.
This experience gave me the opportunity to develop a first-hand and intimate understanding of what money can potentially enable and expedite, and what the lack of it can entail. I also developed a kind of non-specific anxiety about how a day might come when there will be no money available.
The #LivingMyPromise pledge is the most direct way to heal my relationship with money. It also helps me internalise, at an active level, that not only do I have enough, but that more importantly, I am enough.
The demand for giving, in the economic sense of the word, has never been higher in our society. It requires desire, capacity and the willingness to act . We live in the age of meaning — or more accurately, in the age of search for meaning. For the first time in recorded history, in India alone, there are an estimated 20 million people in the upper middle class who have their Maslow hierarchy needs of physiology (food), safety (roof over the head) and society (love and affection) consistently met. The stage is set for a massive take-off where people start hitching their wagon to a higher star.
I also fervently hope to see a day when we no longer use words like donation, sponsoring, charity, or giving back. Each of these words bring with them a certain amount of baggage, and heightens the sense of separation between us and others. Implicit in these words is the feeling that we are doing, or being asked to do something, that is beyond the call of duty. All these words, individually and collectively, restrict us from experiencing and expressing our full humanity.
If there is one thing I have learnt in my limited experience within this space, it is that giving is not about the giver at all. The thought that you must give and forget, or not expect anything back, is contrived and is a misreading, because the act of giving is complete in itself. The boundaries between the giver and the receiver must blur and collapse, for the giver and receiver are the same. To be in a position to give something — love, care, affection, understanding, money — is a total, utter, complete and unconditional privilege.
Yogesh Parmar is a behavioural scientist, entrepreneur, writer and a #LivingMyPromise signatory
#LivingMyPromise invites Indians with a net worth of Rs 1 crore and above, to commit half of that wealth to charitable causes (of their choice) whilst alive or in one’s will
This is the final part of a four-part series on the initiative
The views expressed are personal