Bill “Window” Gates & Warren Buffet teach Indians Some Charity!
Ref: 2011-05 of March 29,2011 Click here for ScribD PDF Download
It is difficult to make money honestly most of the times. We are living in the era of easy money, casino money, lotto money, cheapest money, QE2 money and bail out money. However, such easy money can be made only by “House” or big guys sitting in the golden towers decorating Manhattan skyline in New York or within the boundary of White House, Fed and Treasury in Washington.
When the money loses the cost, it becomes a mean to manipulate the market, people and entire environment. Cheap money is therefore most pollutive element on this planet, dangerous than even CO2 emissions. Corruptions galore everywhere – there is no rule of law. If someone is caught in “Insider Trading” he is condoned by allowing him to pay fines of few or few hundred million dollars when the magnitude of fraud runs into billions or even trillions of dollars. The days of millions and billions are gone – we have made progress, tremendous progress, we can talk of about only trillions. Look around. The bailout costs are in trillions, Madoff and Stanford also defraud in billions. Europe and Japan also talk only of trillions. The total derivative outstanding today is in excess of $ 700 trillion – 100,000 times of world’s entire population of just over $ 6 billion.
Noblest Soul amid the hooligans
Even in the midst of such hooliganism, we still have civil and law abiding individuals and companies. It is a rule of self balancing nature. In the midst of Madoff, Stanford and Rajratnam, we still have fantastic corporations like IBM, Merck, Exxon, Chevron, Apple, Intel, HP, P&G etc. While almost everyone on the Wall Street want to become an instant millionaire or billionaire, believing in motto that by hook and crook the money must be made, we still have some of the noblest soul on the planet like Bill “Window” Gates and Warren Buffet who want to give away billions of dollars, almost entire fortune of their life time, to charity.
Gates and Buffet – Opposite Characters unified in Noble Cause
Gate and Buffet are diametrically opposite characters. Bill Gates was a hardnosed techno-businessman who would not want to give away anything and would do anything to scuttle the competition, either by destroying them or taking them over.
It could never be visualized that such man would turn a philanthropic one day. Such transformation could happen only due to one single force – a woman – the gift of god to the mankind. Was it due to his wife Melinda? Well, I do not know much about her. But it could be. A woman would not want to give away even a thousand dollar, whereas we are talking about billions here. It should be with her consent or motivation.
Warren Buffet is soft spoken silvery haired legendary investor known more to me for his famous waving hand than investments. He has made billions the way a bird builds its nest. He still loves his old home. He is non assuming but while announcing his intention to donate his entire fortune to charity, he forgot one proverbial wisdom – “Charity begins at home“. He ignored his children and grand children, of course after reserving their future, but still not large enough to make them happy. In short, he ignored his basic parental duty.
That aside, the most difficult part of their charitable donation is the conversion of intention into reality. When one publicly announces donation of billions of dollars in charity, crooks and scoundrels spring up like mushroom.
Easy to earn, difficult to give away
Both of them realize that it is fairly easy to make money but very difficult to distribute amongst the cause. They also do not seem to know how to help the fellow human being or people in distress. They look beyond the borders of America when the American themselves have turned from rich to middle class to poor people. They go to Africa to distribute medicines to help them cure from HIV or AIDS but what they are doing is to address the result rather than cause.
The charity should be done in clandestine manner, The left hand should not know what the right hand is doing. Further, the charity must be given only to deserving characters. It should be done in such a way that the recipient of charity builds up strong character on his own and become independent to such extent that he too becomes the torch bearer like his unknown donor.
Purpose Oriented Charity – that Gates and Buffet do not know
Instead of giving away money free of cost through corrupt politicians or middleman, the persons like Gates and Buffet should have thought of building water dams or power stations in the poor country by engaging the US contractors or companies. This will create jobs in America and also provide purpose oriented help to deserving people by cutting off the corrupt politicians. Those countries would have become independent and self sufficient in producing enough food in their heartland. It is one thing to conceive the noble ideas, but very difficult to carry them out to desired goal, intentions or destinations.
Misconceived India Visit
While visiting India recently, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates said that they were looking for Indian billionaire to adopt their stance and become extra ordinary donors like they are. He was addressing wrong people or segment of the people. Gone are the days of Tatas and Birlas who could afford to be philanthropic in their own inimitable style. New breed of MBAs now manning the corporate scene in India, with possible exception of Infosys, are money go getters. They are new to money. They have never seen this kind of money in their life time or during the days of their childhood. Most of them are not “Garbh Shrimant” or “Borne Billionaire” who have seen money through generations. Every other day, one is coming across in India the scam, corruption at high places and extra ordinary level of filthy life now pervading in the higher echelons of business and politics.
Real India lives in Villages not in Cities, so said Gandhi
What Gates and Buffet missed was the millions of people living simple middle class life style and poor people in the villages. Both Gates and Buffet were travelling from Bangalore to Mumbai to New Delhi in privately owned planes. They forgot the basic tenet that father of Indian Nation – Mahatma Gandhi taught to another freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale that “If you want to know India, go back to villages where the real India lives and thrives“. Richard Attenborough, the famous film maker of Gandhi fame also illustrated this dialogue in his masterpiece movie.
Coming to masses, both Gates and Buffet missed was the hundreds of thousands of Indians routinely donate to charity by frequenting places like Balaji temple in Tirupati, Jalaram temple in Virpur where unknown and unmarked donations arrive in hordes without any name mentioned anywhere. Such donors never wanted their names on the donation they give. Their right hand would never know what the left hand was doing. But again, such donations were going to waste. They were not helping recipients to become “independent” but become excessively dependent on charity. They would line up every day, doing nothing but just line up, fill up their tummy and reappear again next day with same routine.
Guest vs. God in India
If Buffet had visited any village and taken a lunch or dinner with his host, he would have realized that the host and his family would have remained “hungry” while feeding him. It is the natural Indian tradition where the “guest” is equated with “God”. Buffet may be charging $500,000 for anyone to have lunch or dinner with him, but the Indian farmer would give away his everything including family pleasure to appease his guest.
A famous movie made by legendary Raj Kapoor – Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain – where the following lines were sung with ethos and eloquence
” Mehmaan Jo Hamara Hota Hain, woh Jaan se pyaara hota hain” (Whoever become our guest, he is dearer than all, even dearer to our life)
” Narajin nahin hamse hokar , thode mein gujaara hota hain, thode mein gujaara hot hai” ( We never feel displeasure while serving him (guest) and we do not mind getting on with our life even with reduced resources).
Mr. Buffet, this is India. You have to go to villages to find hundreds of thousands of donors, not in cities of Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore or New Delhi. Gandhi’s teachings even today remain valid.
And while Mr. Buffet was sermonizing on “unsuitability of gold as investment” a farmer would have said “GET HIM OUT OF HERE”!
Anil Selarka (Kalidas)
March 29, 2011 Ref: 2011-05