many people think this is the only way to do it. It is this
fear that one should give up everything that prevents others
from coming forward to help. One does not have to become a
monk or a nun to serve the people. Citizens can enjoy life
and still render service. The whole idea of making life better
for somebody else doesn't mean you make yourself and others
around you miserable. Community service is meant to improve
the life of those around us. Negation of life cannot be the
basis for enduring community work.
also do not have to give all the time at their disposal to
a cause. It's enough to give few hours each day or on alternate
days, or set aside only a day or two each week. Part of the
work can even be done from the comfort of one's own home.
The only important thing to remember is that whatever time
is given, should be given with regularity and sincerity. There
are some who join 'social service' only to be able to get
their names alongside celebrities and influential politicians.
That will be both revolting and counterproductive. Community
work is not charity. It is for building our own social capital
and improving public goods.
for instance the plight of schools in Hyderabad. There are
780 state schools and 304 state-funded aided schools. The
annual expenditure is about Rs 100 crores. And yet we have
very few youngsters fulfilling their potential. There are
teachers without pupils, and schools without teachers. If
a small group of educated citizens adopts a school each, and
gives a few hours of quality time every week, we can make
these schools very productive institutions for human development.
applies to many other fields - healthcare, garbage clearance,
graveyard maintenance, park preservation, and traffic management.
In the US, parent-volunteers regulate the traffic near schools
at the beginning and end of the school-day. There is no dearth
of meaningful community work.
we need is the concept of kar seva - not the 'kar seva' that
promotes destruction and begets hatred, but the true kar seva
of love and fulfillment. We need not sacrifice anything, except
may be our ignorance, prejudice and false sense of elitism.
slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life
was service. I acted and behold, service was joy"