Charity, as the proverb goes, begins at home. Metaphorically, that is, because Individual Social Responsibility (ISR) goes beyond charity. Simply put, ISR encapsulates the very essence of humanity -- to be humane.
It is about ownership, emotional investment and gratification – a personal journey. It is not the ‘art of giving’ but the ‘science of being’ in symbiotic relationship with our immediate surroundings, communities, society and the world at large. It is about sustainability persevered with ethics, integrity and unwavering generosity. Today, I feel, ISR has all the makings of being a high-impact change maker.
Collectively taken, ISR deals with individuals becoming more responsible in their actions affecting communities, in their immediate circle of family and friends and also beyond. It definitely works at a heightened level of transformation from within for a purposeful life and happiness.
Many people consume green products, invest in socially responsible funds and essentially give their time for good causes. Such social behavior obeys a complex mix of interdependent motivations. Besides being driven by genuine, intrinsic altruism, they add to one’s self esteem. After all, our conduct defines what kind of person we are, not only in the eyes of others but also in our own eyes.
ISR is a way of life. While interacting with volunteers and participants at a Tech Mahindra Foundation event recently, I popped the question as to how many of us would invest in ISR down the line. Simran, daughter of Anita Rao, a security guard at a Tech Mahindra facility and one of the recipients of the education scholarship, was among the first to raise her hand. It was heartening to see her enthusiasm in wanting to empower others while taking the journey herself.
Another individual that has inspired me is Tejasvi Podapati, a 22-year-old software engineer from Hyderabad, who has done phenomenal work in cleaning up her hometown, Ongole, in Andhra Pradesh. For the last two years, she has been traveling 300 kilometers each weekend, to mobilise the cleaning drive at her hometown, to make it better than how she left it the week before. Her movement is now 1,000 volunteers-strong, and growing. Winner of numerous rewards and recognitions by the government, Tejaswi’s simplicity is as infectious as the grandeur of her work.
The ISR movement is not restricted to a community, city or even a country. It is a global movement that addresses the problems of societies at large, and aims to solve them by congregating efforts of each and every individual in a progressive direction. Another such individual who has been diligently investing his time and relentlessly contributing towards ISR is Vipin Gudwani, Global Head of Business Development, HCI Group. For past 11 years, Vipin has been a volunteer with the New Providence Rescue Squad as a New Jersey Certified Paramedic, to support the 911 Emergency Response System. I feel immensely inspired, when I see Vipin working every weekend from 7 AM to 7 PM, on 12-hour shifts to complete 40 hours of his volunteering service in a month - through storms, snow or sleet. Vipin’s dedication towards making his society a happier and more sustainable one with each passing day, has earned him the role of a trustee by the Mayor, and made him the first South Asian in his community to do this service.
I am truly inspired by individuals, who make their communities and societies a better and a humane place.
ISR can have a multiplier effect in the society, where individual efforts can gather mass and become a collective force. The time is now, Let the ISR movement begin. Be the Change. Lead the Change!