Let’s salute Ravi Shankar for his altruism


Dear Rotarians,

Perhaps the reason it feels so good to give is that we know, deep down, that even random acts of kindness can change the world.

I am happy and wish to congratulate Rtn Dakoju Ravi Shankar for his contribution of ₹100 crore to TRF. When asked about his contribution to TRF, Ravi Shankar said he did not think of any record, or any honour or have any strategy in mind. “I simply decided to give”. What a wonderful attitude and benevolent philosophy. Ravi Shankar: you truly are an inspiration to all Rotarians.

Ted Turner, the former owner of CNN, gave a donation of $1 billion to a UN Foundation. In a TV interview he told Larry King that he has discovered “the more good I do, the more money has come in. You have to learn to give. You’re not born to give. You’re born selfish. I’ve never been happier than I am today.’’

Let me share a story. A billionaire happened to listen to a discourse from a Swamiji who said, “Everyone in the world is after money only. And they are ignorant that they cannot take money with them after their death.” Hearing these words, the billionaire thought to himself, since this man has no money, he is lecturing like this. The next day the billionaire called his staff and asked them to suggest a way to take his money with him after death. No one had any idea.

Few weeks later, a stranger approached the billionaire and said he has an idea. The billionaire eagerly asked him to share his idea. The stranger asked him how many countries he had visited. The billionaire said almost all countries in the world. The stranger asked him whether he carried Indian rupees to the countries during his visit. The billionaire said he carries money but not in rupees. “I convert rupees to USD when I visit USA and convert rupees to local currencies whenever I visit any other country.” The stranger said you are right and continued: ‘Sir, you want to go to heaven after your death!’ “Yes, yes” said the billionaire. In heaven the name of the currency is called Punya. By giving you can convert your currency to Punya.

When one person gives generously, it inspires observers to give generously later. In fact, research has found that altruism can spread by three degrees — from person to person to person to person. “As a result, each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not met.”

Let us salute known and unknown Rotarians, who have contributed to The Rotary Foundation and people like Ravi Shankar who serve as a reminder that each of us has a role to play and we can rise to the challenges of our time and, in our own small way, help to build a better world.

Be the Inspiration in Giving.


C Basker
Director, Rotary International

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