Pic.: Anand Sreedhar
You don’t get to witness this scene in today’s big banks. But, in our old nationalized banks and, particularly, in our local co-operative banks, it is a familiar scene.
I saw a lady, his morning, going around in this co-operative bank asking for a small help. She had a withdrawal sip in her hand and she wanted to withdraw some money. (Rs.500). But, being deprived of literacy, she was asking people around if they could help her fill the slip. All of us out there, including me, were busy people… In fact, I was, doubly busy, today.
So, though there is a desire and intention to help someone in such situation, our own preoccupation, often, comes on our way. To say “Sorry, I am unable to help you,” seems like a heavy stone around our hearts!
So, before that lady could approach me, a middle-aged man volunteered to help her. But, to her bad luck, he had forgotten to carry his specs; and, hence, he looked at me helplessly. “Can you please help her?” his silent look was asking me.
I came out the queue and took less than two minutes to do the needful. Immediately, I saw two more persons standing around me with a slip or a form to be filed!
I smiled and did the needful, too!
Two of them used thumb impression. One of them took a long time to sign in Hindi… But, then, all three of them thanked me profusely for whatever little help I had offered to them…
Did I feel happy and proud of my contribution?
Yes, I did. But, more than that, I felt sad and, even, guilty about this reality!
How fortunate I am that I can read and write! How fortunate that I do not have to go around with a slip or a form seeking help from others!
When our grandmother was alive, she would dictate to me the letters which she wanted to write to my aunts and uncles (her children) who lived in faraway cities. She had to wait for me to return from the school to read every letter that arrived, A couple of neighbors, too, would seek my help to write and read their letters…
We talk about the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The crux of this scheme: Every Corporate Body has an obligation to help the society in which it thrives. It is the Corporate responsibility towards the society… Its moral duty.
What about us – the ‘individuals’… you and me? Do we need a ‘Law’ to fulfill this responsibility on our part… The ‘Individual Social Responsibility’?