Address by Governor at the release of the Coffee Table Book ‘The Great Philanthropists – Desh Ke Mahaan Danveer’ organized by Nav Bharat Group in Mumbai
Address by Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the release of the Coffee Table Book ‘The Great Philanthropists – Desh Ke Mahaan Danveer’ organized by Nav Bharat Group at Taj Vivanta, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai at 1200 hrs on Friday, 23 June 2017
Shri Ashish Shelar, MLA, Smt Rajashree Birla, Chairperson, Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Shri Nimish Maheshwari, Managing Director, Nav Bharat Group, Shri Niraj Bajaj, CMD, Mukund Ltd, Smt Ritu Chhabria, Chairperson, Mukul Madhav Foundation, Shri Y M Deostalee, Ex- CMD, L & T Finance Holdings, Dr Usha Kakade, Chairperson, USK Foundation, Shri Prakash Chandra Kandpal, General Manager, Network 1, SBI, Captains of industry, bankers, Heads of CSR departments of various organizations, Consultants of CSR programmes, various stakeholders and ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and greetings to all of you.
At the outset I congratulate Nav Bharat Group for its excellent initiative to bring about a discussion on the topic of ‘Change India through CSR’.
Nav Bharat has been one of India’s most popular newspapers, published from Nagpur and now from many cities including Mumbai. Nav Bharat has consistently upheld the lofty ideals of journalism. The newspaper has played an important role in India’s freedom movement, and we are justly proud of it.
I understand that public sector and private sector business organizations that have done exceptional work through CSR are being honoured with Nav Bharat CSR awards.
I take this opportunity to congratulate and compliment each one of the Nav Bharat CSR awardees and convey my felicitations to them.
It was extremely thoughtful of the Nav Bharat Group to have brought out a Coffee Table Book ‘The Great Philanthropists – Desh Ke Mahaan Danveer’ commemorating the spirit of philanthropy. To my knowledge, this has been first such attempt by any organization, which makes it all the more important.
The book has documented the CSR work of several business organizations, public sector organizations, banks and Corporates. Most importantly, it has published the success stories and case studies of successful CSR programmes, making the book a collector’s delight.
This may not be intended to be an academic book. But I believe that the Coffee Table book has immense academic value and I am sure, students of various social work, media, Public Relations and CSR programmes across universities within the country and even outside will find the book informative as well as interesting. The Coffee Table Book, according to me, reflects the great spirit of philanthropy of our society.
I congratulate the Managing Editor and Promoter of Nav Bharat Group Shri Nimish Maheshwari, Editor Shri Rajanikant Tripathi and each one of those associated with the publication of the Coffee Table Book for bringing out this highly inspiring book.
I was delighted to read the lead article by Smt Rajashree Birla on the theme ‘Giving Is In Fact Living’ that documents the philanthropic traditions of the Birla group for the last 120 years.
I think, this chapter by Rajashree Ji should be incorporated in text books to impress upon the importance of Giving among the youths of the country.
There is a traditional proverb which says, “Rivers do not drink their own water. Trees do not eat their own fruit. Clouds do not swallow their own rain. What great ones have, is always for the benefit of others.”(unquote)
I think human life is incomplete if there is no aspect of giving to one’s personality. ‘Giving back to society’ is a Samskar and I do feel that we must imbibe this Samskar on every child, every student and every youth.
Our ancient Puranas mention several instances of benevolence involving philanthropy. India has praised the munificence of Karna. Indian culture has endlessly praised the selfless benevolence of Satyavadi Harishchandra.
The term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and the legislation on CSR may be relatively new. But the fundamental idea of social responsibility is not new to Indians.
Business organizations have been discharging their social responsibility, even when the CSR policy was not there. As for the Tatas, Birlas, Bajajs and many other business families, philanthropy was started by these groups alongside their businesses. It was integral to their existence and sustenance.
Every town and city in India bears footprints of the philanthropic work done by great individuals, in the form of educational institutions, grounds, libraries, hospitals and even graveyards. These institutions and public places are rendering great service to society till date; long after their creators or donors left the world.
I am aware that many of you are already engaged in various meaningful CSR activities aimed at improving the lot, of society and the marginalized people.
I am also aware that many organizations are spending much more than the mandatory 2 percent spending on CSR. There are also companies, that are spending their hard – earned money for social causes, despite not making good profits. That only shows their commitment to serve society.
Modern history of Maharashtra and in particular Mumbai is replete with several instances of the acts of philanthropy practiced by generous business leaders and their families.
I was impressed to note that the Mahim causeway that connected Mahim and Bandra in the year 1845 was built from the large sum of money donated by Lady Jamsetjee, wife of the first baronet Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy.
The JJ Hospital in Mumbai, the JJ School of Art, and other institutions owe their existence to the philanthropy of the Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy family.
Likewise the contributions of Jewish business leader David Sassooon, and his family, to the making of Mumbai cannot be forgotten.
The city also owes a great deal to the philanthropy of Nana Jagannath Shankerset, the architect of Modern Mumbai.
Roy Bahadur D Laxminarayana (1877-1930), a noble soul, donated his entire life’s earning to the Nagpur University way back in 1930s. The Laximanarayana Institute of Technology, India’s premier Institute of Technology, owes its existence to the generosity of late Shri Laxminarayana.
There is need to evolve a synergy between the government, private sector and the public sector organizations to ensure effective social outcomes of some of the government programmes and CSR initiatives.
Time has come for us to go beyond CSR – from CSR to ISR, that is, Individual Social Responsibility. It is reassuring that Young India is keen to discharge Individual Social Responsibility and contribute to the social agenda of the country. Channelizing the youth power through CSR and ISR activities will help us improve the standard of living of our people and build a better future.
We also need specialized professionals to run CSR programmes. In my capacity as Chancellor of Universities, I wish to call upon universities in Maharashtra to design and develop programmes to train professionals for the implementation of CSR polices by business organizations and NGOs.
As Governor, and as a concerned citizen of India, I wish to flag a few topics which according to me need greater attention from Corporates and business organizations:
1. Building more toilets for women in all cities and towns. In cities like Mumbai, we must build toilets in every major locality and make sure that all toilets on train stations and bus stations are safe and fully functional.
2. Creating women’s hostel in big cities so that single women can live and earn their livelihood.
3. Making all public spaces disabled friendly so that the differently abled persons are given a fair chance to become contributing citizens of society.
4. Creating more avenues for apprenticeship in every organization so that more youths can gain hands on experience of working.
Let me tell you, how very proud I am, of all of you for doing such wonderful work through your business organizations. I congratulate and compliment each one of you and particularly all Nav Bharat CSR awardees and wish you all very well in your future endeavours. I also thank Nav Bharat for its initiative in hosting this meet and bringing out this beautiful Coffee Table Book.