Recently, NDTV had taken a very ‘green’ initiative, by organizing the Greenathon, India’s first 24-hour live event. This was mostly in support of Teri’s Light a Billion Lives campaign, wherein the money donated would go towards providing solar powered lamps to light up the villages. They also initiated drives to clean the beaches of Mumbai and the Yamuna river. It had a very noble beginning, and was a huge success collecting more than Rs. 2.4 crores.
I have grown up learning that donations should be made as private as an affair, very much on the lines of ‘your left hand should not know what your right hand is doing’. I thought it was fine that the organisers chose to have the names of those who donated scroll at the bottom of the screen – as a sign of appreciation. While it was also fine that the Bollywood stars were openly recognised for donating money and supporting villages, it should not have been used as a publicity stunt!
At the very onset, Preity Zinta adopted a whole village and donated a generous sum of Rs. 3 lakhs. While I believe that it was truly generous, what I considered unnecessary was that she bought it on behalf of her IPL team Kings XI Punjab. With the IPL about 2 months away, I strongly believe that it was a publicity stunt. More publicity for the IPL came from Shilpa Shetty (who recently bought a stake in the Jaipur team – Rajasthan Royals) who donated a whopping Rs. 1.2 million, which supported 4 villages. And then the King of Bollywood himself, Shah Rukh Khan donated Rs. 1.5 million to the cause, supporting 5 villages, and becoming the highest donor (of course)! With his upcoming movie Billu (Billu Barber at the time) just around the corner, what better publicity, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciate their donations. I would just like to believe that the thought behind the donation was as clear and unpolluted. It’s not right that they use such a noble cause for their own publicity. What’s more, is that Shilpa Shetty has pledged that she will donate Rs. 6,000 for every six that a Rajasthan Royals player hits. It seems like both Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty are aiming to show their team as one that is concerned, charitable and of course, RICH!
Joey (of the popular serial FRIENDS) had once said that there was no such thing as an ‘selfless good deed’. Could he be right? Is it possible that there are no selfless good deeds – that for every good deed that one does, he always wants something in return?