Giving back to society: The joy of giving is now being celebrated as a week-long festival

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New Delhi | Published: September 30, 2018 2:14:29 AM

In the years since Daan Utsav has started, it has encouraged and motivated millions of people to give back to society. In 2017, several people from all walks of life participated in more than 10,000 events across 1,000 citie.s

festival, joyThe festival has become the biggest platform for philanthropy across India with many NGOs, corporates, schools, colleges, communities and celebrities associating with it to make it a bigger success.

Would you like to own an outfit from Bollywood star Alia Bhatt’s wardrobe? Or eat a seven-course dinner with cricketer Sachin Tendulkar? If yes, Daan Utsav can fulfill your wishes while celebrating the joy of giving. An annual event, the 10th edition of Daan Utsav will focus on activities that will bring together people from all walks of life to help them give back to society. The festival, to be celebrated from October 2 to 8, will be marked by a week of activities aimed at bringing together people from all walks of life to give back to the deserving. The festival has become the biggest platform for philanthropy across India with many NGOs, corporates, schools, colleges, communities and celebrities associating with it to make it a bigger success.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Daan Utsav, 10 celebrities from different walks of life—such as actor Amitabh Bachchan, business leaders Anu Aga and Azim Premji, Chhavi Rajawat (India’s first lady sarpanch of her village Soda in Rajasthan), Devi Shetty (chairman and founder of Narayana Health), noted jurist Justice Srikrishna, singer Lata Mangeshkar and boxer Mary Kom, among others—have joined in. These popular icons have signed a joint invitation asking people to celebrate the festival of giving. “Over the past 10 years, Daan Utsav has encouraged and inspired millions across the country. What started out as a simple idea is now a mass movement of giving that involves corporates, schools, colleges, not-for-profits, governments and communities. In recognition and appreciation of our voluntary participation, the global ‘Giving Tuesday’ initiative is now observed in India as well, and falls on the Tuesday of the Daan Utsav week,” urged a letter released by the organisers. As part of the festival, people working with cleanliness campaigns across the country will be honoured and served a grand feast by volunteers, who will also be taking a pledge on the occasion to do their bit to keep the country clean.

Started in 2009, it initially identified itself as a movement that was mostly recognised and supported in urban areas, but the spirit of Daan Utsav has rapidly spread to smaller towns and cities and rural areas as well. Some of the inspiring tales from previous years include that of a rickshaw driver in Badamba, Odisha, who ferried elders from their village to the local medical camp at no cost, and of vegetable vendors in Chennai, who donated bags of vegetables to local NGOs. Then there was the young, visually impaired boy from Mumbai, who volunteered to paint the Mumbai Central station. These are just a few of the thousands of stories that inspired people to donate generously.

Actor Alia Bhatt is all set this year to hold an auction of the choicest clothes from her wardrobe for fans as part of Daan Utsav. The sale will be conducted online and the proceeds will be donated to providing eco-friendly solar lamps to economically backward families living in Kikkeri in Karnataka and also to support The Corbett Foundation, a not-for-profit that works with local communities to protect wildlife.
Other activities include Odia rapper Samir Rishu Mohanty alias Big Deal (along with sand artist Manas Sahu) promoting Daan Utsav in their home state. A 20-20 bicycle tour from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will also be taken out to promote the Utsav. People will be encouraged to donate money, time, resources or skills to others.

A participant can contribute in four ways: material, money, raise awareness or volunteer. One of the events this year is Eureka Sports Kits Drive, which is an initiative by Aid India, an NGO that runs after-school learning centres for children in 1,000 villages of Tamil Nadu. Their drive focuses on collecting sports kits and gift them to children in villages. Under volunteering, citizens of Jaipur can take part in ‘Rang De Jaipur’ under which cleaning, painting and plantation drives will be carried out at the main railway station of the city.

In the years since Daan Utsav has started, it has encouraged and motivated millions of people to give back to society. In 2017, several people from all walks of life participated in more than 10,000 events across 1,000 cities. They raised crores of money, material donations and also countless volunteer hours.

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