Published: 07th November 2020
Has COVID-19 made Indians softer? How facing great adversity might make us lose interest in wealth
Are people more giving in the face of great adversity or is it sheer loss that makes us lose our vapid interest in money and accumulation of wealth?
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in its head
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatic poet in As You Like It
Despite the truth in Shakespeare’s words, our tendency is to look for gloom and doom and not to wait to see the stars which are invisible during the day. It is against this background that we should look at a survey conducted against the backdrop of devastation reaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An outcome of the pandemic has been that it has made us more giving in nature, a countrywide survey has found. The survey conducted on 500 individuals by GiveIndia, a Bengaluru-based NGO, found that 85% of all respondents admitted that COVID had “increased their appetite for philanthropy” and that they planned to give more. Roughly, 74% were more inclined to contribute to local communities; 71.5% said they will not reduce support for an existing cause even if it did not directly help those affected by the Coronavirus.
Respondents said that the pandemic has changed their outlook towards philanthropy. A substantial 30.92% said that they will continue to support their older causes. In fact, 23.67% said that they plan to give more. And 25.12% said they hope to contribute towards newer causes.
Ashok Kumar ER, President of GiveIndia, said the NGO was spurred to conduct the survey after they succeeded in raising `230 crores in six months (March-August, 2020) for COVID relief. He says, “With this money, we have been able to impact the lives of 50 lakh people through healthcare, livelihood, humanitarian and preventive measures. This money was more than four times the total collection we raised in the last financial year,” said Kumar.
This raises an important paradox: Are people more giving in the face of great adversity or is it sheer loss that makes us lose our vapid interest in money and accumulation of wealth.