Philanthropy - on Duty to God: According to many religions, philanthropy is not an option, but a duty to God, a duty to one's community. It is not only an obligation of the rich who can afford to give millions, but even one who receives something himself should still try to give anything that he can. The purpose of philanthropy may be an altruistic act that fulfills the social need that is not served or under-served or it may be an egoistic move of human motivation. Both have equal value as if an egoist suffers when he sees a stranger in distress, he is capable of being as charitable as any altruist. Donation is targeted to effect a recognizable change in social conditions which necessitates sustained financial support over time. Thus, it may seem that philanthropy applies mainly to wealthy persons, although non-wealthy persons can also dedicate and donate a good portion of their time, effort and money to charitable causes. Individual efforts can seldom lead to any significant change in the society; so many new trends are evolving now in philanthropy.
Prometheus, Robin Hood and Modern Philanthropists: Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity that made possible for human race to become different from all living things. Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor". In modern society, a person, acting individually cannot reach the goal, aimed at bringing a needed change to the society. The new trends in philanthropy are giving circles and philanthrocapatalism. Giving circle is a group of friends who pool their charitable donations and decide together how to use the money to benefit the cause they care. Philanthrocapatalism involves applying the techniques of business to philanthropy, the trend which in recent years is led by Bill Gates. Super-rich who convert themselves to philanthropy believe that the sort of thinking that earned them success in business could be applied to the biggest social problems facing the world.
Do Good, Do It Well: Philanthropy responds either to the present day needs or the future needs. For example, charitable response to a disaster is an act of philanthropy aimed at present day needs. It requires no foresight and wisdom. Responding to the future needs requires vision and wisdom of philanthropists. Giving money doesn't always save a life or solve the problem. We will not get a grand result only with a grand donation; we need right application of donation. Compared with government budgets, even huge philanthropic donations are a drop in bucket. So, if we NRNs want to achieve our sweeping ambition of seeing Nepal as a rich nation, we all need to do more, more than philanthropy.
NRNs and Economics: Let us look at some of Nepal's statistics. GDP- 12.6 Billion USD, Per Capita Income 450 USD, Population- 28 Million. In addition to this, if we assume that remittance sent by NRNs is 2.8 Billion USD, NRNs are contributing only 100$ extra Per Capita Income to the country. During all ten years of 21st century, we have an economic growth rate of mere 2-4% per year. An average Chinese earns 4800 $ per year and an average Belarus earns 6200 $ a year. How much time do we need to reach where China is today? If we will have the maximum possible economic growth rate of 10-12 % per year in coming years, our Per Capita Income will double every 7 years. That means in 2017 it will be 900$, in 2024-1800$, in 2031-3600$ and in 2036- 7200$. (Here population growth and possible increase in remittance not considered). Thus we need 25 more years to become today's China, if the situation in the country will be the most favorable for economic growth. To achieve this optimistic goal, the whole nation should work. Even doubling or tripling remittance will only give extra 100$ or 150$ to per capita income. The wealth for the country can be earned only by hard works of millions of citizens inside the country. We understand that we can't become rich by foreign donations, remittance and philanthropy. Country needs more investments and more jobs creation for a burgeoning population. And politics is there in between our dream of a rich nation and today's devastating situation.
NRNs and Politics: NRNs is a non-political organization, no doubt about it. Currently, all spheres of public and private life in the country are engulfed by politics. And for NRNs, the success and failure of their agendas and dreams of a developed and rich nation may be determined by their ability to master the dark arts of Nepalese politics. Like Zeus, Nepali politicians have engaged themselves in creating Pandora Boxes containing only problems. It's their work that the country is now teetering on the brink of civil war. The question is - how can NRNs impact on politics? Many things can be done. No, we will not participate in any election. But we can put moral pressure on them permanently- by our different activities. Examples of such moral pressure could be plenty. For example, ban on inviting any politician by NRN to any country, if his party calls a "Nepal Bandh". Bandh has very pernicious effect on economy of the country, per day "bandh' costs Nepal's economy 35 Million USD. (Our philanthropic donation is a very tiny amount in comparison to this). So why shouldn't we try this approach? We are going abroad in search of work- we NRNs are working in the hottest climate on burning desert sands, in the coldest climate of minus 30 Degree Celsius, but due to politicians, due to their "bandhs" Nepalese are unable to work inside the country. So we should do more. We should start a full-scale "NRN campaignagainst Bandh"in Nepal.
NRN-The Fifth Power in the Making: It is well-known that the mass media is "the Fourth Power" in a modern state after the Parliament, the Government, and the Legal System. Like the mass media, in Nepali context, NRN can be "the Fifth Power". There is a huge favorable public opinion with NRNs.Philanthropists are often popular and become known to the public as good or even great people. NRNs activities should be directed towards the healthy functioning of politics and economics. There is no need for NRNs to be liked by any/all politicians; rather it's our duty to guide them in the path of truth. We can no more bank on politicians. We should not deny our role. If we dream, if we think of something good to country, we have to act. Press release from NRNA once or twice a year for formality will not work. Only action has any significance. By acting on behalf of truth, acting in the interest of an ordinary Nepali and for the benefit of whole Nepal, we really can be the Fifth Power.
Dr. Ramesh Khatiwada