Many of us in our busy lives neither get the time nor have the energy to think of giving back to society. But there are a few who go the extra mile and make positive contributions to society. I like the relevance of a Bible story in the context of contributions : One poor man contributing a single coin and a rich man contributing multiple coins. Which is the bigger contribution? The size of the contribution should be weighed relative to the overall income of the contributor.
Given that majority of Indians are middle class, struggling to make both ends meet, we usually can’t think of making huge contributions towards charity. There are a few who has decided to overcome that hurdle and has been successful in making huge contributions towards charity (compared to their overall income). This success is achieved solely by their creative thinking, dedication and a deep sense of responsibility to humanity as a whole. Let us meet one such great achiever, Sri Muraly, from the city of Bangalore,India. I hope this will spark some creative ideas and inspire my dear readers.
Muraly is no different from the majority of us who has a busy life with long work hours. But one day he asked a question to himself – “What is the meaning of my life? … What am I doing?” He decided to actually DO something special in his life and not just dream of it. He wanted to dedicate himself for social causes. Next question was how? He decided to choose one socially relevant theme every year and conduct solo cycling missions to support that theme. For the past 10 years (2003-2012) he has continued to do so. He avails leave from office for 3-4 days and spreads awareness about the theme of the year by going around in the eco friendly cycle. He raises funds from people who care and donate it for a deserving institution that works for the theme he chose for the year. His loving family wholeheartedly supports his unique initiative to bring relief to the poor and the needy.
Each year the cycling enthusiast braves bad weather and bumpy roads to meet people and distribute pamphlets printed in multiple local languages about his chosen theme. He thus tries to spread awareness about his chosen theme to passersby and villagers en route. He typically covers 120-150 km a day and has achieved his personal goal of breaking normal cyclist’s records. He spends extended hours practicing hard to reach the physical fitness required to achieve this feat. Some of the institutions that received his contributions are orphanages,Govt.schools and special schools. He says that the hardships he suffers during the mission purifies him and fills him with new energy. I would like to bring to your notice the interesting similarity of his annual activity to voluntary sacrifices like fasting and pilgrimages people undertake to purify themselves.
He conducts missions since 2003, and I will mention briefly here about his latest 2 missions to give a sample of his achievements.
In the year 2011, Sri Muraly conducted his 9th mission which was “Right of Education to All”. With the funds he managed to raise, he donated educational aids to a nearby Govt. school. Donated items were 1computer, 1 bookshelf, 15 benches and desks,100 books, 500 pens and last but not the least, he planted 4 saplings in the school compound. Isn’t it a stellar example of what can be achieved if you put your imagination and will power to work in a creative way?
He chose to spread awareness in 2012 about special children, their parent’s emotions, hardships and the service done by special schools. He managed to raise with the help of the invisible human chain of caring people a whooping 88000 Rs and handed over the sum to Ashankura special school run by BEL(Bharat Electronics).The funds were used to support the fees of underprivileged children who are mentally challenged.
Earlier mission themes were:
♥ 2003: Search Of Satisfaction Through Sufferings, ♥ 2004: Love Mother Nature
♥ 2005:Eye Donation,♥ 2006:Help Orphans, ♥ 2007: Salute Soldiers who guard land,sea & sky
♥ 2008 :Help the Helpless, ♥ 2009:World Peace, ♥ 2010: For the Brave Martyred Soldiers
Muraly’s grit and determination might have roots in his training and disciplined life in the service of Indian Air Force. I feel that soldiers realize how precious life is after serving in perilous assignments. It might also be due to a confidence in their own strengths due to the vigorous training they undergo. I recall the initiative of Megan McGrath, from Canadian military services, who risked her own life in 2007 to aid Usha Bista who was suffering from cerebral edema while scaling Mt.Everest.
The lesson from the above real life stories is to do regular exercise and increase physical fitness. This will help to boost mental alertness and self confidence to help self and others. So let us give a break to routine life and go for some exercise! Your satisfaction will multiply if you include some social or environmental cause in your goals list along with exercise.
Here are a few links from news papers where Muraly’s mission has been published:
2007 mission details
2011 mission details
2012 mission details
Links about Megan McGrath, the brave woman