DaanUtsav is India’s own festival that celebrates giving. It takes place every year from the 2nd to 8th October, providing you with the opportunity to contribute time, money, materials or skills to benefit an individual, organization or cause that means something to you.
Daan, in Pali or Sanskrit, connotes the virtue of generosity.
Our modern day lives can be extremely hectic with the pressures of day to day commute, work, meeting our own family and personal needs and overcoming the challenges that life throws at us. But we also read so many inspirational stories of people, taking that moment from their day and time to do an extra bit, not for themselves, but for others.
DaanUtsav is about celebrating that ability to do something for others. It is also about recognising that there is great joy to be found in giving of oneself, bringing a smile on the face of another, or helping someone overcome a diﬃcult situation, even if only momentarily. This is not an organisation with a templated hierarchy run by a few or by any, but a celebration of the “Utsav of Daan”, promoted by hundreds of volunteers across the length and breadth of India.
Over the past 10 years, DaanUtsav has encouraged and inspired millions across the country. What started out as a simple idea, is now a mass movement of giving involving 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 DaanUtsav week.
October 2nd also marks the beginning of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, who has inspired people world over to give back to society. There couldn’t be a better time for us to do more.
This year, we would love for you to join the celebration and we hope you will encourage your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to do the same. You can experience the joy of sharing whatever you can and your contribution need not be monetary. It could be spending time with the elderly, giving books, toys and other material to those who cannot aﬀord them or volunteering at the local animal shelter – there’s so much you can do!
Take inspiration from the rickshaw drivers in Badamba, Odisha, who ferried elders from their village to the local medical camp at no cost, the vegetable vendors in Chennai who donated bags of vegetables to local NGOs or the young, visually impaired boy from Mumbai who volunteered his skill to paint the Mumbai Central station. These are just a few among thousands of stories. Each one of us is capable of this and more.
Ideas and inspiring acts of generosity are there in abundance, and you can find several, genuine organisations that help those in need and who would welcome your support. Several organisations, websites and platforms allow you to search for opportunities to donate, volunteer or give in kind. You can choose the one that touches your heart, or give directly to someone you already know. The choice and action remains yours. Do it selflessly. Do it happily.
As we ready ourselves for this year’s celebration, we have decided to take an extra step ahead. Just like Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Navroz and so many other festivals celebrated in our country, we have marked October 2 to October 8 as DaanUtsav in our calendars, to be celebrated this year and every year and we invite you to do the same.
Let the virtue of our Generosity be a celebration forever. Yours sincerely,