Some people make it their business to put smile on others faces… I recently met one such person, Mr D R Mehta, at All India Management Association (AIMA), the national apex body of management professionals in India. On 14 September 2012, I had gone to AIMA, along with one of my colleagues, to attend an interactive session at Management House located at Lodhi Road in New Delhi. Mr D R Mehta, Founder and Chief Patron of Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), popularly known for Jaipur Foot, addressed us on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: Commitment and Success – Jaipur Foot’. The session was chaired by Dr J S Juneja, Past President AIMA and Chairman Global Projects and Services Pvt Ltd.
Joined Indian Administrative Service in 1961, Mr D R Mehta has had an illustrious career spanning more than four decades. He has held many prominent positions including those of the Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (1995-2002) and Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) (1992-95). He is the recipient of many national and international awards. He has been conferred with Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2008. He received AIMA Public Service Excellence Award in 2011 and this year, has been selected for Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award for his outstanding contribution towards promotion of Communal Harmony, Peace and Goodwill. He is also a Director on the Europe/Asia Board of Alfred Sloan School of Management, MIT, USA.
Founded in 1975 by Mr D R Mehta, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), a non-governmental, non-religious, non-sectarian, non-political society, has come a long way. It started in a very humble manner by providing 59 limbs in the year of its inception. Last year, this figure touched 64011 mark. Selfless Service with Respect, Dignity and Equality are the values that BMVSS stands for. Under the inspiring leadership of Mr D R Mehta, it has emerged as the largest organization in the world in service of the physically challenged people providing them artificial limbs, calipers, crutches, wheel chairs, hand-pedaled cycles, and many other aids and appliances for free. It has touched the lives of more than 1.3 million beneficiaries. What a remarkable achievement! The Economic & Social Council of the United Nations Organization (UNO) has granted Special Consultative status to BMVSS. In addition, Time Magazine has rated Jaipur knee as one of the 50 best innovations of the world in the year 2009. I salute the human spirit behind the success of BMVSS making a difference in the lives of millions of physically challenged people all over the world by helping them regain mobility and, more importantly, self-respect and dignity.
During the interactive session, he made the following key points:
- SEBI was the first one in India, to introduce the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in 1999. It was felt that a company when it raises funds from the public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), to run its business, it becomes responsible to the public.
- Although many companies are involved in CSR activities, yet the social humanistic work done has not increased commensurable with their growth. The allocation for CSR activities has, by and large, stagnated and has not kept pace with the company’s growth.
- We need to constantly ask ourselves :
What the purpose of my life is,
What the meaning of my life is and
What really matters for me.
- We need to take stock of what we have done and achieved so far :
Have we achieved satisfaction, or just accumulated material wealth?
- Most number of people attached to money in this world, are Indians… बहुत कमाए हीरे मोती, अफ़सोस मगर कफ़न की जेब नहीं होती.
- We are human beings, but we need to be more humane and need to give more to social causes.
Here, I would like to quote, from the brochure I received from Mr. D R Mehta, the touching words of Eliane and Armand Neukermans, the eminent US scientists:
” As we stood among the poorest of the poor in Jaipur, some of them coming there from thousands of miles away, we realized that this was not about fitting limbs, but about restoring dignity to other human beings, and in the process, to ourselves. For it is in giving that we receive. There may be other places in the world where compassion is that tangible, it is just that we had not seen any.”
Towards the end of the session, he showed us some video clips about the work undertaken at BMVSS and pointed out a number of times, that we should look at the smile on the face of the boy in the clipping; I realized that this person was deriving his happiness out of the smiles that he was able to put on the faces of others. At the end of the session, I mentioned to him with a smile, that it appears to me that you are getting paid in terms of smiles… He gave, in return, a very big smile … No wonder, people like Mr. D R Mehta make it their business, No … They make it The Purpose of Their Life, to put a smile on the faces of others.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others“. With these words of Mahatma Gandhi, I dedicate this blogpost to Mr D R Mehta and his devoted team at BMVSS, who are putting smiles on the faces of millions of physically challenged people, selflessly…
I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to you all, my dear readers, to contribute to whatever extent possible, to support such a social cause.