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     Volume 5 Issue 123 | December 8, 2006 |

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View from the Bottom

They makeme feel like nobody

Shahnoor Wahid

Isn't donating money to the poor and the needy a prerogative of the rich? It is supposed to be so, because to donate something, for instance money, you got to have it aplenty, no matter where it comes from, no matter whether its colour is black or white. Once you have ensured a life of comfort for your fourteen generations and become members of all the clubs in Dhaka you can take a break for a while and then pick up the phone to call the newspaper office. You have to let them know that you want to donate some money to the poor kidney patient.

Then there is the other kind of donor who gets the tag of 'man with a large heart' in his ancestral village for his 'selfless' generosity. He has tons and tons of money. He has no clue where the money is coming from (This kind of money is transacted at night). He may be a local political leader, or a ward commissioner, or a trade union leader, or a police officer, or a Dracula-look-alike leader of Bornali Bank Employees Association. So, after making more tons and tons of money, he decides to spend one or two kilograms in the name of Allah. He fully believes that Allah has given him the <>towfik<> and that's why he has become so rich. He also believes that Allah is too busy at the moment managing Bush and Iraq therefore He does not have time to see where the money is coming from.

So, one day our rich brother summons the <>moulana<> of the mosque of the village next to his. He asks the <>moulana<> how much money would be required to build a magnificent mosque and a <>madrasa<> in his village right next to his ancestral home. As per his wish the mosque and madrasa are built. Next time when he will go to his village the <>moulana<> with fifty <>talebalims<> will meet him near the ferry terminal. They will start giving slogans praising his generosity and fear of God.

There is yet another rare group of donors in the world, like a rare blood group, who are least known to us. I did not know about this third kind who lived amongst us in the same society until I came across two news items in our print media on two donors of the third kind. These donors are not rich at all. In fact the first one, Beauty is from a very poor family. But God gave her a golden voice as a gift. One day, like a fairytale coming true, she found herself in Dhaka singing before a team of jury in a nationwide competition. She was placed among the top three. She got lots of money as prize. Then she got offers to bring out her own CDs and so on. Money started to flow in steadily. She brought her parents to Dhaka and moved in a small but moderately nice flat. Even then she did not reach the status of a rich person. But that did not stop her from donating Tk. 50,000 (Yes, that's the figure) to a poor child who needed money for treatment. She did not hesitate; her hand did not shake; her heart did not miss a beat while she gave away the money. She did not want any publicity but someone came to know about it and told the press. The girl whose father never could give her fifty taka as monthly pocket money, gave away fifty thousand taka just like that! Unbelievable, but true.

The story of Saidur is even more extraordinary, a bit hair-raising for me to be honest. Saidur is a teenager who lives in West Bengal, India. He came from a very poor family and at one point in life (recently) his family needed a large amount of cash money. They had no resources that could fetch so much money. Saidul took the bold but scary decision. He wanted to sell one of his kidneys. He went to the city and made arrangements in a hospital. There was someone who badly needed a kidney and their blood groups matched. Would Saidul finally have the courage to do go under the knife? Yes, he would because he badly needed the money. So, his kidney was cut out and planted into the person. It saved his life. After recuperating from the risky operation Saidul went to visit the person who also stayed in the same hospital. After meeting the person Saidul was extremely moved. The person was even poorer than him! It would take him ages to pay the price of Saidul's kidney! Saidul looked at the man for a long while. There was kindness in his two large eyes. Then, with a wry smile on his dried lips he shook the man's hand and told him he need not bother about paying for the kidney.

Weakened from the operation, Saidur packed his bag and trudged back to his village where poverty and misery were to be his constant companions.

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