In the name of charity

The dictionary describes charity as helping people who are in need; an act of kindness that comes voluntarily with a pure intention of helping others.
But in Arunachal, charity has rather taken a dark turn. Instead of spreading hope within people, it has become an excuse to bully the minorities and overpower certain sections of our society.
With the growing numbers of student unions, political parties and charitable trusts, the confusion within the population is likely to rise. The organizations often shed light on a hotly debated issue, current mishap or natural disasters; the next step often follows with the collection of donations from the general public either in the form of cash or goods. While some people generously and voluntarily participate in the donations drive, some sections of the society are forced to participate in it.
A group of youngsters, mostly in their prime teens or early 20s go around streets and markets, primarily targeting the private shops and ask for donations for their ‘noble cause’. Locally owned shops are mostly spared in the process; they leave them once they show the notice by the Market Bazaar Welfare Association where it is rightfully mentioned that in donation drives collecting cash and goods from the market is strictly prohibited. Unfortunately, the umbrella of protection by the association is not able to cover the small-scale shop owners, majorly those belonging to outside the state; these shops are targeted repeatedly and forced to make huge chunks of donations either in cash or in the form of goods with their minimum incomes. Sometimes they are forcibly taken.
A few days back, a protest rally took place demanding a permanent solution for offspring born to ST mothers married to non STs, where hundreds of people took the streets of Itanagar.
Taking this current issue, the student unions started collecting donations from shops. Further details on how the funds would be used is not clear and how exactly will the collected goods like petrol, food and beverage items, blankets etc will come in handy in proving charity for the offspring issue is not clear.
Sadly this remains an accepted fate the shop owners have to live with; the unsaid and unseen despotic rule that they are forced to follow in order to sustain their business and to feed their families. The powerful continue to overpower the poor by using fear as a major catalyst; the perpetuator knows they would not risk their businesses by speaking up against the unjust. The shopkeepers continue to live with the fear of another natural disaster to strike, another fire mishap to occur or a political or social issue to pop up because then they know the time will arrive for donation drivers to visit their shops.
Yomge Chisi