New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: "Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy." Mahatma Gandhi's this quote states nothing is comparable to joy of giving and to acknowledge the importance of donation and carity, Daan Utsav is celebrated. 

Caring for others and doing charity have become even more crucial today with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting lives, rapid climate change and war displacing people, and a mental health deluge sweeping across the world. 

In the past few years, celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Sachin Tendulkar, Deepika Padukone, R Madhvan, Adi Godrej and many others have celebrated Daan Utsav to encourage more people to donate and experience joy.

What is Daan Utsav?

DaanUtsav is India’s biggest festival of giving held from October 2 to 8 every year. Millions of people from all walks of life, ages and genders come together during this week to give their time, money, resources, or skills back to society. 2021 will be the 13th year of the #DaanUtsav. Interestingly, no one owns this festival and anyone around the world can celebrate it.

Daan Utsav celebrations

India’s biggest festival of giving kicked off its 13th year on 2nd October with hundreds of events happening across the length and breadth of the country. Starting with a two-day virtual Seva Mela on Gandhi Jayanti where anyone could sign on to do an act of giving. Close to 150 NGOs set up virtual stalls and invited people to learn about their work, buy products to support livelihoods, volunteer and/or donate money and resources for a cause. Visitors listened to inspiring talks by social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and activistis, and attend workshops for good among other things!

On October 3, Dolphin Tank saw 25 NGOs pitching to 18 philanthropists in a "shark tank" like format, seeking funding. Over 65 lakh in funding is already committed by the donors in principle- though it was up to the NGOs to pitch well to get a good share of it.

Throughout the week, the #HotFlush campaign by Daan Utsav volunteer Aarti Madhusudan and a number of other will focus on increasing awareness around menopause and trying to build a campaign to build sensitivity especially when working with maids, daily wage labourer women, etc., whose employers do not understand the distress it causes.

On October 5, #GivingTuesdayIndia celebrations during #DaanUtsav will focus on impacting millions of lives through trusted NGOs, with donations and volunteering support. Apart from this, talking of health and wellness, multiple panel discussions are lined up during the week.

Over the weekend, Slam Out Loud founder Jigyasa Labroo and Wellbeing Crusader Nina Kler organised a two-day conversation on Expression and Mental Wellbeing. It was attended by Actor Vidushi Mehra, Author Ayesha Chenoy, Gestalt therapist Divya Chopra Berry, Poets Simar Singh and Pratishtha Khattar, Muskan and Shima.

There was another conversation and retreat organised by Centre for Youth and Social Development to aid development sector workers to recuperate and unwind. The session was attended by Bipin Mohanty, Shri Jagadananda, Akriti Hussain, Dr Lagnajit Dash, Ruchi Phool and Sushree.

Another highlight this year is the panels on mental wellbeing organised by Nina Kler and LA based Minds Foundation founder psychiatrist Dr Raghu Appasani.

In attendance will be Dilip Cherian, Abhijit Bhaduri, Gopi Krishnaswamy, Dr Alok Chopra, Dr Snehal Thamke, Maalavika Manoj. Late actor Robin Williams' son Zak Williams, Founder of PYM will also be in attendance at the three day event.

A talk on the Pleasure of Giving in the context of sex, is being done along with a giveaway involving sexual wellness products. Well known storyteller and mythologist Seema Anand is coming together with Nina Kler and Sachee Malhotra, founder of thatsassything, to organize this.

In the rural heartland of India, 100 rural libraries are being set up for children, but they have to "pay" for their library by reading books to adults in their villages. Over 10,000 children are expected to read books through this initiative. 

Multiple organisations in rural Uttar Pradesh will also be setting up livelihood training sessions for women in prisons and will distribute saris, sweaters and sanitary napkins to them as part of the Dignity & Warmth Kit. The campaign will take place across 75 districts in the state and will also include HIV and TB awareness sessions.

Bengaluru: There are 10 artists with disabilities from 10 states of India who will be showcasing their paintings in the very first Art of the Nation series during the first two days of #DaanUtsav. This is the first International exhibition of its kind which showcases paintings made by artists with various disabilities like one-eyed blindness, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, autism, Down’s syndrome and Muscular dystrophy, among others.

On the other hand, Indians across the world are sending 750,000 thank you greeting cards to be sent to soldiers of the Indian Armed Forces under the Vande Mataram Diwali initiative.

There are also 100s of volunteering opportunities on offer by multiple non-profit organisations which people can explore during the week.

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal