You and I are watching a news channel. We see the fate of widows of farmers who committed suicide in south India. As usual we say a word or two in sympathy, gets angry about the government and the system, switch off the television and goes back to our own busy life.

But that is not what author and Hollywood musician Joseph Curiale did. When he saw the news in CNN about the poor widow Anjamma and many others like her from Andhra Pradesh, he decided to help them out with what he had in hand.

Since I had just written a book “The Spirit of Creativity,” which contains a chapter devoted to following one’s intuition, I knew I had to walk my talk… Not surprisingly, a few days later I got a royalty check of $1,600 from a music-related source that I was completely unaware of. I knew instantly that I had just received the money to pay Anjamma’s debt and have a bit left over for expenses…

He came to India and paid off the debts of Anjamma. Again he came back after collecting more funds and helped those poor widows whose husbands have committed suicide because they couldn’t pay off the debts. To the date Joe managed a total of nearly Rs 11 lakh, settling about 12 families. Plus he paid 25 others, about 5,000 each. He spent most of the money on his own and raised some money from his friends.

It is not just giving money, but Joe is also thinking about permanent solutions to solve this problem. In a Tehelka interview, he said:

My point is you have to get them on level ground before you can do anything. People say that about education… but these people are too weak and don’t even have any food. They don’t give a darn about going to school! I was helping them personally. But now I’ve got a foundation started by Indians in the US called Asha. They sent two people, one from Chennai and one from Hyderabad for my help. I’m trying to cover every aspect. Devendra Sharma with his political journalistic side is trying to bring greater awareness. I feel it’s important for people to work irrespective of the money they have. It’s important for one’s self-esteem, sense of purpose. I got to get them out of the hole, and give them hope. To be poor is one thing, but to have no hope… then one feels there’s no reason to live.

Joe puts the arm-chair activists like me to shame. I believe we cannot always expect governments and politicians to act on issues as we know how our governments and politicians are. Although it is important to keep the government and politicians responsible, we as the citizens of this country cannot just wait for them. It is time we get into the scene and put the politicians into shame.

If you care for this cause and would like to help your fellow countrymen to bring back hope in their life, please contribute generously through Joe’s website and also spread the word. This is the least we can do from wherever we are.

Saving Lives India – Joe’s project
The Hindu article
Interview in Tehelka
Musician comes to orphan’s aid – NDTV

Cross posted here