Last weekend, following the Kerala floods, a long audio clip went viral on Whatapp groups across the nation. On two of my groups, each discussing the best way to contribute to disaster relief, this was thrown up as a counterpoint.
The speaker, who identified himself only as ‘Suresh’, says he “landed up in Kerala by accident” during the floods. The thrust of his advice:
- People in Kerala are rich. They don’t need your money.
- The only help they will need is by way of tradespeople – electricians and carpenters – to restore severely damaged homes.
- Oh, by the way, if you do decide to donate money, send it to Seva Bharti.
- And by the by the way, don’t donate it to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, since we have some evidence that all is not above aboard there.
What Suresh did not say was:
- His full name is Suresh Kochattil.
- His Twitter handle says “I hate Sickulars and Commies”.
- “Following requests from…Bharatiya Janata Party karyakarthas, I have decided to come back to India and go full steam into the campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections”
Seva Bharati is an NGO affiliated with the RSS, and was founded by Balasaheb Deoras. I respect the work of RSS organisations in relief work, having observed them close at hand when I traveled in Garhwal after the Uttarkashi earthquake.
If Seva Bharti wants to campaign for donations, this is perfectly legitimate; if they want to say they will do a better job than the CM’s relief machinery, they need to present good reasons why.
But what I just can’t figure is why an organisation seeking funds would start off by saying funds are not required. Mr. Kochattil’s motivations remain a mystery to me.