Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur


Reconfiguring Dāna (Generosity) as a new Institutional Financial Mechanism for Social Enterprises

Dāna – generosity or gift-giving – a key religious practice in the Hindu tradition, depicts a particular form of human relationship free of obligation and return, and is manifested in both tangible and intangible forms. Indian tradition has an intrinsic mechanism for improving and restoring social wellbeing through alternative models of Dāna. In modern India, religious and other philanthropic organizations have attracted millions of people to make generous donations. These organizations, in turn, have conducted extensive work in social sector. In fact, many academic institutions themselves are outcomes of such philanthropy. While such institutions have been primarily receivers of philanthropic grants, they by themselves have played little role in generating resources for promoting social enterprises.
Given the above backdrop, the present study intends to examine the relevance of Dāna in contemporary settings. Through an in-depth analysis, the study will try to understand Dāna in its traditional and present constructions and manifestations including motivations and underlying meanings for donors and recipients. The study also proposes to create sites within academic community for resource generation so that educational institutions may emerge as ‘philanthropic industrial complexes’ in their own right. This may require creation of proper accountability mechanisms and involve a process of behavior change in the academic community. Dāna’s link with modern concepts and practices in micro-financing would also be explored for its potential to promote businesses with social objectives. Besides, it will examine how modern concepts of crowd-funding and eco-preneurship can be integrated within a holistic management approach to social engineering.

• To document extensively the traditional models of Dāna or gift giving.

• To explore traditional as well as contemporary practices of Dāna and to identify suitable model(s) that can work in the Indian context for social enterprises.

• To develop working models of Dāna generation and utilization for academic institutions for societal welfare.

The study will be based on both secondary and primary data. In order to understand the Dāna tradition in historical perspectives, in addition to reviewing literature, the researchers will conduct interviews with key stakeholders of different religious and philanthropic organizations across the country. Besides, a primary survey will be conducted over donor individuals and organizations to examine the nature and purpose of their donations and the potential to attract such donations for social enterprises. On the basis of the feedbacks taken from donors and recipients, a sustainable model for Dāna generation and utilization will be proposed. The study will carry out an experiment before a comprehensive model is proposed eventually. The study will use both qualitative and quantitative techniques to analyze data.

Principal Investigator (s)
Narayan C. Nayak

Suhita Chopra Chatterjee, Priyadarshi Patnaik, Jitendra Mahakud, C . S. Mishra, A. K. Pradhan