Why the #IceBucketChallenge isn’t a worthy contender of what I want to do as a part of a community?

Disclaimer: With all due respect to the ALS community in the USA, this post is mostly for the 106 million active social media users in India, who are slowly becoming a part of the international trend which has relatively minute significance this side of the world.

I’ve been seeing pretty many videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge from earlier this month, and have also noted how viral the whole phenomenon went, from pulling in celebrities of music, technology, politics, etc. in the USA. Well, it reached Barack Obama too (who chose to donate than pour water on himself). So probably the whole country tagging along to raise awareness for a cause for the 30,000 people who suffer from this rare disorder which has no cure. Which is a great feat in itself, considering they wouldn’t have come into international limelight had it not been for this social media phenomenon. I personally got to know of ALS only due to this campaign. And amazingly so the ALS Association has already received more than $15.5 million in donations since the campaign went viral!

So we know the power of social media once again.

Though, let’s look at the Indian statistics:

Top 10 causes of deaths in India (2013)
Top 10 causes of deaths in India (2013)

Do you see the stats!?

  • Heart diseases in India occur 10-15 years earlier than in the West.
  • India accounts for 47% of global Measles death!
  • Tuberculosis kills 1000 people a day in India!
  • (even sadder) Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among Indians aged 15-29!!

So, do you find it worth it that we spend our social media power on a cause which even though rare in the USA, doesn’t even have any recorded number of cases in India?! Also, if you could search a bit, the USA has already funded its other main healthcare research causes, say cancer, pretty well. (For example, The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Nation’s principal agency for cancer research and coordinates the National Cancer Program has a budget averaging approximately $4.9 billion per year over the past 6 years. $4.9 billion = Rs. 29,615.6 crores per year! And that’s just one of the institutes.)

So why are we aping the west, yet again, and channelling our energies on something which doesn’t even concern us? Why do we want to be a part of an international phenomenon (more so the American phenomenon) which isn’t going to benefit us also? Essentially so, why are you guys wasting your social media power which could have been used for something else other than the #IceBucketChallenge, maybe spreading awareness about no smoking, or sanitation or maybe something as small as helping someone come out of depression (or make them happy somehow) so they don’t end up taking their lives?

I’ll post something to ponder upon, just in case you realise the country needs more from your generosity of going ahead & being a part of a social cause:

The Google search results to What does India lack?
The Google search results to What does India lack?

Still up for the #IceBucketChallenge?


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