Being a part of the community
During the recent floods in Chennai - India, being a part of a group co-ordinating and helping to gather and distribute resources, I learnt a lot, as to what it means to be a part of the community. Regardless of caste, creed, religion, and previous differences, people from various walks of life got together to help each other. It gives a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of being a human being.
However I still miss this feeling in my professional life. I help architect and develop software for a living. I meet a lot of developers everyday, who are trying to explore/build something new everyday. We take a lot of software from the community, but the rate at which we are giving back is not equivalent.
Why does this anathema exist in the corporate world in India? Is there something amiss? As humans, we are willing to help in a disaster, but never come together to engineer something better for humanity and give it back in large scale. If you take an average Software Engineer in Bangalore-India, today, the number of open source projects he owns/contributes too is questionable. Not even for his own community that he helps write documentation, translate labels of an existing software into his linguistics. I do not say that nobody is doing it, but the ratio of people who are software engineers, to the set of people who are helping is dis-proportionate.
What is the solution? When will we learn?
I believe the solution lies in teaching kids from universities and colleges, to contribute vehemently. For every library used the education system must encourage (maybe mandate), they contribute one back. Will this bring a change to looking at communities beyond religion, caste, creed, skin color? Definitely yes.
Let us contribute back to the community, let us make a movement of teaching to contributing back, start small in our homes and talk about this as a community.