Rice bucket challenge: Hyderabad's desi rival to the ALS ice bucket challenge

Hyderabad: The Ice Bucket Challenge has a desi rival, Rice Bucket Challenge.

And not many in Hyderabad, where it started, are complaining. Why drench oneself in ice-cold water or a bucketful of ice when one doesn’t even know what ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is all about? In India, the real challenge is to fill hungry stomachs. That is what Rice Bucket Challenge intends to do.

Inspired by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a Hyderabad-born techie who was nominated for the challenge by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, many Indian celebs and corporate honchos have been drawn to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and begun dousing themselves with ice-cold water or a bucket full of ice. The inspirational idea took the shape of a fad soon, allowing some mindlessness to creep in.



This drove Manju Latha Kalanithi, a Hyderabad-based journalist, and many others, nuts. But unlike others, she came up with an idea, and implemented it. Later she uploaded it on Facebook. What’s more, she created a hash tag #RiceBucketChallenge on the social networking site.

“When a lot of my Indian friends took up the IceBucketChallenge and took the easy and fun way out of dumping cold water onto themselves and shrieking in horror, I felt it was a lazy way of promoting a cause. The Rice Bucket Challenge idea hit me, obviously as a spoof of the original,” Manju told Firstpost.

The numerous schemes of the governments for decades could not mitigate hunger among some sections of Indian society. Donation of rice – raw or cooked – is the best way to address this perennial need, she thought. She and her husband chose a daily wage-earner, Sathibabu, who sells idly and dosa on his bicycle every day. She donated a bucket of rice to the poor man and led by example.

“I donated one bucket of rice to him (22 kg worth Rs 880) and he was happy to receive ration for almost a month for his family of five,” she says.

She took a picture of the donation and posted it on Facebook which instantly caught the attention of her friends.  This desi challenge caught 1,000 eyeballs on Facebook. An event was created by some enthusiasts to organize the Rice Bucket Challenge and donate generously on 29 August.

Inspired by this, an FB enthusiast Sam Paul donated Rs 9,000 to a Chennai-based NGO Little Drops, towards the purchase of rice, as he estimated that a rice bag costs Rs 3,000 and one bag would be sufficient for three meals a day for 350 hungry people.

He nominated some of his friends to do so as well.

So is there an alternative to the Rice Bucket Challenge? Manju says anybody can donate medicines worth Rs 100 in their nearest government hospital which would be of great help to the needy and the suffering. So far it has garnered 1,000 likes and is growing.

It’s just about time a celebrity pays attention and espouses the cause as well.

Updated Date: Aug 25, 2014 08:13 AM

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