ABSTRACT

CSR is both a device/instrument and a process. As a device, CSR is the articulation of welfare schemes that the corporate houses proclaim to fulfil. This is also a process whereby the private sector gains acceptance with the public by projecting its image of being responsible to the stakeholders. The company is not there merely to protect the interests of the shareholders, but also to safeguard the ecosystem supporting their production and thus helping them to augment profit. This is, broadly speaking, how CSR is generally conceptualized. CSR is basically institutionalized philanthropy that enables the business houses to discharge their social responsibilities. What motivates private entrepreneurs to engage in CSR activities is perhaps their moral commitment to those contributing to their business goals. The business support to the community and other stakeholders acts favourably for the business houses. Companies do well if their workers are happy; companies do better if the stakeholders are taken into their confidence; and companies do their best if there is political stability which is possible if the stakeholders are persuaded to believe that the former are committed to fulfilling their social goals by seriously pursuing welfare measures to sustain equilibrium in the ecosystem and to contribute to the community’s well-being. This is easier said than done. Nonetheless, the book is a testimony to the efforts, undertaken by Indian business houses, to reinvent their role in India’s socio-economic reconstruction. Drawn to ethical concerns, the major Indian business houses, as shown in the study, resorted to philanthropy to articulate CSR whether during the British rule or in its aftermath. The Gandhian Trusteeship was a critical influence in the articulation of CSR during the nationalist phase; in the aftermath of independence in 1947, the idea might have considerably lost its significance though the Gandhian spirit seemed to have governed the philanthropic contribution on the part of Indian business houses. In this sense, the Gandhian vision that businessmen remained as important in nation-building as anybody else contributed immensely to the articulation of business philanthropy in India.