Why should I pay Rs 42 to plant trees, when I already pay taxes?

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Be Inspired / India / Society

from Youth & Truth Talk

Sadhguru @ Shiv Nadar University


The first question [from social media] is from Vikram from Delhi. Vikram says, well, this is about the Cauvery Calling - Shouldn’t this be the government’s job? Why should I pay 42 rupees when I already pay taxes? I don’t even live near Chennai.


Duration: 9 min


6 min read

Why should I pay Rs 42 to plant trees, when I already pay taxes?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

Questioner: The first question is from Vikram from Delhi. Vikram says, well, this is about the Cauvery Calling. “Shouldn’t this be the government’s job? Why should I pay forty-two rupees when I already pay taxes? I don’t even live near Chennai.”

Sadhguru: Oh, oh that guy, is he Vikram ? Now you know who is Vikram. See, let me tell you – the young man has big hands, I want him to use them.

So this happened. Shankaran Pillai checked into a Chennai hotel. At 11:30 in the night he called the reception and screamed, “I’m trapped in this room. Somebody help me, what is this?” The receptionist asked, “What do you mean trapped? It’s your room, right?” He said, “Yeah.” “What do you mean trapped?” “Well, I see three doors. If I open one, it’s a bathroom. If I open the other, it’s a closet. And the third one says ‘Do Not Disturb.’ I’m trapped.” That is the clap, I heard just now. That’s the trap.

This is a democratic nation. This means this is our country. I put my vote, I don’t know if Vikram put his vote or not, probably on that day he was on a picnic, or maybe he put. I put my vote, you do it. I’m sure if he’s a engineering student, he’s not paid any taxes yet. And he’s claiming he’s paying taxes.

I want you to understand this – in this country, only some 3.2% of the population pays taxes, income tax. Do you know this? Only some 3.2% is paying income tax. Who carries the remaining ninety-six percent? Because the remaining ninety-six percent are either below the taxable limit or they are tax evaders – one of these. Even if you take the tax evaders, it will only add up to another three, four percent. The remaining ninety percent is below the taxable limit. When you have a country at this level, where ninety percent are below the tax level, you think government can do everything?

What do you think is the taxes they collecting? They may be charging you forty percent. But what do you think is the volume of tax that they’re collecting, for a nation of 1. 4 billion people? And you want them to do everything with that. I’m not pitching for the government. I wanted the government to give subsidies to the farmers, which they have done. You think you have no responsibility for this nation. You think those handful of people who are elected will do everything. No. Well, this is coming, this [clapping] is coming because you think they’re corrupt. Yes they are, because they are your representatives.

When I’m telling you over 300,000 farmers have committed suicide, when you say, “Let somebody else do it!” I think you’re corrupt. Hello? When you have forsaken your humanity, I think you’re corrupt. Corruption is not just accepting a bribe. You have forsaken your humanity. You are corrupt.

Let me ask you a simple question. If there is no police man on the street, how many Vikrams will stop at the red light? Believe me, just like 9:30-10 o’clock I land in Coimbatore and I’m driving back to the Yoga Centre. Red light – I stop. I hear from behind me Peee peee pee pee, say what I’m stopping at the red light? And then one TVS moped guy will come next to me and say [go]. He’s telling me, “There’s no Police man, you idiot. What are you stopping for?” That’s what he’s telling me. So if you make this guy the chief minister, the Prime Minister whatever, what is he going to do? Hello? This is what he’s going to do, isn’t it?

So don’t think politicians are corrupt. Yes, they may be and they are, probably. But the citizenry is super corrupt. The greatest problem right now in the country is lack of integrity. Not just among politicians, not just among people who hold office, general citizenry is corrupt. If citizenry was not corrupt, it would be very difficult for the politician to be corrupt, because he was just one of you day before yesterday. Only now he got elected.

The moment he gets elected, his whole clan goes Mama. “You became minister, what are you giving me?” Are they going and asking or not? Hello? If he doesn’t give, “Mama we supported you. Why are you not supporting our family?” Are they asking or no? So corruption is not in one place. It is across the nation.

Let me tell you this, a few years ago, almost twenty-five years ago I was in Trichy, talking in a high school to fourteen-year-old boys. I just asking them, “Okay, what would you like to do after this education?” One guy said, “I want to be a RTO.” Fourteen-year-old boy. Then I say, “Why are you interested in the road traffic system? You want to do something, what what’s your interest?” He says, “I’ll get lot of bribe”. I thought this is the tragedy of the nation – a fourteen-year-old boy, still a child in some ways, only thing he’s thinking of is he’s thinking how he can get maximum bribe – fourteen years of age. So, don’t think just one point is corruption. Corruption is all across, we’ve made this our culture.

Young people must change this. It is very important you make this nation a law abiding nation more than anything else, that you follow the law, convenient or inconvenient, you follow the law. This is important. You must set this culture.

About why should I do it? Well, if you are human, you should do it. If you’re something else, I leave it to you. Because the distress is not something that the governments can handle, it’s way beyond that, it’s way beyond that. But the governments – you must understand this, this is not easy to do. We’ve been on sustained pressure on both these governments, and fortunately yesterday was a fantastic day for Cauvery Calling because both the governments agreed that they will give the necessary subsidy. This is going to cost them a few hundred crores a year, but they’re willing to do it.

You thinking, “Why should I give forty rupees or forty-two rupees.” Don’t give. If you have that kind of a stone for a heart, don’t do it. It is not necessary. We will do it. We will do it. So many other human beings still alive in this country and in the world. Right now, I want to tell you, yesterday’s count is 87,000 trees are being contributed per day right now. That is more than one-tree-per-second, people are contributing. Not just from India, from across the world. People are contributing because there is still humanity in the world.

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