Prasanna Kumar Patasani is a Lawyer, Philosopher, Poet, and Member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India. He represents the Bhubaneswar constituency of Odisha and is the Vice President and Founder Member of the BijuJanata Dal.In his early life, he joined the Maharishi Mahesh yogi ashram at Rishikesh and went through yoga ashanas trainings. With the team of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi he travelled extensively worldwide and about one hundred countries. Around 1980’s he returned to India and was the founder President of Maharishi College of Natural Law in Bhubaneswar. There after he actively took part and open around hundreds of institutions, out of which 20-30 institutions are in the name of Patasani and he is the founder father of various educational institutions in the state of Orissa.

Apart from the educational institutions, PrasannaPatasani has written many a Books and poems and Film songs besides acting in various movies and songs which were well acclaimed not only in the state of Orissa but also spread worldwide.He is the Sanyojak of Bharatiya Raj Bhasa (Hindi) SalahkarSamiti in the Indian Parliament. He has authored many a Hindi and other Indian Constitutionally Acclaimed Language books.

Q. Do you believe that quality of citizens of a country influence the quality of a nation?

A. It is true that the quality of citizens of a country has a major impact on the quality of a Nation. When the individual of the society is healthy, then the whole country will be healthy. We are not healthy because of our individuals. We have to create the awareness among the citizens of the country. Education is necessary for development. When the people are educated, it will be easier to lead them. When people are educated, they will be able to think better and apply innovations into the ways of doing things in the environment. Education is a tool to development. Education in itself cannot do the work but educated people can be used or bring about the necessary development in the environment or the nation influencing the quality of the nation.

Q. You have been an active yogi and follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. What is your assessment about the state of responsibility of the common man in India towards the society in the country?

A. When you know the art of how to take care of your own health, your own health will take care of you likewise when you know the art of how to take care of your family, the entire family will be with you and when you know the art of how to take care of the entire state or the society, the society will be with you. Likewise talking about the entire globe, if people know the art of how to take care of the globe,entire globe could be with you. There is a lack of responsibility in the common man in India towards the society. People have also conveniently forgotten about their Fundamental Duties and just remember their Fundamental Rights.

Q. Can we expect the corporate India to be responsible towards the society when citizens are not responsible themselves towards the society?

A. Yes, until and unless the corporate are not serious towards this society, the humanity will be at stake. We should encourage these corporates more to cooperate. We should promote them to lead as a whole as they are the moneyed man; their money must be properly channelized. CSR is part of our ancient culture. Corporates should donate for the welfare of the society.

Q. How do you respond to the mandatory provision for CSR under the company’s act forcing companies to invest 2% of their profit for social developmental activities?

A. I am in favour of CSR being mandatory under law as companies with resources have a duty to do and work for social development activities. Spirit of India- continuing since ancient times.

Q. Understanding about CSR among the corporate leaders is very poor, in absence of neither the proper orientation from government source nor motivation of the corporate leaders to learn about CSR in India. Though global companies are using CSR as a strategic tool to benefit their own business while benefitting the society?

A. It will happen, first time I have seen that you did a wonderful national conference on CSR. I was also a part of that conference. After attending that conference I have realized that such type of conferences should have been organized by the corporate house to provide the clear understanding on CSR.
When a magazine like CSR VISION is organizing such conferences then why not all these corporate can think of such conferences. They are the income oriented persons of our country. If the CSR funds are utilized in a proper planned manner, it will bring a major change in the society. Corporates should not sanction CSR funds under the image of compulsion but as our ancient culture of giving back to the society.

Q. Traditionally from Vedic times, India has been a country of business giving from benefitting the poor with evidence in Vedanta- in ancient times, ChankayaNeetiin Medieval times, Ghandhian literature-in modern times, still why do you find the hesitation among corporate leaders for CSR spending? Why is their change in mindset of corporate leaders towards corporate giving/ CSR spending?

A. Indian ancient culture had this orientation to give as a practice on a daily basis out of daily consumables and business man used to create provision for giving to the poor inspired by spiritual doctrines enshrined in the Shastras. However after the advent of western culture through British rule, followed by Mughals, a prolonged period of foreign rule, Indian seems to have forgotten their own culture of giving. They are being reminded by a mandatory CSR law.

Q. How do you rate the level of understanding of average Member of Parliament (MP) about CSR? (Excellent, very good, good, OK, poor)

A. In my opinion the understanding of average Member of Parliament (MP) about CSR is very poor. But Government control and oversight on CSR expenditure is a must and should not be left to the companies. There is no harm if the corporates and companies work together in collaboration as long as the society is benefitted.

Q. How do you create awareness among MP’s in India Parliament about a futuristic law like CSR having a huge ramification on the development impact of the country not through the amount of CSR budget available but by virtue of professional managerial competent of corporate India?

A. Earlier the MP’s were not bothered about the CSR but now they are showing their concern. Some of the members of Parliament are active in their constituencies about CSR spending.

Q. As a Yogi, do you feel you have extra responsibility for building a responsible society? In the context of the fact that entire spiritual foundation of India is led by Yogis and Rishis of India, who have spent their lives for enriching the society in terms of spiritual and scientific knowledge?

A. Yes, I do feel an extra responsibility towards building a responsible society and therefore I keep on speaking in this aspect in seminars and conferences and in my public engagements

Q. Anything you would like to share with the readers of CSR VISION.

A. Yes, I do feel an extra responsibility towards building a responsible society and therefore I keep on speaking in this aspect in seminars and conferences and in my public engagements

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.