Ratna Vira & Daughter Suhasini Vira Co-author Their First Non-fiction ‘Why People Give: Interpreting Altruism’

Book delves into the psychology of altruism and an individual’s capacity to make a difference to the world. Inspired by Founders of the Genesis Foundation, all proceeds from the book will go as a contribution towards the Genesis Foundation

Ratna Vira, the best-selling author of Daughter by Court Order and It’s Not About You, has released her first non-fiction book Why People Give: Interpreting Altruism with SAGE Publishing. As the name suggests, the book deep dives into why people give, their beliefs and, more importantly, the realization that in giving, we receive. This book is passionately argued, deeply researched and full of indelible stories of real people. Co-authored by Ratna and her daughter Suhasini, the book builds a case for altruism and the urgent need for empathy in an increasingly self-centered and materialistic world. Ratna and Suhasini emphasize on the fact that anyone can bring about a change, if only we have the will. We don’t have to wait for governments or big corporations to act because the power lies within us—we can be the catalysts. 

The book is inspired by the Founder-Trustees of Genesis Foundation – Prema Sagar and Jyoti Sagar. The Foundation works towards facilitating treatment for under-privileged children suffering from congenital heart disorders. It includes real-life incidents of Prema’s and Jyoti’s life—their journey from losing their child to channeling their pain into succor for others. Together, they have saved more than 2200 lives through Genesis Foundation. 

As a collaboration between a seasoned writer and a bright millennial, this book is academically researched and balances it right by striking an emotional chord with readers through real-life stories. The duo gives interesting insights on what it takes to be a change maker in the society for its audience. 

Ratna Vira, expressing her anticipation from the book, said, “It has taken almost three years to research and write this book. I have taken courses on positive psychology to understand the nuances of why people give. The process of writing the book, collaborating with a young daughter and seeing life through her lens, has changed my world view. Today, I am more aware to need of giving back to the society and I hope this book help us create that much needed change in everyone who reads this.”

As a way of making readers self-introspect, one of the excerpts reads “In a more cynical and brutal world, newspaper headlines no longer stun us. Our apathy is so strong. A girl is abandoned, daughters killed, women raped, and families found murdered. These stories no longer move us. Ponzi schemes bankrupt families, farmers commit suicide. Millionaires are made, and some led to prison. ‘Karma,’ we mutter ‘catching up’. Ingenuous ways to multiply and quadruple wealth and dodge tax are revealed daily. All the while, the same people are seen supporting the latest causes, visiting the temples and houses of prayer, and washing their sins through giving. Is this truly charity? Is it altruism or merely selfish behavior?” 

What makes this more engaging is a running conversation between two hypothetical characters of different generations that addresses some of the top-of-the-mind questions or doubts that readers may have about altruism. The book is available for sale on Amazon and Kindle. Apart from the book, Ratna will also be launching her collection of paintings to further strengthen her contribution towards saving lives of little hearts. Ratna has been inspired by the children, their spirit to fight against all odds, and this reflects in the art series that she has specially made for Genesis Foundation. Bright, happy, reflective are the words she uses to describe her art; much like these brave children. The solo exhibition will go live for sale in early September. 

About the authors:

Ratna Vira is the bestselling author of ‘Daughter By Court Order‘ (Published: 2014) and  It’s Not About You (Published: 2016). Ratna holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She also holds an MBA. Ratna is an alumna of the Convent of Jesus and Mary School, New Delhi. She is the daughter of senior journalist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh. Ratna juggles her corporate career with her writing and love of art. She lives in Gurgaon with her daughter and son, where she is at work on her next book. Ratna has spoken at leading universities, international business schools, corporate occasions and been part of several panels.

Suhasini Vira is a Laidlaw Research Scholar and is a student of Economics and Politics at Durham University. With her exceptional literary skills, Suhasini has been able to co-author her first book at a young age of 20. She lives in Gurgaon and is currently pursuing her Summer Diversity Internship Programme from HM Treasury in London. 

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