Are Indian Billionaires Insensitive?

As reported, Buffett, Gates and his wife, Melinda are driving to get the super-rich, starting with the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, to pledge — literally pledge — at least 50% of their net worth to charity during their lifetimes or at death.

Indian billionaires whose numbers are increasing exponentially with the GDP growth of this democratic India, would have certainly gone through the report. I do neither know nor can imagine their response. However, I wish some few take some lessons.

Unfortunately but traditionally, Indians accumulate wealth and pass on to their kids. And they enjoy with the wealth or waste it mostly. I wish with other changes, the Indian mindsets undergo some change.

It’s hardly happening. Mohan Murty on May 31 wrote in ‘Is nation in a coma?‘ how some intellectuals in far Europe are worried about the extreme inequitable situation in India.

“Europeans believe that Indian leaders are too blinded by new wealth and deceit to comprehend that the day will come when the have-nots will hit the streets.”

And the media reports of the Indian wealthy class are fueling the discontent of millions of Indians who don’t have even minimal to feel their bellies before retiring to sleep.

Has any sociologist researched how these people react to the news of Sajjan Jindal flying 700 family members of his friends and relatives to Italy for three days to participate in the family marriage of Tanvi Jindal and Krishna Shete? And Jindal is not the lone Indian business tycoon.

Can someone talk with the have-nots or the Maoists about the mansion of the richest industrialist of the country that is being built at a cost of Rs 1600 crore for his family of four or five. Time and again, the media reports about the highly expensive personal tastes of the wealthy people of India.

I still remember Late BM Birla’s well reported statement in press of his wishes to become a Naxalite when the Naxalite movement had just started in West Bengal. And what are all these icons of the incredible India teaching to the rest of Indians through their stories? There was a time when the intellectuals and even some rich persons used to present the example of austerity to the society with very simple inexpensive living style, marriages, travelling in third class of railways or economy class of railways. Some still practise it. As reported, Narayana Murthy still lives in a small apartment. Premji travels economy class. Are they fools?

Majority worth name in his/her profession in India, be it politicians, administrators, executives of private or public sectors, doctors, and even professors and teachers has only one mission and that is to accumulate wealth at all cost. And none is ready to part with that substantially, even though all the off springs or clan members are well-off and affluent. I don’t know why. The act of philanthropy is only for photographs or mention of it for publicity and in turn for making more and more of wealth.

Should not the 500 richest Indians meet and discuss the Buffet and Gates proposal?

Why can’t the top 500 richest Indians set up 500 universities, as India needs 700 of them in next few years?

Why can’t CII members take up a project of setting up 10,000 polytechnics or trade schools, perhaps one or more in each block of the country?

Why can’t the Medical Council of India and its member doctors take a vow to build 100000 rural hospitals?

If the American educational institutes can thrive on the endowments from wealthy individuals, why can’t that happen in India?

I don’t say Indian business men have not done that, but there are just few.

Can the people of this poor country see the Indian counterparts of Buffett, Gates and his wife, Melinda?

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