If You Own Ferraris, You Better Own Foundations As Well, Says Rohini Nilekani

Rohini Nilekani

This is probably the most crucial time when the notion of philanthropy by the rich shall be discussed as we move forward in the times of demonetization and a financial crisis being faced. Research has shown that today less than 1 per cent of the world’s population owns 15% of the global wealth. Today, the world has unprecedented wealth and inequalities.

So what needs to be done in such a scenario? Philanthropic acts by the uber-rich prove to be the only catalyst to bringing equality and solving social issues, globally.

“If you own Ferraris then you better own foundations as well,” said Rohini Nilekani, founder and chairperson if Arghyam that works to resolve the problems of water and sanitation in the country. She was speaking on philanthropy by the uber-rich at the Times of India Literature Fest on Saturday.”

“We happened to get pretty rich a few years ago. We looked at the wealthy as up there and nothing to do with people like us and when I became that rich, I was put to grapple with the same questions. Everyone cares about the wealth of ours and others wealth as well,” said Nilekani.

Uber-rich are the fact that we are living in a Trump-world. The phenomena of Trump reflects the revenge against the act of inequality – Vikram Mehta

But really, who are these uber-rich people and why do we need to pose the question of them involving in philanthropy?

Describing the uber-rich, Vikram Singh Mehta, Chairman of Brookings India, said, “Uber-rich are the fact that we are living in a Trump-world. The phenomena of Trump reflects the revenge against the act of inequality. That is why it is important to pose the question.”

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Shedding light on west influencing Indians’ way of work and rebuking it, Nilekani said that the West has also created enormous amount of wealth without indulging in any kind of philanthropic work.

She further added that since we are talking about philanthropy, then it is something that you cannot force someone to do, it is largely voluntary. “Some people just like to write cheques while others like me tend to get involved in the issues they are doing charity for,” she said, addng, “The beauty about philanthropy is that you cannot really tell how a person should do it.”

Philanthropy is more about engaging and starting a dialogue in favour of an issue rather than eradicating it because one person’s philanthropic acts cannot really resolve a problem. What it can do is create awareness and put as much effort as is possible into the journey of solving the issue at hand, explained Nilekani.