Anil Thakraney: Role Model Premji

25 Feb,2013

By Anil Thakraney


I have always harboured a major grouse about our tagda industrialists: Which is that our kanjoos sethjis abhor the idea of sharing money. Hoarding wealth seems to be a part of the great Indian culture, and that habit really stinks in a third world nation like India where millions of people crave for a roti, where many have no torn blanket to cover themselves with in bitter cold. Whatever little charity is done is actually naam ke vaaste effort, aimed at gaining quick brownie points on Page 3.


Which is why I was shell shocked when I read the news about Azim Premji’s decision to transfer millions of Wipro’s equity shares, worth Rs. 12,300 crore (wow!), to a trust. A trust that will do philanthropy, focusing mainly on primary education. In fact, Premji has already donated a percentage of his personal stock in Wipro for social work. So the latest donation is over and above that! This is simply sensational news, because, as I said, richie rich Indian people don’t like sharing, in fact they don’t seem to even care what the have-nots think. A good example is that extremely distasteful monstrosity called Antilla in South Bombay. As someone said, that’s the owner’s way of showing the finger to India’s starving masses.


Anyway, all we can do is puff up our chests with pride knowing that we have a Premji in our midst. And the rest of the tycoons can hang their heads in shame. Apparently the government is working on a proposal to slap higher taxes on the super rich. I am quite doubtful if this will ever happen, the super rich enjoy too much clout in the corridors of power, they will be able to quickly demolish such a plan. But am hoping it happens. If our bada seths aren’t going to loosen their purse strings for charity work, then we have to find a way to force them to do it. It’s only fair.


So, a big salaam to Azim Premji. One thing’s for sure: He must definitely sleep well at night, certainly better than a whole lot of other Indian industrialists. Sharing happiness can do that to one, others should try it out.




PS: Ah! A kindly clock that gives us second chances, and freezes important moments in our lives. What would we not give to get our hands on such a marvel? I would freeze the moment when Shri Advani started out his Rath Yatra, and took the nation down the tube. I won’t allow the Rath to move an inch. Cool ad from Guinness. And wonderfully shot too.

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