Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A tale of two Billionaires

A recent article in BusinessWeek Google doing good in India talks about the visit of foundation directors Larry Brilliant and Larry Page to Madurai's Aravind eye hospital. As I was reading the article I remembered reading an interview with Mittal Steel chairman and the 5th richest man in the world, Lakshmi Mittal where he said "he was too young to do charity". Mr Mittal worth 23B is 56 years old, Larry Page worth 12B is 33. It is indeed tragic that we as Indians are a densensitized society. We need couple of Americans to remind us of the task ahead - there are 300M+ people who live below the poverty line who need basic living conditions. Not to pick on Mr Mittal, the Infosys founder Mr Murthy doesn't like to discuss his involvement with charity. One less mansion in London or Paris wouldnt matter as much to Mr Mittal, as much as two meals a day to the millions of children who go hungry. I guess the newly minted Billionaries from India need to realise that, the real value of being a Billionaire is in sharing it with the millions who actually need it. Statistically billionaries give 1% to charity and if the likes of Mr Mittal give only that much, they will be fondly remembered by all millions of people they touch, instead of a bunch of Wall St analysts and shareholders.

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