“Rohini and Nandan are not only a notable example of generosity, they are also putting their time and energy into philanthropy…I am delighted to welcome them to the Giving Pledge,” remarked Bill Gates who along with Warren Buffet has initiated the ‘Giving Pledge’ movement.
By becoming integral part of this movement, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and his better half Rohini Nilekani pledged half of their wealth to philanthropy back in 2017. Last year, Nandan donated ₹183 crore for Societal Thinking, while Rohini donated ₹69 crore in her personal capacity becoming India’s Most Generous Woman in 2021 as per the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy list.
Between the two, Rohini who is a former journalist and author is more actively involved in charity. She is the chairperson of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies that has touched lives of millions of people. Some of the initiatives that she is closely associated with are – Akshara Foundation that has worked for literacy of less fortunate students, Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s book publisher, EkStep, that provides digital infrastructure for early learning, and Arghyam, a foundation for sustainable water and sanitation across India.
Nandan has worked extensively with the Government of India to provide 600 million people with Aadhaar in five years’ time. The massive project taught him a lot about platform thinking, co-creation solutions and amplification of resources. This is the reason why he has been donating to think tanks so that they come up with solutions for the society.
Citing Bhagwad Gita’s verse – ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani,’ the couple mentioned in their pledge letter, “We have a right to do our duty but no automatic right to the fruits from the doing. So, it is the idea of action itself that should motivate us much more than the ego-driven desire for its results.” Emphasising on doing without any favours in return, they added, “It is also critical that we do not slip into inaction fearing that we may not be able to reap direct reward. It is to this ideal that we pledge.”