Celebrate Tata, Premji philanthropy, but don’t pull down traditional charity of Indians: Malini Bhattacharjee

(Malini Bhattacharjee is an assistant professor at Azim Premji University and a Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University. This column first appeared in The Print on July 30, 2021)

  • “Not Bill Gates, It’s Jamsetji Tata Who Is Philanthropist of The Century,” read the headline of a news report that was carried by several Indian publications last month as the Hurun Research and EdelGive Foundation declared its list of the world’s 50 most generous individuals. For most millennials unfamiliar with Jamsetji’s legacy, this came as a surprise, especially because his contributions to philanthropy were ranked higher than Bill Gates’. The other Indian who featured in this prestigious list was Azim Premji, who had also earned the title of being “the most generous Indian” and topped the list of philanthropists in India for most of the past few years. What separates these two industrial doyens from other Indian philanthropists is not just the quantum of wealth that they have donated, but also their contribution towards making the act of ‘giving’ an empowering and progressive idea. While Indian philanthropy seems to have come of age, a concomitant trend to undermine more impulsive acts of charity has emerged over the last decade or so…

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