Image: Rebecca Cook / Reuters
The competition between me and Bill Gates, probably: Who can spend money more effectively that can do better philanthropy.
I feel that India lacks a level of philanthropy that is proportional to the wealth that is here, particularly among the top 5,000 industrialists and entrepreneurs.
Philanthropy is no longer about writing a cheque for $10,000 to the opera.
India’s connection with philanthropy didn’t begin with Western influences.
It is age-old and ingrained in our value systems.
You cannot mandate philanthropy. It has to come from within, and when it does, it is deeply satisfying.
Philanthropy without scale and sustainability is like any other bad business that will simply wither and die on the vine.
Billions are wasted on ineffective philanthropy. Philanthropy is decades behind business in applying rigorous thinking to the use of money.
Philanthropy should be voluntary.
Unfortunately, the mechanism for doing philanthropy in a structured way isn’t yet in place in India. I already do a fair bit and support various causes such as education, sanitation, health. But selling costly drugs at affordable prices is philanthropy in itself.
With few exceptions, the leading women in philanthropy, notably Melinda Gates, are the wives or daughters of rich and powerful men.
My theme for philanthropy is the same approach I used with technology: To find a need and fill it.