Indian billionaires by the numbers

Compare the rise and fall in the fortunes of the wealthiest Indians since 2009

Pravin Palande
Published: 14, Oct 2015

The financial markets generate a lot of number on a per second basis. There are people who have made it a profession to convert this information into trends, buy-sell signals, charts and pivot tables. Over the last 18 years of financial journalism, I have realised that every number has a story to tell. And these numbers as a trend normally never lie. Im forever looking for these trends.

Since 2009, Forbes India has been compiling and publishing a data set on the 100 richest Indians. It is arguably the most comprehensive data that you will find on India’s wealthiest people. We have been crunching the figures every year to find interesting nuances and changes in the composition and distribution of wealth among the top 100. Over the last seven Forbes India Rich Lists, the data set has increased to 700 records and we decided to do something interesting with it.

We came across Tableau, a data visualisation company, which has the ability to convert any data into a picture. Their job is to “make data and spreadsheets understandable to a layman”.  One of the minds behind Tableau is Professor Pat Hanrahan, a founding member of the animation film company Pixar, who believed that the Pixar type of technology could be used in data visualisation.

Deepak Ghodke, who looks at Tableau’s business in the Asia Pacific and India regions, put us in touch with his colleague Prashant Momaya, a data analyst and data visualiser. We wanted a way to compare the change in fortunes of the top 100 wealthy Indians between 2009 and 2015. This is what Tableau India gave us:

There are two panels in the infographic. 1. Change in wealth: This is an interactive panel. Select any number of names listed on the right and the comparison of their change in wealth over the years can be obtained as a line chart. By default, we are giving you a comparison of the change in wealth of Dilip Shanghvi, the Godrej Family, Azim Premji and Mukesh Ambani from 2009 to 2015.

2. Distribution of wealth: Here we have represented the wealth of each rich list ranker as a share of the total wealth of the richest 100 Indians. The individual’s share of wealth is represented as a bubble which can be compared over 2009 and 2015. This panel is not interactive.


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