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India's best known philanthropic businessmen

"After a certain point in time, money cannot make a difference in your life. I feel that it's not even called charity, it's about accountability and responsibility," Sobha Group founder P.N.C. Menon said, when he announced he would donate half of his wealth (estimated at $600 million) to charity. A first generation entrepreneur based in Dubai, Mr Menon, the chairman emeritus of Sobha Developers, has joined the ranks of India's small but rapidly growing group of businessmen philanthropists.

India's famous givers:

1. Azim Premji: At the top of the list undoubtedly is Wipro chairman Azim Premji, often dubbed India's Bill Gates. India's third-richest man, according to a Forbes list released earlier this month, had in 2010 donated 8.7 per cent of the total stock of Wipro from his personal stockholding to philanthropy. Last month, he became the first Indian to sign up for the Giving Pledge, an initiative by Microsoft founder Mr. Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and pledged to donate around 12 per cent of his stake in Wipro.

2. Shiv Nadar: The HCL founder, in one of his biggest philanthropic activities, had in 2011 donated over Rs. 580 crore he had earned by selling his 2.5 per cent stake in the company. Mr. Nadar's foundation has set up eight public secondary schools in partnership with the Uttar Pradesh government, according to a Forbes report.

3. Anand Mahindra: In 2010, the Mahindra & Mahindra chairman donated $10 million to his alma mater, Harvard University. The amount was donated to the Harvard Humanities Centre.

4. Vineet Nayyar: The executive vice-chairman of Tech Mahindra and the chairman of Mahindra Satyam gave away Rs. 30 crore in March 2010 to the Essel Social Welfare Foundation, a Delhi-based charitable organization run by his wife.

5. Ratan Tata: Mr. Tata, who stepped down as the chairman of the Tata group of companies last December, donated $50 million to the Harvard Business School from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust in October 2010. Mr. Tata had attended an advanced management programme run by the school.


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