The World's Greatest Philanthropists

The shape of things to come

While India's wealthy have done their bit for many years, philanthropy in the true sense is only taking form now

He may be 71 years old, but Raghunath Anant Mashelkar’s memories of his childhood are as vivid as yesterday. At three, Mashelkar and his parents left their hometown, Mashel in south Goa, to move to Bombay in search of a better job and higher income. But just three years later, his father died and his mother, who was uneducated, had to do odd jobs to make a living. Support from his maternal uncle ensured that the young Mashelkar made it to a local municipal school but, as the grades kept rising, so did the odds. In grade 8, he nearly had to drop out of school as his mother struggled to put together ₹21 for his fees. That was the first time Mashelkar got a taste of philanthropy — a maidservant, who resided in the same locality as the Mashelkars, paid his fees.