Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of the rich as trustees can make an effective, sustainable difference
It was Mahatma Gandhi who, after my mother, most strongly influenced my thinking and actions on what I should do with the privilege of my wealth. My mother was one of the founder members of a charitable orthopaedic hospital for disabled children — one of the first in the country after Independence — which she ran for 50 years as the executive chairperson. I observed, through my childhood, what it took to do that, and the difference it made in the lives of people.
The Mahatma’s idea that the wealthy must be trustees of their wealth for the larger good of the people has resonated with me from much before I became a wealthy man. To quote him, “supposing I have come by a fair amount of wealth — either by way of legacy, or by means of trade and industry — I must know that all that wealth does not belong to me; what belongs to me is the right to an honourable livelihood, no better than that enjoyed by millions of others. The rest of my wealth belongs to the community and must be used for the welfare of the community.”