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That the Tatas have a tradition of philanthropy is well known. But just how much wealth they have donated is far less widely noted. Now, a ranking of philanthropists puts it in perspective. In the EdelGive Hurun Philanthropists of the Century list, Jamsetji Tata, founder of the Tata Group, features on top, with his donations, adjusted for inflation, valued at $102.4 billion. He is ahead of Bill Gates and his estranged wife Melinda who have donated $74.6 billion, Warren Buffett ($37.4 billion), George Soros ($34.8 billion) and John D. Rockefeller ($26.8 billion). Wipro’s Azim Premji is at No. 12 on the chart.

This is a global ranking that truly does the country proud. To be sure, these two names that India has among the top 50 most generous individuals of the 1900s is far behind the count of America, which has 39. The UK and China are closer, with 5 and 3. But this should not be seen as an indication of national character. The extent of any country’s generosity depends on its generation of wealth. As the Indian economy emerges, we should see more of our wealth creators take up do-gooder projects and start giving their riches away. A big example has already been set.

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