Mukesh Ambani’s salute to the poor & homeless

As if to underline the adage that you should never believe something until it is officially denied, Ratan Tata, the chairman of the eponymous corporate behemoth, has officially denied that he objected to Mukesh Ambani‘s opulence in building a 27-storey home in an interview with The Times, London.

Most newspapers have dutifully carried Tata’s denial largely because Tata has developed a strange sensitivity toward criticism in the post-2G scam phase*. Alone among the lot, Business Standard has had the gumption to ask the simple question: why deny something that most people will wholeheartedly agree with?

“Ratan Tata’s non-statement on Mukesh Ambani’s opulent lifestyle will get a lot of heads nodding in agreement. Ambani makes a lot of money from his business and he is entitled to spend it as he sees fit. Even so, there is something curiously insensitive to splurging on an over-the-top, 27-storey home that has no redeeming architectural qualities, in a country in which many Indians are homeless— even in Mumbai.

“To be sure, Ambani is unlikely to have solved India’s poverty problem if he hadn’t built the tower on land once used to run an orphanage. Still, as Tata suggested, he could well have spent it to mitigate the hardship of the poor. Two billion dollars, the reported construction cost for Antilla, could build several decent apartments for slum-dwellers being relocated from Dharavi, for instance.

“Tata is much less wealthy and lives a life that is luxurious by most Indian standards. But he practises a dignified restraint and is backed by a level of welfare spending that his fellow industrialists would do well to follow. Tata, in sum, should own up to what he did not say.”

* Disclosures apply

Read the full editorial: Quote, unquote

***

Also read: Madness, megalomania or hard-earned fruits?

One question I’m dying to ask Mukesh Ambani

Why the Indian media doesn’t take on the Ambanis

Ratan Tata: “Go to bed knowing you haven’t succumbed”

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, NDTV & Prannoy Roy

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23 Responses to “Mukesh Ambani’s salute to the poor & homeless”

  1. twistleton Says:

    LOL!

  2. Dev D Says:

    Ambani is a legally entitled to spend his money the way he likes. The question is of calousness and social irresponsibility. Especially in a city where people live in squalor and filth.
    This is the time the fourth estate and people like anna hazare should act. Bring pressure on Ambanis to do somethign for the underpriviliged rather than splurign their wealth on vulgur luxuries. But will they do. You bet not. Where is anna hazare now, why doesnt he sit down for a fast unto death until ambanis share their wealth.

  3. voyeur Says:

    Finally someone says it. Why had the media hidden so far that the land was initially meant for an orphanage and bought by Sri Ambani at lesser than market prices from a wakf?

  4. Murthy Says:

    We also need to investigate on the personal lives of these men of 27 storeys.
    Is Indian media paid to maintain restraint under Manmohan’s economist strategy?

  5. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    With due respect to Shri Ratan Tata, I would like to say that he is behaving like a peevish and jealous brat. He is taking pot-shots at Shri Mukesh Ambani, because Ambani is a about a million times more efficient and successful businessman as compared to Shri Tata.

    What is wrong in Mukesh Ambani living in a 2 billion house? After all this guy is worth more than 40,000 crore. There is no harm in anyone spending any kind of money, as long as he has earned it. Ambani has earned his wealth by creating many profitable industries. His companies have made lot of money for employees, share holders and investors.

    People want to buy Reliance products because the company is efficient and it offers good value for the money that we pay.

    If Tata is so concerned about the poor, then why doesn’t he donate every nickel and dime that he has inherited from his illustrious ancestors and start living like a commoner? He won’t do that. He hoards his own wealth, but he expects everyone else to give it up. Who is he to tell Ambani how he should live? People should mind their own business.

    Hundreds of billions of dollars of the nations wealth are stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts? Whom does this money belong to, if not to corrupt politicians and industrialists? Mukesh Ambani is perhaps the first industrialist in this country, who has decided NOT to hide his wealth. He is spending it openly.

    Unlike many others Ambani does not pretend to be poor, while secretly being very rich. We should cheer Ambani’s attitude, instead of whining about it. He is a BILLION times better than the hypocrites don the garb of Gandhian simplicity in public, while secretly living like Kings.

    It is time for Shri Ratan Tata to grow up. He should grow up and stop feeling jealous of those who are much better than him. I will never buy a Tata product again, because I am put off by the manner in which the leader of this illustrious business group has been behaving of late.

    I would like to ask Ratan Tata – Does he believe in private property or not?

    ***

    I would also like to refer the readers of this esteemed blog to this post on Antilia that I wrote few months ago:

    http://www.vermapost.com/2010/11/mukesh-ambanis-antilia-is-celebration.html

  6. the colonel Says:

    who cares

    CHEERS All!!!!!!!!!

    ***

    Objectivist Mantra:

    I Support You Fully and to the hilt.

  7. harkol Says:

    Ratan Tata is very right.

    Ostentatious living only invites three negative emotions –

    1. Jealousy – in peers
    2. Anger – in utterly poor
    3. Greed – in Mafia class

    Couple of years back my wife pulled me back from buying a very expensive car. In US we had the roads to enjoy the top end cars and expensive cars are not very unusual.

    Her logic was that in India you invite trouble by public display of wealth. When I thought of it, I felt she may be right. It is not a good idea to stand out like a sore thumb and show off things that only induce negative emotions in others. In India, where there are way too many folks, living a stones throw away from you, who can’t find a roof over their head, can’t get three square meals a day.

    If you don’t feel like giving it away to charity, that’s your call. But, why show off?

  8. aman Says:

    @Dev D Yaar it is this attitude of people like you who would expect Anna Hazare to solve every problem of our country, which is laughable as those who have the money, power and wherewithal to fix these problems, would do nothing and people like you and me instead expect powerless fellow like Hazare to fix these holes!

  9. Deepak Says:

    Well, Mr.Tata of late seems to be shooting off his mouth too much.

    Mr.Tata runs the Taj Group of hotels, where he charges exorbitantly for everything and he expects people to come and spend thousands of rupees for his hotel, when they can get value for money hotels elsewhere!!

    Tata expects people to spurge money on his hotel, then why does he have a problem with Mukesh splurging money, after all it is his hard earned money!!! Rank hypocrisy!!

    I agree with Objectivist mantra’s view that Reliance products are better than Tata, so it is all about professional jealousy!!

  10. Sageisfree Says:

    Yes Amabani shouldn’t have invested billions into the Mumabi economy which would have multiplied many times over through the multiplier effect.

    Rather, what he should have done is to make a Villa in Switzerland or Singapore, away from Indian poor. And gave the workers in Singapore Switzerland employment.

    Also he could have done the more politically correct thing(in opinion of liberals), to invest all that money in some Swiss bank and save on taxes.

    What else, yeah he could have channeled his money into fake NGO to make donations like many Corporates do.

    In fact, we all shouldn’t buy LCD tvs, or iPhones, rather we could take those TVs and iPhones and give it to starving population of India. I tell you, those iPhones would do wonder to reduce poverty.

    So shameless of some of us, to have iPhones while millions of Indians starve.

    Thank you dear Churmuri for opening my eyes, now I will be mortgaging by life saving and giving that money to poor.

    If all of us do that, and flood India with instant liquidity that would be damn cool solution. Sure it would cause inflation, but at least poor would have currency(no matter that the money would still be able to buy what they could earlier all thx to inflation).

    Genius. I tell we need many more Liberals to solve issues like poverty – aids – cancer – hair loss – war.

  11. Alakh. Niran Says:

    Surprised to see so much support to Mambani & Co. If we just look at the relative contributions of Tata and Mambani, Tata has all the rights in the world to say what was reported. Any one aware of any real contributions of Mambani and CO?

  12. Narayana Says:

    Altamont Road where the house is located, has a going rate of Rs 1,00,000 per sq ft of land. The larger lot like what Ambani got will have lower rate because it is hard to find big buyers. So probably Ambani is right in claiming that he bought the land at Rs 25 crore. Construction cost is Rs 300 crore which again is reasonable considering all the amenities and structural strength of the house. So in all the total house cost is below 500 crore Rupees.
    What makes the valuation eye popping is multiplying the built up area by commercial real estate rate of south Mumbai.
    So by building this house Mukesh has converted his 500 crores into 100,000 crores. That is a shrewd business.

    People from Delhi. You need not crane your neck to mumbai to lament waste. Look no further than Rashtrapathi Bhavan. At 300 rooms, 130 hectare Garden, 2000 staff and 200,000 sq ft of built up area, Rastrapathi Bhavan is valued now at $3 Billion. That is the real waste of country’s wealth to a bevy of rubber stamp idiots.

  13. twistleton Says:

    @ Narayana

    I think the key point to note is: “…that has no redeeming architectural qualities”.

    People would have found it easier to forgive Ambani if he had displayed taste in proportion to his wealth.

  14. Jay Says:

    Well.. I believe that Mr Ambani has all the right to spend his money as he wishes! and nobody has the right to question him. (unless of course he is not paying his taxes) It is his money. Why should he care about anyone?

    BTW, what the eff is Mr Tata’s problem, if he wants to help people, let him go ahead and do that, why comment on someone else and his spending?

    I am no fan of Mr Ambani nor Mr Tata, just saying!!

  15. Abhi Says:

    Narayana, any proof for your claim that he bought it for 25 crore and spent only 500 crore?

  16. the colonel Says:

    AH Tatas,

    the first gen made money in cultivating and selling OPIUM in china.

    this was the seed capital for the rest of the generations.

    and ratan what have you done?

  17. 'mudi'malnad Says:

    Bottom line!
    From DNA INDIA (may 1st)
    Mukesh Ambani and his family are delaying moving into the 27-storey Antilla, the world’s most expensive private residence, because of a few vastu problems that are still to be addressed. Ambani’s stars, according to his horoscope, and the residence’s vastu are clashing, said sources in the know.
    Mukesh’s wife Neeta is a firm believer in vastu, points out another close family friend. “Even, during the IPL, a pandit was consulted before every decision. For Antilla, the Ambanis are consulting their family pandit, Ramesh Ojha,” she said, and added, “While they were told that the occasion of Akshay Tritiya would be perfect, they want to look for a date after the IPL to move from their old Sea Wind residence at Colaba. Remedial rituals and placing of neutralisers to counter the vastu dosh is being carried out.”

    Always in the news, the 27-storey structure has allegedly been built on land reserved for an orphanage and belonged to the Wakf board. This case is already in court. “Given this, they want to make sure that all family members get peace of mind.”
    =========================================
    Our daivagna somayaji is/(?was) the vaasthu consultant for Ambani family
    ========================================
    @Narayana
    $2billion is around Rs. 10,000 crores (not 100), just a year ago they were appraising this one for $1 billion
    =====================================

  18. Kashyap Says:

    Come-on ppl, this is the problem with Indians esp. poor. They think it is their right to get free money from rich and use it on anything.

    Does anyone here really think if M Ambani had given out that money to poor they will use it in a good way…NOWAY. More than 80% will be used on alcohol/gambling etc.

    As I recall it is the leftist attitude “Stay poor and share poverty” to say that people should not spend lavishly.

    BTW – I’m a middle class Indian.

  19. ERR Says:

    Having shown everything What Tatas stand for through sheer work, all these decades, why is this sudden urge to break the mould and shoot from the hips?

  20. Gaby Says:

    Twisleton- spot on. The building looks like something born when Godzilla humped against the Chrysler building. looks even worse than the mostrosity that Murthy Saar has in Mysore.

    And the name- clearly a newly rich jerk thought of it. Just contrast it with the rich imagery of a Manasa Gangotri ( agreed a home of a univeristy campus rather than a private home)or a Thoor Ballylee or a Santiniketan.

  21. babuds Says:

    The shelter-less poor of the Mumbai will feel relatively more poorer after looking at Ambani’s towering residence. Ignorance is always a blessing, at least in case of the poor.

  22. Objectivist Mantra Says:

    Lets not forget Singur. If a particular industrialist is so concerned about helping the poor then why did he try to evict the dirt poor farmers to build his Nano factory in West Bengal?

    Private property rights of the farmers in Singur as important as the right to property of the TAtas and the Ambanis. Civilized society is not possible unless property rights are safeguarded.

    Those who have tried to violate the property rights of the farmers of Singur should feel ashamed of themselves. They should hang their head in shame, instead of trying to portray themselves as paragon of virtue, which they are not.

    At least, the Antilia is not built on farmers land. It is in the middle of Mumbai. All this talk of helping the poor through charity is just hogwash. The poor need TRADE and not AID.

    Mukesh Ambani has created many new jobs in Mumbai by creating his palace called Antilia. He is so unlike other industrialists and the Gandhian politicians who only like to make investments in US, UK or Switzerland.

    Lets support the industrialists like Mukesh Amabani who love their country and ready to spend their hard earned money out here.

  23. ravipm Says:

    the most beautiful home for me is my small home where i live with my family……………….i don’t want more

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