This morning my eyes popped with disbelief when I read the news of the Tata Group donating a whooping $50 million to America’s Harvard Business School (HBS). This is by far the largest gift ever from a non-US donor to this prestigious school. The very next moment this unusual thought struck me, “Harvard ko Rs.220 crore aur India ko kela?”
Naturally, the above thought came to me as an Indian first. Well, before I write anything against the said donation; the Tata Group – which is involved in most of the business lines ranging from tea to telephone and from cars to hotels – is widely respected for its integrity, benevolence and social cause in India and abroad both. No taking away from the same.
But, I am sure IIT or probably other similar institutes in India could have as well used that money, if given a chance. There is no dearth of top category B-schools in India waiting to get a makeover, aided by such huge sums of freebies. Are Indian institutes saturated for their funding requirements? Or for that matter even increasing the capacity of the existing schools – in an era, when procuring education for a child has become an increasingly expensive affair?
Are you sure that the charity begins at home?? What if your Alma mater is situated abroad – Will you donate overseas or choose to support an institution closer to you at home?
In India, there are number of industry titans that are alumnus of the HBS including Ratan Tata himself. More recently, another well-known industrialist, Anand Mahindra, had donated $10 million to the Harvard’s Humanities Centre – which would help in the task of bringing in a critical and humane concerns into the core values that enlighten the world of business.
Further, in past, even the Murthy family had donated a generous $5.2 million to Harvard to establish a new publication series, the Murthy Classical Library of India, in dual language which aims to serve the needs of general reading public and to enhance scholarship in the field.
In this case, the Tatas will fund a new academic and residential building on the HBS campus for participants in the School’s broad portfolio of Executive Education programmes. Thus, in all the above case, the nature of funding to the HBS university has been under different causes – but has done little to serve the purpose of Indian students directly back home.
Well, detractors might argue that aren’t we forward looking for the donations that come in from those rich people situated abroad? Yes! Rightly so, but, It’s a different proposition when the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet donate their money towards poor nations.
But, for Indian rich people gifting money in favour of well-to-do foreign universities sounds more like a philanthropy – at a time, when millions of children back home are still uneducated and struggling to get a seat in the under-capacitated Indian education system.
No doubt, India is a self-sustaining growth story; but the spread of growth is still not inclusive. India need trillions of dollars to uplift the poor and provide them with the basic healthcare, education, potable drinking water and an infrastructure that could aid in a speedy growth. We have a lots more battle to be fought on our own pitch yet.
Lastly, donation is completely a personal choice and positive gesture. Just that the big honchos need to keep in mind that India has little to boast in terms of world class educational institutions – in which an ordinary middle-class family’s student can fulfil his dreams.
When will Indians learn to donate in India itself? Can’t we make IIMs better than Harvard?