How big a home do you need to make a lasting contribution to humanity?
On the left is the home in which Albert Einstein lived from 1936 until his death in 1955. On the right is the new monstrosity created by Mukesh Ambani, to house his family of five! The home cost over a Billion dollars to construct, and will reportedly need 600 servants to run and support. The man who will live in the glass and steel palace on the right will never be able to live up to the contributions of the man who lived in the modest home on the left.
This sort of crass exhibition of wealth is unimaginably tasteless, especially in a country where, to quote wikipedia,
42% of India falls below the international poverty line of US$ 1.25 a day
Granted the wealthy deserve the right to use their wealth as they see fit. However, at least the wealthy of yester years, while enjoying their wealth, gave back to the society in a visible manner. For instance, the wealthy Parsis of old Bombay, celebrated their wealth by building public hospitals and music halls and libraries that helped the Mumbai society at large; Mumbai is studded with such jewels. The Birla's splattered the country with temples (some say that spending wealth on temples smacks of religious bigotry, and I agree with that) and created hospitals and teaching institutions to benefit the poor.
But the wealthy of new India build bigger and bigger mansions for themselves - the society can go to hell. The country infrastructure is in dire need of repair, especially the infrastructure that caters to the poor. One has to just step into KEM or any other public hospitals in Mumbai to see the dire state of public health facilities. Instead of stepping up and contributing to the welfare of the society they live in, the neuvo rich spend the money on themselves, leaving large swaths of society struggling to meet their daily needs.
Read more about Albert Einstein and his life in Princeton here and here.
Read more about Mukesh Ambani's glass and steel palace here.