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'Privileged should try and create a better world': second-richest man in India gives $7.5 billion to his charitable foundation


Wipro Limited Chairman Azim Premji attends the "Invest Karnataka 2016 - Global Investors Meet" in Bangalore, India, (Aijaz Rahi / AP)

The second-richest man in India is giving $7.5 billion to the charitable foundation he created, bringing his total donations to $21 billion.

Azim Premji, chairman of tech company Wipro, is awarding shares worth about 530 billion rupees to his philanthropic organization, CNN reported. His overall contributions include 67% of Wipro’s shares, Wipro said in a statement quoted by CNN.

Premji established his foundation in 2001 with the aim of furthering education as a way to help create a “more humane, equitable and ethical society for all our citizens,” he wrote in his commitment letter to The Giving Pledge, a site set up by U.S. billionaires to encourage rich people worldwide to give. In his early days helping grow the family business. ”I was deeply influenced by Gandhi's notion of holding one's wealth in trusteeship, to be used for the betterment of society and not as if one owned it.”

Wipro was founded by Premji’s father in 1945, according to CNN. The father’s untimely death in 1966 brought Premji back to India from Stanford University at age 21. He cultivated what had started out as a vegetable-oil business and transformed it into a technology and information firm, CNN said.

Premji, 73, is now number 51 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $18.4 billion and remains the largest shareholder of Wipro, holding 56% of the Bangalore, India, company’s shares, Bloomberg said.

In keeping with his philosophy, the philanthropist’s giving is likely to continue.

“I strongly believe that those of us who are privileged to have wealth should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privileged,” Premji wrote in his letter. “I will continue to act on this belief.”