November 20th, 2008
06:02 PM GMT
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MUMBAI, India – There are few things in India and about India that startle me. I am Indian, I grew up here, and am used to the peculiarities and paradoxes that lurk around every corner.

The 27-story structure towers over Mumbai's slums.
The 27-story structure towers over Mumbai's slums.

I certainly wasn't expecting a recent assignment – a seemingly straightforward news story on property in Mumbai – to stop me in my tracks.

I didn't have too much time to take in what I was seeing before cops appeared from nowhere and pushed cameraman Sanjiv and myself away.

"No, no shooting allowed here." "Why?" we asked. "No, no, now wait for our supervisor."

Before the supervisor arrived – possibly to take our tape away - we jumped into our waiting car and drove off.

The cops scribbled our car number down. But we had got what we needed - footage of industrialist Mukesh Ambani's private residence being built on Mumbai's prestigious but very average looking Altamount road.

Staring at the 27-floor structure (I believe it's as high as a 60-story building though) I wondered where the two helipads would be. Which floor would be the pool be on? How many cars could the six floors of parking fit? How many staff members would wait on the family of six?

And the cool chamber with fake snow flurries to keep the wife cool in the Mumbai heat – now where would that be? And – is any of this true?

For now, we only have media reports to go by - and they put the cost of this private tower in the sky with all its facilities and fittings, at between $1-2 billion.

As Sanjiv got his shots, I watched laborers on the scaffolding - banging away, building away. Men and women who probably earn a few dollars a day to make someone's billion dollar dream home a reality.

"It's just unfair, unjust," said Dr Uday Mehta, a passionate social worker who is part of Mumbai's Committee for the Right to Housing. "It's just plain ugly."

How can he live like that, asked Mehta, as he walked us through a crowded and filthy shanty town – look at how the rest of Mumbai lives.

Is Mukesh Ambani's decision to spend the money he has earned on a flashy residence wrong, given he lives in a city where 60 percent of the population lives in slums? Or should he be allowed to spend his money, earned from his business empire, however he wants?

Does a man of his stature and his wealth have to think about what others think of him? What do YOU think? Share your thoughts!

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Filed under: Business


soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Ezrad Lionel

    That's what free markets are about. Minimize costs. Maxmimize profits. Ethics are for messiahs, priests and budha.

    November 20, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  2. Ahmed

    His business empire is providing employment to thousands of people who otherwise would be living on the streets . Mr Mukesh does a lot of phiantrophic work . So what if he want to spend a small amount of his self earned money on himself?

    November 20, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Robert Sesneck

    Citibank is most likely in need of a Federal Government take over tonight or tomorrow night and CNN has not even mentioned a word about it. Is this media brainwashing? Doesn't CNN need to tell the truth to the people about the Citibank sell off?

    November 20, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  4. d. griffith

    Helping others and giving back is a wonderful feeling. It's sad some people will never experience that. The same people one pass going up are the same people one pass coming down.

    November 20, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  5. don mcelman

    To me, the question is not whether Ambani has the right to spend the money he has "earned" any way he wants. The question is, how have the Indian laws & regulations been manipulated to allow citizen interests to be usurped in favor of unbridaled greed & avarice. In the United States, we as citizens have allowed our government to override our interests in favor of special iinterests. This form of corruption doesn't stabilize untill officials decide that citizen interests have been so undermined that they call a halt to the process. Citizens are provided occasional power to control their government, but unagressive control even at those times leaves us with few choices that help regulate our power over special interests.
    I can only guess that the citizen control in India is even less. There isn't even an illusion of citizen control, & people only think that they are there to eke out whatever they're given & that's it. Of course, as in America, there's a gradation of skills leading to more accumulated power in society, but the curve depicting skills density distribution vs population numbers is very different in India as compared to America. Does anybody really think that terrorists or freedom fighters aren't created out of environments such as these? As long as citizens allow these "Ambani indicators" to continue to exist & grow, there will be no nonmilitaristic end to subservience and financial theft. Ambani doesn't care about the bugs that live in his new chosen land, but some day he & his ilk will. Society will find a way to re-establish the equilibrium they dearly want.

    November 20, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  6. Mechanical Engineer

    A lot of ways you can possibly look at this.

    1.On one hand, he is only fulfilling his and his family's dream just like any other wealthy person. (Example: Lakshmi Mittal bought a London House worth multiple millions and spent a fortune on his daughters wedding, Roman Abramovic spent on yachts, boeings and a football club (many billions over a long term), The UAE guys are making resorts in sea, Vijay Mallya running his on Formula 1 team). My point being, you cant judge him just because he has a different kind of wish – the money involved is almost standard relatively!

    2.On the other hand, what CAN he do to help the slums (not on a short term but for a long term) even with that kind of money? Make free schools (being the most logical answer) and create job opportunities? – already done that to a certain scale which even the government has but do you think these people would change! and if there was anything else that could be done the government would have done it already!

    OK – he could donate the money like Bill Gates does! But wouldnt that mean that Ms Kapur would be writing a column about conspiracy theories detailing his tax bills?

    November 20, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  7. earle,florida

    This is obviouly a Billionaire who made his wealth fast,and furious! Mr. Ambani believes the world is still flat,and is a egotistical-maniac, typically reminding me of,"The Renaissance (Man) Era", behavior patterns. This poor soul will crash,and burn,with all his ill-gotten wealth, and 'Karma",vaporized, for gross mis-behavior towards humanity! But, and it's a big but, if he makes the town his ,"Kingdom",and treats the indigenous peasants as worthy servants,will he receive redemption.

    November 20, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  8. Jeffry Kuperus

    I do business in India and one of the biggest problems my suppliers have is that if their workers have enough money to survive for a week or so they will "dissapear" till the money is finished and then return to work. This does not only happen in India but also countries like Indonesia, Malaysia etc. Those workers though are also the people who complain that (those who do work hard) have so much money and wealth and that this is unfair. Similar things happen in the west especially teh country where I was born, The Netherlands, where these "workers" feel that social welfare is a right but working is not a duty so let the "dummies" work and pay for them. But o my goodness if these hardworking people have luxury's these lazy people can not afford, than the rich are the "scum of the earth" in their eyes.
    Moral of the story, Study hard work hard and smart and you to can make it. Look at that poor artifical flower seller who made it to be a multi billionaire for example (Li Ka Shing)

    November 21, 2008 at 12:33 am |
  9. Lim Chee Seng

    The US$1 billion home that Mukesh is building comes from the money he earned from his business empire and he has every right to spend it as he deems fit. However, having said that, the money that he makes come from the very people that is not so well off and I think that it is imperative that the fortunate souls must give back to society what the society has given them in the first place.
    Mukesh can afford to build a US$1 billion dream home and on the same token Mukesh can be generous to donate some of his money towards a worthwhile cause and that is proper housing for the many thousands in Mumbai that are living in squalid conditions. I am sure that he will receive constant reminder of that fact, each time he steps out of his balcony looking down on the many people living in depliated living quarters.

    November 21, 2008 at 12:51 am |
  10. Hira

    I think he has earned the right to build what he likes and where he likes since he has worked hard for his money, having said that does he really need a 1-2 billion dollar house, simply " NO " spending 500K on the house, live like a Maharaja and spend the other 1.5 billion chedder on housing as many as possible, clothing them, feeding them, education and showing them the light at the end of the tunnel does exist, could anything else be better, a great ROI " Return on Investment "

    November 21, 2008 at 1:01 am |
  11. Nicolas Uribe

    A rule of thumb you might find of interest: The 500 richest individuals in the world control the same assets as the 500 MILLION poorest.
    Such income disparity – be it at the local, national or even international level – does nothing to promote peace, understanding and the notion of brotherhood among the peoples of the world. So, judge for yourself whether your Mr. Ambani is a wise and just man – rich though he be.

    November 21, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  12. Ben

    It's an interesting moral quandry for those of us who are in the middle, those who do not live in abundant wealth and not in abject poverty. Without ever experiencing either extreme, we don't know how living in such conditions will influence our view of money. That being said, if you take the optimist approach and view man as inherently good than such decadence in the face of poverty does nothing to contribute to your fellow man. If you're a cynic or realist, well, you get the idea... Nations that have such a gigantic disparity between the rich and poor, especially without a viable middle class, will be unable to keep their economies going in the long run – and 30 years does not constitute the long run, I mean centuries.

    November 21, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  13. jomo

    Isn't this how societies start to falter. When you have a moaist insurgency in the hinterland, a dalit/adivasi push for higher status, a muslim insurrection, a dormant but seething hindu fundamentalist movement lurking all stirred in the cauldron of the upcoming world depression, it seems absolutely, insanely arrogant and maliciously provocotive to attempt to build a temple of self worship.

    November 21, 2008 at 2:01 am |
  14. liberal

    dont be communist, private property is sacred

    November 21, 2008 at 2:40 am |
  15. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    Dear Malikaji,

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

    My 84 year old mother is the granddaughter of a prominent businessman and philanthropist, from New Delhi. Her mother was widowed while still pregnant with my mother, and devoted her life to service, in the orphanages and schools, homes for unwed mothers, and similar charities her Pita Ji had founded.

    They didn't have ridiculous modern conveniences, of course. No, that's not true, they did, for the 1920s. They had a comfortably huge mansion - big enough to house three generations of extended family, when my grandmother (and my mother's older sister and brother) moved back in, after my grandfather died suddenly (snake bite, I think), Mata Ji and Pita Ji, my great-uncle, and his wife, Pita Ji's secretary, the house servants, the housekeeper, the groundskeeper, and - because they were very modern, the 'motor'(!) and a chauffeur.

    They had electricity, telephones, indoor plumbing, electric ceiling fans (!) as soon as those things were available, because one of Pita Ji's businesses was a construction contracting firm.

    Naturally they also had an estate in the mountains, for the Summers, in Nanital (near Srinagar, I think).

    The big difference is Gandhi. Pita Ji was actually an Arya Samajist, but he wore only homespun, during the Movement. I think Mata Ji and my grandmother did too, making my great-uncle and his beautiful wife look rather frivolous, because he dearly loved to dress in black-tie and top hat, and escort his wife (in competetive saris) to 'The Club' - of which Pita Ji thoroughly disapproved, because it was British.

    Mata Ji disapproved because they played cards (not gambled - just played bridge) there, and she was very pious. I must remember to ask my mother what is 'wrong' about playing cards.

    I remember being horribly uncomfortable, when I was eight, and always, after that, being in India, staying there - or at my Masiji's house. My family already lived in New York, and I was learning about Social Injustice from Martin Luther King, Jr - my mother, who was jailed by the Raj, for demonstrating against them, was very keen on King.

    The difference, in India, between rich and poor made me hurt, morally.

    The first time I visited Washington, D.C., I thought, 'this place reminds me of New Delhi'. That was not a good thing.

    My mother got a job, teaching, after finishing her bachelor's degree. Pita Ji instructed the chauffeur to drive her to work. She had a quiet word with the chauffeur, and started taking the bus. She saw no reason why she should belie the values she learnt from Gandi, just because of the risk (very slim, as she was an adult) of kidnapping.

    From what I've heard, Mumbai has always been worse than Delhi, that way. I understand the jolt, because it is one. There is a moral sense of assault, seeing construction-workers, who are invisible to the man whose ultra-mansion they are building, and turning a corner to see a shanty-town.

    At least I grew up in a family who loved and respected the family servants, and it was mutual. I grew up in a family with social-justice values. My mother's paternal grandfather was a millionaire, too, but when his son died, he divested himself of all his wealth, and became a Sanyasi in rural Punjab.

    Strange, to think that it is a luxury to be able to give everything away, and become a Sanyasi. He chose to beg.

    In these troubled economic times, in another blog posting, I predicted that the middle would fall back out of the Indian economy, leaving the uber-rich, and the rest, much as they were before the boom.

    Those of us who have become accustomed to the West, always get a bit of a shock, even if India is home. It isn't to me. More amazingly, my mother now says, she wouldn't want to be an old widow, in India. She still works, in New York!

    Thank you for your story. Sorry this is so long.

    Uma
    Liverpool, UK

    November 21, 2008 at 3:23 am |
  16. Isa kenya

    I think this is more less than slavery,but if the system works like that,what should the poor person,because he has needs to satisfy as well the industrialist who has ambitions to achieve.The only is survive this is through government over see how people spend and what terms.

    November 21, 2008 at 3:51 am |
  17. Thinkee

    well, that's his money.. but this situation really touch our hearts.. we are all human beings but not all of us enjoy an equal share of a nation's wealth. It is indeed unfair but for the rest of us to watch and envy is all the more unfair.. this only means that there is wealth and money but we all have to find our own then we can spend it the way we can.. it would be unfair if the government can put its fingers on our pockets now, would it?

    November 21, 2008 at 4:07 am |
  18. Zahhar

    I think the people of Mumbai might one day rise up and tear such properties to the ground, leaving the six or seven heads of those that inhabit them glaring from the tops of rusty stakes.

    While our socio-ethical criminals such as Ambani shouldn't have to worry about what others think of him, he might give some thought to how they'll one day dispose of him and his family for his brazen audacity. This wouldn't be without precedent.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:26 am |
  19. Rahul

    what's wrong with the democratic model of society? Works well for most countries! Some people make it big in life with their business acumen and do well in their lives, is it then a crime to spend on luxuries for self after you have been down the road struggling in your early years? The opportunities are pretty much equal for everybody so its frankly a hit and miss case where some make it in life and some don't. For those who do make it, they have the liberty to spend at their will! And of course, who says these ' rich and wealthy ' don't believe in social upliftment cause, so please don't chastise with the social responsibility blame.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:26 am |
  20. judith

    If Ambani donates to charities, if he works to promote the advancement of the poor and uneducated, if he is committed to providing benefits and health care to his employees, then he may sleep well at night; however, I might question how such a thoughtful person could want for so much when he knows how little one truly needs. Snow? Inside his home? That makes me doubt his depth of character and his care for the rest of humanity.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:36 am |
  21. Johnny B

    Hey good point, you probably earn more than the mumbai slum dwellers, so i think it's time you donate say, 80 percent of your salary do the area and downgrade, why not ?. Its not fair, or just.... although you earn more....

    November 21, 2008 at 4:42 am |
  22. Paul Denton

    Hi, I am Indian, and I live in Hyderabad. A few people building huge houses or throwing lavish parties is nothing new here. Take a look at the page 3 papers,for instance. You have all the so-called "Social Butterflies" in those pages. People are entitled to enjoy their money, but if they spare a thought for the others, it would be better. But I seriously doubt if Mukesh would lose any sleep bothering about poor people.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:52 am |
  23. Ann

    First, it must be remembered that when people spend their money, they are injecting it into the economy. The 2 billion spent on this structure are going to all sorts of construction and property work, fittings, etc. So Mukesh Ambani is employing a LOT of people in all the services and goods required for the house. It would be far better if everyone involved were paid quite well for their work, but I don't know enough about Mumbai's construction labor policies or the particulars of this case to comment on that.

    Yet, we all know how we feel when we see how other rich people like Warren Buffet live, with a simple home and car, meanwhile investing their millions in many worthy causes.

    I don't think cases like Mukesh Ambani's are simple black and white issues. He is indeed contributing much back to the economy, rather than, say, burning cash to light cigarettes as I've heard of other wealthy people doing. But if I were so lucky as to be as wealthy as he is, I hope I'd choose Warren Buffet's route. Or at least invest an equal portion in good development works–schools, public housing, etc–as I do in my dream home. This is where the notion of "cleansing one's wealth" through tithes, various Huquq, etc comes from, after all.

    November 21, 2008 at 4:54 am |
  24. Danielsimon@hotmail.com

    My dad always says you should not how people spend their money, but how honestly is it earned...I wish we could all earn fair and sufficient amount of money so that we would all live like aristocrats...Comodities themselves are not despicable...it is corruption and dishonesty behind some peoples money that make their comodities evil.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:03 am |
  25. Dan Marx

    Target your question to those in the USA who demand millions in perk, wages, bonuses, options, etc. while their employees make little more than a minimum wage. Ask those wealthy Americans who pay expensive lawyers to explore every way possible to pay as little (if any) tax to the very country that has given them their opportunity to thrive. Ask The CEOs who outsource to places such as India so they can have their luxury while the CEO of the Indian company has his and while the employees (or EX) of both go with little or none. Ask the leadership of major companiess flying their private jets to DC now asking for the dollars of the "outsourced, out of gas, in debted, out of luck" average American. My guess is you would get the same answer. Of course it is correct. THEY earned it...didn't they(my add.) I tried to do everything correctly; worked hard, saved, raised the kids, payed the bills, saved, lived within our means, saved. Invested a bunch in Blue chip stocks that were supposed to be the best of the best. One was Citigroup. Topshelf. Huge. Well managed. Blue chip. Solid dividend. Just the ticket for somone trying to have a comfortable retirement. Read the prospectus? Yeah, as well as any...as it turns out no one would have invested in it had the truth been told...not even its own leaders new what they were doing. If they argue with this, then they must have been terribly delinquet and dishonest for not divulging what they knew they were doing. So where does this leave us? Leaves me down about 90% in Citi wealth....Leaves their employees without a job in many cases. Leaves millions of retirees stripped of their future. Leaves, potentially ,our children and grandchildren in hock for the sins of a few unethical and greedy leaders. And for them? Oh they will have their retirements, their insurance, their vacations, their junkets because they, just like the guy in India, earned it...just ask them.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:08 am |
  26. Nijo Joseph

    Hi CNN,

    I don't understand y u people in Western Media are so sadistic in ur approach when u report about India. India is a country where if people r hard working they can reach great hights, even from scratch, India has many many examples of such people. If people have earned their riches, u at CNN have no right whatsoever to question what should they do with that money. In US which is a "superpower" still has poor people, go and ask the US government to give some cash from their kitty to the poor living in the US, they can then become instant rich, will CNN do that??? If u cannot then please shut up.

    Thank you,
    Indian

    November 21, 2008 at 5:13 am |
  27. Maliheh Jafari

    I think the least he and his family can do is to make the lives of those who are making his residence better. give them better pay. Give them lunch,provide health care for them.See if their children are going to school and provide for tutorial for them and provide day care if they have young kids.This may not cost them much but can change the lives of those who are working for them for much better.They will gain much more than they give.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:28 am |
  28. jmcalli

    I may not agree with an ostentatious life style, but I wouldn't want the state telling me how I can spend my money. I don't see how you can have it both ways in a "free" society.

    If I had Ambani’s money I don't think I would choose to spend it the way he does in such a poor country. Bill Gates has a lavish home but he also donates to charities. The wealthy can have consciences, which makes their wealth more palatable to those of us who are not wealthy.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:37 am |
  29. joel

    throw three humans into a room together, and they'll eventually divide themselves into classes.

    November 21, 2008 at 5:39 am |
  30. Rajeev

    What is the point of earning if you are not allowed to spend it? It is true that there are many poor people. But if the rich does not spend that money then the poor has no chance of earining.

    November 21, 2008 at 6:00 am |
  31. Omar Kamel

    And this is why capitalism has gone mad, and why gift-based societies hate hoarders.

    November 21, 2008 at 6:41 am |
  32. Sushant Bhartiya

    Dont you think that by spending his money in such a way, actually he is giving jobs to so many labourers? This 1-2 Bil $ will rotate further & employ much more people! What do you expect from him? Shall he donate his hard earned money to these slum dwellers? so that they can be more lazy? & can in turn, make more babies, & make Mumbai more ugly?? Why cant people in slums control their populations? Why ??

    November 21, 2008 at 6:42 am |
  33. Peter

    If the current crisis, much like those of previous years, has shown us anything, it's that more social responsibility is required by those who have more even more than those who have less. While everyone should be free to pursue their own success to any end, it is the great disparity between the wealthy and poor that has caused so many of our current and long-lasting problems. As the wealthier tend to be those with better education and opportunity, they, therefore, must take a larger share of the responsibility and play a larger and more active role in the success of their community, environment, nation and world. In this particular case, it is easy to imagine the extraordinary change that one man could bring to so many with the same funds being spent on his home, while certainly being able to live as well as any man can.

    November 21, 2008 at 7:05 am |
  34. Skeptic

    First of all, Its his money. So let him spend the way he wants (as long as its legal).

    Secondly, he is spending it and building something in India. This definitely local industry. The people who would wait (servants) for the family of six would get a pay for waiting! All those laborers who are working to build his empire are earning a living because of that project. The construction industry is running thanks to his mega housing plan. All this comes at a time of global recession (when nobody would want to spend resulting into lesser demands and lesser job opportunities). So I think any spending by a resourceful/rich group would at least create jobs.

    Am I wrong?

    November 21, 2008 at 7:16 am |
  35. Josh

    Should it surprise us that another rich man/woman is squandering money while a significant portion of the world lives in poverty. The problem is that most of us are guilty of this in our own right so that our complaining about these disparities are somewhat hippocritical. We can't afford billion dollar homes but we can afford flat screen TVs, namebrand clothes, cars, and watches. We don't think twice about buying a pair of seven jeans or spending $100 on dinner. We all need to take an introspective look at ourselves and the potential difference we can make. We are never completely going to give up our ways to support those who suffer in poverty(we probably should), but just maybe if each of us contributed a small portion of what we have we could make a powerful difference. It is unlikely that the people who have homes like these give much consideration to such suffering. Maybe the next time we are out for dinner or shopping in a fancy mall we should think twice about our own habits before we pass judgement.

    November 21, 2008 at 7:58 am |
  36. Viva

    At least he is letting 'those men and women earn a few dollars a day'.

    November 21, 2008 at 8:13 am |
  37. Turdus Merula

    It was not for nothing that Jesus refused the son of a rich man and told him to go and give away all he owned, and then come back. The accumulation of excessive wealth is simple stealing. Stealing from others by way of jacked up prices, unfair dealings, tax evasion, etc. Are such tactics moral, not in any "good book".

    November 21, 2008 at 8:45 am |
  38. ASB

    He has a right to the money he earned. But, building such a house is in excruciatingly bad taste. I doubt it will make him or his wife happy.

    November 21, 2008 at 9:10 am |
  39. Pauline

    A wise sage called Jesus once said that the poor will always be with us. the gap between the rich and the poor is as old as history. you cant foster kindness on someone and the rich do not have a history of being kind. don't try solve the world problems help your poor relatives or the homeless in the street corners.

    November 21, 2008 at 9:11 am |
  40. pahasapaboy

    This rich guy is not really very rich. He has to build this luxury house to satisfy his ego ... and at the end of the day he will not sleep much better, if at all, than the hard working men and women who honestly, without benefiting from government corruption, earn so little in the squalor of the great city of Bombay.
    In actuality I find this great rich man to be somewhat like a beggar, he is building this house in the middle of the city so that he can literally beg for the recognition and fawning of his fellow Bombay dwellers .... There are so many beautiful places to build a house in Maharashtra, near enough to Bombay to reach easily with a helicopter, that are quiet and peacefully surrounded by exquisite nature ... but no ... with the crassness of an ordinary ten rupee Gunda, he prefers to push it in every ones face.
    I wonder what he will come back as next life to even out his karma, any guesses?

    November 21, 2008 at 9:32 am |
  41. who cares

    he spends it the way he wants as long as he pays required taxes.

    November 21, 2008 at 9:47 am |
  42. meher

    Well what he does with his money is his business...... This country rewards intelligence and if a person earns money its his prerogative to spend it. We havent helped him earn it so we have no business in telling him how to spend it. and the last time i checked Refining and Petrochemicals was a legitimate business.

    I wonder why people pay to go to a snow park in Dubai? Or why do middle class Indians pay to go to Switzerland or on expensive overseas trips. Dont you feel guilty when you take that "HOLIDAY" when millions are starving?

    Why do most Indian parents aspire to send their children overseas to study or for jobs???

    why dosent most of the holier than thou crowd in here go the slums / villages and actually do something for the upliftment that they think and incessantly chatter about.

    After all the people who sell Cement, steel, building materials etc etc and luxurious goods also have to make a living.

    We are all interdependent instead of whining we could do something better.....

    I posted this and i hope atleast one person understands .... or it would have been a waste of my time

    November 21, 2008 at 9:58 am |
  43. Lim

    If this man had buil his house in Londo or Paris there will be no problem.t

    November 21, 2008 at 10:08 am |
  44. MG

    I have visited India and seen the scale of the gulf between the super rich and the super poor. I do not know anything about Mukesh Ambani other then what I read in your article. Is he a philanthropist or a hoarder of wealth? If he gives to charity generously on an annual basis then who are we to say what he spends on himself and his family. If however he does not, then slashing the build cost of his $2 billion residence by half would still give him a palatial abode and he could assist a lot of the very poor in his home city by donating or building something for them with the other $1 billion. If all the rich in India shared a little, the gulf between the rich and poor would be a lot smaller, but the government of India need to also play a role by encouraging the philanthropy of the super rich by giving them tax cuts or other incentives.

    November 21, 2008 at 10:13 am |
  45. reader

    George Orwell once wrote an article where he told having seen a small boy leading an adult horse down the street.The horse many times as strong as the boy,yet....The poor subdued masses are manyfold as powerfull,yet.....

    November 21, 2008 at 10:16 am |
  46. Andrew

    I suppose he earned his massive wealth, let's assume, in legal and upstanding ways. Therefore, he has the right to spend it in whatever ways he pleases. If he chooses to live a certain way, obviously overlooking the massive and abject poverty surrounding him, then he has that right as well. All of us do it in some form or another. The only difference is geographic distance. 2 out of 3 people on this planet live on less than $2 per day. The fact that Mr. Ambani is choosing to build a 1.5 billion dollar home in the very heart of poverty might not be unfair. What it is, however, is unfortunate because how much more could that money have done. Someday, the first will be last and the last will be first.

    November 21, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  47. KARTHIK

    I dont know about ambani and his building but to say the least ,This is not his money nor his ancestor ambani's money,but the poor and middle class people of india , To me every rise is a fall, the higher you go the greater you fall,

    November 21, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  48. John Beckwith

    He should have the right to spend whatever he can afford on his house because he produced the wealth which otherwise would not exist. Had he obtained the money without being productive then it comes at the loss of others and that should be stopped–like the Wall-Street CEOs who produce nothing, but fleece the financially naive. However, common sense and a little practical PR skill tells one not to be ostentatious in a poor neighborhood no matter if one earned the display of wealth. The real parasites of the world are those who set out to do good for others, like the Pope. They think they are magnificent humans for taking money from others, keeping a good chunk for themselves, and dribbling the remainder to some hopeless basket case. Most charities and liberals are guilty of this.

    November 21, 2008 at 11:13 am |
  49. srinivas charlu

    I saw the report of Dr.mehta escorting Mllika around some mumbai slums –makes for good but hypocritical huamn int reporting with a patronising concern for the poor. The contarst is misplaced- because Mr Ambani is in no position to do anything for slum improvement directly -his companies could bid fo the various urban renewal projects proposed off and on for mumbai slums. If dr. Mehta (& Mallika ) are bemoaning the lack of funds for slum improvements – then the source is not stopping Mr Ambani from spending on his own property. If the focus is on stupid excess - it doesn't come through strongly enough –they could have shown a smaller house which still met Mr.Ambani's need of security and ease of travel to his various factories and offices- and not cost so much. As far as Ambnai & Relinace charity work is concerned -their main area of action is their factory sites and environs–just go to gujarat to see what all they have done. Stop feeling smugly superior 'coz Mallika cant dream of a 27 story pvt condo!!

    November 21, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  50. Carole

    People who are capable of creating wealth have an obligation to see that people around the world share in that wealth, not necessarily equally, but that they have the chance for decent food and shelter, medical care, clean drinking water and education.

    The populations of developed countries can only buy so many products. New markets have to be created to sustain capitalist production. By creating jobs and helping to develop and enrich less fortunate countries through investment and job creation, producers will create new markets for their future products.

    But if the world continues to disregard the plight of the disenfranchised, sooner or later they will rise up - as history has shown - and take venegence.

    Terrorism in the world today, IMHO, is largely a matter of the 'have-nots' rising up against the 'haves'. Much of the wealth of developed countries was created by paying a pittance to poor countries for raw materials and cheap labor. Now is payback time.

    November 21, 2008 at 11:22 am |
  51. Craig Morrison

    It is very immoral to me that people can rationalize social outcomes based on ideas like he is "philanthropic" or he "earned it" when so many aren't receiving basic minimums for sustainging life. There are tens of thousands of people dying in the US and other countries every year because their immoral cultural values haven't allowed for a more humane distribution of its wealth respecting the dignity of life. Average citizens around the world need to united under international solidarity to take control of the world's resources.

    November 21, 2008 at 11:24 am |
  52. Aarti Kabra

    I would rather ask Ms Kapur what would she do if she were in his shoes or lets say what percent of her hard earned money does she donate to the others not so fortunate or not so hard working around her?

    November 21, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  53. Quincey

    If the guy wants to build a $1-2B house, let him. Hey, if he wants to buy a $5B space ship, let him. Who cares? Why should he feel guilty because he has money? As long as he isn't breaking any labor laws, I don't see a reason why people should even care.

    November 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  54. PM

    Who are we to question what a man does with his money (as long as such spending is legal). It infuriates me to know that people have the audacity to question. Why should we be questioning how Mukesh builds his house or how many people employs to serve him. It is his money and he rightfully can spend that money on what pleases him.

    The pseudo-socialistic ideals (rich men should donate more money, but I need not since I am not as rich) needs to be shunned.

    However I think we have every right to question whether the money was made honestly and legally! That is a different debate, which I don’t think the media (including CNN) will (rather sadly) dare to question.

    November 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  55. Chris

    It's an obscene display of wealth, true enough, although there can be no doubt that the money's his to spend. We live and die by our choices.

    At least he's done the responsible thing in an overcrowded city like Mumbai by building a large home in the form of a tower with a small footprint, as opposed to the sprawling, multi-hectare properties American and Russian billionaires build.

    November 21, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  56. GinoP

    Before being amazed at how much this gentleman is spending on his dream house let's find out how much has he paid in taxes to the Indian government over the past ten years and what has the government done with it. This is what taxes are for; people who are better off pay taxes and The Government invests that money, among other things, on improving the lives of everyone else.

    It upsets me so much when people talk about sharing the wealth of others as if that wealth was something wealthy people found on the streets and it is not something they made through a lifetime of hard work and ingenuity, as it is in most cases.

    November 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  57. anil

    its unfair and unjust, I agree. can Mukesh disclose how much he is investing for social cause? He is racing to get the world's richest person title but he is no where close to Tatas, Bill Gates etc. in their hunbleness.

    November 21, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  58. Uma in Liverpool, UK

    I can virtually guarantee that I have less money than any of you, who have posted here. I am legally disabled, and unable to work outside the home. I live on such benefits as the government can afford to give me - the minimum they believe is necessary, for survival.

    I give £15/mo to support a 'foster child', in a very poor, tribal region of India. I give £3/mo each to Water Aid, the National Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Amnesty Internantional, The National Cancer Foundation, and Greenpeace. That is £30/mo, or about one fifth of what I have, to live on.

    Because I can't work, I have made a point of knitting blankets to give to shelters, at least two, every year, in time for Winter.

    I defy you all to do as much. Give one fifth of what you have, to causes you believe are worthwhile. Any takers?

    I didn't think so.

    I make up those £30 by fasting, one day each week, and by keeping my thermostat set very low, in winter. It helps me to remember how 'poor' I really am not.

    I am ashamed by some of the things people have written here. Are we so little evolved, as a species?

    I have always done what I could, for others, because I know it is right, and because I would hope that others would do the same, for me.

    I can see that most of the people who posted here, would not do. You will return many, many times, to work off the Karma of your choices and beliefs. It grieves me...

    November 22, 2008 at 12:47 am |
  59. hill roberts

    This guy is rich but shouldn't he feel a little embarrassed to be building his 27-storey posh building irght in the midst of slums? I know I'd be...however, if he built decent houses for those dirt-poor people in unimaginable squalor, nothing would be lost, especially pride. The lack of personal pride for this rich man is inappropriate
    under the circumstances that those very very poor people live in.I wouldn't bank of that idea that this man would be willing to build them
    affordable housing. For him, it's enough that he lives the way he fancies himself and his family to be: "I'm up here, and you're way down there..."

    November 22, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  60. Silas Nyambok, Kenyan in Japan

    My friends, we are in a capitalistic society and capitalism is about I, Me and Myself. The amount of bailout money proposed for companies in United States alone is far more than financial aid Africa has ever received since the continent was 'discovered'. The consumption per capita of dogs in Europe and America is higher than for the largest population in sub-saharan Africa. Is America or Europe therefore unfair?

    No one creates wealth for charity. We work for money so that we can use it to become happy in the manner we want. This includes using the money to conquer our own minds. Some choose to go on holiday; some choose to keep a chain of mistresses; some gamble with it... the list is endless.

    However, there are certain options that integrity would never allow one to indulge in. So let this gentleman enjoy his money because after all and in the wise words of King Solomon – All is vanity.

    November 22, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  61. Lu Sung

    Mr. Ambani could do worse. He could have just hoarded his money, instead of spending it. Just think how many laborers and craftsmen are employed (and earning pay checks to feed their families) to build his mansion in the sky. Just think how many servants and staff will be needed to run the place after it is built. If I were destitute, I'd much rather be given a job than handouts!

    November 22, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  62. zen

    it is his money and he has a right to spend it anyway he wishes however garish or over-the-top it is. And I do not think anyone, especially the West, has a right to say to the contrary. There are many many millionaires in USA; maybe CNN should be after their standard of living. Maybe they should dole out some of their cash and put back America on the right track. I am not a big fan of the Ambanis but that does not mean that I have the right to criticize his style of living. It is his money and not others and he can do what he wants [however tasteless it is]. People who are saying to the contrary, I guess, are just plain jealous.

    November 23, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  63. John F. Dunbar

    Disgusting, period. Hopefully the present financial "crisis" will be long and hard and will result in a beginning of a trend towards some justice in the world. We in the rich world need to hurt badly and for a long time.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:12 am |
  64. ravi karandeekar

    How sad! After earning so much money Mukesh Ambani has to live in the same poor city, Mumbai and in the same Chwol type of a home in which he grew up ! Looks like that he is not reach enough!!

    November 24, 2008 at 11:09 am |
  65. avi

    The earlier comments about workers absconding, after payday are far too common. If comebody does work 12 hour days, he should be entitled to his priviledges. Anyway, by building a bilion dollar mansion, he is ploughing his money back into the economy. Think of all the arcitects, interior decorators, workers who get wages working on his mansion. What the hell is wrong with it? Learn some economics. go get an education.

    November 24, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  66. Pranay

    Well I just think he's just a ridiculous man if he expects to be happy living in a house like this.

    As for India's poor, this house (building?) is $2billion spent on services mostly (I suppose) originating in India.

    Good for the economy, especially right now.

    November 24, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  67. Rana

    I don't think its wrong for Mukesh Ambani to live in "comfort" his level of comfort may be different from ours(its subjective..could be opulence to some) , if he can afford it . He is contributing to the economy by building the house . If there were more like him the maybe the realty sector wouldn't have collapsed.

    November 25, 2008 at 1:08 am |
  68. Teresa

    Well its fair for Mukesh Ambani to have to spend the money on himself and family, but how would one feel living in a high storey building which can only overlook the slums below, what kind of superiority would he feel for himself??? India needs to mend their backyards big time and the only way poverty is eradicated is by providing the poor and the needy education and a reasonably acceptable lifestyle. Indian Celebrities are paid far too much for their jobs in films and sports, which does not make sense. Countries such as Australia and the U.S.A strike a balance on the economy where people can afford comfortable living standards. India will never rise about that is because of corruption and blind faith in Politicians.

    November 25, 2008 at 6:31 am |
  69. Chalayil

    Uma: I understand your anger. I empathise with your feelings. Not long ago I would have reacted likewise too. Occasioanlly I continue to.

    But the idea of Karma that you allude to that perhaps will explain all these phenomena that we see around us. So we all must do our bit to make the world a better place as far as we can. I consider it a blessing to have my heart in the right place and feel sorry for those that do not.

    I do hope you will continue with your acts of kindness. And pray I can draw some inspiration from it.

    Chalayil

    November 25, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  70. Nathan

    All buildings have a life before they crumble and a person becomes dust eventually.
    Several wrongs dont correct a right.
    A business empire built on bribes and corruption will go the way of all empires- into oblivion.

    November 25, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  71. sagar

    I really wonder if the blogger had the same amount of money what ambani has, would he still have gone through the pain of shooting what he did, escaping with his accomplice and writing this blog. it's a free world and a free market. everyone's allowed to make and spend money, so why question it? Seriously, if anyone commented on the way i spend my hard earned money, i would just tell him (among many other things!!) to get lost!!!!

    November 25, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  72. Karen

    He is flaunting his wealth and saying to the majority who live in slumps ; "Look I am towering over you" It is such a shame that he did not use the money to build decent homes for the masses who live in extreme proverty. I hope GOD will reach out to him and make him think of those who are less fortunate and to spend his money wisely. What he is doing is an insult to the Indian people and to his mind.

    November 25, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  73. George

    No man is an island, no man stands alone, each man has a brother, each man has a soul

    November 26, 2008 at 2:09 am |
  74. geronimo

    1. An excellent observation

    2. Reliance imports, refines, and re exports crude oil at international market price tax free through by government permission in a country with a conflicetd energy policy.

    3. The practical answer to the slum dilemna in Mumbai is to apply a "windfall profits tax" on Reliance earnings, and have those taxes directed toward slum rehab

    4. The problem to be faced is the practical and unbiased execution of the program

    November 26, 2008 at 3:38 am |
  75. Sivakumar S

    Let us celebrate Mr.Ambani for building a big empire the same way we celebrate Shah Jahan for building Taj Mahal.

    Ambani's home represents his success, this did not come from just loitering on streets , moaning, self-pitying, jealousy etc. He did not spend his time looking at how others are constructing their houses and photographing them. He had a singular focus on building the largest company in India and soon maybe the world. These houses are just side products of his success. His motivation was not to build the biggest house in the world, but to build a big industrial empire.
    These are rewards for his hard work and success. Calling this as stealing is sacrilege.

    I am calling all these people who are making bad comments to at least dabble a little on business. Do some trading, open a small shop, start a service business employing people. Then you will realize how difficult it is. Even if you don't start that it is ok, some of you in India might have employed domestic servants, a driver, some person to provide service. Imagine how difficult it becomes to get the work done, motivate them, etc.

    Imagine someone who has built the largest single refinery in the world employing thousands , destroyed in between by floods and rebuilding in record time.
    I am not an Ambani admirer, but a self made professional.

    It is easy to use the pen(keystrokes). Actions speak louder than words.
    Ambani's job is to build his company and to provide employment to many more.

    That brings us to the question of who has to help these poor souls. It is the job of the Government to ensure that we do not see slums in Mumbai and not Ambani's.

    Who elects these people to the Government ? WE.
    Do we all carry a Voter Id ? Do we vote for the right person ? Do we participate in the electoral process by enlightening our co-voters in our constituency ?

    We just live in cosy homes and gripe about others success.

    Bill Gates was no saint in his business dealings. he just created a well oiled money making machine that he could be in auto pilot. And America could afford to have Bill Gates to take his eyes off business and earn some good name in philanthropy.

    India needs Ambani + Ambani and more of them.

    November 26, 2008 at 4:06 am |
  76. T.P.W.

    I simply CANNOT believe that a leqader like CNN is putting THIS up – either CNN's folks are ignorant OR are trying to stir up UNNECESSARILY, a hornets nest, leading to ..... NOPLACE!!

    Mallika, if you WANT TO SEE INDIA'S TRULY PRIME RESIDENTIAL ESTATES, DO VISIT THE VARIOUS RESIDENCES OF ALL OUR STATE GOVERNORS (which are of course Govt. properties) – THEY ARE SIMPLY OUT OF THIS WORLD & WILL CERTAINLY COST BILLIONS TOO – & we ALLOW this as we are PROUD of this living standard that ONE CAN ACHIEVE IN INDIA. In the event that you need the floor-plan/s (& the other intricate details) of Mr.M.A.'s $1 Billion sky-scraper on Mumbai – they are NO SECRET & AVAILABLE WITH THE "MUMBAI MIRROR" that carried this story sometime this year & THEREAFTER, THE SAME WAS ALL OVER THE NET – IN ALL LEADING PUBLICATIONS ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE, so I wonder WHY you are still TRYING to locate the "facts" about this structure, when everybody knows about it already.

    Firstly – India is the WORLDS LARGEST DEMOCRACY. India follows a FREE MARKET SYSTEM OF BUSINESS & COMMERCE. India is the Worlds OLDEST civilisation. India has 1/3 of the Worlds population of the poorest of the poor. India is not just a Country but a sub-continent, having the Worlds highest mountain ranges, the Worlds 3rd largest Ocean, just 61 years old since Independence from British rule of > 300 years, has the Worlds LARGEST RAIL NETWORK etc.. etc.. ...... & hence EXTREMELY DIVERSE. The Indian constitution allows for the right to work, do business & make ones abode IN A TRULY DEMOCRATIC MANNER.

    Secondly, INDIANS ARE RESILIENT; ARE AWARE that HARD work pays; that HARD work is necessary (Mr. M.A. & many others like him are KNOWN to put in 18 hour work days, 6 to 7 days a week!!); that there are NO FREE LUNCHES; that NOTHING IS PERMANENT; that the WORLD IS NOT PERFECT; that there ARE inequalities; that LOTS & LOTS IS YET NEEDED TO BE DONE; that MANY of the nearby SMALLER Asian Economies have done wonders, leaving India & Indians FAR behind; that ........ et al

    THIRDLY, Mr. M.A. & his brother have BOTH lost (like the MANY other rich Industrialists of India, predomenently living in Mumbai) sums GREATER THAN $15 BILLION from Jan 2008 to date; that CHARITY is very personal & very relative & that I for one WOULD DEFINATELY NOT LIKE TO BE BILL GATES' KID (imagine, having a Dad thats made $60 Billion or so, in ONE life-time & then this same Dad returning ALL of that to the global community & leaving me, his kid, behind just around $1 Billion out of that ......!!) – meaning to say, one can NEVER strike the right cord with charity – so we give back what we perceive what we need to give back & NO BODY ELSE HAS ANY RIGHT TO COMMENT ON THE OTHER PERSONS WAY/S & MANNER OF CHARITY – when one lives in & imbibes a Democracy at least.

    LASTLY, there are FAR GREATER THINGS TO TALK & WRITE & DISCUSS ABOUT, AS IN, NOW THAT EVERYBODY IS AWARE THAT 60% OF MUMBAI LIVES IN SLUMS & SHANTIES & ON THE STREETS, THAT MUMBAI COMMUTES & IS MOBILE ONLY DUE TO ITS RAILWAY SYSTEM (65% of the population DAILY uses this mode & THIS makes Mumbai tick & hasten the pace of the rat race) – MUMBAI IS THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF THE COUNTRY – BUT DOES ANYBODY KNOW THAT AROUND 7 TO 10 HUMAN BEINGS DIE IN MUMBAI DAILY, ON THESE SAME RAILWAY TRACKS OF MUMBAI THAT KEEP MUMBAI HUMMING, FOR THE PAST MANY MANY DECADES NOW?? = AROUND 60 PER WEEK; = AROUND 250 PER MONTH; = AROUND 3000 ANNUALLY, IN JUST ONE CITY?? FOR MANY DECADES??
    We see BREAKING NEWS ON ALL WORLD-WIDE NEWS CHANNELS, IN ALL MEDIA & MEDIUM, when JUST half a dozen people die around the World, either due to a natural calamity OR a dastardly act somewhere OR a forest fire OR freak occurence etc.... BUT IN MUMBAI??
    When a Mumbaikar can live through SUCH death rates, DAILY, does one reckon that what AN ENTERPRISING INDIVIDUAL/FAMILY has done & is now doing with that income & earning, THROUGH THEIR EFFORTS OF IMMENSE BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS a cause OR a CONCERN to the ordinary Indian??
    It may, infact, be a case of immense PRIDE?!
    Hard work = benefits in the long term.
    Hard + Smart work = benefits for SURE, as exemplified in the PAST 61 YEARS OF INDIAN INDEPENDENCE, by Indians!!

    November 26, 2008 at 7:28 am |
  77. Dinesh Peter

    I believe it is the prerogative of every individual to live his life in his own terms. Unless there is something morally wrong involved, I do not think anyone has the right to restrict someone from exercising his free will. And finally, even if Mr. Ambani decides to donate a billion dollars to the '60% slum dwellers', the lives of those people are not going to undergo a sea of change overnight.

    November 26, 2008 at 7:56 am |
  78. Volney Hildreth

    If he helps others thru charitable giving of a significant portion of his income he should do as he wishes with the balance, although what is being done is certainly very ostantaous. I also live in an impoverished country, the Domincan Republic. We live well but not grandly. We help more than 100,000 people to have clean drinking water and several hundred students to continue their education Beieve our memorial will be more lasting than the palace being built at a far greater cost.

    November 27, 2008 at 12:17 pm |
  79. kit

    This is the perfect time to remember that is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle ....

    November 28, 2008 at 1:47 am |
  80. yanyara

    Asking wealthy to have a sense of shame is like expecting turkeys to show up on Thanksgiving , fully dressed up in tails!

    November 28, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  81. Shan Saeed

    It will take india to make serious effort to consolidate its economy. The image " iNCREDIBLE INDIA" looks farce to me when rich people like ambani are making great hadlines which is very rational and good. But overal, the india image is done the way tourists are treated.....I hope the strategic intent of india becomes clear to take them forward.................

    Shan Saeed
    Singapore

    December 2, 2008 at 8:27 am |
  82. Steve S

    The problem is? Drive through the European/American countryside and look at the palaces/Mansions that have been built. Using the logic of this article those structures took money away from the population instead of motivating people to work harder to achieve the same goals.

    I think it is wonderful and like the Taj Mahal, Chatsworth house, Buckingham Palace etc I hope that it outlasts it's creator. If nothing else it will provide housing for future generations. With luck though it will remind every human that your place of birth cannot stop success.

    December 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  83. Rajiv

    While the free market is the only way to go modern goverments have now failed to make sure the rich are not able to take undue advantage of the system.

    This is why we humans, for much of the planet, went to goverments from kingdoms, to provide protection from a huge disparity in power (wealth = power).

    This is a sign of a "cancerous growth" and will eventually lead to a collapse. Its unfortunate that the human condition is greed. It amazes me that this guy and his family can "sleep at night" in opulance when nearby countless thousands are sleeping dirty and hungry.

    But if he got to this level of being rich there is nothing we can (and should) do to correct his sense of behavior and obligation to humanity. The goverments have already failed in not letting wealth accumulate in the hands of a few. We will shortly prove that democracy and free markets are only slightly better than communism in helping the overall human race. Its sad.

    Some Rahul guy says "The opportunities are pretty much equal for everybody" as do many others espouse similar tennats. Are you idiots? Do you live in a different India then I know? For a vast majority of indians (the 70% that are poor) there is absolutely no shot at becoming more that what thjey are born into.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  84. Janel Jackson

    I just want to know how a house that was $30,000 in the late 70's can now be sold for $300,000, what exactly is going on with Inflation? People can't buy because they are robbed by the prices of today. Inflation is now a 300% increase every 5 Years I would like to see someone investigate these Appraisers. Are they all in it together as we pay for there MISTAKES. What happened to us? GREED

    December 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  85. Dana in No. VA

    I Think he should be sensitive of the current situations of his neighbors. What good is it walking around in a fur coat when you pay the workers who have nothing but socks to wear pennies who make it? -It's just plain ugly.
    I think he should also be fearful of the fact that he may make himself a target. People with nothing will go to great lengths to survive (food, clothing, shelter, etc). He's a minority in a very poor city who seems to be almost flaunting his wealth amongst those who have nothing. He should be willing to freely give b/c of where he chose to live. If he isn't then he should live else where.
    He may have earned his wealth, but I think he should live amonst others share his economic position.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  86. AO

    For years, people had to leave India to make money – it was presumed anyone staying behind is destined to live a middle class life, full of struggles and misery. In the last decade, India produced more millionaires IN INDIA then in past 500 years. People with wealth and people with ability to create wealth have to reside in India for it to prosper and get rid of the slums.Any articfical imposition of barriers or restrections in the name of the 'poor' wil be counterproductive as people with wealth will leave. Any rich society will have great disparity in rich and poor – it is just that in richer socities, the poor are better off! Hats off the Ambanis for not running away to US or Europe after making the first few millions and lead a comfortable life there – they have to be admired for staying on, creating wealth for nation and shareholders, fighting and working with system and showing Indians that a company of this size and magnittude can be created right in India

    December 10, 2008 at 7:01 am |
  87. cynic

    To criticise how the wealthy choose to spend their money is the highest order of hypocrisy.

    In any society – in whatever political or social model – there are always wealthy people of 2 types: 1) the inherited wealthy and 2) the entrepeneurial wealthy. It is this 2nd type which we all can aspire to – and we can all get there – its just a mixture of guts, hard work, perseverance, sweat and some smarts. But, alas, the alternative is somehow more attractive – or so it seems – where its almost easier not to fight to get out of poverty, where it is almost easier to succumb to dispair.

    So lets not stand and criticise how he chooses to spend his 1-2 billion$. Lets rather marvel at his ability to stand up and fight and work hard. And lets marvel and be inspired that even in the poorest societies there are people who have scaled the highest peaks of financial achievement. Lets marvel that he HAS 1-2 billion$ to spend on a house!

    Build your skyscraper.

    One day I hope to do the same.

    Never stop dreaming.

    December 19, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  88. Piyush Monga

    We cannot force anyone ...can't even suggest how he or she should spend their money, so it's Mr. Ambani who will decide how he want to spend his money bcs it is his money and he is the decision maker

    March 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  89. Leslie Davis

    Of course the Ambanis or any millionaire/billionaire can live however he or she wants to. Its their money & they have worked hard to earn it. What they should share with the public are their taxes, and if that is properly put in place, no body needs to bother about what they do about their money. Well, its quite tempting to look onto the greener side. But there is no point to drool over someone elses fortune.

    June 9, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  90. Vrinda Ballal

    Is it Mr. Ambani's responsibility to provide housing for the 60% people who live in slums in the city where he lives? Obviously not. He is a businessman who is earning money doing what he is supposed to do and he has every right to spend the money in any way he wants.

    I do not understand why we, as Indians, feel opologatic if we are wealthy?

    June 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  91. Rishi

    Mumbai is a city where millions have realized their dreams.... I do not see anything wrong here...Unless the property was to be "alloted" to the poor

    June 15, 2009 at 11:37 pm |
  92. Jerry Schmidt of Gainesville, Florida

    This is an example of complete egotism and absolutely no care for any other human being. He has zero compassion for his fellow man; why doesn't he live in a nice but normal house and make life better for so many others? Does he never think of how poor others are and how just a little money would be so helpful to others? This is truly the "ugly face of capitalism". Without capitalism they would ALL be in poverty, but why can't he have just a little concern for others and help the poor instead of such an ostentatious display of how "important" he thinks he is; he has money, but no heart. What a waste of money, he is evil!

    July 26, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  93. IndiaHunter

    Dear Mallika and others,

    Please read some economics. There is something called "trickle down". Whatever he is consuming/spending/investing, will go a long way in creating many jobs and hence overall welfare for the society. Its simple- how is 1 Bn spend by 1 Ambani different from 1 Re spend by 1 Bn Indians ? We never talk about the second case. So, instead of this money sleeping in some offshore accounts, let it be spent in India and boost the GDP !

    December 28, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  94. Gurbir

    Hey folks!! He worked hard and earned lot of money to build a home costing $1-2 billions but i guess we all, who are busy commenting on this ridiculous article have nothing to do and are totally free then there is no point saying we will ever build house like him ever.
    Do not waste your time here and work hard in your respective fields, you all can atleast build house of your dreams if not like Mukesh' s home.

    Cheers!!

    January 22, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  95. sagar

    Every individual on this earth has the ability to get what he sincerely wishes to have .

    October 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  96. saurabh

    This building is built in an area called altamount road, which is a very posh area and only rich can afford house there. The best part is that he has built this mammoth making other rich people who stays in that area feel poor.

    This is how the true capitalism is.

    December 4, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  97. As28

    Two things -

    The prices of real estate in this city is one of the biggest shams ever to hit India. The low cost, low quality material and all expenses that are done to build buildings in India is actually 1/4th of the actual price they sell it at. Why is it that we cannot have medium priced 40 floor clustered housing starting from the tip of the city. Imagine how many people would be able to easily live and not have to get off the ever expanding city. Dont believe me. Then take a trip to HK and see for yourself.

    Secondly and importantly as this is what the comment is about. If anyone has the ability and the luck (to be born to Dhirubhai Ambani) then can do whatever he pleases with it.

    Why dont we ask these questions to top executive or even a middle to lower level exec who easily bags 1.5 laks to 2 lakhs a month and stay in rented apartments worth 80,000 a month. The point is that if you want Mukesh Ambani to share his wealth for a greater good then every person should share his wealth for the greater good.

    I guess that is why we invented the concept of percentage right.

    P.S – Dont just love your country. Do something about it.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  98. As28

    Two things -

    The prices of real estate in this city is one of the biggest shams ever to hit India. The low cost, low quality material and all expenses that are done to build buildings in India is actually 1/4th of the actual price they sell it at. Why is it that we cannot have medium priced 40 floor clustered housing starting from the tip of the city. Imagine how many people would be able to easily live and not have to get off the ever expanding city. Dont believe me. Then take a trip to HK and see for yourself.

    Secondly and importantly as this is what the comment is about. If anyone has the ability and the luck (to be born to Dhirubhai Ambani) then can do whatever he pleases with it.

    Why dont we ask these questions to top executives or even a middle to lower level exec who easily bags 1.5 laks to 2 lakhs a month and stay in rented apartments worth 80,000 a month. The point is that if you want Mukesh Ambani to share his wealth for a greater good then every person should share his wealth for the greater good.

    I guess that is why we invented the concept of percentage right.

    P.S – Dont just love your country. Do something about it.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  99. chat siteleri, chat sitesi, chat site, chat forum, chat

    Heya i'm for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to provide something again and help others such as you helped me.

    January 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

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