Yesterday, I was at the Hinduja Hospital visiting a friend. It is certainly the best designed and maintained hospital in town. The staff was polite, the visitors well-behaved, the entire buliding was clinically clean and minus the usual hospital smells, the atmosphere cheerful but convalescent, which is what patients and their relations want. The rooms were bright with daylight and magnificent vistas of Mumbai City, even from the eighth floor. The room my frined was in had three beds, but it looked like it was a private room, exclusively for him. I am not aware of the hospital's medical and surgical facilities, but I am told they are stat-of-art, and I accept that. I think we all have to thank the Hindujas, here is the country's No.1 business family and it has provided the city with a much required need with the minimum hype and publicity.
The hospital is an example of how the rich can spend their money. The Hindujas evidently know their priorities, not theatres, art galleries, sponsoring cricket matches, fashion shows, though they all have their place in society, but schools, colleges, hospitals. I would also say houses, but this is too big a task for individuals, the government should handle it and the government cannot. Because the government is made of talkers, not doers. If the members of the government were doers, they would not be in politics, they would be in business.
In India, and in most developing countries, which is another way of saying poor countries, there is this strange equation between wealth and good citizenship. If you are rich, enterprising, a go-gatter, then you are not a good citizen. Your wealth is looked upon with suspicion, the sources of your income have to be looked into. And there is no question of allowing the rich to spend money on the country and its poorer citizens, by constructing, improving and modernising things. The government would do that, because the rich (meaning busineesmen and industrialists, who are the only rich people) would do so to exploit the poor. The government, of course, does nothing. And whatever moneygoes to it, it hawalas out of the country.
I do not know what relationship the Hindujas have with the government. I presume it is a little sticky. There was a time when serious efforts were made to involve them with the Bofors affairs, and there are always whispers of their wheeling-dealing.
What is not realised is that even if they have made some money through less than regular means, they have made it in other countries, not in India. India has always been a recipient of their generoisty or whatever. As in the case of the Hinduja Hospital at Mahim. Mr. Bal Thackeray would second this, he is a beneficiary of the hospital.