Wipro chairman Azim Premji will give about Rs 8,846 crore ($2 billion) to improve school education in India. Other donations to charitable institutions by any person or corporation in India pale in comparison to this massive endowment. It effectively silences critics who say Indian billionaires are measly donors compared to foreign counterparts, and that they focus on big-name western universities rather than addressing India's problems.
Azim Premji is actively involved in social works through his organization Azim Premji Foundation. Programmes of the Azim Premji Foundation focus on "creating effective and scalable models that significantly improve the quality of learning in the school and ensure satisfactory ownership by the community in the management of the school". Azim Premji Foundation says it "dedicates itself to the cause of Universalization of Elementary Education in India. The organisation has over the years been instrumental in improving the quality of general education, particularly in rural schools.
This donation would be done by transferring 213 million equity shares of Wipro Ltd, held by a few entities controlled by him, to the Azim Premji Trust. This donation is the first of its kind by any Indian billionaire.
Premji was born in Karachi, Pakistan, to a Gujarati Khoja Shia-Muslim Muslim family. His father M. H. Premji owned the Western India Products (which later became Wipro Ltd.) which made hydrogenated vegetable oils and fats. His grandfather was the rice king of Burma. His father had declined an invitation from Muhammed Ali Jinnah to go to Pakistan. While he completed his initial education at St. Mary's School, Mumbai, Premji was forced to leave his studies in electrical engineering from Stanford University, California, USA at the age of 21 to take over the family business when his father, M.H. Premji, suddenly died in 1966. He has since after a gap of over thirty years completed his degree in Electrical Engineering.
Premji is married to Yasmeen, the couple have two children, Rishad and Tariq. Rishad is married to Aditi and is currently the Chief Strategy Officer of IT Business, Wipro Technologies.
Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class, prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels and even served food on paper plates at a lunch honouring his son's wedding.
To know more about Premji, please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azim_Premji