Living in Splendor in the Midst of Squalor

This is Antilia. It’s the home of Mukesh Ambani who in 2011, Forbes ranked as the 9th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $27 billion.

Ambani purchased land on one of the most expensive streets in Mumbai and began constructing Antilia, a towering structure that will serve as the 400,000 square foot home for his wife, three children and 600 staff members.

It’s 567 feet high.

It has 27 floors.

Each floor in the complex offers something different and there are no identical floor plans.

The Ambani family will occupy only the top four floors. Conveniently, there are still 23 other floors for luxuries such as parking space for 168 cars, a health spa, swimming pools, a movie theater and three spectacular hanging gardens spaced at different levels of the building. All told, the house will come with a price tag over $1 billion.

Here’s the thing, though. If you stand on the top, there is evidently an amazing view of the Arabian Sea. Also, the slums of Mumbai are clearly visible. Can you imagine that – standing on the top of a 27 story, 1 billion dollar home and looking down at the slums?

What kind of person spends his money on things so lavish and so expensive when some of the poorest people on the planet are so close at hand? Who could possibly live in such luxury with the knowledge of such poverty?

Who?

Ummm…

Wait a minute…

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3 Comments

  • Brian says:

    I agree that this is indifference at best or purposeful flaunting at worst.

    However, how much giving would be enough to make us feel better? Should he live in the slums and donate everything he has? Should he give half? A quarter? Three-quarters? What would be enough to satisfy Christ-followers? Christ-followers tend to criticize people like Ambani for either the amount (and/or lack) of giving or their manner of giving. Either way, the criticism is not supported by a Biblical standard.

    Furthermore, is Ambani a Christ-follower? Have we probed his religious beliefs? He could be a believer in the Hindu caste system (albeit a minority position), which would guide him to believe that those in the slums are receiving the due Karma for their past lives. If he’s not a follower of Christ, should we be criticizing him at all? If this were the case, is the issue really about his lack of giving as it is about the spiritual darkness that blinds him to the suffering around him?

    I’d love to see a blog post that pictures a huge mega-church building against the backdrop of poverty. To continue the Hindu theme, I guess there are sacred cows in Christianity as well.

  • Steve says:

    It is mind blowing. My initial reaction to this house is negative. Who in the world would build a house that big?!

    I do have a question though. How many people did he help lift out of poverty to build such a monstrosity. He had to hire people to do it. If it cost around $1 billion to build then it is safe to say he dumped a lot of money into that local economy.

  • MK says:

    These are valid points. Couple of things to think about from my perspective:

    Brian – I didn’t mean this post as a specific indictment on this guy. I don’t know him, haven’t met him, and can’t therefore speculate on his faith. It was meant more of a commentary on the way those of us who are Christ-followers spend their resources. This was meant to be an example of the fact that we have an increased awareness of what’s going on around us in the world, and with that increased awareness comes an increased responsibility. The overall point is not so much the giving standard, but rather the idea that it’s possible for us to live blindly to the needs around us.

    Steve – Again, I can’t say whether he lifted people out of poverty or not. Your caution is a good one, though, toward quickly judging without knowing the whole story. Having said that, my assumption (and it is an assumption) that the goal of building this structure was not to help the local economy. That might have been a bi-product of it, but that’s a very different scenario.

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