'Rich should have sense of responsibility towards poor'

A story of ups and downs, confusion, hard work and finally, a grand success.
Princeton University dropout Manoj Bhargava, a philanthropist and an entrepreneur, is estimated to be worth four billion USD according to the Forbes magazine. Bhargava is said to have made millions from ‘5-hour Energy’, two ounce caffeine and vitamin elixir.

But unlike others from his ilk, Bhargava, reportedly, has committed over 90 per cent of his wealth to charitable causes.

He has established an NGO in India, which currently has been operating several developmental projects in the hill state of Uttarakhand. He visits his motherland quite frequently.

Born in Lucknow, Bhargava is founder and CEO of 5-hour Energy. It is hard to believe that Bhargava, the billionaire, had worked as construction labour, cleaning contractor, accounting clerk, taxi driver, printing press operator and business manager.

Bhargava has set up a charitable trust fund. It has so far supported over 151 organisations across 25 states and Union Territories, with 406 completed and many ongoing projects in the areas of healthcare, education, disability, livelihood, water and sanitation.

It provides grants and financial aid to grassroot organisations that are able to directly serve the communities and also partners with larger international organisations for increased impact and large-scale work.

Bhargava’s concept of philanthropy was quite different from others.
“I feel that anyone who has more than they need has a responsibility towards the poor. It’s a sense of duty. Helping the poor is the best thing someone can do with their money. I’ve never been interested in buying wasteful things,” he said.

On his journey from a construction labourer to owner of a company, Bhargava said there is ‘no set formula’ for success.

“A lot of it is just to use your common sense in business and to have determination, but I also feel you need a little luck,” he remarked.

Bhargava said it is important to ‘clearly identify the cause of some of the major issues, and then come up with a solution’.

“We found out that the best way of bringing medical relief to some of these poor communities wasn’t through recruiting thousands of doctors. It’s by giving them clean drinking water and an adequate diet. I really believe self-proclaimed experts tend to make issues far more complicated than they really are,” he said.
His idea of charity was ‘any project that significantly reduces suffering for poor’.

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