What are the chances that a daughter of a billionaire diamond merchant will form a team of volunteers to work on a dirty Mumbai railway station in a bid to demonstrate dignity of labour? Nita Ambani’s daughter-in-law Shloka Mehta did precisely that before getting married to Akash Ambani. A set of unseen photos of Shloka shows her working at a Mumbai railway station attempting to paint the foot overbridge.
According to photos shared by one of her fan pages, Shloka, the daughter of diamond merchant Russel Mehta, had taken her team of volunteers to paint the Sandhurst railway station in Mumbai in 2016. Situated on the Central and Harbour Lines of the Mumbai Suburban Railway, Sandhurst station is the third stop from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
In the three pictures posted by one of her fan pages, Shloka and her group of volunteers are seen busy painting what’s claimed to be the Sandhurst railway station as part of a pan-city drive to beautify the railway stations in Mumbai in 2016. Dressed in a white printed t-shirt and track bottoms, again with no makeup, she is seen with a bunch of colleagues/ volunteers painting the British era railway station.
The volunteers seen in the photo were said to be from ConnectFor, a tech platform to enable effective volunteering run by her family. Shloka has been known to promote the art of giving despite being born in one of India’s richest families and married into Asia’s richest family. She had once said in an interview, “The most fundamental learning for me has been that there is a huge difference between philanthropy and charity. Charity is meeting people’s immediate needs while philanthropy seeks to address the causes that result in these needs.”
View this post on Instagram
Throwback Post(1)- In October 2016 during Daan Utsav Week, Shloka di with her CF team, family, volunteers and friends painted the Sandhurst Road Railway Station in Mumbai. We feel so proud to be a fan of her ❤❤#CFCommunity #Volunteer #BeautificationDrive Swipe left for more pictures ⬅ . ?- (Uploader) #ShlokaMehta #DiyaMehta #AkashAmbani #NitaAmbani #Ambani #mumbai #volunteering #NGO #SocialWorker #BusinessWoman #enterprenuer
But, for a billionaire businessman’s daughter to not worry about the hygiene of a local railway station in Mumbai and lead them to beautify the area shows why she’s no ordinary person.
As expected, netizens have been quick to applaud her simplicity with compliments such as ‘incredible’ and ‘Madam you are great.’
Shloka got married to Akash in March this year with the world’s who’s who attending the function. She was recently spotted attending a Diwali function hosted by mother-in-law Nita Ambani for her IPL team, Mumbai Indians.
Shloka and philanthropy
Shloka, according to the Livemint website, was influenced by her grandfather or dada Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta, who prompted her to take up philanthropy as part of her career. “My dada actively served on the board of several trusts and projects, and even today, after he has officially resigned, people continue to approach him. He never just signed a cheque but always went deeper and met the beneficiaries, got involved with the organization and its processes,” she was quoted as saying in 2015, long before she married Akash Ambani.
Shloka later joined her family-owned Rosy Blue Foundation and successfully engaged with multiple mentoring organisations. She also went on to co-host the first national mentorship conference in Mumbai. In 2014, Shloka joined a team which conducted programmes for teachers from government-aided schools in the tribal areas of Sanali and Dalpura, Gujarat. She later took charge of ConnectFor, a tech platform to enable effective volunteering.
What advice did she get from her grandfather when she first expressed her desire to work towards charity? Her dada had reportedly told her, “You can get mental satisfaction, but I’m not sure about the financial side.” Arunkumar Ramniklal Mehta, the father of diamond billionaire Russel Mehta, was quoted as saying, “I advise her that please go more in-depth and focus on one or two projects rather than trying to juggle so much. Once that is done successfully, then only think about something else. I think she should expand her work in education, and then continue to healthcare.”
It was her grandfather that changed Shloka’s perception about charity and philanthropy. She said that her perception of charity was that one needed to earn a lot of money before she starts giving. In other words, she felt that money was key to charity. “Money is undoubtedly an enabler, but the value of human resource is infinitely greater,” Shloka said after realising that her impression about charity wasn’t correct.
She said that philanthropy was also about solving problems, and this can be as effectively done through the donation of your time and skill. “The skills we develop over our lives are transferrable, and can constantly be refined and developed; they add and receive as much value to the philanthropic field as they would for any other field,” she says.
Mukesh Ambani may have constantly faced criticism for using his political contacts to widen the business interests of Reliance Industries, but Shloka’s approach is bound to earn her countless admirers.