Burnishing India’s image

Anil Bansal’s new focus is primarily to make fellow Indians proud, to promote their happiness and success and to help the world see them in a better light.


Excerpts from an interview our Person of the Year Anil Bansal gave to the South Asian Times.

How are you involved with IAAC – Indo-American Arts Council.

Anil Bansal:  I am Director on the IAAC Board. I’m quite involved. We are donors and run the organization. There is an executive director, which is a paid position. We board members do the fundraising. We volunteer time and effort and besides giving money, we come up with what needs to be done: the planning part of the art and culture programs we organize. My work with IAAC is to make Indians feel good and share our rich history. To not only showcase our background to Americans, but for us ourselves to feel that we have so much to give to the world.

But earlier you were involved in New Jersey affairs at the state level.

Anil Bansal: Yes, that is true. I represented New Jersey State in a national level committee on diversity supporting the state governor in promoting diversity.

I was also a director, then vice chairman of Beth Israel Hospital. I used to donate to them, a local hospital.

But that was in the 1990s before we founded Indus American bank. Then I shifted from New Jersey affairs to the Indian community.

You  are a registered Democrat. Tell us why you support the Democratic Party?

Anil Bansal:  It’s a little strange because I’m very capitalistic as you know I’ve done well. I am, however they define it, an ultra-high net worth person who’s done extremely well. And I’m thankful to the most capitalistic society in the world, America, which has given me so much. But at the same time, I am very liberal in my thoughts. I believe everybody has a right to be loved and their sexual preferences or their race or religion has no bearing on it.

Number three, there are always people who have a lot less, they need help and we as a society have a moral obligation to take care of the have-nots. So people who have it have to take care of the people who don’t. To leave them to their devices to me is inhumane. Therefore, I believe in Democrats more than Republicans in everyday life because. That does not mean that I don’t support and contribute to Republicans at all. But as a core of me, I’m a liberal person. I believe in diversity,  in variety. I’d rather have a colorful garden than to have the same garden, same plants.

Who are some of the politicians whose election campaigns you have contributed to?

Anil Bansal:  There are two levels. I give money to almost any Indian American who stands for any election. They need all the support we can give. I send them money because I think for us to have a better future, more secure future, we need to be politically active. So, anybody of Indian background who wants to stand for an election, and they ask, I donate money to them. In New Jersey I have given to Sam Joshi, elect mayor of Edison in 2021, and to Raja Krishnamoorthi, Congressman from Illinois

Number two, I support lawmakers who affect India, whether it’s the governor of New Jersey or New York, or Senators and Congressmen from these states. I support them because I want to make sure that they see Indians in a good light.

I have given big support to Chris Christie when he was NJ governor no matter that he is a Republican. But generally I’m not nonpartisan.. In the next election cycle, we are seriously thinking of doing a major support for Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey.

A Director of Indo-American Arts Council, Anil Bansal like the IAAC Chairman Dr Nirmal Mattoo was a Festival of India@75 benefactor.

The Giving Pledge promoted by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet encourages extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, and not leave all for their children. I’m sure your children are doing very well.

Anil Bansal:  I’m very proud of my children and my wife reminds me of a popular saying in India – if your son is a supoot (good boy), he’ll prosper on his own, so why worry about him. And if he’s a kupoot (wastrel), you can give him all you want and he’ll blow it anyway, so why worry about him either. So, I think we have been very happy and proud, me and my wife, to have given an incredible education to our children, an incredible value system to them that we really don’t have to worry about. Yet, I am a spoiler. I love to spoil my children as well as my grandchildren but I can tell you that my children have never let me spoil them. They only say ‘no’ to me when I offer them things and that in a strange way makes me love them more.

Both Avin and Neha and their spouses are extremely well to do, yet they lead a  simple life, and they’re happy.

Of course, we have always done charity work and voluntary work. Since 2002, after our daughter Anka passed away, we have focused more on that.


Anil and Kumud Bansal with Bollywood stars Malaika Arora, Tamannaah Bhatia & Remo D’Souza who presented RRANG: Colors of an Untold Story show a couple of years ago.

You also changed your focus to burnish India’s image.

Anil Bansal:  My underlying devotion, what I’ve decided to do is to help not only humanity, but primarily to make fellow Indians proud, to promote their happiness and success and to help the world see them in a better light. I can tell you that whether I give support, do book launches, or as you know, I am a Director of Indo-American Arts Council, I’m involved in FIA, I give to different charities, the underlying reason is to make Indians feel prouder, and better about themselves. We have to safeguard and maintain our Indian arts and deep, rich culture and  showcase it to the world, to America. At the same time, making fellow Indians feel proud of who we are, what we are and what we do, and how we see the world as a family – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

Image courtesy of Provided

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