India's new millionaire

A real-life "slumdog millionaire" in India has admirably sensible plans for using his windfall. Can we all say we would do as well with instant wealth?

India's real-life "slumdog" millionaire has won more than money. Sushil Kumar has also won the affection of millions with his charmingly unpretentious plans for the 50 million rupees (Dh3.8 million) he won on a television game show.

Mr Kumar, who lives in the impoverished state of Bihar, was earning not quite 6,000 rupees a month as a government computer operator and as a tutor when he landed a spot on the quiz show KBC, India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. As the teenage son of a farmworker too poor to have a TV, Mr Kumar first watched KBC at a neighbour's home. Now he has become the first player to win its top prize.

It is a cliché that such a sudden fortune can have unpleasant results, but Mr Kumar, now 27, sounded utterly level-headed when asked how he would spend the money: "Our house has almost broken down and we have a lot of loans that have to be repaid," he told Reuters news agency. "And then I want to invest money in the education of poor children in my area." He also said he will now be able to study for civil service exams.

On the evidence of his stated intentions, Mr Kumar seems to have ample stocks of both common sense and generosity to go with his rewarding store of quiz answers (and, perhaps, his luck). It sounds as if he might have done fine in life even without this windfall.

Published: October 30, 2011 04:00 AM