Rohini Nilekani Age, Husband, Children, Family, Biography

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Hometown: Mumbai
Husband: Nandan Nilekani
Age: 64 Years

Rohini Nilekani

Full nameRohini Nandan Nilekani
Other nameRohini Soman (before marriage)
Profession(s)Author, Philanthropist, Former Journalist
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBlack
Hair ColourBlack
First BookStillborn (1998)
Cover picure of 'Stillborn'
Awards, Honours, Achievements • Listed as one of Asia's Heroes Of Philanthropy by Forbes Magazine (2010), (2014)
• Best Grassroots Philanthropist by Forbes India Leadership Awards (2022)
• Philanthropist of the Year Award by ASSOCHAM (2020-21)
• Ranked 1 in women category in the EdelGive Hurun India Philanthropy List (2022)
• AIMA Managing India Award - Corporate Citizen (2022)
Rohini Nilekani (right) while receiving the AIMA Managing India Award
Personal Life
Date of BirthYear, 1960
Age (as of 2024) 64 Years
BirthplaceBombay (now Mumbai)
HometownBengaluru, India
College/University• Elphinstone College, Mumbai
• St. Xavier's College, Mumbai
Educational Qualification(s)• A bachelor's degree in French Literature from Elphinstone College
• Postgraduate diploma in Mass Communications from St Xavier’s College
Food HabitNon-vegetarian
HobbiesReading, Walking in forest, Travelling
Social MediaInstagram
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Marriage DateYear, 1981
Husband/SpouseNandan Nilekani (co-founder of Infosys, politician)
Rohini Nilekani with her husband, Nandan Nilekani
ChildrenSon - Nihar Nilekani
Daughter - Janhavi Nandan Nilekani (founder of Aastrika Foundation)
Rohini Nilekani (right) with her son-in-law (2nd from right), daughter, Janhavi (3rd from right), husband (extreme left), and mother-in-law (sitting)
ParentsFather - Engineer
Mother - Homemaker
Book'Rules of Civility: A Novel' by Amor Towels
Wildlife SanctuaryKabini Wildlife Sanctuary

Rohini Nilekani

Some Lesser Known Facts About Rohini Nilekani

  • Rohini grew up in Mumbai in a family that believed in ‘living life with simplicity.’
  • Her grandfather served in the freedom struggle for India. He was among the first ones to go to Champaran in 1917 on Gandhiji’s call to set up an ashram there for the Indigo agitation.
  • Rohini’s husband, Nandan Nilekani has also served as the former Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India. He contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 from the Indian National Congress party.
  • She met Nandan Nilekani for the first time in 1977 at a quiz competition at her college. At that time, Nandan was a B.Tech student at IIT, Powai.
  •  In 1980, she started her career as a reporter at Bombay Magazine. She later worked for the Sunday Magazine in Bangalore.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, she lived in the United States with her husband to work on the establishment of Infosys with Narayana Murthy and the other five founders.

    (From L-R) - Sudha Murthy, Narayan Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, and Rohini Nilekani in their younger days

    (From L-R) – Sudha Murthy, Narayan Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, and Rohini Nilekani in their younger days

  • In 2001, Rohini founded the Arghyam Foundation which works in the water sector with a goal to provide sustainable water and sanitation solutions in India. It is based in Bengaluru.
  • On 1 January 2004, she co-founded Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s books publishing firm, along with Ashok Kamath and Rekha M. Menon. The aim of setting the firm was to bring ‘a book in every child’s hand’ by publishing books in different languages. In 2015, it launched a digital library named StoryWeaver and has open-licensed its content so that books and stories can be accessed for free.
  • She remained the Chairperson of Pratham Books from 2004 till 2014.
  • In 2008, she was seen as the host of a television show named, ‘Uncommon Ground’ which premiered on the NDTV news channel.
  • In 2011, she released her second book ‘Uncommon Ground’ which was based on her experience as a reporter for her show of the same name.
  • In May 2012, Rohini was appointed to the Eminent Persons Advisory Group as an advisor to the Competition Commission of India.
  • Rohini and Nandan Nilenkani were featured on the cover of the Heroes of Philanthropy edition of Forbes India in 2013.
  • She and her husband donated Rs. 50 crores to the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in December 2013. It was done to support the construction of NCAER’s new centre at its New Delhi campus.
  • Rohini, who is also a promoter in Infosys, sold 5.77 lakh shares of the company for Rs 163.58 crores in 2013 to raise funds for philanthropy.
  • In 2015, she co-founded the ‘EkStep Foundation’ with her husband Nandan Nilekani and Shankar Maruwada. This is a non-profit foundation that aims to provide an open-source digital infrastructure for learning where content providers, learners, and governments can come together to create a societal thinking platform that can help the country reach an overall development.
  • In the year 2017, Rohini was admitted as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • Rohini and her husband are the signatories of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s charitable campaign, ‘Giving Pledge’ according to which wealthy people should donate 50% of their wealth for philanthropic purposes. They signed it in 2017.
  • She joined as a member of the Advisory Board of the Well Being Project in 2019.
  • Her other published books include ‘The Hungry Little Sky Monster’ (2020) and ‘Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar: a citizen-first approach’ (2022).

    Cover of the book, Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar a citizen-first approach

    Cover of the book, Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar a citizen-first Approach

  • In 2021, she became a member of the ‘Dakshin Foundation’ which is working on providing solutions for a sustainable environment and social justice.
  • She retired from the Arghyam Foundation in September 2021 as its Chairperson.
  • Rohini donated Rs. 120 crores for the cause of education and environmental sustainability in the year 2022.
  • Along with Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and Kris Gopalakrishnan, she donated Rs. 51 crore to the Science Gallery Bengaluru (SGB) in November 2022. She has served as a member of the board of the SGB.
  • The Hurun India Philanthropy Report in the year 2022 named Rohini Nilekani as ‘the most generous woman in India’ for the third consecutive time.
  • In 2023, she became the only Indian woman to be listed in the top ten of ‘Hurun’s Top Philanthropist List’ for her contribution to ecosystem development. As of 2023, the total donations made by Rohini Nilekani amounted to Rs 1.7 billion. She donated 46 lakhs per day.
  • In April 2023, she donated Rs. 100 crores to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) to support the treatment and research in 5 major areas of mental health.
  • She has been appointed as a Board of Trustee at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). She has donated Rs. 50 crores to this institute.
  • Rohini holds the Chairmanship of the ‘Rohini Nilekani Foundation’ which is associated with many civil society organizations to solve issues like gender equality, justice, climate change, animal welfare, and governance.
  • She has also served as an advisor on the Audit Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
  • Rohini is fluent in English, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Konkani, and French languages. She can also understand Spanish.