TIME, an American news magazine, released its annual listicle of the 100 most influential people worldwide recently and created a stir online. It included people from all walks of life such as actors, politicians, scientists, music artists and many more.
Here we take a look at the Indians who were included in this year’s listicle.
Also known as Ravi Kumar Gupta, he is a professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge. Professor Ravi is celebrated across the globe for his research about the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV). His team successfully cured a patient, known as the ‘London Patient’, from HIV, who became the second person in the world to get cured of the disease, after the ‘Berlin Patient’.
Born on 14 September 1984 as Nishant Khurrana, Ayushman is an Indian actor, singer, and television host who has won several accolades to his name including a national award and four Filmfare awards for his portrayal of memorable and iconic characters challenging stereotypes and norms of masculinity. He is one of the only three global actors and the only Indian actor mentioned in the list. With this honorable mention, Ayushmann also became the youngest Indian ever to feature in the TIME’s 100 list.
TIME magazine has previously featured Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister in 2014, 2015, 2017 on the list, but what was surprising this year is the note written on him by Karl Vick, a TIME editor.
At first, Karl highlights the importance of the rights of a citizen in a democracy and that India has successfully maintained communal harmony despite the diversity even after 7 decades of independence.
Vick writes “India’s population of 1.3 billion includes Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other religious sects. All have abided in India, which the Dalai Lama (who has spent most of his life in refuge there) has lauded as “an example of harmony and stability,”
Unsurprisingly, most of the media houses failed to contemplate the further note by Vick in which he says that “Narendra Modi has brought all that into doubt”
He also talks about how Prime Minister Modi has indulged in majoritarianism, and his party has clearly rejected pluralism.
Vick added “Though almost all of India’s Prime Ministers have come from the nearly 80% of the population that is Hindu, only Modi has governed as if no one else matters. First elected on a populist promise of empowerment, his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rejected not only elitism but also pluralism, specifically targeting India’s Muslims. The crucible of the pandemic became a pretense for stifling dissent. And the world’s most vibrant democracy fell deeper into shadow.”
This is not the first time that the magazine has criticised PM Modi’s governing policies. In 2019, TIME magazine, on its cover story, labelled Modi as ‘India’s Divider in Chief’
When we think about the world-renowned tech personalities of Indian Origin, Sundar Pichai is one of them who comes to our minds. Hailing from Tamil Nadu, India, Pichai moved to America as a young adult. Now he is the CEO of $ 1 trillion corporation, Alphabet as well as Google. Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, writes an inspirational note in the TIME’s 100 about Sundar Pichai. He mentions how Google, under the leadership of Pichai, is working towards a healthy and inclusive economy by “recently committing to hire 100,000 traditionally underserved New Yorkers by 2030, with a focus on low-income, Black, Latinx and Asian communities. “
He further adds, “The challenges Sundar faces in his role are among the most important of our time—issues of innovation, privacy, regulation and competition. But his analytical, humble and inclusive leadership will position Google to meet the moment. These are traits the world could use a lot more of in these times.”
One of the most surprising mentions and one of the most venerable faces of the Shaheen Bagh protests in the national capital, Delhi, is that of Bilkis, or fondly known as Bilkis Dadi. Even while Delhi was facing one of its coldest winters, Bilkis and other women continued the sit-in protest vigorously where they were protesting against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as the former allows refugees from the neighboring countries belonging to every major religion except Islam to get Indian citizenship which when clubbed with NRC, can be used to target the poor section of Indian Muslims.
Award-winning journalist Rana Ayyub, known for her investigative book, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-Up, wrote the piece for TIME, in which she says, “Bilkis became the symbol of resistance in a nation where the voices of women and minorities were being systematically drowned out by the majoritarian politics of the Modi regime.”
By: Osama Shaikh
Cover Image credits: Bhavdeep Singh Chadha via twitter