And here is the Indian of the Year for 2007. He is the man who gave the country such rail marvels as the Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro. He also taught Delhiites, without ever asking for it, how to respect public property.
He is the Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan.
Sreedharan was presented the award — instituted by CNN-IBN in partnership with the Hindustan Times — at a glittering function in the capital on Tuesday. The chief guest was Vice-President Hamid Ansari and the guest of honour former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
Accepting the award, Sreedharan said the honour bestowed on him showed that some values still count — the integrity of individuals; professional competence; and the fact that time is money, hence, the need to finish work on time. And, he said, he held these values in high esteem.
The metro chief was competing with Finance Minister P Chidambaram (from the category of politics), SBI chairman OP Bhatt (business), Vishwanathan Anand (sports), Chak De director Shimit Amin and scriptwriter Jaideep Sahni (entertainment) and Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin (NRIs). Sreedharan was the winner in the public service category.
The lifetime achievement award went to cartoonist RK Lakshman.
The format of the awards was as follows: the competition was divided into six categories, each with six nominees — politics, business, sports, entertainment, public service and NRIs. Each category would have a winner. The six winners would then compete for the top award.
They were to be picked by a mix of voting by people — SMS and online — and selection by a jury of Padma awardees — lawyer Soli Sorabjee (chairman), HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, actor Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair, Hindustan Times Media Ltd vice-chairman and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia, Infosys co-chairman Nandan Nilekani, billiards champion Geet Sethi and former police officer Kiran Bedi.
The Indian of the year for 2006 was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.