Few global power lists are complete without Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh. But Time’s is. For its 2013 list, the magazine has chosen finance minister P Chidambaram as the most influential Indian politician.
It was Mamata Banerjee in 2012 and Prime Minister Singh last made it to the list in 2010. There were in all just three Indians on the magazine’s 2013 list of 100 most influential people in the world released Thursday morning — the other two were actor Aamir Khan and human rights activist-lawyer Vrinda Grover, who shot to national fame during the gangrape protests in Delhi in December last year.
Also on the list is Kamala Harris, the Indian-origin attorney general of California. President Obama is also on the list, as is his wife Michelle Obama. They routinely make it to all such lists, national and global. Others include Chinese President Xi Jinjping.
Each pick is profiled by an equally significant personality. Khan’s was written by A R Rehman: “In a world of false diplomacy and evasiveness, Aamir is a straightforward man.” Khan made it to the list, Time editor Richard Stengel wrote, “for using his influence to raise social awareness in India”.
The finance minister’s profile writer, Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets head, says Chidambaram has a shot at the top job but to land it he must “revive his country’s economic fortunes.”
And, “he may also need to adopt a more Indian style”: be “warm and fuzzy” like other Indian politicians.
Grover was described by her profiler, author Nilanjana Roy, as a lawyer and rights activist who “presses down pretty hard”.