By Media Observer
Three Indians, including Prime Minster Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have been named in Time magazine’s top 100 ‘Most influential people of 2021’. The other Indian on the list is Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla.
Modi and Mamata have been named in the Leaders category, alongside US President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan, former US President Donald Trump and Abdul Ghani Baradar, Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan and co-founder of the Taliban.
Poonawalla has been named in the Pioneers category, alongside Sunisa Lee, an American artistic gymnast; Phyllis Omido, a Kenyan environmental activist; Ei Thinzar Maung, a Myanmarese activist and politician etc.
Commenting on the Indians on the list CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria wrote about Poonawalla that “from the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, the 40-year-old head of the world’s largest vaccine maker ‘sought to meet the moment.’ He also wrote: “The pandemic is not over yet, and Poonawalla could still help end it. Vaccine inequality is stark, and delayed immunisation in one part of the world can have global consequences-including the risk of more dangerous variants emerging.”
Commenting on Modi, Zakaria has been less complimentary, saying the Indian Prime Minister had “pushed the country away from secularism and toward Hindu nationalism.” On Mamata, Zakaria wrote that she “has become the face of fierceness in Indian politics.” He continued: “Of Banerjee, it is said, she doesn’t lead her party, the Trinamool Congress – she is the party. The street-fighter spirit and self-made life in a patriarchal culture set her apart.”
This is a great vindication for the leader who led her party top a third consecutive victory at the polls, defeating the powerful Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a huge margin in May.
Every year Time magazine collates and publishes an annual list of ‘The 100 Most Influential People’ of the year. This is a global list and the way it has been designed, it evaluates the power a person wields over society.
The tradition of selecting a “Man of the Year” began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating the news makers of the year. In 1949, Winston Churchill was named “Man of the Half-Century”, and the last issue of 1989 named Mikhail Gorbachev as “Man of the Decade”. The December 31, 1999 issue of Time named Albert Einstein the “Person of the Century”. Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi were chosen as runners-up Technically, this cannot be equated as a badge of honour. As Time magazine has pointed out, controversial figures such as Adolf Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Nikita Khrushchev (1957) and Ayatollah Khomeini (1979) have also been granted the title for their impacts.
THE FULL LIST
LEADERS : Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Joe Biden, Xi Jinping, Liz Cheney, Kamala Harris, Mario Draghi, Tucker Carlson, Naftali Bennett, Stacey Abrams, Nayib Bukele, Donald Trump, Abdul Ghani Baradar, Ebrahim Raisi.
PIONEERS : Adar Poonawalla, Billie Eilish, Ben Crump, Adi Utarini, Sunisa Lee, Fatih Birol, Aurora James, Phyllis Omido, Frans Timmermans, Roger Cox, Olimpia Coral Melo Cruz, Dorottya Redai, Esther Ze Naw Bamvo and Ei Thinzar Maung, Indyra Mendoza and Claudia Spellmant, Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy
ICONS : Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Naomi Osaka, Alexei Navalny, Britney Spears, Sherrilyn Ifill, Dolly Parton, Shohei Ohtani, Cathy Park Hong, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Muna El-Kurd and Mohammed El-Kurd, Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung and Cynthia Choi.
ARTISTS : Kate Winslet, Chloé Zhao, Bad Bunny, Jason Sudeikis, Lil Nas X, Bowen Yang, Kane Brown, Barbara Kruger, Omar Sy, Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yeun, N.K. Jemisin, Mark Bradford, Scarlett Johansson.
TITANS : Simone Biles, Tim Cook, Shonda Rhimes, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tom Brady, Youn Yuh Jung, Allyson Felix, Angélique Kidjo, Kenneth C. Frazier and Kenneth I. Chenault, Luiza
INNOVATORS : Jensen Huang, Elon Musk, Adrienne Banfield Norris, Willow Smith and Jada Pinkett, Smith, Katalin Kariko, Mary Barra, John Nkengasong, MiMi Aung, Vitalik Buterin, Viya, Barney Graham, Friederike Otto and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Kengo Kuma, Sara Menker, Lidia Morawska.