NEW YORK (TIP): Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and actor Aamir Khan have been named by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world in its annual list of global achievers that also includes teenaged Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai and US President Barack Obama. Describing Indian politicians as typically being “warm and fuzzy, chronically late and terribly imprecise”, Time says Chidambaram, 67, is “detailoriented, works from 8 to 8 and has a reputation for getting a lot done.” Noting that Chidambaram’s experience is unsurpassed, the magazine said, as Commerce Minister in the 1990s, he played an important role as India opened its economy while as Finance Minister, he presented a pathbreaking budget in 1997.
In a profile of Khan written by Academy award-winning musician A R Rahman, the 48-year-old actor has been described as a “straightforward” man and a “man of his word” in a “world of false diplomacy and evasiveness.” Rahman said Khan’s movies are commercial successes but they also display a sense of social responsibility by tackling important themes like poverty and education. His TV show, ‘Satyamev Jayate’, is ‘part journalism and part talk show’ and confronted India’s deepest social ills, from sexual abuse to caste discrimination. ‘He uses his gifts as a charmer to give his audience the most bitter medicine. Hypnotised, we take it without complaint. That’s Aamir’s magic at work,’ Rahman said.Khan’s debut TV show was not intended to provide solutions but to ask hard questions that the society is often reluctant to address. ‘By showing the courage to ask those questions, Aamir has started a movement that will help change the world in which Indians live. Jai Ho,’ Rahman wrote. Also making it to the Time 100 list are US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
In her profile for Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said when he was first elected, the world saw the realisation of the American Dream. ‘Today, they see a leader who delivers – whether its ending the war in Iraq, imposing crippling sanctions on Iran or reasserting our role as a Pacific power and building a world with more partners and fewer enemies.’ Others on the list are, Indianorigin Attorney General of California Kamala Harris, Indian human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, US popstar Beyonce and Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
Activist Malala Yousafzai, 15, is the youngest to have made it to the list. Writing for Time, Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Hillary and former President Bill Clinton, wrote that the Taliban almost made Malala a martyr but they ‘succeeded in making her a symbol’. Yousafzai is now writing a memoir to raise awareness about the 61 million children around the world who are not in school. This ‘indicates she accepts that unasked-for responsibility as a synonym for courage and a champion for girls everywhere. However Malala concludes her book, her story so far is only just beginning,’ Clinton wrote.