TIME magazine is out with its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and the 2018 list is quite path-breaking as for the first time in history, a record number of 45 women and 45 people under the age of 40 have made it to the much-renowned list.
“The TIME 100, always a reflection of its moment, looks quite different than in the past. The list is not a measure of power or a collection of milestones but is instead, a designation of individuals whose time, in our estimation, is now,” said Edward Felsenthal, the Editor-in-Chief of TIME in a letter.
Making their way to TIME 100 are four Indians, who we would all have to admit are in the best phase of their careers right now, and it is just matter of time before they reach even greater heights. The people in question are Bhavish Aggarwal (Ola co-founder), Deepika Padukone (actor), Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft) and last but not the least, Virat Kohli, the captain of Indian cricket team.
Such is their popularity and visibility across the world that we don’t need to formally introduce these eminent personalities, who have each made a niche for themselves in their chosen professional sphere. In fact, the Microsoft head is among the six personalities selected to be featured on covers of the magazine’s special issues.
TIME follows a tradition where every chosen individual’s description is penned by someone who has known them or worked with them closely.
So here are a few snippets from those testimonies from the friends and acquaintances of the four influential Indians who have clinched a place in TIME 100:
1. Bhavish Aggarwal
“For those who meet Bhavish Aggarwal for the first time, his polite, soft-spoken demeanor is impossible to forget. Get to know him a little more and you will soon notice his vision, passion and determination to stand against all odds. After all, he co-founded Ola, one of the world’s largest ride-sharing companies, scaled it to more than 100 Indian cities, empowered millions of driver-partners and commuters, and is a flag bearer for India’s consumer-tech ecosystem—all by the age of 32.
From bootstrapping Ola when Indian consumer tech was still taking baby steps to braving regulatory hurdles and fighting off foreign competitors, Bhavish has driven around the block a few times. By taking Ola Down Under to Australia this year, he has made it one of the first homegrown tech companies to meaningfully expand outside India,” said Sachin Bansal, the executive chairman of Indian e-commerce company Flipkart.
2. Deepika Padukone
“For xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Deepika took committed to a whole other level. That’s who she is as a performer. She wants the whole movie to shine, which is a rare thing. Anyone could talk about how beautiful she is, and anyone could tell you about her unmatched comedic timing. But she isn’t just a star. She’s an actor’s actor, dedicated to the craft.
So often in the entertainment industry, we deal in stereotypes, and people get stuck in certain markets. Deepika is the best Earth has to offer. She’s not just here to represent India; she’s here to represent the world,” wrote Hollywood actor, Vin Diesel.
3. Satya Nadella
“Growing up in India, Satya Nadella fell in love with cricket, a sport whose grace comes from melding stars into a cohesive and harmonic team. ‘One brilliant character who does not put the team first can destroy the entire team,’ he wrote in his recent book, Hit Refresh.
Since becoming CEO of Microsoft in 2014, Nadella has used those principles to restore the company’s spirit of innovation. Consider its new product strategy, which emphasises cloud computing and allowing people to collaborate across platforms. Nadella also preaches the importance of empathy and making products that work reliably, traits that deepened in him when his first child was born with brain damage and his son’s life depended on linked machines running Microsoft systems.
The result is that in the four years since he inherited a sticky wicket, Microsoft’s market value has increased 130 percent,” said Walter Isaacson, who is a professor of history at Tulane University and a former managing editor of TIME.
4. Virat Kohli
“The U-19 World Cup in 2008 was very important for India, as it would define the next bunch of youngsters who would go on to represent the nation. That was the first time I watched this young, passionate player lead India. Today Virat Kohli is a household name and a champion in cricket. Even back then, his hunger for runs and consistency was remarkable, something that has become the hallmark of his game.
Every sportsman knows what it’s like to have good spells and bad ones too. Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique but also his fitness level. He’s never looked back,” wrote Sachin Tendulkar, the former captain of India’s cricket team.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)