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Rediff.com  » News » Sonia, Dalai Lama among world's most influential: Time

Sonia, Dalai Lama among world's most influential: Time

May 01, 2008 17:26 IST

Sonia Gandhi, chief of India's key ruling alliance member Congress party, and Ratan Tata, who heads one of the country's top business houses, have been named in a list of 100 most influential in the world by Time magazine.

The list also includes international figures like Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, US President George Bush as well as three presidential aspirants Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Russia's Vladimir Putin.

The annual Time 100 list, published in the latest issue of Time magazine hitting the news-stands on Friday, has been divided into five categories -- leaders and revolutionaries, heroes and pioneers, scientists and thinkers, artists and entertainers, and builders and titans.

Sonia has been named to the first leaders and revolutionaries category, alongside Dalai Lama, Putin, Obama, Hillary, McCain and Bush.

The most influential business people, named under the 'Builders and Titans' category, include global food and beverage giant PepsiCo's India-origin chief Indra Nooyi, besides Ratan Tata of Indian conglomerate Tata group.

Others who have been named to this category include global media conglomerate News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Mexican billionaire telecom tycoon Carlos Slim.

In a write-up on Sonia, written for the magazine, former UN official Shashi Tharoor said, "The story of Sonia Gandhi, 61, is remarkable at every level, and the fairy-tale metaphor barely begins to scratch the surface of its extraordinariness."

"A novelist seeking to tell the story of Sonia may be forgiven for seeing a fairy-tale element in the narrative: Beautiful foreigner comes to strange new land and marries handsome prince... But there is a twist to the tale," Tharoor said, adding that the "queen" when offered "the crown on a brocade cushion, turns it down."

"She prefers to remain behind the throne, walking with the peasantry, rallying the people but leaving power in the hands of her gray-haired viziers," Tharoor added.

About Tata, the magazine said that ever since he first suggested four years ago building a car that could sell for Rs 1 lakh "rival automakers have sniggered".

"But in January, Tata unveiled his baby car, a cute rear-engined bubble called Nano. The Nano will meet all of India's automotive standards and sell for 1,00,000 rupees. Tata, 70, a bachelor with no children," would have to choose someone as savvy and visionary as he has been to lead the 140-year-old firm, it noted, adding that "that could prove
even more difficult than creating a $2,500 car."

In the write-up on PepsiCo's Nooyi, US coffee giant Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz said the most appropriate way to describe her is "world class leader".

"PepsiCo's international business grew 22 per cent last year, and she is showing the way for American companies trying to do well oversea," the report added.

On Dalai Lama, spiritual and health writer Deepak Chopra said, "Millions of people turn to the Dalai Lama for inspiration, but to whom does he turn? He and his people have struggled all their lives with the audacity of hopelessness... Yet the Dalai Lama, 72, remains calm in the face of cruelty."

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