Communities -- minority communities more so -- need leaders.
They need leaders to define the limits of what is possible and then stretch those definitions; to showcase their plus points; to inspire emulation; to show the way. They need leaders, too, to bridge the gap with other communities, with the mainstream.
There is no hard and fast rule that defines the 'leader'. There are, however, commonalities that cut across any leadership list you attempt to create. Leaders will be men and women of vision, who recognize no boundaries save those created by their talents, their abilities. Leaders will be of the community, but will not be defined by it; rather, they will operate in hospitable, suitable terrain, irrespective of whether that terrain is 'niche' or 'mainstream'.
Leaders will be known for the work they do but will not be defined by it; while excelling at their core competence, they will blaze trails elsewhere, extend their activities to other spheres. Leaders will possess the ability to inspire by their actions; they will create examples for the community to follow; they will, comet-like, blaze trails, light paths across the hitherto unknown.
So who, then, are the leaders of the Indian-American community? Who do we look up to, for example, for inspiration? Who do we seek to emulate, who do we trust to blaze our trails for us?
The community is singularly blessed, in that it has over a relatively short period of time thrown up dozens of leaders, across every sphere of activity. Hence, we present a subjective cross-section of the community's leadership. The list does not pretend to be all-encompassing; it does not intend to imply that those who have not made it are not leaders in their own right.
Consider this list as being in the nature of a cross section. It attempts to throw up leadership examples from various fields; collectively, it attempts to create a representative -- but by no means exhaustive -- mosaic of the community's achievers.
Everyone who makes this list is an achiever, in his or her right; they are representative of dozens of others, trail-blazers in their own fields and in their own right. Besides achievement, all of them have one trait in common: their sphere of influence extends beyond the boundaries of the community itself, and reaches deep into the mainstream. This is vital: Integration into the mainstream is essential for the community, and these bridge-builders are the vital link that facilitates such interaction and eventual integration.
In celebrating the 50 who make this List, India Abroad celebrates a community that, increasingly, has raised the bar for its accomplishments to heights previously undreamt of.
Special Issue Editor: Lindsay Pereira
Design: Uttam Ghosh
Contributors: Arthur J Pais, Aziz Haniffa, Suman Guha Mozumder, Aseem Chhabra, Prem Panicker
Design Team: Dominic Xavier, Rajesh Karkera, Sanjay Sawant, Satish Bodas