Nilayan Dutta
Development Economist
Jean Dreze
His incisive work on hunger, child malnutrition and other issues has brought the Other India into intellectual and policy focus
COMMENTS PRINT
Theoretical Physicist
Has proved that pioneering scientific thinking and world-class research is still happening in India.
Electrical engineer
Empowering rural India through telecom and computer technology
Entrepreneur
Giving traditional handlooms and handicrafts contemporary relevance
Doctors
Creating an internationally acclaimed and adopted model for drastically reducing child mortality in backward rural areas
Governor
A rare example of humility, ethical conduct and scholarship in public life
Civil Servant
Creating a successful model for checking female foeticide, running a district that is a model of efficient governance
Politician
Ensuring that the UPA gives rural development high priority, and that NREGs makes history
Spiritual Leader
Using his spiritual influence to engage rural folks in large-scale environmental, anti-pollution projects
Development Professional
Recruiting the best professional talent to work on a wide range of remarkably profitable rural livelihood promotion projects that have transformed the lives of nearly 70,000 families
Filmmaker
Making films that successfully challenge the tired Bollywood box-office formula, yet captivate audiences.
Biological Scientist
Making the National Centre for Biological Sciences, which he set up, a world-class institution
Campaigner Against Communalism
Fearless crusader against communalism in Gujarat. Has paid a heavy price for his outspoken activism.
Civil Servant
A quiet, low-key force in the bureaucracy
Lawyer
Forced Delhi's educational bureaucracy and private schools to recognise the rights of poor children
Educationist
Leads a huge effort to improve the quality of primary education in government schools
campaigner For Rural Sanitation
Transforming disease-ridden hamlets into sparkling model villages
Social Reformer
Leads a nationwide crusade to abolish the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging
Diplomat
Winning Pakistan's trust, and keeping communication channels open, even in difficult times
Economist
His survey of Indian Muslims has offered both a challenge and critique to policy, showing up its gross inadequacies and spurring it to more focused action
Editor, EPW
Runs a magazine that has set the agenda for intellectual debate, government policies for nearly 60 years
human rights lawyer
Fighting for the rights of the marginalised all over India, exposing state abuses
Historian
A leader among social scientists, cutting across disciplines. Uses history to counter communal propaganda, modern myths.
Actor
Among the New Generation of actors, his ability to set every role on a slow, crackling flame has set new standards of excellence
Journalist
Putting rural India and the farmers' crisis firmly on the national and media agenda
The Alternative power list
Thinking change in India is a thankless task. A few who are sticking it out for the greater common good.
Vinod Mehta
Jean Dreze would probably hate to be on this list. More than a decade ago, he told Outlook, "I am suspicious of profiles", and that has not changed. The development economist of Belgian extraction (who became an Indian citizen in 2002) is far more comfortable with issues than personalities. And in the nearly three decades that he has been in India, Dreze's powerful intellect and deep humanism have illuminated a range of them: hunger, child malnutrition, education, rural employment, reservations for women in legislatures, freedom of information.... His peers say that what Dreze uniquely brings to the table is extensive fieldwork—few economists live as much in the country's villages—combined with outstanding analytical skills. His collaboration with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has yielded many publications, including the seminal Hunger and Public Action and India: Development and Participation. Dreze is an incisive spokesman for an India which has been largely invisible to the middle class. "I am not aware that India is more self-confident," he said in an interview with Outlook in 2005. "What does national self-confidence mean for someone who is driving a rickshaw or carrying bricks to feed the family? Only a small minority has the luxury of worrying about international perceptions of India." Few westerners choose their countries—they usually stay with what is thrust on them. That Dreze chose India has been a welcome thing.
COMMENTS PRINT
Theoretical Physicist
Has proved that pioneering scientific thinking and world-class research is still happening in India.
Electrical engineer
Empowering rural India through telecom and computer technology
Entrepreneur
Giving traditional handlooms and handicrafts contemporary relevance
Doctors
Creating an internationally acclaimed and adopted model for drastically reducing child mortality in backward rural areas
Governor
A rare example of humility, ethical conduct and scholarship in public life
Civil Servant
Creating a successful model for checking female foeticide, running a district that is a model of efficient governance
Politician
Ensuring that the UPA gives rural development high priority, and that NREGs makes history
Spiritual Leader
Using his spiritual influence to engage rural folks in large-scale environmental, anti-pollution projects
Development Professional
Recruiting the best professional talent to work on a wide range of remarkably profitable rural livelihood promotion projects that have transformed the lives of nearly 70,000 families
Filmmaker
Making films that successfully challenge the tired Bollywood box-office formula, yet captivate audiences.
Biological Scientist
Making the National Centre for Biological Sciences, which he set up, a world-class institution
Campaigner Against Communalism
Fearless crusader against communalism in Gujarat. Has paid a heavy price for his outspoken activism.
Civil Servant
A quiet, low-key force in the bureaucracy
Lawyer
Forced Delhi's educational bureaucracy and private schools to recognise the rights of poor children
Educationist
Leads a huge effort to improve the quality of primary education in government schools
campaigner For Rural Sanitation
Transforming disease-ridden hamlets into sparkling model villages
Social Reformer
Leads a nationwide crusade to abolish the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging
Diplomat
Winning Pakistan's trust, and keeping communication channels open, even in difficult times
Economist
His survey of Indian Muslims has offered both a challenge and critique to policy, showing up its gross inadequacies and spurring it to more focused action
Editor, EPW
Runs a magazine that has set the agenda for intellectual debate, government policies for nearly 60 years
human rights lawyer
Fighting for the rights of the marginalised all over India, exposing state abuses
Historian
A leader among social scientists, cutting across disciplines. Uses history to counter communal propaganda, modern myths.
Actor
Among the New Generation of actors, his ability to set every role on a slow, crackling flame has set new standards of excellence
Journalist
Putting rural India and the farmers' crisis firmly on the national and media agenda
The Alternative power list
Thinking change in India is a thankless task. A few who are sticking it out for the greater common good.
Vinod Mehta
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