Anna, Arundhati in Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers

Lalit K Jha/Washington
Anna, Arundhati in Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers
Software czar Azim Premji, social activist Anna Hazare and writer Arundhati Roy are among the five Indians who figure in Foreign Policy's prestigious list of Top 100 Global Thinkers, which also includes US President Barack Obama.

The top nine positions in the list are occupied by leading Arab revolutionaries including Mohamed Elbaradei from Egypt, the former IAEA chief; Ali Ferat, the Syrian human rights lawyer and cartoonist, and the 10th position is jointly occupied by the three central bank governors of US, France and China for steering the world amid crisis.

US President Barack Obama is ranked 11th among the top 100 global thinkers. Poverty researcher Deepa Narayan and economist Arvind Subramanian are also featured in the list.

Identified as India's Bill Gates, Azim Premji is ranked 14th, just below Bill and Melinda Gates.

"It's not just because of Azim Premji's enormous wealth that he is compared to the American technologist turned philanthropist," the Foreign Policy magazine says.

It is Premji's unprecedented philanthropy, that recently has borne out the Gates comparison, it added.

"Through his contributions, Premji is at the forefront of a rising tide of Indian philanthropy, with billionaire executives such as Shiv Nadar, founder of the technology company HCL, and Sunil Bharti Mittal, of the business conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, often listed in the same cohort," it writes.

However, making a surprise entry into this list of top 100 global thinkers is Anna Hazare who has been placed at the 37th position for his anti-corruption.

"This 74-year-old Gandhi devotee has been railing against government corruption since his days as a rural organizer decades ago, but in 2011, when a series of high-profile scandals reached the highest levels of India's ruling Congress party, his message finally seemed to resonate," the Foreign Policy magazine said.

"Twice this year, Anna Hazare went on a hunger strike in New Delhi to demand tough legislation that would create a powerful new government anti-corruption watchdog. When the soft-spoken Hazare was arrested in August, tens of thousands of his supporters took to the streets throughout the country, bringing government to a standstill. Finally, the Indian Parliament agreed to debate his ideas, and Hazare ended his fast, it said.

The simplicity and single-mindedness of Hazare's crusade has awakened millions of middle-class professionals who are fed up with India's pervasive culture of graft.

Author of award winning book The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy has been ranked 94 in the list for "being the voice of India's Voiceless".

Eminent global economist Arvind Subramanian has been ranked 97th for sounding the alarm on China's economic ascendency.

For seeing the poor as more than victims, Deepa Narayan has been ranked 79 in the list. The former director of a World Bank anti-poverty programme, she has spent nearly 30 years working for NGOs, governments, and global organisations in Asia and Africa.
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