TIME to know the world’s most influential people
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

TIME to know the world’s most influential people

September 29, 2021

The American influence peddler and deceptive persuader of a magazine TIME has come up with an interesting and revealing subject in its Sept. 27, 2021 issue. It has its selection of ‘The World’s Most Influential People’ numbering 100.

As I know, this magazine for all its power and glory has never been well-disposed towards India and now rather ill-disposed towards our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Remember the lead article in this magazine in 2019 written by Aatish Taseer wherein Modi was branded as “India’s Divider in Chief” and more?

It is for this reason I was surprised to see Modi’s name once again here among the 100 world’s most influential people under the section ‘Leaders.’ Of course, as a counterweight, it has also included another Indian under this section ‘Leaders.’ That is West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

There are six sections among these 100 and they are 1. Pioneers 2. Artists 3. Leaders 4. Titans 5. Innovators 6. Icons. India, apart from finding a place under the section ‘Leaders,’ it has also the honour of finding a place among ‘Pioneers’ and ‘Titans.’ Adar Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India (born Mumbai) and under the section ‘Icons’ it has Manjusha P. Kulkarni (born Pune), who is the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council dealing with America’s current problem Racism. Of course, she must be an American citizen though born in Pune, India. Let it be. 

Here I would like to share with my readers what TIME magazine thinks about its two chosen Indian leaders — Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. First, Mamata Banerjee: The author of the brief write-up on Mamata Banerjee is Barkha Dutt, Indian television journalist and author known in our country for her skewed, patently partial and abominably biased journalism with an agenda.

Mamata Banerjee is called an ‘Ascendant Politician.’ Barkha Dutt writes “…She rose from abject poverty — working once as a stenographer and a milk booth vendor to support her family. Of Banerjee, it is said, she doesn’t lead her party, the Trinamool Congress — she is the party.”

Here I am reminded of the famous utterance of the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar. He was so presumptuous about his own power, he said, “Rome? I am the Rome.”

Be that as it may, here is the final prediction by Barkha Dutt about Mamata Banerjee’s political ascendance. “If any coalition of forces were to come together to counter Modi nationally, Mamata is almost certain to be the pivot.” Alleluia! For the Left Liberals and what we read and hear as ‘Members of the Lutyens Club’ (Headquarters in Delhi), Modi is like the ubiquitous ghost in the Shakespearean play ‘Hamlet’. He must be brought in somehow in their writings and reporting. Should it be so for them,  so be it!

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Now let us turn to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and find out where he stands as a Leader, according to Fareed Zakaria, India born and the famous erudite, very gentle and refined host of CNN TV news channel of America. ‘Taking more control’ is the opinion per se.

According to Zakaria, “In its 74 years as an independent nation, India has had three pivotal leaders. Jawaharlal Nehru, its founding Prime Minister, set the template for the country as secular and democratic. Indira Gandhi presided over its most tumultuous times, spanning war, civil strife and Emergency rule. Narendra Modi is the third, dominating the country’s politics like no one since them.”

Precisely. I am a child of seven years before our independence and would wholeheartedly agree with what Zakaria has said of the three leaders — Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Modi. The rest of what he has written about Modi is palpably inappropriate and out of focus. I do not think Modi has mishandled COVID-19. A sure case of misinformation about a country of 130 crore population fighting the scourge of Coronavirus. It was Modi leading from the front who personally visited the three major vaccine manufacturing units in Pune and other two places — Hyderabad and Ahmedabad — as soon as the vaccine was discovered and set the manufacturing process on a war-footing. Now we have enough vaccine for our needs as well as for exporting for the needy. Please give the devil its due. Time we verify and then trust what is said or written.

If Modi has not moved off the Socialist past as believed, by people like Zakaria, when he was elected, it is because India is a ‘rich country where poor people live.’ Hence, it cannot move off its Socialist past. It is like the affirmative action or food coupon in America. Modi is right, he knows his people from a touching distance, not from across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Pure Capitalism is as dangerous as Pure Communism — it will not give relief to the poorer sections of the people in any country. Is it possible to make jewellery from pure gold?

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Zakaria, anyhow, gives a left-handed compliment on this issue to Modi but holds him guilty of pushing ‘the country away from Secularism and toward Hindu Nationalism.’ He does not forget to write about ‘eroding the rights of India’s Muslim minority.’

He says Modi’s Government imprisoned and intimidated journalists “who shine a light on its abuses and has passed laws crippling India’s thousands of NGOs…” Well, well, well. Enough of advocacy of these NGOs. Laws passed are not enough to check the financial power of these NGOs. NGOs were running a parallel economy with funds cascading from foreign countries. For what purpose? I think Modi Government must have enough reason to pass those laws. As I know, mushrooming of these NGOs is phenomenal and this easy money is used, with no monitoring by any Government agency, to achieve their own hidden agenda.

Zakaria writes that according to two international think tanks “India has veered away from democracy” and the V-Dem Institute calls Modi’s Government as “electoral autocracy.”

Yes sir, we have seen “electoral autocracy” with brute majority in the Parliament and what it could do to the people and the country decades before Modi came to power in 2014. We had the Emergency and more, including the amendment of the Constitution  to nullify the verdict of the    Court which was nothing but an electoral autocracy.

Time magazine must be admired for its labour of identifying these 100 persons who are world’s most influential people. And these are the people who will work to make the world a better place to live by shaping it appropriately using their genius and labour.

In the same manner, Time magazine could do well to identify the areas that stand                                                               as obstructionist for the peace and development of the world, like for example terrorism, religious fanaticism and unchecked population growth, destruction of ecology etc.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shantihi Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu

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2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “TIME to know the world’s most influential people”

  1. Kautilya says:

    The reality is magazines like the TIME, NEWSWEEK and , READER’S DIGEST are not the same magazines today, in terms of their reputation a few days ago. The internet, and the complex world today have decimated the influence of these magazines and hence they are struggling for survival.
    Looking at how TIME selects its 100 most influential people, today, it is based on the write ups of those it has approached, unlike when TIME recognised Nehru 6 decades ago, when it was based on a number of factors, on the consensus of the TIME editorial team
    It is no surprise Modi appears, so also Scarlett Johansonn, and a British football (soccer player), relatively not skilled, but spouting nonsense about the desirability of benefits, all because the people TIME approached wrote write ups for them! So different from the TIME of 1960s!
    I find Mr Ganapathy, a seasoned journalist, indulging in hyperbole. In his estimation, Narendra Modi is a supreme leader, which the world recognises as such. Hence was his gushed excitement when he wrote the article titled” From Trump with love” (sic), in the jamborees like ‘Howdy Trump’ and ‘Namaste Trump’ using the hyperbole that Modi is the best friend of Trump and Americans, and he can achieve anything he wants with his best friend. That did not last long. When Joe Biden arrived on the scene, and formulised the Quad-with closest allies, Australia and Japan in mind who share the sea with China,Modi also appeared in that Quad, not because Biden is his closest friend, but because Biden wants India do the dirty work being in conflict with China. Modi in his elevation did not realise that the Talibans, who took over Afghanistan, are armoured with latest weapons , worth $80 billion Dollars, with stealth attack helicopters, missiles etc.. that India does not have, and have declared China as their closest ally. John Bolton, a former national security adviser to Trump, says, Talibans can by force secure Pakistan’s nuclear war heads! Modi is trapped now thanks to Biden. He will not come to help when China attacks India further.
    It was a sad sight to see Modi wagging his finger when he addressed the UN General Assembly, when most seats there were vacant! The Deccan Herald Yesterday commented that it was a futile exercise. But Modi’s supporters recognise that it was a triumph.
    When Modi met Kamala Harris, she subtly commented on the desirability to adhere to democratic principles and human rights, a dig at what Modi was doing in India. Just read the LA Times. But poor Modi, he signed up to the declaration, little realising it was directed at him as a criticism!
    Now about his handling of the recent wave of Covid-19. The western TV’s showed graphic pictures of Indian patients dying for lack of oxygen, clandestine cremations as well as mass cremations, how the official reports kept down the figures of deaths. The cases of oxygen supplies to less influential patients removed and given to VIPs, causing the deaths of the former. India was shown as the typical third world country grappling with corruption, and misadventures. The NYTimes correspondent in New Delhi scathingly wrote that at least a million must have died in that region alone, but yet the numbers available with grossly underestimated, intentionally , I suppose. Where was Modi-He was shown fielding a very long beard, and no one knowing where he was!
    YES, he is one of the most influential people in this world.
    M Ganapthy, you are a seasoned journalist. A seasoned journalist should not let admiration taint the reality, should not duck the criticism that is needed. The alternative of Gandhi’s crowd may be abhorrent, but that need not mean Modi escape the blame that rightly should be directed at him, rather than misplaced eulogy.

  2. A V Prasanna says:

    World’s most influential person is non other than ” Swami Nithyananda “. He created a separate country called Kailasa, which no individual has done in the world. His country boasts of everything right from reserve bank, to currency, to free food for devotees, to free travel from Sydney. Which leader does this free servce? Please note I am not his admirer or Bhakt, but fact prevails.

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