PM Narendra Modi, Sundar Pichai, actor Ayushmann Khurrana, Shaheen Bagh protestor Bilkis among TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2020


NEW YORK: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, London-based Indian-origin doctor Ravindra Gupta, who found a cure for AIDS, Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana and Bilkis – ‘Dadi’ of Shaheen Bagh – a Delhi neighbourhood that became the epicentre of the anti-CAA protests, are among the TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2020.

PM Narendra Modi’s inclusion in the list is not due to his or the NDA government’s achievements but in connection with its alleged targeting of Indian Muslims, according to a piece written by Karl Vick, a correspondent of TIME.

Vick wrote that India, the world’s largest democracy, comprises various sects, including Hindu, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and others. The Dalai Lama, who has spent a long time in India in the refuge, has praised the country as “an example of harmony and stability,” Vick wrote. “Narendra Modi has brought all that into doubt,” he said. 

Actor Ayushmann Khurrana is the only Bollywood actor to be a part of the list. “Where male protagonist roles often fall into the trap of stereotypical masculinity, Ayushmann has successfully and convincingly transformed into characters who challenge those very stereotypes,” actor Deepika Padukone wrote about the Vicky Donor star.

Khurrana, the 36-year-old actor, has come a long way from being a contestant on a reality show to an RJ to a VJ, followed by hosting popular television shows. Having made his acting debut in Bollywood in 2012 with “Vicky Donor”, Khurrana has made a niche for himself with social entertainers including “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, “Bareilly Ki Barfi”, “Shubh Mangal Saavdhan”, “Badhaai Ho”, “Article 15”, among others.

Indian-origin Professor Ravindra Gupta, a pioneer in the research of human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, made it to the list. Adam Castillejo, the second person ever to be functionally cured of HIV, spoke about Gupta’s dedication to finding a cure for the virus for everyone.

“He was thoughtful and compassionate, and his accomplishments – now including oversight of the stem-cell treatments I received from a donor with a rare gene mutation, which led to my remission –clearly earned him respect and admiration from his colleagues in the HIV research community,” Castillejo said in his piece about Gupta. “Now he has mine, as well.”

JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon wrote about Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, saying that his American story represents the best of what we aspire for the society. “He used his natural gifts and strong work ethic to rise through the ranks of Google (now Alphabet) by leading many of their most successful products, such as Drive, Gmail and Maps, and officially took the reins of the company in December,” Dimon wrote.

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Bilkis, an 82-year-old woman who protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, was among the Indians featured on the TIME magazine list of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020”.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Protests against the Act started in Delhi in mid-December and spread across the country.

China President Xi Jinping, United States President Donald Trump, German leader Ursula von der Leyen, Black Lives Matter Founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, Alibaba Group Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang, musician Megan Thee Stallion, tennis star Naomi Osaka, US Federal Reserve Chairperson Jeremy Powell, singer Selena Gomez, actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge were among many who feature on the list.

For more than a decade, the TIME 100 annual list has featured some of the world’s most significant artists, leaders, scientists, activists, and entrepreneurs. The list includes people influencing the world while working in different fields. 

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