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Happy Birthday India Today

Recently, India Today celebrated 45 years of its existence. It is a magazine which started in1975. I was hooked to it almost since its inception. I had breaks in between when I moved to the US. Then it became possible to subscribe to the print edition. Then came the digital edition. Now, the digital edition is free on their website. Same is the case with its sister magazine  Business Today.

The recent issue honors 45 eminent Indians, resident Indians, not NRIs, who achieved a lot in their lives. I was impressed reading about their achievements. Each of them had a turning point or two in their lives which eventually decided their path and thus the accomplishments. I intend to highlight a few from the list along with my impressions. The grouping and the sequencing of the stories are my own. For more details, one can read the magazine on their website.

Starting off with Mukesh Ambani who inherited a business empire from his father, had a tiff with his brother Anil and gave away the Telecom business. He expanded the traditional business and created a brand new telecom business from scratch. The Jio branded cell phone network is becoming more of a platform like the Chinese WeChat. The apps and the content are a very important value add to the cellular network. He cites the 1991 reforms which Prime Minister Narasimha Rao started as an important catalyst in India’s path to progress.

Sunil Mittal who started Airtel which is still one of the major players in India’s mobile revolution. Azim Premji of Wipro who inherited his father’s business and expanded into IT (Information Technology) creating the third largest company in India’s global high tech empire. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the first woman entrepreneur in India to start a biotech company called Biocon.

Sreedharan who built the challenging Konkan railway through the western ghats from Mumbai to Goa in an expeditious and economical manner. He later went on to build the Delhi metro. K Sivan the Chairman of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) has a success story, both for himself as well as for the organization. Indian space achievements are top notch in the world.

Composer AR Rahman whose brand of music captivated International audiences. He lived in LA (Los Angeles) for five years before coming back to start a music school in India. Writer-director Gulzar whose poetry and film making resonates well with a common man like me.

Thespians Ayushman Khurana, Deepika Padukone and Nawazuddin Siddiqui who made a mark with both commercial and parallel cinema and with no pedigree whatsoever. Great achievement given the rampant charges of nepotism in the entertainment industry.

Some politicians figure in the list. We may not agree with some of them. Naveen Patnaik of Odisha impresses me. He is a long standing Chief Minister who developed the state.

RC Bhargava the bureaucrat who led Maruti to success as a joint venture with Suzuki. He made it into a top car company in India before persuading the government to divest its share. Kiran Bedi the first IPS (Indian Police Service) officer who took the unenviable task of heading the Tihar jail and reforming its prisoners. She won a Ramon Magsaysay award for her efforts. Similarly, bureaucrat Amitabh Kant took his punishment posting as the tourism secretary in Kerala to create an incredible India campaign and currently heads the NITI ayog.

Devi Shetty, the cardiac surgeon who operated on Mother Teresa, started Narayana Hrudayalaya as a chain of hospitals for cardiac surgery and other treatments. He is a spiritual man who heeded to his calling. Naresh Trehan, another eminent cardiac surgeon who started the Escorts Heart Institute. Cardiac surgery was unheard of in India before these two pioneers blazed the trail. Bezwada Wilson is still fighting to end the practice of manual scavenging (cleaning the latrines), even after Parliament abolished the practice in the 1990s. He won a Ramon Magsaysay award for his work. Baba Ramdev started the yoga movement in India. Sadhguru is guiding the people spiritually and caring for the environment after he himself experienced a major spiritual experience in his life. Anand Kumar, the math genius, found his calling in coaching poor students to compete for gaining admission into India’s elite technical institutes. The Bollywood movie Super 30 is based on this man’s life.

Byju Raveendran is helping the nation learn through his digital applications. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is helping the nation make digital payments. through his company PayTM (pay through mobile) Both of them are contributing significantly towards building a digital India.

Mithali Raj, the captain of India’s women cricket team took India to near the top of the world. Mary Kom the world champion boxer from Manipur. Vishwanathan Anand who won the world chess championship. Gopichand the badminton wizard and coach who won the All England championship and coached Saina Nehwal to a bronze in the London Olympics in 2012 and Sindhu to a silver in 2016 Rio Olympics.

I salute these 45 eminent persons in the list. Wishing India Today a happy birthday. Thanks a lot for informing me over the years. Looking forward to many more years including the 50th birthday in five years time.

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Prasad Ganti

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Suresh Rao
9 months ago

Prasad ji, I subscribe to INDIA TODAY print edition; I get the monthly issues delivered to my door step in Bengaluru. The print editions cover key happenings around the country every month highlighting the works of key writers who write incessive articles about India and its achievers.

I also like the editorials of Aroon Purie the head of their business group, and a great journalist, writer.

AT times I feel INDIA TODAY pics writers who are somewhat anti-BJP; at times I feel the political articles are somewhat too critical of the establishment and the current PM of India’s achievements.

You have covered key achievers of India in your blog very well. Could coverage, thanks.

Navneet Bakshi
9 months ago

When there were no other magazine on the stands except Reader’s Digest, this was the choice of millions of Indians. I liked its quality and content then, especially Ajit Ninan’s witty cartoons. Later after Arun Shoorie parted ways with BJP, it became somewhat left leaning. Now with so much material being available on the internet, I don’t know if there are still many fans of it still. The list of Indians that it has chosen is quite inspiring but surprisingly, it has included any cricketer in it. You may not like my comment but those much hyped boys of a useless game :))))) are a must for every list to be called complete.

Navneet Bakshi
9 months ago
Reply to  Prasad Ganti

Yes, she is and it is bad on my part to not acknowledge her contributions. She deserves the praise. The Indian women cricket team infact has been doing very well lately. The deserve a lot more praise and money but such gigantic is the stature of Indian Men’s Cricket team that all other games had at least until a few years ago suffered the neglect, ignominy and ridicule and with no money being poured in to them, except for isolated efforts by the dedicated players like Michael Priera, Geet Sethi, Ramesh Krishnan, Pulela Gopichand, Vishavanathan Anand and a few more, that we could count on fingers there weren’t many to inspire the kids to take interest in other games, but now things are changing. Indians are making mark in many other sports and it is indeed a good thing for the nation. I per se’ am not against cricket. In fact, I was once a great fan of it, but I am against its over hype and we know it is not as much because of the game itself as it is because of its uncertainties which make it an ideal sport for betting.

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