10 Indians who have made a global marki

Happy Valentine’s Day from Paris. My wife, Lady V, made a list of 10 Indians who have made a global impact. I wrote it down to share it on BP. It’s actually 13 but who’s counting:

1. L N Mittal – one of the richest men in UK/ Europe / Kalpana Chawla (only Indian woman to go into space)

2. Shah Rukh Khan/Amitabh Bachan/ MF Husain – global icons

3. Mukesh Ambani – richest man in Asia

4. Satya Nadella – Microsoft chief

5. Sundar Pichai – Google Chief

6. Indra Nooyi – Pepsi co

7. C V Raman / Nobel winner

8. Venky Ramakrishna – Nobel winner

9. Arundhati Roy – Booker Prize winner

10. Amartya sen – Nobel economics prize winner

Her submission for global Pakis are:

1. Nargis Mavawalla

2. Malala Yousufzai (I added Malala to this list)

3. Benazir Bhutto

All three of course are women; I would have added Imran Khan but does he have a global reach?

For some reason Pakistanis don’t scale the same peaks as Indians do..


Kabir’s additions:

4. Edhi; humanitarian extraordinaire

5. Asma Jehangir; notes human rights lawyer

6. Abdus Salam: Nobel (physics) peace prize

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6 years ago

“For some reason Pakistanis don’t scale the same peaks as Indians do..”

It is pretty common over the years for Pakistan to seek parity with India. It is amusing to say the least. If it is not clear, does Canada claim parity with U.S. in all and sundry matters?

6 years ago

Pakistanis that could possibly be added to the list:

1) Abdul Sattar Edhi– founded the Edhi ambulance network, the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network
2)Dr. Abdus Salam– Nobel Prize winner in Physics
3) Asma Jahangir– noted human rights lawyer (she just passed away last week and had obituaries in the New York Times, Washington Post, etc)

Not sure that Arundhati Roy won the Pulitzer– I thought she had won the Booker?

6 years ago

“For some reason Pakistanis don’t scale the same peaks as Indians do..”

In the context of professional achievement, this is only because Pakistan’s population is a fraction of that of India. Also, once you exclude the Indian populations that are not ethnically related to Pakistanis, the list is pretty much empty. I cant think of many from Indian Punjab and Haryana who have scaled the heights of professional achievement.

Successful Indians typically come from Gujarat (business), Maharashtra & Bengal (arts and scholarship) and the South (almost everything). All the names on your list are either from these places or have some deep connection to them. For example, LN Mittal although originally a Haryanvi, was raised in Kolkata. Amitabh also spent a lot of his formative years there, and Allahabad where he was born and raised has a large population of Bengalis.

6 years ago

He is from a Marwari speaking family, but was not raised in Rajasthan.

Reply to  Vikram

// I cant think of many from Indian Punjab and Haryana who have scaled the heights of professional achievement //

Oye thand rakh, yaara … saDi Nikki may as well become the first woman President of the US.

Off the top of my head, Indian billionaires Sameer Gehlaut and Kushal Pal Singh are Haryanvi Jats (Sameer at 43 being the youngest of the lot), whereas Sunil Bharti Mittal, Gurbachan Singh Dhingra, Anand Mahindra are Punjabis.

PS: generalizations based on linguistic community/caste ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.

6 years ago

“For some reason Pakistanis don’t scale the same peaks as Indians do..”

Where this is really true and impactful is the field of entrepreneurship. Take for example, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in the UAE. Pakistanis are half the population of Indians, but they hardly figure in the list of the UAE’s major business people.

Out of 12 billionaires from the UAE, 5 are local Emirati, and all the remaining 7 are Indian.

And the Indian rich list in the UAE goes far beyond these billionaires, there many more millionaires:

But if you look carefully, you will notice a trend similar to the one I mentioned in the last comment. None of these business people are from North India, it is mostly Gujaratis, Sindhis and folks from the Malabar coast.

6 years ago

The trader castes are present in virtually every region of the subcontinent. But they were more numerous in the North Western regions, possibly due to the aridity of the area and lack of cultivable land. During the colonial era, these castes spread towards the interior, giving rise to communities such as the Marwaris of Kolkata.

However, an important distinction is that in places like Gujarat, East and West coast, traditionally non-mercantile communities such as Patels, Reddys, Nairs, Pillais etc have taken up entrepreneurship. This is not true of North India and Bengal. The agrarian castes like Jats, Yadavs and Thakurs have focused on politics as a means for upwards mobility, not business.

6 years ago
Reply to  Vikram

You forgot about Chattiyars from the south (Tamil Nadu). They have however lost their past glory. During the British era and earlier, they were pretty rich merchants in India, Burma (Myanmar) and south-east Asia. Look at their haveli’s in Tamil Nadu:



6 years ago

Could we put Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on this list? After all, he did make qawaali global.

Or even Madam Noor Jehan?

Faiz Ahmed Faiz deserves to be on this list for his poetry– though you could argue that outside of the subcontinent and the desi diaspora, he’s not famous.

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