Sonia, Maya among 50 who shaped the decade

Written by Press Trust of India | London | Updated: Dec 31 2009, 05:07am hrs
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati are among the four Indians named in the Financial Times list of 50 People Who Shaped the Decade.

NRI billionaire Lakshmi Mittal and India-born Pepsico chief Indra Nooyi are the other two Indians in the league of 50, which among others also features Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and US President Barack Obama.

About the 50, the UK daily said not all are heroes, some are villains, and many fall somewhere in between.

People from fields as diverse as politics and business, economics and culture have made to the list, which includes legendary investor Warren Buffett, Apple chief Steve Jobs, golfer Tiger Woods, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations co-chair Melinda Gates and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

... the men and women on our list should be seen as representative of the larger themes of the decade. There are some striking omissions, because we felt that a historic event or trend had been captured by someone already on our list, it added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, former US President George Bush, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, US Fed chairman Ben S Bernanke, inventor of famed television programme format Big BrotherJohn De MoI are also in the list.

On Sonia Gandhi, the publication noted that as Congress partys leader since 1998 she has rebuilt Indias largest political party. In doing so, she (Sonia Gandhi) has assured continuity of the Nehru-Gandhi family after the assassinations of her husband and mother-in-law. She has also upheld the national secular vision of India won by Jawaharlal Nehru, Indias first prime minister in 1947 at the end of British rule, the report said. The Financial Times noted that Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are carefully positioned to follow her example.

On Mayawati, the report said she has built a political career as champion of the lower castes. Feared for her fierce temper and unpredictability, she has ambitions to enlarge her mission of upliftment of a community downtrodden for centuries beyond UP.

According to the report, Mittal has used a series of increasingly large acquisitions around the world to construct the worlds biggest steel producer.

The chief of steel maker ArcelorMittal faces a tough 2010, as the steel business looks set to see only a faltering recovery, it added.

Noting that Nooyi was named the chief executive of Pepsico in October 2006, the report said that she seemed to epitomise both the decades spirit of globalisation as well as the emergence of a new generation of woman chief executive.