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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen are among nine Indians who figure in the annual Time magazine list of 100 most influential people while its alumnae chart is topped by Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Other Indians on the list of most influential people are: Eye specialist Perumalsamy Namperumalsam, humanitarian worker Sanjit Buker Roy, writer Chetan Bhagat, Indian-America doctor and Harvard professor Atul Gwande, paramedic from Toronto Rahul Singh and entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
The magazine recognised Prime Minister Singh's contribution towards liberalising the economy and guiding India into the "ranks of the great powers."
"The long history of India boasts many great leaders. But the much shorter history of Indian democracy is already creating its own heroes, and Manmohan Singh, 77, is one of them," Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, wrote in the magazine.
As India's Finance Minister from 1991 to 1996, Singh realised that the country had everything to gain by opening up to the world. "Through his tireless efforts to cut bureaucracy and open markets, he released India's potential for the benefit of its people," Nooyi said.
"Now, as Prime Minister, he is guiding India into the ranks of the great powers. India today is a critical engine of global growth, a vital partner in global security and a model for democratic development.
"Perhaps more important, Singh is ensuring this progress is not enjoyed by a chosen few; he realises that economic development is the best anti-poverty programme a government can design," Nooyi wrote.
Author Deepak Chopra wrote about Tendulkar's double century 200 runs in a One Day International match. "To millions of Indians and countless fans around the world, this act, which caps a career of record-breaking feats, arouses a sense of awe," he said.
Chopra said sports heroes such as Tendulkar, 37, stand for national dignity in a way that perhaps only a postcolonial nation can understand. "And feel grateful for."
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