A leading Indian daily has come with this its list of 100 Most Powerful Indians and the first few names are hardly surprising. The publication didn’t specify the methodology applied to come up with the list, but was kind enough to proffer some dots that could be joined.You see Mr. Narendra Modi (#1) is the most powerful Indian as this is 2014, an election year, which could be the most defining one witnessed by India in a while. So far so good. So, if Mr. Modi is Numero Uno, Mr. Rahul Gandhi but has to be #2. The publication is certain that Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the Congress President & UPA Chairperson, also known as Soniaji, Mrs. G and Mama Mia or Mama Roma (depending on the situation), who incidentally happens to be Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s biological mother (in politics there is often a political parent as well, but Mr. Rahul Gandhi is lucky to have both rolled into one) wouldn’t mind being #3. Of course, it hardly matters that in 2013 Mr. Modi was #2, Mr. Gandhi was #1 and Mrs. G was #3. There is a certain sense of grasp of the future and therefore Mr. Modi Mr. Gandhi, and Mrs. Gandhi as #1, #2, and #3 works just fine. Unless, of course, the list transforms in one of 100 most powerful letdowns whereby Mr. Gandhi as #1 would make all the sense.
I am slightly disappointed by the compilation. How is Arvind Kejriwal (#4) more powerful than the President of India (#5)? I can understand that both Rahul and Sonia Gandhi wield more authority than His Excellency Pranab Mukherjee and yes, Narendra Modi theoretically possesses Super Authority but the 49-day CM of Delhi who preferred to sit on dhanrnas rather than fixing the pathetic roads of New Delhi and finally left his electorate high and dry to chase phantoms, Kejriwal having more power than a Sharad Pawar or an Ahmad Patel (#59), the man who facilitates it all by being Sonia Gandhi’s right hand man is bunkum.
One of things that often escape one’s eyes in such a compilation is the last name. Spare a thought for #100 on the list of 100 Most Powerful Indians. One would automatically assume that the most powerful Indian is the most powerful entity amongst the entire population and therefore, by the same yardstick, would the last on the list matter less than an average person for whom such lists are made? How would Subodh Gutpa, 50, artist, feel to be the least powerful amongst 1.2 billion, and counting, Indians? For those who don’t know who Gupta is, or like me, often endearingly refer to him as the raddi bhanda baatli walla is an installation artist of international repute. Someone described him as the ‘Damien Hirst of India’ while many others believe Gupta to be the face of contemporary art in the world. So, in spite art of being all consuming, all powerful and all that, he finds himself last and the least.
Honestly Gupta shouldn’t feel bad, for what list of 100 Most Powerful Indians would place Mukesh Ambani at #19. Who in their right minds would consider Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, placed at #16 more powerful than Dhirubhai Ambani’s first born? I don’t know about the publication but most Indians don’t think that Rajan has managed to stabilize the Rupee, which is incidentally the big ‘WHY’ Rajan made it to the list. Similarly AAP Ke Apne Manish Sisodia (#43), Samir & Vineet Jain (#51) the dudes who run Bennett And Coleman And Co. Ltd. or like I’d describe them- the long dead people on whose names Times of India is published, Anand Mahindra (#41), Chairman & M.D. of Mahindra & Mahindra and now, an avid tweeter, and N. Srinivasan (#30), the head honcho of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who rose above the concept of conflict of interest and refused to step down as the head of an organization investigating his son-in-law’s involvement in fixing Indian Premier League (IPL) matches are all more powerful than the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh (#57). Oh, by the way N. Srinivasan’s favorite book is The Godfather and Mamata Banerjee (#7), Mayawati (#8), Sharad Pawar (#12), Jaganmohan Reddy (#21), Mulayam Singh Yadav (#22), M.S. Dhoni (#35), Shah Rukh Khan (#53), Aamir Khan (#55) are all more ‘powerful’ than the Prime Minister of India.
But all isn’t lost.
Ranjit Sinha (#27), the Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), is supposedly more powerful than the PM and that placates those who thought it was a puppet being pulled by the PMO… phew.
Priyanka Gandhi (#24) is allegedly more powerful than Mr. Sinha? Oh, well… , yay for woman power. I guess.