From the Editor-In-Chief

first_imgEvery year, india today chronicles the high and mighty of this country. These are men and women who influence our lives in ways beyond the most immediate. There are corporate titans who are embracing technology and transforming how we communicate with each other, how we educate our children, how we share resources. There are bankers who are overseeing integration and acquisitions while also welcoming digital innovations. There are technology czars who are changing the definition of ownership of assets, freeing up mindspace to make us acquire less, and perhaps create more. There are cultural icons who impact the brands we buy, the stories we imbibe and the causes we gravitate towards. And there are private citizens, public intellectuals, who are determining the national discourse so essential for the success of governance.Power for these men and women is not brute force that flows from wealth. In many cases, in fact, the giving away of wealth enhances their influence. “The object of power is power,” said George Orwell in 1984. Not any more. The object of power is to change lives, do good, make the world better. Otherwise, a restive consumer/voter/audience will reject the authority seeking to impose it. Governments collapse, products flop and films fail. As Winston Churchill said, “A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” Most often, power eventually rests in the big idea and the audacity to execute it. What also drives the high and mighty is the legacy they would like to leave behind, one reason why we have introduced a Generation Next category in the list.The power list this year reflects the dynamism of the recent past. For the first time in 14 years, there is a record high of 17 new entrants. It shows in the ouster and decline of several start-ups, the rise of sharing economy stars and a new set of political influencers in the Global Indian List in the Age of Trump and Brexit. The high and mighty list has a preponderance of businessmen, at 26, but they are there not merely because of their wealth. The post-1991 titans dominate our world not only because of the goods they produce, but because they are tech evangelists, because they speak their mind on social media, because they are building universities and schools of the future, or because they influence the news we consume.But power is also about endurance, in ample evidence in the nine members who have been on our list since its inception in 2003-Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Azim Premji, Subhash Chandra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sunil Mittal, Anil Ambani and Shah Rukh Khan. These men have shown a quality of power that is often overlooked: resilience. They have faced failure, flops and family splits, and yet have grown their businesses, their empires of the mind. Some, like Ratan Tata, have even withdrawn from active business to come right back, to safeguard what they believe is held in trust to them. And though there are just five women, I am happy to report they are from diverse fields: business, banking, sport and entertainment.The listing, as every year, is a team effort of the magazine’s editors led by Editor (Special Projects) Kaveree Bamzai and a team of reporters who have been tracking their subjects throughout the year. Chief among them are Executive Editor Sandeep Unnithan, Deputy Editor M.G. Arun, Senior Editor Shweta Punj, Senior Associate Editors Kaushik Deka and Suhani Singh and Associate Editor Ananth Krishnan. Inevitably, there will be like every year debate about exclusions, inclusions and rankings. We treat the brickbats and bouquets as an occupational hazard.That apart, I toast these extraordinary people. May they continue to beat the odds.last_img

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