- MK Gandhi – Forget non-violence, truth, the freedom struggle and the other points of reference associated with the Mahatma, it is just that at the time of extreme moral decadence as this, we can always hark back to our history and feel blessed that a great soul who lived very much in our midst walked the earth. Its nigh impossible to get another Gandhi, because people will have realized by now that, as GB Shaw says, ‘it is dangerous to be too good’!
- John le Carre – A book critic had once wondered in one of Le Carre’s book reviews, as to why he hasn’t received a Nobel Prize for literature. The critic’s rumination is not unfounded, at least for me. Le Carre is at once a spy master and a high priest of language. His plots are apposite to the state of the world, and never miss the human element which we do with such abandon in our real lives.
- Rajinikanth – The first individual, and the only one so far, whose autobiography I cannot wait to read, whenever it comes. So great is this personality, that I lie in perennial doubt if he’ll ever let the story of his life be trapped within covers. He should though, for this world is always full of inspirations, but never full with.
- AR Rahman – My appreciation of his music will probably do injustice to his divine talent, as I am aware that it requires an extremely discerning ear, even for ovation. But I also know that beyond his music lies love, which really is the sum of his life’s achievements. A true saint he is.
- Alan Moore – A comics writer, Moore has beaten hollow some of the greatest practitioners of non-graphic fiction of our time. V for Vendetta and Watchmen are more than testimonials to his literary genius. His writing leaves me amazed at the unfathomable depths the human mind can go to, in unravelling the complexities of the its own psyche. Little wonder then that he is regarded the greatest graphic novel writer of all time.
- Jimmy Wales – He founded Wikipedia. I don’t need any other reason to celebrate him. He was on Time magazine’s 2006 list of 100 most influential people in the world. When knowledge is offered free, spare a moment for the giver before grabbing it with both hands. I will take this opportunity to urge you all to contribute to Wikimedia, and do your bit to make Earth more accessible to its own denizens.
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee – One can’t mention Wikipedia without mentioning the Internet. If there’s a Briton I have consciously reminded myself to start admiring, it is most certainly Berners-Lee. Hell, he invented the World Wide Web. I can bet my bottom dollar that many of you know me because of what this individual came up with in the summer of ’89.
- Robert Maitland Bereton – The Indian rail route from Bombay to Calcutta is touted to be a part of the inspiration for Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. This line was the result of the rapid expansion of the Indian Railways from 1857. And the Robert Bereton was the gentleman who was primarily responsible for building the complex network of railroads in our country. Can we doff our hats for the Brits this once?
- David Gilmour and Roger Waters – The soul of Pink Floyd. Their regime on the rock stage was colossal. Their sound to this day is most distinct, as are their lyrics. Waters and his profound lyrics, and his equally plangent, resonant, deep-toned and silken voice, Gilmour with his amazing dexterity on the guitar, Gilmour with ‘his’ guitar, and a ‘feathery’ voice, along with steadfastness that saw him till disbanding (never in spirit though). Pink Floyd and its stalwarts had to be on this list, no two ways about it!
Who are your admirable 10?