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Friday, November 21, 2014

"Time" Person of the Year - let it be Sri Narendra Modiji !!

In its early days : - Charles Lindbergh; Walter Chrysler; Owen D. Young; Mahatma Gandhi; Pierre Laval; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Hugh S. Johnson…… and more recently - Vladimir Putin; Barack Obama; Ben Bernanke; Mark Zuckerberg ….. do you know what connects or brackets them together …. It was Gandhiji in 1930 !

Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine “Time”  that features and profiles a person, group, idea or object that "for better or for worse...has done the most to influence the events of the year".  The tradition of selecting a "Man of the Year" began in 1927, with Time editors contemplating news makers of the year. Since then, individual people, classes of people, the computer ("Machine of the Year" in 1982), and "Endangered Earth" ("Planet of the Year" in 1988) have all been selected for the special year-end issue. Despite the magazine's frequent statements to the contrary, the designation is often regarded as an honour, and spoken of as an award or prize, simply based on many previous selections of admirable people – though the Magazine has had some controversial figures too.

In 1999, the title was changed to Person of the Year. Women who have been selected for recognition after the renaming include "The Whistleblowers" (Cynthia Cooper, Coleen Rowley and Sherron Watkins in 2002) and Melinda Gates (jointly with Bill Gates and Bono, in 2005). Since the list began, every serving President of the United States has been a Person of the Year at least once with  very few exceptions.  Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only person to have received the title three times, first as President-elect (1932) and later as the incumbent President (1934 and 1941).

After a glorious debut on the Forbes list of Most Powerful People in the World, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may well be on his way to clinching the most-coveted Time 'Person of the Year' title for 2014. Our reverred Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among 50 global leaders, business chiefs and pop icons named as contenders by Time magazine for its annual 'Person of the Year' honour.  The Time 'Person of the Year 2014' will be announced next month.   Time has asked its readers to vote for the individual who they think should get the title of Person of the Year and the winner of the reader's choice poll will be announced next month before Time's editors choose the individual from the 50 candidates as the honouree. A report states that as on 20th Nov 2014,  Narendra Modi has so far got 3.8 per cent of the votes, the fourth highest after Russian President Vladimir Putin, teenage Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Ebola doctors and nurses "who are risking their lives to treat and contain the outbreak in the hot zone". Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 6, and the combined winner of our reader polls will be announced on Dec. 8. TIME’s Person of the Year will be announced Dec. 10.

In a separate "Face-off" poll, Modi has been pitted against Indonesia's new president Joko Widodo. The other candidates in the fray for the 'Person of the Year' title are US President Barack Obama, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, US Secretary of State John Kerry and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Among the business chiefs and artists in the fray are Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba founder Jack Ma, auto major GM's first female CEO Mary Barra, Apple CEO Tim Cook and singers Beyonce, Taylor Swift, reality star Kim Kardashian and actress Jennifer Lawrence. Last year's 'Person of the Year', Pope Francis, is also among the candidates along with the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Charles Lindbergh (1927) was the first, and the youngest, person to receive the distinction. He was 25 years old.  Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson, the woman whom English King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry, was the first woman to receive the honour (1936).  In 2011, it was not any single person but ‘Protesters’. No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square, it would incite protests that would topple dictators and start a global wave of dissent. In 2011, protesters didn't just voice their complaints; they changed the world is what Times had to say ! .. it went on to say - Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of history. Back then, when citizen multitudes took to the streets without weapons to declare themselves opposed, it was the very definition of news — vivid, important, often consequential.  "Massive and effective street protest" was a global oxymoron until — suddenly, shockingly —  it became the defining trope of our times. And the protester once again became a maker of history. In Egypt the incitements were a preposterously fraudulent 2010 national election and, as in Tunisia, a not uncommon act of unforgivable brutality by security agents. In the U.S., three acute and overlapping money crises — tanked economy, systemic financial recklessness, gigantic public debt — along with ongoing revelations of double dealing by banks, new state laws making certain public-employee-union demands illegal and the refusal of Congress to consider even slightly higher taxes on the very highest incomes mobilized Occupy Wall Street and its millions of supporters. In Russia it was the realization that another six (or 12) years of Vladimir Putin might not lead to greater prosperity and democratic normality. The stakes are very different in different places. In North America and most of Europe, there are no dictators, and dissidents don't get tortured.

So will it be “Narendra Modi’ – the coveted face of Time magazine as ‘Time Person of the Year 2014’ ? …. We look forward to that.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Nov 2014

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