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Indians who are changing the face of India:

In the eyes of the world, India for long has been a land of mysticism, snake charmers, caparisoned elephants, bejewelled maharajas, and magicians. It also has been associated with bullock carts, beggars, maladies and chaos. Even in these modern times, the potholed roads, crime on the rise, corruption, litter and many other social conditions do make us hang our head down. But today, the stereotypes about India are changing the world over. The world sees India as an emerging power that has made quantum leaps in science, technology, medicine, entertainment and other fields. There are achievers and stars who shine on the global scene, making us proud to be Indians.

Personally, I think it is very difficult to choose a few Indians who are changing the face of India. But I’ve managed to pick those who have caused a paradigm shift in how brand India has been perceived, both to Indians and to the rest of the world. (The list is in no particular order)

Narendra Modi

Master of symbolism, Modi has shaped young Indians’ perception of Brand India with a mix of old and new. After putting Gujarat on the world map, he built his pan-India appeal and created an image of a decisive leader and an entrepreneur who can pull the nation out of economic woes. The 15th Prime Minister of India also has a record 20million+ followers on twitter. His radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ also became an instant hit and has generated more than 61,000 ideas from its followers. The social media-savvy politician became the first to interact with citizens through live chat on the internet. Ranked as the 15th most powerful person in the world by Forbes magazine, his ongoing ‘Make in India’ campaign seems to have taken the world and of course India, by storm.

Tessy Thomas

Presenting to you India’s Missile Woman, Tessy Thomas. She is the first woman scientist to lead a missile project in the country. Tessy was the Associate Project Director of the 3,000 km range Agni-III missile project and also the Project Director for Mission Agni IV, which was successfully tested in 2011. In January 2012, the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told the Indian Science Congress that Tessy is an example of a “woman making her mark in a traditionally male bastion and decisively breaking the glass ceiling.” The media loves to call her Agni Putri, or one born from fire, after the missiles she has helped develop. Even today, she barely has a moment to spare, as she works 12-hours a day, even on Sundays for two more tests that have to be conducted before the 5,000-km intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can be given to the defence forces.

Amitabh Bachchan

Rightly called the ‘One-man Industry’ by none other than the French director François Truffaut, Amitabh Bachchan has performed different roles in more than 180 films. With numerous awards like the Padma Shri in 1984 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001 under his belt, the man doesn’t fail to make India proud the world over. It was a fortunate moment for India when BBC News Poll named him the Actor of the Millennium ahead of such luminaries as Charles Chaplin, Sir Laurence Olivier, and Marlon Brando. This legendary actor has never allowed fame to get into his head. He still remains a teetotaller and is very punctual even to this day.

N. R. Narayana Murthy

The simplicity and humbleness of this man is his best quality. Famous as the founder of Infosys, Mr. Murthy’s main contribution has come in outsourcing IT services. It was the Global Delivery Model which he developed, articulated, designed and implemented, which has become the foundation of the ever-growing outsourcing industry in India. Murthy has been recognized internationally, and Time Magazine also described him as the Father of Indian IT. He was also named as one of the 12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time, by the Fortune magazine in 2012 and among the ten most-admired global business leaders in 2005 by the Economist. He is the winner of Padma Vibhushan in 2008.

A. R. Rahman

The first Indian to win an Oscar, A.R. Rahman is undoubtedly one of the few Indians who has achieved that critical transition from being a national icon to being a globally bankable musician. He is one of those composers who require very little analysis. Every aspect of his work has already been examined and written about. His music is everywhere — whether it’s the little villages in the Indian countryside or the most expensive performance venues in London’s West End. The Oscars, the Grammys, the BAFTAs notwithstanding, Rahman’s name is into the list of the world’s most influential people by Time magazine. In recent times, he is among the handful in India who has achieved such pre-eminence.

These were a few world-renowned, world-shaping people from India, who have through their life and work, built a many faceted brand India — scientific India, spiritual India, artistic India, intellectual India, intelligent India and so on.

Do you think there are any other Indians who are changing the face of India, that you wish to see in this list?

Please drop in your suggestions in the comments box.

One of the names on this list – Narayana Murthy – is an IITian who has put India on the world map. Read about more such famous IITians here.

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