TIME Magazine released their annual list of the 100 most influential people. 2018’s list includes some big names we know and love divided into category like ‘pioneers,’ ‘leaders,’ and ‘icons.’ Among these 100 are eight inspiring and powerhouse South Asians.
They have embarked on a journey to share their narratives with the world. From the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to the British-Muslim Mayor of London, from record-breaking artists like Kumail Nanjiani to Deepika Padrone, from tech entrepreneurs like Ola’s Bhavish Agarwal to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, their contributions have put them on a pedestal and for a damn good reason. These individuals are hustling and leading the charge, propelling the South Asian community further ahead in the society. For that, we are thankful.
While it is quite eye-opening that only 8% of this list is desi folks, we couldn’t be prouder to see their achievements highlighted in the prestigious #TIME100 list. Here are the honored South Asians and their close friends and admirers have written moving words about them.
“He reminds people how fundamental a misunderstanding it is that a community of almost 2 billion people is to be feared. We’re lucky to have Kumail. We need a thousand more.”
“In counting his laurels, it’s easy to forget the struggles he faced while building one of India’s most storied startups. From bootstrapping Ola when Indian consumer tech was still taking baby steps to braving regulatory hurdles and fighting off foreign competitors, Bhavish has driven around the block a few times.”
“So often in the entertainment industry we deal in stereotypes, and people get stuck in certain markets. Deepika is the best Earth has to offer. She’s not just here to represent India; she’s here to represent the world.”
“Nadella also preaches the importance of empathy and making products that work reliably, traits that deepened in him when his first child was born with brain damage and his son’s life depended on linked machines running Microsoft systems.”
“As immigration concerns were driving the push for Brexit, Londoners elected Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, as their mayor in May 2016, making him the first Muslim to hold that position in a major European capital. I met with him a few weeks after his election and was impressed by his ambitious agenda.”
“Varadkar is now at the center of E.U. negotiations on Brexit, which could have a devastating impact on Ireland’s peace and prosperity. He also faces a major housing and homelessness crisis. The country’s youngest-ever Taoiseach will be judged on how he guides his nation through these challenges.”
“Bearing the legacy of her father, who led Bangladesh’s liberation war, Hasina has never been afraid of a fight. So when several hundred thousand ethnic Rohingya refugees started streaming into Bangladesh last August to escape atrocities by the Myanmar army, she accepted the humanitarian challenge.”
“Every sportsman knows what it’s like to have good spells and bad ones too. Virat took the criticism he faced during a disappointing West Indies series and returned home with a goal: to improve not only his technique, but also his fitness level. He’s never looked back.”
For the following three, the writers for them were excellent South Asians, who put pen to paper in order to explain why they were honored.
“Thanks to Waithe, diverse communities can turn on the TV and see vivid, funny, deeply real portrayals of people like themselves. And that’s empowering—whether you’re a student or a Senator.”
“Somewhere among biryani, poutine and endless conversations, I realized just how deeply Meghan Markle cares for the world. With her, what you see is real, and what you get is a relatable young woman with her heart and mind in the right place.”
“He’s a by-the-book lawman who, with nothing to prove and a lifetime of service behind him, agreed to lead the most fraught, least understood, highest-stakes investigation of our time. For that we owe him incalculable thanks.”