Lord Swaraj Paul
A consistent NRI newsmaker for over three decades, Paul just made history by being installed Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords. Paul, seen in this pic with BJP leader LK Advani (left), is the first Indian to sit on the woolsack, the traditional seat. He has extensive investments in India for his multi-billion pound company Caparo Group. Conferred the Peerage in 1996 and honoured with the Padma Bhushan by India in 1983, 77-year-old Lord Paul is one of the most famous Indian origin entrepreneurs in Britain.
Appointed to the Transition Team of US president-elect Barrack Obama, she is a member of a three-person team to coordinate technology, innovation and government reform during the transition. She earlier headed the philanthropic department of Internet giant Google; and was vice president at Goldman, Sachs and Co and developed and implemented the firm’s environmental strategy. Shah, who raised funds for victims of the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat through the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-America, has denied any links to this organisation.
The Citibank CEO shocked everyone with his sudden appointment to the world’s biggest banking company. After a year, he is right in the eye of the global financial tsunami to save his bank and spearhead its recovery. He makes news with the US government’s multi-billion dollar recovery package for his bank, job losses, restructuring and reviving an icon of the American financial sector. Facing a difficult recovery, Pandit faces one of the toughest challenges ever seen in the banking industry.
A Malaysian-Indian veteran lawyer and human rights activist, he fought the general election as an opposition candidate for equal treatment of all Malays for government contracts, employment and appointments. He has highlighted the woes of all underprivileged for 30 years and has been compared to Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
Sir Salman Rushdie
His long-time bestseller ‘Midnight’s Children’ was, following a public vote, declared the Best of the Booker in the award’s 40-year history.
A South African Indian judge, he was appointed for four years as the UN Human Rights Commissioner - a significant achievement for NRIs. Her grand-parents migrated from Tamil Nadu to South Africa as sugarcane indentured labourers in the late 1800s, and she became the first woman to start law practice in South Africa’s Natal Province in 1968. Pillay defended several anti-apartheid activists and successfully fought for the right of political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela.
Lakshmi Mittal made some news for the wrong reasons this year. The world’s largest steel maker after he took over Arcelor, Mittal has had to take tough decisions on staff sackings, respond to environmental concerns and acquisitions and mergers. On the positive side, he was honoured with Padma Vibhushan by India and the third Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award for heroes of entrepreneurial capitalism and free enterprise.
The Great Khali, Dilip Singh Rana
One of the largest athletes in the World Wrestling Entertainment and World Heavyweight Champion, Khali calls himself after the Hindu Goddess Kali. This towering giant at seven feet three inches enjoyed a hero’s welcome during his visit to India this year. He also landed up film contracts.
He was convicted of rape after a glamorous career as the fashion designer to Hollywood stars. From Beverley Hills to prison wards, he made headlines with court proceedings when he was accused of luring young women and girls, as young as 14, to an apartment where he acted out sadistic fantasies. The powerful, strident campaign for his innocence mounted by his sister Sanjana claims that he was framed.
and finally the most recent one !