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Person of the Year

Saina Nehwal
badminton player

Sachin Tendulkar, for scoring his 50th Test century at Centurion, South Africa. His feat, a first for any cricketer, makes him my Person of the Year. He continues to outperform himself and that speaks a lot for his talent and dedication to the sport. Besides, I would also rate myself as the Person of the Year.

Somnath Chatterjee
former Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Sachin Tendulkar, who made history with his 50th Test century this year. And I hope that he will inspire many more youngsters from our country to follow in his footsteps.

Mahesh Bhatt
filmmaker

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. In fact, he’s my icon of the decade. His Wikileaks have destroyed many set ideas, such as the way a government runs, the manner in which bureaucrats function and so on. More importantly, the concept of privacy has been consigned to the dustbin. If anyone has shown what transparency should be, it is Assange. In the final analysis, he is keeping the dissident culture alive. So more power to Assange and what he represents.

Rahul Bajaj
industrialist

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who was re-elected to office for turning the state around. He has transformed Bihar from a poor, lawless state to one which has been set firmly on the road to progress. He is an example to every political party and politician in the country and I hope others will follow in his footsteps.

Ganesh Pyne
artist

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese human rights activist who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year. In a communist country like China it is admirable that Xiaobo raised his voice against human rights violations. Despite imprisonment, he has struggled relentlessly — not only to claim his own rights but also the rights of thousands of his countrymen. Today, Xiaobo has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Yashwant Sinha
BJP politician

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, for exposing the foreign policy of the US. The US lectures the world about morality, but Assange has been successful in showing the doublespeak it indulges in. I imagine a lot of hard work has gone into this effort to obtain the secret cables. I feel it is nothing less than an historic event. And the way Assange is now being hounded by the Western countries also speaks for the enormity of what he has exposed.

William Dalrymple
writer

Mahmood Farooqi and Anusha Rizvi jointly for making the film Peepli Live — the best and truest Indian film in a very long while. It shows the present state of the Indian media, but does not do so in a preachy manner. I would say they are definitely the People of the Year. There’s also Basharat Peer, the journalist. I nominate him for gently and unsensationally making comprehensible the pain and oppression of the people of Kashmir, something most Indians would prefer to turn their eyes away from.

Anuradha J. Desai
chairperson, Venky’s

Sachin Tendulkar, for his 50th Test century this year. With this act he has once again rewritten history. I feel that after Don Bradman, we can safely say that Sachin is the greatest cricketer of all times. On top of everything, Sachin has made us proud as Indians.

Shyam Benegal
filmmaker

The aam admi, for bearing the brunt of the innumerable scams that rock our nation repeatedly and routinely. There is this constant chipping away of the rule of law largely by the political parties themselves, the cosy collusion of sections of industry with politicians and bureaucrats who break rules and override norms to corner precious natural resources… I could go on and on. Yet, despite all this venality, the aam admi does not lose hope and continues to look forward to a better tomorrow. And that’s why he is my Person of the Year.

Javed Akhtar
lyricist

Sachin Tendulkar wins the title hands down. And it’s not just because he scored his 50th Test hundred this year. This man has shown what sincerity, single-minded determination and discipline can achieve. Sachin’s life is the biggest message to anybody who wants to achieve something in life.

Digvijay Singh
Congress politician

Sachin Tendulkar, for getting the 50th Test century. The more he ages, the more he is maturing as a cricketer. The kind of innings he has played is simply outstanding. He has achieved the unachievable.

Karun Chandhok
racing driver

Saina Nehwal is my Person of the Year. I think Nehwal has been outstanding this year. For someone so young, she has shown great maturity and has kept her feet on the ground. She keeps getting better and better on court and I hope she carries on with her good performance. She is clearly the new face of Indian sport.

Viswanathan Anand
world chess champion

My Person of the Year won’t be a single entity. In fact, I would vote for the reigning World Cup football champions, the Spanish football team, for this title. The way they played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup surprised everyone, including themselves. It gave me immense pleasure to see Spain lifting the Cup.

Amjad Ali Khan
musician

US President Barack Obama, for his commitment to bringing peace, prosperity and unity to the whole world. His visit to India with Michelle Obama was a good way of cementing the friendly ties between the two countries. While his election as President is a testament to what a person can achieve in a democracy, he gets my vote for his commitment to building friendly relations among all nations.

Mani Shankar Aiyar
congress politician

The aam admi, who has made life difficult for prominent politicians, businessmen, mediapersons and sports administrators this year. The aam admi has been at the receiving end for some years now, but 2010 was the year when democracy ceased to be the privilege of Parliament and the institutions of government, and they became starkly answerable to the people. Perhaps this year is the turning point in the maturing of our democracy.

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