Posted by Vinay Tewari on November 21, 1999 at 01:15:14:
Times of India : 21nd November, 1999
Gandhi leads, but look who's following him!
NEW DELHI: One made us laugh and cry. Another shaped our destiny. One created wealth. Another contributed compassion. So which 100 Indians have left the deepest impact on our country this century? No easy task, but our netizens seem to have pretty definite ideas.
The ongoing Times Indian of the Century Poll, being conducted on our website, timesofindia.com, has shown up the sheer enormity of the range of icons. But the 35,000 plus voters in the ongoing poll have also thrown up some real surprises. So that, though Mahatma Gandhi stands ahead of everybody else in the ``leaders and politicians'' sections, Jawaharlal Nehru gets overtaken by Bengal's icon Subhash Chandra Bose, Iron Man Sardar Patel and even Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
And Andhra Pradesh CEO Chandrababu Naidu leads by almost four times the number of votes polled by L K Advani and Manmohan Singh. With a small postscript: Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse bags half of what Naidu polled.
But here comes the surprise package. While Laloo Yadav, wife Rabri Devi and Jayalalitha, too, have admirers on the Net, even Phoolan Devi has opened her account!
The verdict in the ``artists and entertainers'' section is clear. Lata Mangeshkar's 50,000 and more songs are preferred not to Sachin Tendulkar's 24 one-day centuries but also to the 100-and-above angry young man movies of the '70s' screen-God Amitabh Bachchan.
Satyajit Ray's masterpieces and Ravi Shankar's sitar have garnered twice as much approval as Sunil Gavaskar's record 36 test-centuries and Kapil Dev's all-round exploits on the cricket field. But take heart, those of you sounding the death knell of Indian hockey: Dhyan Chand has as many endorsers as Asha Bhosle. And, perhaps not so surprisingly, Madhuri Dixit has twice the number of votes polled by her much admired admirer, M F Husain.
In the ``creators of wealth section'' voters are helping us decide which Indians have built the foundation of an industrialised society. JRD Tata expectedly leads the race, but close on his heels are the Birlas and the Reliance man, Dhirubhai Ambani.
However, new interpretations seem to be emerging for the term `creators of wealth.' For, Harshad Mehta has bagged as many votes as Rahul Bajaj, the Mahindras and the Singhanias.
Fights between ``great minds and spiritual lights?'' Yes, the final section too offers surprises. Two of Bengal's greats, Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa are locked in a close contest. But our own missile-man APJ Abdul Kalam has got the backing of twice the number for Swami Vivekananda.
And then, while Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is locked in a photo finish with Osho Rajneesh, the architect of India's economic reforms, Manmohan Singh, has trotted off a long way ahead.
These trends are part of the first phase of the poll in which voters will help in shortlisting 100 Indians (25 in each category) by suggesting three names in each category. In the second phase, visitors to the site will help choose three Indians of the Century from these four categories.
But that starts on December 1. Meanwhile, if your hero or heroine has not made it to the list, you've got about 10 days to click on your choice.
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