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Bhim Army’s Chandra Shekhar Aazad, 5 Indian-origin persons on TIME list of emerging leaders

Time100 Next noted how Bhim Army practices a 'distinct brand of assertiveness', and also made note of Aazad's 'aura of charismatic approachability' and 'luxuriant' moustache.

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New Delhi: Bhim Army Chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad has been featured in TIME magazine’s annual list of 100 “emerging leaders who are shaping the future”.

The TIME100 Next, which was published Wednesday, is an expansion of the magazine’s flagship TIME100 franchise that highlights 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future across genres — including artists, advocates, leaders, phenoms, advocates and innovators.

The magazine noted how Aazad’s Bhim Army “runs schools to help Dalits escape poverty through education”. The Bhim Army, it further said, “practices a distinct brand of assertiveness, sweeping into villages on loud motorbikes to protect victims of caste-based violence and organizing provocative demonstrations against discrimination”.

The Bhim Army had also “spearheaded a campaign for justice” in the September 2020 gang rape and assault of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, allegedly by four upper caste men, in Uttar Pradesh, the magazine said.

TIME recognised Aazad’s political ambitions and the formation of his Aazad Samaj Party in March last year. The party’s “first real test”, it noted, will come during elections next year in Uttar Pradesh, where “Hindu nationalists are politically dominant”.

The magazine also said that even though the Bhim Army has maintained a “muscular stance”, Aazad has cultivated “an aura of charismatic approachability through deft use of social media”. The article also took note of how Aazad’s “luxuriant” moustache was a form of resistance, a style often seen by upper castes as a “status symbol”.

Also read: After long silence, Kanhaiya speaks up on student arrests: ‘Lesson to those who raise voice’

Other Indian-origin people on the list

Five Indian-origin personalities have also made it to the list, including Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer in the United Kingdom; Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and its head of policy; Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart; Dr Shikha Gupta, executive director of the nonprofit Get us PPE; and co-founder of nonprofit Upsolve Rohan Pavuluri.

Sunak’s rise, the magazine noted, has been noteworthy — from an “unknown” minister in the British government to becoming the “benevolent face of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic”. He was chosen to lead the government’s treasury in February 2020. However, the report also said that Sunak perhaps carries more blame than most others for Britain’s failure to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawyer Gadde, TIME noted, was the one who had reportedly pulled the plug on former US president Donald Trump’s Twitter account following the 6 January attack on the Capitol. It also described how she takes all decisions on “content-moderation” for the social media giant, was the architect of the 2019 decision to ban all political advertising, and is responsible for the warning labels that Twitter applied to “Covid-19 and election-interference misinformation”.

“While Twitter is still home to much misinformation and harassment,” the magazine said, “Gadde’s influence is slowly turning the company into one that sees free speech not as sacrosanct — but as just one human right among many that need to be weighed against one another.”

Instacart, founded by 34-year-old Mehta, is a grocery pick-up and delivery service in the US that became popular during the Covid-19-induced lockdowns and which had raised $500 million in venture capital last year.

The magazine also recognised Washington-based Dr Shikha Gupta, whose NGO called Get us PPE is one of the largest organisations in the US that has arranged PPEs for frontline workers in the country. It has helped distribute more than 6.6 million PPEs in America so far.

TIME also noted how Pavuluri’s Upsolve helped relieve more than $300 million in debt. Upsolve offers a free online tool to help users fill out bankruptcy forms on their own. Filing for personal bankruptcy is an effective way in America to eliminate debt and re-enter the economy. But high legal fees and complex paperwork often make the process difficult for low-income families.

Also read: Modi era has birthed its own Azadi songs — ‘Bella Ciao, Wapas Jao’ to ‘Kaagaz Nahi Dikhayenge’


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  1. Two politicians from Uttar Pradesh impress me a lot : Chandra Shekhar Aazad and Jayant Choudhury. Akhilesh Yadav, less than before. Ms Mayawati, not at all. The latest tragedy from Unnao is one more reminder of how poor a choice CM Ajay Bisht has proved to be.

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