Person of the Year


Time magazine chose Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, as the Person of the Year 2010.  At the age of 26 he is a remarkable success with his networking enterprise which has made him one of the richest young persons in the world.  I do admire Zuckerberg’s skill and enterprise.  But does he deserve to be the Person of the Year?  Is Time indirectly telling us that entrepreneurial success is the most important quality today?

The readers of Time had wanted Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, as the Person of the Year.  But Time dishonoured its readers’ wish.  The common person does not determine the codes of success or greatness; it is determined by the powers.  Such powers can even arrest those whom the common persons may acclaim as heroes.  The desire of the Time readers, however, indicates that the common person still admires certain age-old values such as honesty and transparency.  

My choice as the Person of the Year is Dr E. Sreedharan, the man at the helm of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. 

Dr Sreedharan is the epitome of what the readers of Time and most common persons would demand from a public figure.  He epitomises integrity and transparency.  When asked by his guru, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha, to give a one-word answer to how he succeeded in achieving such a remarkable feat as the Delhi Metro, Dr Sreedharan’s answer was: “Integrity.”

Would WikiLeaks ever be able to find any incriminating conversation that emanated from Dr Sreedharan?  I think not. Of course, Dr Sreedharan is not a political figure.  But why should chicanery be the normal attribute of a politician?  Can’t a politician be simply honest and straightforward?  Why not?  Why should the WikiLeaks revelations evoke so much fulmination from politicians across the world?  Why did these politicians speak so much, about their counterparts or other countries, which they would be ashamed of if made public?

In more plain words, why has the age-old value of honesty died so pathetically?

Dr Sreedharan has launched a Foundation with the intention of bringing back the forgotten values of yesteryears.  Foundation for Restoration of National Values [FRNV] is “an effort to rekindle the love and respect in the people for their society and country by awakening them to their national and cultural values,” in Dr Sreedharan’s words.  In 2008, the year in which the Foundation was set up, FRNV organised a seminar in Delhi which was attended by leaders of national parties and top-level bureaucrats.  The papers presented were later anthologised into a book titled Restoring Values published by Sage India.  Dr Sreedharan presented a copy of the book to each employee of DMRC. 

Dr Sreedharan says, “DMRC is not an organisation, it is a culture.”  How many leaders today would be able to say that about their institution?

That’s why I elect Dr Sreedharan as the Person of the Year.

FRNV has a website.  If you are interested, you may click here.  But the Foundation is not a movement at the grassroots level.  It is rather meant for decision makers.  However, anyone can become a friend of the Foundation by filling in a form online.

 [Photo courtesy:


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4 Responses to Person of the Year

  1. dawnanddew says:

    Well said, sir! I too second you in electing Dr. Sreedharan as the Person of the Year 2010.
    Thanks for the valuable information on FRNV and the link to its website.

  2. Sparsh says:

    Sir, when we talk about the person of the year I think we talk about the person who has changed the world.. For better or worse. The change brought by that person must be significant. And if that is so then TIME has chosen the correct person. Facebook (FB) is not just a toy anymore.. Not just a time killer either.. It is a part of daily routine for more than 500 million ppl across the world. It has changed the way we exist in the virtual world now. It has brought friends and family together like nothing else could in these days. If i see/read/listen/watch something interesting and I’m sure someone I know might like then the obvious thing for me to do is to post it over FB. Existance has a different meaning now. The process of getting to know a person has changed too. It has become facebooked.
    I’m not saying that Wikileaks hasn’t stired the world. All i’m saying is that The Person Of The Year is someone who has brought about a change in everyone’s life and this year that person was ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ with his Facebook. Maybe next year it will be ‘Julian’.

    • matheikal says:

      Nice comment, Sparsh. And all the best for Julian Sparsh’s quest.
      Anyway, 500 million people is less than 1 percent of the people in the world. And this one percent too will find a new entertainment soon – just as they did when they abandoned Orkut and embraced Facebook. Or just as they abandoned Sidney Sheldon and welcomed Dan Brown. Or … How long will Facebook last? Another decade? That may be a long period, I think, for Facebook. Julian Assange’s revelations may have much longer lasting impact on the world politics. And E Sreedharan’s contribution too will have a far longer impact on Delhi. I agree that Delhi is too small a place in the world map. But the contribution is BIG for Delhi. And the implication I’m trying to focus is BIG too. Creativity is a complex process, and a durable one too.

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