Desis that Make News

With increasing Indian immigrants’ presence in all major countries, the news of their success stories regularly appearing in local or foreign media invite different reactions. Some please rather excite, some make morose, and some even pain badly. But here I mention some that are really inspiring ones.

Forbes has done a story on the most successful CEOs of Indian origin. For many years Indian young men and women are immigrating to US. Normally, they complete their masters or PhDs and take job in US, some in big MNCs. Some reach the top position. PepsiCo chief executive Indra Nooyi inevitably tops the list of what Forbes calls “Eight Indian-Flavoured CEOs” who lead US corporations with revenues of at least $2 billion. Others in the list are Dinesh Paliwal of Harman International, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Francisco D’Souza, 40 of Cognizant Technology Solutions, Shantanu Narayen, of Adobe Systems, Surya Mohapatra of Quest Diagnostics, Jai P. Nagarkatti of Sigma-Aldrich, and Abhijit Talwalkar of LSI. However, Forbes very rightly concludes that the number of immigrants who are leading corporate America is still a tiny fraction.

Chidanand Rajghatta based in US has been writing about the Non- Resident Indians for long. His book ‘The Horse that flew‘ was inspiring. I sent a copy to Rakesh. It might have inspired him to switch over to business with

A Chidanand Rajghatta’s recent article in Times of India- Cresent ‘Desis in DC‘ deals with the success stories of Indians in administration. According to him, there has been an incremental increase in the profile of Indian-Americans in the administration, politics, and public life in successive presidencies from Clinton to Bush to Obama, in keeping with their rising numbers (2.5 million now). Pakistani ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani produced 26 as the number of Indian-Americans serving in Obama’s administration. Obama’s has more Indian-Americans in senior positions than any US government – at least a dozen at last count. Two of Obama’s most significant choices were Aneesh Chopra to be the First Chief Technology Officer and Vivek Kundra as the Federal Chief Information Officer, appointments which endorsed the Indian presence in the technology sector. And I feel like agreeing with Chidanand, one day one of the PIOs (persons of Indian origin) could turn out to be a future desi Obama.

The persons of Indian origin are also doing equally good in many fields, be it finance, legal, education and science. To give just one example, 13.7 percent of international patents applications had an inventor or co-inventor with an Indian-heritage name. Many of Indians are doing good work as teachers. CK Prahalad, the management guru, is one such name.

I have been very ambitious and keep on dreaming even now. With eight in family of eleven by now American citizens, I wish one day one of them or some from the next generation will hold an office of importance in US that may bring big name to this family too.
Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator; Richard Verma, Assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the state department; RO Khanna, Deputy assistant secretary for domestic operations of the US and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration; Vivek Kundra, Federal chief information officer; Aneesh Chopra, First chief technology officer; Arun Majumdar, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy in the US department of energy; Preet Bharara, US attorney for Southern District of New York; Neal Katyal, Principal deputy solicitor general; Rajesh De, Deputy assistant attorney general, US department of justice; Sonal Shah,Deputy assistant to the President, director, Office of SICP, Domestic Policy Council; Farah Pandith, US special representative to Muslim communities; Anju Bhargava, Member, faith-based advisory council; Rajen Anand, Executive director, policy, USDA Center for Nutrition and Promotion

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