Centre for Internet & Society

The inclusion of young politicians in the recent reshuffle saw the average age of the Union Cabinet come down. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Across sectors, a new order is emerging as the next generation takes over the reigns. It has been one of our biggest paradoxes - a country which has one of the youngest populations in the world has not been harnessing the energy, verve and change-making abilities of its young.

The article published in the Hindustan Times on November 3, 2012 names Sunil Abraham and Lawrence Liang as some of the young people who are shaping the future...

The Cabinet reshuffle saw the elevation of younger politicians to the higher echelons of power, but these new appointments symbolise the coming of age of an entire generation. Across other sectors too - business, entertainment, activism, publishing - the young are slowly but surely assuming power and extending their influence.

These people are in positions to change the way we live, think, work and play. The future is here. Here's a look at some of those who are shaping it...

1) Sachin Pilot, 35, corporate affairs minister
He is the youngest minister in UPA-II and a two-term MP. He recently became an officer in the Territorial Army. In the cabinet reshuffle, he was elevated to minister of state with independent charge of corporate affairs. He promised to look into corporate irregularities and wants corporate affairs to be an enabling ministry that reduces red tape.

2) Jyotiraditya Scindia, 41, power minister
He is a three-time MP. He has done much for his state, Madhya Pradesh, including computerising state post offices, strengthening BSNL services, setting up industries, and constructing roads. He recently took over the power ministry (independent charge) and said that rural electrification and fuel generation are his priorities.

3) Arvind Kejriwal, 44, activist-turned-politician
An IIT-Kharagpur graduate, he worked for the revenue service before becoming an activist. He joined the RTI movement. In 2006, set up his own NGO and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award for his contribution to RTI. In 2011, he successfully planned Anna Hazare's Lokpal movement. He recently launched his own political party.

4) Siddharth Roy Kapur, 38, MD, UTV Studios
One of the most powerful people in Indian entertainment, he was responsible for many hit films under the UTV banner including Jodhaa Akbar, Fashion, Dev D, Kaminey, Raajneeti, Udaan, Peepli [Live], Delhi Belly and in 2012, Paan Singh Tomar and India's entry to the Oscars, Barfi. He has also been instrumental in the strategic tie-up with Disney.

5) Manish Tewari, 47, Union I&B minister
Tewari is a first-time MP. He joined the Youth Congress in 1981 and became its president in 1998. After 2008, he became a popular choice to publicly articulate the party's views. In the reshuffle, he was given the information & broadcasting ministry with independent charge. He has set cable digitisation and the problem of paid news high on his agenda.

6) Cyrus Mistry, 43, deputy chairman, Tata Sons
Mistry will be 44 in December when he takes over Ratan Tata's mantle at Bombay House. He joined Shapoorji Pallonji & Co as director in 1991. He is considered more of an 'insider' in the Tata Group. A graduate of Imperial College, UK and London Business School, he has stayed away from the limelight for much of his career, not unlike Tata.

7) JBS Sangha, 44, agricultural entrepreneur
From a mere seven acres, his business has grown to 5500 acres, producing 55,000 tonnes of potatoes annually. A poster boy of Indian agriculture and a student of plant breeding, he took his father's business to a new heights using cutting-edge biotechnology. He uses newer cold storage techniques and opted for eco-friendly pest control.

8) Deepinder Goyal, 29, founder-CEO, Zomato.com
An IIT Delhi graduate, Goyal launched Foodiebay.com in 2008 as an online database of restaurant menus from the NCR. The site, now famous as Zomato.com, is India's largest online restaurant guide covering over 40,000 restaurants in 12 cities. The site even has smartphone applications for Apple, Windows, Android and Blackberry.

9) Anurag Kashyap, 40, film director
One of the most revered new-age directors of Indian cinema, Kashyap has transformed the way Bollywood movies are perceived. He has been instrumental in merging genres of realistic art-house cinema and mainstream commercial song-drama films. With powerful films such as Black Friday, Dev D, Gulaal and Gangs of Wasseypur, Kashyap is now recognised as a bankable film maker.

10) Ajay Dubey, 37, RTI and environmental activist
A Chhatisgarh resident, Dubey took the case of tiger conservation to its logical conclusion - a ban on tiger tourism in core areas. After his management degree, he took up activism and set up his own NGO, Prayatna, which started its first campaign for a ban on polythene. Of late, he has taken to legal advocacy fighting diverse cases such as environmental laws in mining, police reforms and other issues.

11) Shantanu Prakash, 47, founder, Educomp
He founded Educomp Solutions Ltd in 1994 after graduating from IIM-A. He began by setting up computer labs in schools on borrowed money. Educomp is a first-of-its-kind teacher-led educational content-based solution designed to improve learning. Featured in the Forbes 'Best Under a Billion' list, Prakash runs 27 offices worldwide working with over 26,000 schools and 15 million students.

12) Sachin Bansal, 31, CEO and co-founder of Flipkart
In 2007, Sachin and Binny Bansal (29) - pooled together Rs. 4 lakh to start an online bookstore, Flipkart.com. The venture was a high risk. But the Bansals (not related), IIT Delhi graduates, realised that quality of service was key - a lesson they learnt as engineers at Amazon.com. Four years down the line, Flipkart has roped in millions of dollars in investment becoming a successful e-retail store.

13) Hibi Eden, 29, green activist-MLA
Eden is the youngest of Kerala's green brigade of six young legislators who cried foul when the Planning Commission's Montek Singh Ahluwalia said Kerala should utilise its paddy fields for non-agricultural purposes. They started healthy debates on the environment, deforestation and criminalisation of politics. Their persistent campaign has forced the establishment to dump many environmentally hazardous programmes.

14) Akhilesh Yadav, 39, UP chief minister
He is the youngest ever CM of UP and the son of Samajwadi Party chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav. He has been widely credited with the party's thumping victory in the state assembly elections this year increasing their seats from 97 in 2007 to 224. He has attempted to move away from the image of 'goonda raj' (thug rule) which critics thought characterised Samajwadi's earlier regime.

15) Jeh Wadia, 37, managing director, GoAir
Wadia inherited an empire from his parents, Nusli and Maureen, and became one of the youngest chiefs in the aviation sector when he started GoAir, a low-cost airline, in 2005. He is currently the managing director of the 132-year-old textiles and retail business, Bombay Dyeing. He also sits on the boards of Brittania and Bombay Burmah. In 2008, the World Economic Forum elected him as a Young Global Leader.

16) Rakesh Senger, 38, child rights activist
Senger has saved a generation of children from exploitation - child labour, trafficking, organ trade and begging. A decade and a half into his calling, he helps the police raid places involved in child labour, disguises himself as a beggar to crack the children beggar mafia, and lobbies for children-friendly policies. His vision, with his organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan, is to see every child in school.

17) VK Karthika, 44, chief editor-publisher, Harper Collins India
Karthika began her career as an editorial assistant at Penguin India after dropping out of JNU 15 years ago. She steered Harper Collins to its current position as a leading English-language publisher in India. Under her lead, Harper Collins has published successful writers like Rana Dasgupta (Solo), Manu Joseph (Serious Men) and Hussain Naqvi (Homeboy) and has nurtured a great deal of fresh writing talent.

18) Anurag Thakur, 38, MP and president, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha
As a cricket administrator, he has put Himachal Pradesh on the world 'cricket map' by aiding the construction of a cricket stadium in Dharamsala, which has hosted three editions of the IPL. He is also promoting other games actively. "I see India as young nation with a billion dreams, ready to lead and inspire the world," he says.

19) Sunil Abraham, 39, executive director, Centre for Internet and Society
He started CIS in 2008 to deal with digital pluralism, public accountability and pedagogic practices. In 1998, he founded Mahiti, an IT and communication solutions firm. He was elected an Ashoka fellow to explore the internet's democratic potential. His activism focuses on limitations of the intellectual property rights regime, emerging alternatives and piracy.

20) Raj Thackeray, 44, founder, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
He started his political career with his uncle and Shiv Sena-head Bal Thackeray, but left in 2006 to form the MNS. His politics is defined by protests against migrants, particularly from UP and Bihar. Thackeray and his party have been criticised for using violence and he faces several charges for incitement. His popularity rose after he won substantial votes in the recently held municipal elections.

21) Riyaaz Amlani, 37, CEO & MD, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality
He runs more than 27 establishments including the likes of Salt Water Cafe, Mocha and Smoke House Grill across eight cities. An entertainment management graduate from UCLA, Amlani returned to develop Mumbai's first go-karting track. He worked with Pritish Nandy Communications before starting Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality, the company that owns the Mocha Cafè chain.

22) Lawrence Liang, 37, co-founder, Alternative Law Forum
Liang emerged as a voice against politics of "intellectual property". He is an Indian-Chinese legal researcher based in Bangalore and is known for his legal campaigns on public issues. Started in 2000, his forum provides legal support to people without access to legal services. It also conducts research on globalisation, urban studies, gender and intellectual property.

23) Francisco D'Souza, 43, CEO, Cognizant
D'Souza helped found the Nasdaq-100 company in 1994 and took over as CEO in 2007. During his tenure as Cognizant's CEO, revenues have grown from $1.4 billion to over $6 billion and the company has emerged as one of India's fastest growing tech companies. A son of an Indian diplomat, Francisco has lived in nine different countries and obtained his MBA degree from Carnegie-Mellon University.

24) Rohini Iyer, 32, MD, Raindrop Media
Her company is one of India's largest publicity firms. Most Bollywood A-listers are her clients and she is the publicist for three leading ladies - Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor and Vidya Balan. Her other clients include Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham. Iyer has been featured in the Verve Power List, as well as Femina's list of 25 most powerful women in India, from the field of entertainment.

25) Milind Deora, 35, MoS telecom & IT
One of the youngest members of Lok Sabha, Deora was given additional charge of shipping in the recent Cabinet reshuffle. He says, "I think young people alone can't solve India's problems. There should be a good mix of experienced and young minds to bring about reforms and improve administration." He says he will work for making India a hub for ship maintenance and is also going to push for reforms in the telecom sector.

26) Lakshmi Venu, 29, executive-director, Sundaram Clayton
The daughter of TVS chairman Venu Srinivasan, Lakshmi is a topper from the Sishya School, Chennai, a Yale graduate and a PhD from the University of Warwick. She started as a management trainee in Sundaram Auto Components, a subsidiary of Sundaram Clayton, in 2003. She won her current position the hard way. She also had a stint with TVS Motor, another sub-division of the company.

27) SK Mahto, 38, deputy CM, Jharkhand
Head of the All Jharkhand Students Union Party, an ally in the BJP-led ruling coalition, he has been a minister in each government since Jharkhand's creation in 2000. His biggest achievements have been smooth conduct of the panchayat polls held in the state in 2009 after a gap of 29 long years and the 34th National Games held there last year. He is the undisputed leader of his party, which has six members in the state assembly.

28) Dhruv Ghanekar, 38, co-founder, Blue Frog
A composer by profession, he has co-created 3000 projects for ad films and alternative movies. His 2009 solo album Distance was a huge success. He has performed with famous musicians like Karl Peters, Louis Banks, Adrian D'Souza, Ustaad Zakir Hussain, AR Rahman, Etienne M'Bappe and Louis Banks. He now awaits the release of Broken Thread, an international film for which he has recorded music.

29) Chiki Sarkar, 35, Publisher, Penguin India
An Oxford graduate, Sarkar worked at Bloomsbury Publishing in London for seven years. In 2006, she became Editor-in-Chief of Random House India. Her picks that became award-winners include Shehan Karunatilaka's Chinaman, Mohammed Hanif's A Case of Exploding Mangoes and Aman Sethi's A Free Man. Last year, she took over as head of Penguin Books, India's largest English-language publishing house.

30) Glenn Saldanha, 41, CMD, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals
Saldanha joined the company after his father's demise in 1998 and became MD and CEO in 2001. Within a few years, he has transformed the company from just a local generics business to a research and innovation driven organisation. He has personally strategised the company's emergence as a leader in the discovery of new molecules.

31) Anirban Das Blah, 34, MD, CAA KWAN
KWAN is one of India's largest celebrity management firms. Under Blah's leadership, it tied up with Creative Artists Agency, the world's largest entertainment and sports agency. He specialises in motion films, television, music, commercial endorsements, sports consulting, licensing and merchandising. He represents many rising stars including Frieda Pinto, Dev Patel and other Indian celebrities.

Compiled by: Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, B Vijay Murty, Gaurav Choudhury, KV Lakshmana, Manjula Narayan, Nagendar Sharma, Naveen Ammembala, Neha Sharma, Neyaz Farooquee, Panna Saroopa, Rahul Noronha, Rajeev Bhaskar, Ranjan Srivastava, Samar Khurshid and Swati Chitnis.

This list is not in order of any ranking. The people chosen for this list are below 50 in age (except entertainment, where the cut-off age has been kept at 40 years).


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