The world didn’t end in 2012 after all—far from it. The year was annus mirabilis rather than annus miserabilis for at least some Indians. Some of them had been waiting in the wings for years (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jeet Thayil, Aditya Kalyanpur), while others delivered on their promise (Anand Mahindra, Kala Ramnath, Ajay Bijli). They earned their success and recognition through hard work and sheer talent (good timing played a small part too). We celebrate 20 Indian personalities for whom 2012 was full of good news, and who are likely to extend their achievements into 2013.
We put together the list on the basis of merit by tapping our network of writers, experts and critics in the fields of business, politics, social work, literature and the arts. We looked at the usual suspects to see if they had measured up to expectations (many hadn’t); we regretfully rejected personalities whose victories were significant but also fleeting; we considered lesser-known names who should be far more prominent than they are at the moment. We looked at people who led from the front and others who slaved away in the background. The list that emerged is selective, though by no means comprehensive. It’s about people who prove that after all has been said and done, there’s no substitute for diligence.