Nitish Kumar in Foreign Policy's top 100 thinkers

Nitish Kumar in Foreign Policy's top 100 thinkers
Washington:  Credited worldwide for turning around the state of Bihar, Nitish Kumar has been named by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine among its top 100 global thinkers, a list that is topped by Aung Saan Sui Kyi and Thein Sein, and also features Salman Rushdie and Malala Yousufzai. ( See who else has made it to that list)

Mr Kumar figures at the 77th spot and finds the place for his achievement of "turning around India's poorest state" through an array of innovative programmes to address crime, corruption and lack of development.

The list of 100 also features India's chief economic advisor Raghuram Rajan at 80 and writer Pankaj Mishra at 86.

In an ironic but interesting feature, Myanmar's democracy icon Suu Kyi has been bracketed with her tormentor-turned-ally Thein Sein, the military ruler, as the two leaders together chart out a non-military future for their country.

Citing Myanmar as "one of the most remarkable and unexpected political reversals of our time," the magazine writes about how the country - long counted among the world's most repressive dictatorships - has begun to reform under the leadership of "two very unlikely allies".

The 61-year-old Chief Minister of Bihar has been credited for reforming the state of the government in what was long considered India's own Haiti or Somalia, "viewed as one of the most dysfunctional corners of a country world famous for government dysfunction".

"Much of that began to change, however, when a low-key bureaucrat from a local centre-left party, Nitish Kumar, won the 2005 election and set out to clean up a wasteland where 100 million people are squeezed into a territory smaller than Arkansas," the magazine wrote.

"In his two terms in office, he has done just that, relying on an array of innovative programmes to crack down on crime, shame corrupt public officials, and boost economic development," it said.

Following Myanmar's icons of change, the second spot at the list has been grabbed by new democracy Tunisia's president Moncef Marzouki for providing 'vision and wisdom' since assuming office in December 2011, and ensuring that Tunisia remains the Arab Spring's "most promising success story".

The third spot is shared jointly by the 'ultimate power couple' Bill and Hillary Clinton for being America's "most effective advocates for liberal internationalism".

The list features Barack Obama at seventh position, who stands a spot behind Pakistan's teenage icon Malala Yousufzai, perhaps the youngest person to figure in the prestigious list.

Malala, 15, who is recuperating in the UK after being attacked by Taliban militants for her advocacy of education for girls is credited for "standing up to the Taliban, and everything they represent".

Internal Monetary Fund's chief economist Raghuram Rajan, who took over as chief economic advisor to the Finance Ministry of India in August this year finds a place in the list for his toughest assignment yet - "saving the world's largest democracy from economic ruin".

Harvard University's young Indian-American economist Raj Chetty also figures in the list at number 74 for his mathematical research on a range of issues in the US including economic policy.
Story First Published: November 26, 2012 21:24 IST

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