New Delhi: The eighth CNN-IBN Indian of the year (IOTY) is not a politician, a sportsperson or an entertainer. The honour for the year 2013 goes to the activist group Stop Acid Attacks (SAA), an active campaigner-organisation to prevent acid attacks on women and to ensure the rights of and justice for survivors of these attacks.
An NGO run by a four-member team - Sapna Bhavnani, Alok Dixit, Anurag Dwivedi, and Ashish Shukla - the organisation works as a bridge between survivors and the society. Many of the victims tend to isolate themselves after, literally, losing their faces, hibernating in solitude and misery owing to the ignorance of the government and civil society.
The SAA has forced the government to act against acid attacks by approaching the Supreme Court several times on behalf of acid attack victims. As the SAA points out, it's not an NGO, and nor does it wish to be one.
Continuing the spirit of honouring crusaders, the lifetime achievement award has gone to late Justice JS Verma, former Chief Justice of India. Justice Verma, a distinguished judge, died earlier in 2013. As the chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), he left his mark on, amongst other achievements, the laws governing rape with the recommendations for sweeping reforms made by a commission headed by him.
For the first time, the jury, chaired by the eminent jurist and former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee, selected a person for posthumous recognition for his invaluable service to the nation. Soft-spoken and affable Verma was one of the most respected public figures of his time.
The other winners of the Indian of the Year awards:
Politics : Arvind Kejriwal
Sports: PV Sindhu
Business: Rajiv Bajaj
Entertainment: Kapil Sharma
Public Service: ADR & Lily Thomas
Special Achievement 1: Team ITBP & NDRF
Special Achievement 2: Deepika Padukone
Outstanding Achievement 1: Leander Paes
Outstanding Achievement 2: Ramakant Achrekar
The other members of the jury headed by Sorabjee were eminent historian and author Ramachandra Guha, renowned dancer Sonal Mansingh, HDFC Bank Chairman Dipak Parekh, former chairman of Nasscom Kiran Karnik, billiards world champion Geet Sethi, and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal V Nair, founder editor of Network18 Raghav Bahl and IBN18 editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Politics : Arvind Kejriwal
The anti-corruption crusader who stunned the nation by his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s spectacular performance in its debut election in Delhi has got the honours. Kejriwal, one of the best known public personalities in India, has created a nationwide awareness about corruption. A former Income Tax officer and an IITian Kejriwal is considered one of the most influential persons in India.
His one-year-old, crowd funded, volunteers based AAP decimated the Congress which had been ruling Delhi for 15 years. Kejriwal defeated Sheila Dikshit from her constitunecy New Delhi by a huge margin of over 26,000 votes. Kejriwal, who shuns luxuries of the life says he wants to create a better, safer, healthier India by eradicating corruption. Kejriwal's organizational capabilities can surely be a case study.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Sports: PV Sindhu
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is new star of Indian Sport. Like Saina Nehwal, she is also a disciple of Pullela Gopichand. She was trained at Hyderabad's Gopichand Badminton Academy and is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, a not-for-profit foundation that identifies and supports Indian athletes.
On 10 August 2013, Sindhu became the first ever Indian woman to win a medal in singles at the World Championships (India's first singles medal since Prakash Padukone won bronze in 1983). She broke into the top 20 in the Badminton World Federation rankings which were released on September 21, 2012. She is also ranked three in the BWF Junior Rankings. She is 19-year-old and one of the most promising athletes in South Asia.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Business: Rajiv Bajaj
The 42 years old Rajiv Bajaj is considered to be one of the most promising and successful businessmen who reinvented the automobile major Bajaj in India. Currently, the MD and CEO of Bajaj Auto Ltd, he is the eldest son of India's leading industrialist Rahul Bajaj.
When he joined his family business in the late 90s, Bajaj, India's undisputed two wheeler maker of several leaders was slowly losing ground to motorcycles made by international joint venture companies. Rajiv fought back making his own motorcycles and today, Bajaj's Pulsar is a sought after bike by the Indian youth.
An engineer at heart, Rajiv dislikes the management discipline and draws business insights from yoga and homeopathy.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Entertainment: Kapil Sharma
Kapil Sharma stood out owing to his unique brand of cheeky, sometimes self-deprecating, steering mostly clear of trashy talk and adult jokes to emerge as the most watched funny man on Indian television with 'Comedy Nights With Kapil', which has today become a show that every big movie star wants to be seen on. His 'Comedy Nights with Kapil' is a hit show on Colors. He is a self made superstar among the stand up comedians. His humour cuts across all ages and liked by all generations.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Public Service: ADR & Lily Thomas
The Association for Democratic Reforms and Lily Thomas took up the task of tackling what had become a serious blot on our democratic system. It was on the basis of a writ petition filed by them that the apex court ruled that lawmakers have to quit if they are convicted of a crime.
Immediately after this RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Congress's Rashid Masood lost their membership of Parliament. The ADR's study of Assembly and Lok Sabha candidates' affidavits are highly valued. They are considered the most authentic public study documents on Indian electoral system.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Special Achievement 1: Team ITBP and NDRF
They saved more than 37,000 people from succumbing to the wrath of the Mandakini in June 2013. Members of the team ITBP and NDRF put their own lives at risk, racing against time and dwindling hopes to save those who were stranded after the Uttarakhand flash floods. For their selfless effort and heroic effort team ITBP and NDRF are jointly honoured and recognised by team IOTY.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Special Achievement 2: Deepika Padukone
Bollywood's latest superstar, Deepika Padukone got the award for reinventing herself as a leading lady with acting chops; and for delivering a slew of hits in 2013, including Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and Ram-Leela.
Starting with Cocktail in 2012, Deepika Padukone delivered 5 hits in a row, including Race 2, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express, and Ram-Leela. The actress displayed a shrewd eye for picking box-office friendly films, and made her presence felt in each of the hits. She has become Bollywood's first leading lady to have 4 back to back Rs 100-crore hits in the same year.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Outstanding Achievement 1: Leander Paes
Leander Paes continued to defy age as he battled on in World Tennis. Not only did he join a select band of players to appear in 50 Davis Cup ties, Paes became the only man to win a grand slam after his 40th birthday when he won the US Open with Radek Stepanek. Paes has got the award for his sheer longevity.
CNN-IBN Indian of the Year, 2013 - Outstanding Achievement 2: Ramakant Achrekar
When Sachin Tendulkar retired from all forms of cricket in November 2013, his frail looking coach, Ramakant Achrekar was at the stadium to watch the final match of his most famous disciple. A Dronacharya and Padma Shri awardee, Achrekar is a perfect example of our age old Guru-Shishya tradition.