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The Indian Express presents the list of the most powerful Indians in 2013

The selection team comprised of The Indian Express editors and reporters.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
April 23, 2013 8:30:42 pm

“Nearly all men can stand adversity,but if you want to test a man’s character,give him power.” That was Abraham Lincoln,and the Indian Express Power List 2013 is a reflection of his aphorism. It has been a tumultuous year,with political fortunes hanging in the balance and members of the power elite losing face and authority. It was also a year when two political parties ditched the ruling UPA,adding complexity to the task of choosing hundred most powerful people in India.

Power is defined as the ability to influence people and events but with the government and ruling party dysfunctional and directionless for much of the year,it is no surprise that there are dramatic changes in the list. Adding to the churn has been Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement which started with a bang and ended in a whimper. Little wonder then that no less than 27 individuals on last year’s power list have dropped out,to be replaced by new names. Power,as they say,abhors a vacuum.

Full Coverage Indian Express Most Powerful Indians 2013

Of the 27 new names,15 are politicians,proving that in India,the power elite are still those who occupy pivotal positions in government or the opposition. It also reflects the fact that in coalition politics,regional satraps are wielding greater clout than before. Yet,those who occupy certain official positions,will,regardless of their actions,or lack of them,continue to exercise power. That is the matrix which our selection team—comprising Indian Express editors and reporters who track politics,business,society and sports—took into account while finalising the list. Interestingly,there are only seven businessmen in the top 50,suggesting that corporate clout is no longer what it used to be in terms of influencing policy. Ultimately,power is not just about positions of authority,it can also be a negative force,the power to oppose or block the passage of crucial legislation. In essence,The Indian Express Power List is a reflection of the power struggle that has been in evidence over the past 12 months. On the positive side,there is a flowering of the creative arts,with the number of individuals connected to cinema and music showing an increase over last year,along with sportspersons,while the supercrats,those who occupy positions of power in the establishment,or “the system,” also moving up the ladder.

As always,we have our mini lists,our pick of the top ten from various fields,from economics to sports and films. And,as always,if you disagree,please let us know at


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Anna Hazare,Justice S H Kapadia,Amar Pratap Singh,Vinod Rai,Nitin Gadkari,Prashant Bhushan,S Y Quraishi,Kaushik Basu,G M Rao,Amarinder Singh,Arun Shourie,Omar Abdullah,E Sreedharan,Nita Ambani,Vidya Balan,Subramanian Swamy,Katrina Kaif,Chanda Kochhar,Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev,Shikha Sharma,A R Rahman,Devi Prasad Shetty,Baba Ramdev,Bhaiyyuji Maharaj,Pradeep Kumar,Abul Qasim Nomani,A K Seth

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