New Delhi: Mahatma
Gandhi, Mughal emperor Akbar and Tibetan spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama have been named by Time magazine among the world's top
25 political icons.
Mohandas Gandhi, as the magazine called him, led the list which
also included Alexander the Great, Mao Zedong, Winston Churchill,
Genghis Khan, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Hitler, 'Che'
Guevara and Lenin.
The magazine credited Mahatma Gandhi with spearheading peaceful
protests aimed at ending the British Raj that helped him become
the spiritual heart of the Indian independence struggle.
"Gandhi led the country in peaceful protest against foreign
domination... His rise paved the way for India's independence in
1947," it said.
"Though the country was later divided (and Gandhi assassinated),
his role in the bloodless revolution ... paved the way for other
social movements including America's struggle for civil rights,"
The magazine said Akbar helped a fragile collection of fiefs
around Delhi to grow into what became the Mughal empire. He
presided over a flourishing of the arts, sponsoring artisans,
poets, engineers and philosophers.
Calling him a "canny warlod", Time said that while he was a
Muslim, Akbar was spiritually curious and hosted religious
scholars from Hindu gurus to Jesuits, besides trying to meld
Hinduism and Islam.
"While the creed no longer lingers, the ethos of pluralism and
tolerance that defined Akarb's age underlines the values of the
modern republic of India."
The Dalai Lama, Time said, is "not only the greatest and most
public advocate for Tibetan rights and the virtues of Tibetan
Buddhism, but also for interfaith tolerance and peace as well to
people around the world.
"To countless Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and a
head of state in absentia. For decades - and from exile since 1959
- he has worked to resolve tensions between Tibet and China.
"And like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. before him,
the Dalai Lama done so in a manner defined by non-violence and
"The Dalai Lama's humility has endeared him to presidents and
religious leaders of several countries, affording him the
opportunity to raise awareness and drum up support for Tibet on a
global scale," the magazine said.
The Dalai Lama, whom Beijing brands a separatist, fled into exile
in 1959 and established his government-in-exile in India's
Others in the Time list are: Ronald Reagan, Cleopatra, Franklin
Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, Mussolini, Lenin, Margaret Thatcher,
Simon Bolivar, Qin Shi Huang, Kim Il-Sung, Charles de Gaulle,
Louis XIV, Haile Selassie, King Richard the Lionheart, and