The year 2019 has seen several Indians bringing laurels to the country, and it has been a year of many firsts, especially for Indian women. Business Standard brings you a list of scientists, businessmen and pioneers from India or of Indian origin whose achievements in their respective fields made the country proud this year.
Here are the 11 Indians who made us proud in 2019:
Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee won the 2019 economics Nobel along with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their work on finding new ways to tackle poverty. Banerjee, who teaches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is only the second Indian-born to get an economics Nobel. Educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harvard University, Banerjee has also authored of several books, including What the Economy Needs Now (2019), and Poor Economics (2011).
On December 2, 2019, Shivangi became the first woman pilot of the Indian Navy. She will fly the Dornier surveillance aircraft for maritime reconnaissance, search and rescue operations for the Indian Navy. Shivangi was commissioned into the Navy in 2018 after her training and joined operational duties at the Kochi naval base. She has made not only her home state of Bihar but also the entire extremely proud. She is the second woman from the state to become a pilot in the Indian armed forces. The 24-year-old is from Muzaffarpur.
P V Sindhu
Shuttler P V Sindhu created history this year when she became the first Indian badminton player to win a gold medal at the World Championships in August 2019. She defeated Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 to win the coveted title. What adds to Sindhu’s glory is the fact that her achievements have made her a household name in India, where cricket players are often the more followed sports icons.
Indian journalist Ravish Kumar was honoured with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for "harnessing journalism to give voice to the voiceless" and his "unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards". He was among the five recipients of the Magsaysay award for 2019. The 44-year-old television journalist is known to report real-life problems of ordinary people.
Indian sprinter Hima Das won five gold medals this year — in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, Poznan Athletics Grand Prix in Poland, Kutno Athletics Meet, Kladno Athletics Meet in Czech Republic and at the Tabor Athletics Meet in the same country. The 19-year-old sprinter from Assam made India proud with her achievements in an area of sports that is not always seen as India’s strength.
Sundar Pichai, 47, was appointed the chief executive of Alphabet, the parent company that controls the American technology giant Google. Born and raised in Madurai and a graduate from IIT Kharagpur, Pichai has been with Google for 15 years now. His rise at the firm has been meteoric, largely because of his phenomenal success with the Chrome project. Pichai and his team were instrumental in creating Google Chrome and then making it the world's most used web browser.
Microsoft's India-born Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella was named Fortune's Businessperson of the Year for 2019. Under Nadella, Microsoft has generated incredible growth from new businesses like the Azure cloud platform. Born in Hyderabad, Nadella attended the Hyderabad Public School and did his graduation from Manipal Institute of Technology in Karnataka.
A Gujarat-born computer engineer, Pranav Mistry scripted history with his appointment as CEO of Samsung Technology & Advanced Research Labs, an independent entity of Samsung Electronics, in October. Mistry, 38, joined Samsung in 2012 and was the global vice-president at Samsung Electronics since May 2017. His promotion to a key position within Samsung put another Indian closer to the top at a major technology company.
Garima Arora is the first Indian woman to receive a Michelin star. She was named Asia's Best Female Chef for 2019 on February 28 by World's 50 Best Restaurants. The award recognises female chefs who inspire the next generation of cooks. In April 2017, a 32-year-old Arora had opened Gaa, a three-storey restaurant in Bangkok. On November 14, the Michelin Guide 2019 announced a star for her restaurant for its “modern eclectic cuisine". This is a first for a restaurant headed by an Indian woman.
Manu Bhaker created history at 2019 ISSF World Cup this year by winning for India its first gold medal this year at the tournament in Women's 10m Air Pistol. Bhaker is only the second Indian shooter — the other one is Heena Sidhu — to win a gold medal in Women's 10m Air Pistol at the ISS World Cup.
Gagandeep Kang is India's first woman scientist to be elected Royal Society Fellow in 360 years. She, and fifty-one other eminent scientists, were elected Fellows of the Royal Society in April 2019. Currently, Kang is the executive director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. She is India's leading scientist and her main area of research is viral infections among children. She has written over 300 scientific research papers.