Indian-Origin Leaders Are Taking Over the World: How Did They Do It?

A rare spectacle!

The Indian lineage triumphs and secures the position of leader in a significant nation!

Tharman Shanmugaratnam emerges as the inaugural democratically elected Indian president in the annals of Singapore’s history.

Upon retrospective contemplation, Indian heritage has steadily permeated the ranks of Western political and business elites, assuming the role of “sovereigns” in a realm far removed from their own lineage and blood.

Indians are subtly wielding influence over the world, albeit in an unconventional manner…

On the 2nd of September, local time, the outcome of the Singaporean presidential election was unveiled.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam, former Deputy Prime Minister, secured victory with an unprecedented vote share of 70.40%, thereby assuming the mantle of the ninth president of Singapore.

This triumph carries profound significance for both Tharman and Singapore.

Primarily, he stands as the first president of Indian origin to win through popular mandate.

In a nation where over 70% of the populace hails from Chinese ancestry, Tharman Shanmugaratnam has garnered the support of more than 70% of the electorate.

Tharman’s competitors, Huang Guosong and Chen Qinliang, both of Chinese descent, received 15.72% and 13.88% of the votes, respectively. The total voter turnout for this election amounted to approximately 2.48 million individuals.

At 66 years of age, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a Tamil from Sri Lanka, carries with him a remarkable heritage. His father, a histopathologist, is revered as the “Father of Pathology” in Singapore.

As the election results were freshly announced, the Indians took the lead in expressing their elation!

Indian Prime Minister Modi promptly dispatched a message of congratulations, while Indian netizens commenced their jubilant celebrations:

“This momentous occasion befits the Indian populace,” he proclaimed. “He has unified the people of Singapore.”

Additionally, he possesses multiple social identities, thereby embodying Singapore’s diverse and inclusive cultural legacy.

Within Singaporean politics, the name Tharman Shanmugaratnam occupies a pivotal position. Since his foray into politics in 2001, he has assumed roles such as Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, Minister of Manpower, Deputy Prime Minister, and, in 2019, State Counselor.

On the international stage, Tharman Shanmugaratnam enjoys equal renown, transcending political boundaries. He has served as the head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the National Research Foundation, in addition to chairing the Policy Advisory Committee of the International Monetary Fund.

Prior to entering politics, he honed his expertise at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Promptly upon the outbreak of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Tharman Shanmugaratnam was swiftly reassigned to the Monetary Authority, fortifying Singapore’s stature as an international financial hub, facilitating increased investment endeavors, and playing a pivotal role in Singapore’s triumph over the financial crisis.

This can be attributed to his strong foundation in economics, having obtained a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, followed by two master’s degrees from Cambridge University and Harvard University.

Moreover, he possesses the soul of a poet. During his military service, he collaborated with two local writers to compile a collection of poems titled “But we have no legends.” Published in 1978, this anthology includes four English poems authored by Tharman Shanmugaratnam. In his political career, Tharman also delved into the art of Chinese calligraphy and has publicly showcased his calligraphic works on numerous occasions.

Following his victory, Tharman posted on the X platform: “I believe that I can best serve Singapore now, not in politics, but in a different role that transcends politics.”

His “trampoline theory” remains a central topic within his political career, underscoring his unwavering commitment to social mobility. In 2015, Tharman Shanmugaratnam advocated for the provision of appropriate support to individuals through social policies, while simultaneously emphasizing the need for personal effort to “rebound” and achieve upward social mobility.

He asserted that Singapore’s HDB policy is the “most pervasive social policy,” which, despite its intrusive nature, has ultimately become Singapore’s greatest asset. This is not only due to its effective long-term management of the real estate market but also because residents of the same community encounter one another daily in corridors and elevators, with their children attending the same schools and growing up together, thereby exerting a subtle yet significant influence on individuals.

This “collective culture” serves as the mystical weapon that empowers Indians to conquer the world.

However, the beloved Tharman Shanmugaratnam has indeed been regarded as Singapore’s preferred candidate for prime minister. Many believe he has the potential to shatter that metaphorical “glass ceiling” and become Singapore’s inaugural non-Chinese prime minister.

Since Singapore follows a parliamentary republic system, the president assumes the role of head of state. Similar to the British monarchy, the president of Singapore primarily serves in a ceremonial capacity, possessing limited authority with respect to the management of Singapore’s substantial financial reserves and public affairs.

Nevertheless, this arrangement may align with Tharman’s personal inclinations. On multiple occasions, he has conveyed to the external world his aversion to assuming the role of prime minister, expressing a preference for supporting and coordinating the overall situation.

“I am not particularly fond of being the one who scores goals, but I take great pleasure and excel in playing as a center-back, left-midfielder, and occasionally as a full-back. I relish strategizing the game,” Tharman remarked at a recent event.

The impact that Tharman Shanmugaratnam will have on Singapore’s development remains to be seen.

However, I have observed a remarkable fact:

Apart from India, there are eight nations across the globe where nine prime ministers, premiers, or presidents hail from Indian heritage!

These individuals include:

– Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, who is the first person of Indian descent to hold this position in British history.
– Antonio Luis Santos da Costa, the Prime Minister of Portugal.
– President Mohamed Irfaan Ali of Guyana.
– Mauritian President Prithviraj Singh Rupone and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth.
– Chang Dandorji, the President of the Republic of Suriname.
– Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
– Wavell Ramkalavan, the President of Seychelles.
– Additionally, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is merely one step away from assuming the presidency of the United States, also has Indian ancestry.

Furthermore, a significant portion of these individuals have recently assumed positions of power, underscoring the expanding influence of individuals of Indian heritage worldwide.

Beyond political figures, Indian chief executive officers (CEOs) are also rising in prominence within the global business sphere.

Nowadays, while strolling through the streets of Silicon Valley in the United States, one is likely to encounter an Indian CEO every minute.

Indian-origin CEOs are now dominating Silicon Valley, a phenomenon that would have been inconceivable a decade ago.

As we are aware, it is commonplace for Indians to work in Silicon Valley as crucial engineers, designers, or general executives.

But to serve as a CEO? Can Indians assume leadership roles over individuals of non-Indian descent?

Well, not only do Indians manage to do so, but they have also become CEOs of top-tier companies.

Take, for instance, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Pichai was born in Tamil Nadu, India. He possesses a master’s degree from Stanford University, an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and joined Google as an executive in 2004.

Similarly, Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, was born in Hyderabad, India. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Lina Nair, the CEO of Chanel, was born in Maharashtra, India. Before her tenure at Chanel, she held the distinction of being the youngest Asian female chief human resources officer in the history of Unilever.

Shantanu Narayan, the CEO of Adobe, was born in Hyderabad, India. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science from Osmania University, a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. Narayan has successfully served as Adobe’s CEO for 15 years since December 2007.

Moreover, Indian CEOs are also prominent figures in companies such as Starbucks, IBM, Micron Technology, Nokia, MasterCard, FedEx, and many others.

A considerable number of CEOs at renowned European and American companies trace their roots back to India.

According to certain media reports, in the past two years, the number of Indians promoted to the position of CEO surpasses the cumulative count from the preceding decade.

In the United States, Indians constitute only 1% of the total population, and in Silicon Valley, they represent a mere 6% of the working population. Despite this seemingly insignificant presence, they have emerged as formidable forces in the realm of company executives, breaching the seemingly impregnable barriers of Western “old money” sectors like technology and finance, forging their path forward.

When it comes to assuming leadership positions, Indians approach the matter with utmost seriousness.

In the event that the United States were to act erratically and impose sanctions on India, these influential entrepreneurial forces could serve as a check and balance.

Consequently, I am left wondering how Indians have reachedsuch remarkable heights in various fields. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

1. Education: Indians place a high value on education and often prioritize academic achievement. They excel in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), which are in high demand globally. Many Indian professionals pursue higher education abroad, gaining exposure to diverse perspectives and opportunities.

2. Work Ethic: Indians are known for their strong work ethic and dedication. They are willing to put in long hours and go the extra mile to achieve success. This commitment and perseverance contribute to their rise in leadership positions.

3. Cultural Values: Indian culture emphasizes the importance of family, respect for elders, and discipline. These values instill a sense of responsibility and a drive to succeed. Indians often have a supportive network of family and community that provides encouragement and guidance.

4. Global Diaspora: The Indian diaspora is spread across the world, with significant populations in countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This diaspora has built strong networks and connections, creating opportunities for Indians to excel in various fields.

5. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Indians have a long history of entrepreneurship and business acumen. They have a knack for identifying opportunities and taking calculated risks. This entrepreneurial spirit has propelled many Indians to leadership roles in both established companies and startups.

6. Meritocracy: In many countries, including the United States, there is a growing emphasis on meritocracy, where individuals are judged based on their abilities and achievements rather than their background or ethnicity. This provides a level playing field for talented individuals, including those of Indian heritage, to rise to leadership positions.

It’s important to note that while individuals of Indian heritage have achieved significant success, they do not represent the entire Indian population. There is diversity within the Indian community, and success stories should not overshadow the challenges faced by many individuals. Nonetheless, the accomplishments of Indian leaders serve as an inspiration and highlight the potential that lies within any community when given equal opportunities.

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