HISTORY TV18 and CNN IBN today announced the names of 50 nominees for the channels' biggest local initiative - "The Greatest Indian". The list, being released for a nationwide poll, contains the who’s who of iconic Indians across various spheres, which have had the maximum impact on the nation since independence.
From Jawaharlal Nehru and Lata Mangeshkar to Vikram Sarabhai and E Shreedharan, the list is a fascinating read on some of the greatest Indians who have shaped the nation in the last 64 years. Of 50 nominees, 15 have received the Bharat Ratna, 13 have played a role in the freedom struggle while 6 are women. Among the 31 super achievers, Pt. Ravi Shankar (92), M S Swaminathan (87) and A B Vajpayee (88) are the senior most, while Sachin Tendulkar (39) is the youngest.
The initiative is based on the path-breaking series featured on BBC called 'The Greatest Briton', and is set to trigger a national debate on who is the Greatest Indian after Mahatma Gandhi. Launched in 2002 in the UK, the initiative reached out to millions of viewers and broke significant viewership records there. An astounding 21 countries have successfully adopted this format since then, and it now promises to create history here in India too.
Commenting on initiative, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief IBN18 Network said "We believe that this is a one-of-a-kind initiative in the life of a nation that should both excite and educate. I'm sure this series will trigger an enthusiastic debate in homes, offices & public places around the country. Just from the jury discussions and internal debates in the news room, I've got a real sense of how passionately people feel about the initiative. We hope that the series will continue to provoke debate and encourage people to cast their vote for the Greatest Indian."
Myleeta Aga, General Manager & Creative Head of BBC Worldwide Productions India, said "BBC Worldwide is thrilled to be partnering with History TV18 to bring this format to the Indian audience. We have no doubt that the interest and debate around identifying the greatest Indian since Independence will make the series a huge success in India as well."
The jury for the entire process consists of a panel of 28 eminent Indians from different walks of life, the likes of Chairman, UIDAI-Nandan Nilekani; Editor-in-Chief, The Indian Express Group-Shekhar Gupta, Three-Time World Billiards Champion- Michael Ferreira; Leading Author and Historian- Ramachandra Guha; Author and Member, Lok Sabha-Shashi Tharoor; Acclaimed Film Director, Writer and Editor- Raju Hirani; Film Writer, Director, Actor- Girish Karnad; Leading Political Scientist- Prof. Yogendra Yadav, Eminent Jurist- Soli Sorabjee, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha- Arun Jaitley, National Award Winning Actor- Shabana Azmi & Noted Jurist- Harish Salve among others.
The entire process, one of the most thorough and meticulous in the industry, is being audited by Grant Thornton. Along with the nationwide poll, equal weightage will be given to the jury’s selection as well as a separate market research poll conducted by The Nielsen Company. This process will be followed in both phases of the initiative, the first being to arrive at a shortlist of the top 10 'Greats' and the second, the selection of the 'Greatest Indian'. The shortlist of top 10 'Greats' is slated to be revealed on 1st July after which the second round of voting begins.
The initiative will culminate with the announcement of the Greatest Indian in a glittering ceremony to be telecast around Independence Day this year.