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Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Vijaya Gadde, Among Several South Asian Americans in Time Next 100 List

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Vijaya Gadde, Among Several South Asian Americans in Time Next 100 List

  • Also included among emerging leaders who are shaping the future are UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Dalit activist Chandra Shekhar Aazad.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the breakout star of Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever,” artist Salman Toor, Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart, Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, physician Dr. Shikha Gupta, entrepreneur Rohan Pavuluri, legal scholar Lina Khan and physicist Ranga  Dias are among South Asian Americans listed in Time’s Next 100 list, highlighting emerging leaders who are shaping the future. Also listed are British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Dalit activist Chandra Shekhar Aazad.

Time says its second annual list includes “doctors and scientists fighting COVID-19, advocates pushing for equality and justice, journalists standing up for truth, and artists sharing their visions of present and future. Many of the profiles of those included in the list are written by Time100 alumni, “a testament to the ways that influence flows across generations,” the magazine says. “Everyone on this list is poised to make history,” says Dan Macsai, editorial director of the Time100. “And in fact, many already have.”

One of the youngest in the list is 19-year-old Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, who made her debut as Devi Vishwakumar on Mindy Kaling’s Netflix series “Never Have I Ever.” Kaling, who wrote Ramakrishnan’s profile for Time, calls her “a gifted comic actress,” adding Ramaskrishnan “studies her craft and takes it seriously,” Moreover, Kaling says Ramakrishnan “cares deeply about the material she’s performing, and what it’s saying. She has an activist’s heart and wants to use her platform to help others.”

Rohan Pavuluri, 25  founded Upsolve, a nonprofit that offers a free online tool to help users fill out bankruptcy forms on their own. To date, Upsolve has helped U.S. users relieve more than $300 million in debt. “We’ve found a way to use technology to address a civil rights injustice at scale,” Pavuluri says.

Since she published her Yale Law Journal article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” in 2017—written while she was still a law student, Lina Khan has been “the leading intellectual force in the modern anti­trust movement,” writes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in Time. “Her writings and advocacy have pushed scholars, lawyers, activists and public officials to think differently about Big Tech.” Khan, 32, has also been a critical figure in government, providing advice to countless elected officials, working at the Federal Trade Commission and staffing the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. 

Apoorva Mehta, 34, founder and CEO of Instacart is included for handling his e-commerce company since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as as it surged. Despite initial hiccups and criticism the company is soaring. Time says Instacart—“which raised more than $500 million in venture-capital funding last year”—continues to expand. “The smartphone is the supermarket of the future,” Mehta told Time. “We are going to help co-create that.”

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Legal, Public Policy & Trust and Safety Lead, played a crucial role, first blocking and then permanently banning President Trump’s personal account, for breaking its rules against “glorifying violence. Gadde, 46, is one of Twitter’s most powerful executives. “While Twitter is still home to much misinformation and harassment, Gadde’s influence is slowly turning the company into one that sees free speech not as sacrosanct—but as just one human right among many that need to be weighed against one another,” Time says. 

Time says Salman Toor, who was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and lives in New York City, “has made his career subverting the styles of old paintings by centering openly queer men of South Asian descent.” Toor recently secured his first solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, which will be on display through April. 

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Dr. Shikha Gupta is the executive director of Get Us PPE, a coalition of physicians, scientists, engineers, technologists, and concerned citizens building the nation’s largest platform for grassroots PPE donations. Time says Get Us PPE has “helped distribute more than 6.5 million pieces of PPE to frontline workers.” In her prime in the magazine, Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) says although the work of Gupta anther colleagues is not done, “across the country, millions of people working to save lives can do so with confidence because of Gupta and her colleagues’ small acts and incredible impact.”

Chandra Shekhar Aazad, 34, is a Dalit, and leader of the Bhim Army, which runs schools to help Dalits escape poverty through education. “It also practices a distinct brand of assertiveness, sweeping into villages on loud motorbikes to protect victims of caste-based violence and organizing provocative demonstrations against discrimination,” Time says. In September 2020, when police in the state of Uttar Pradesh delayed investigation of the fatal gang-rape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman, allegedly perpetrated by four dominant-caste men, Aazad and the Bhim Army spearheaded a campaign for justice. Aazad has also lent his support to farmers protesting against corporate agricultural reforms.

Rishi Sunak, 40, came into the limelight after becoming the head of Britain’s Treasury in February 2020. “He quickly became the benevolent face of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, approving large handouts for many citizens whose jobs were disrupted by the virus.” While his “perceived generosity—and his youthful charm—earned him a legion of fans,” Times says “his policy was blamed when cases of COVID-19 began to rise shortly after.” Nonetheless,he remains the country’s most popular politician, according to the pollster YouGov. “And he’s the oddsmakers’ favorite to be Britain’s next Prime Minister,” Time notes.

Bhargavi Kulkarni has been a journalist for nearly two decades. She has a degree in English literature and French. She is also an adventure sport enthusiast, and in her free time, she likes to cook, bake, bike and hike.

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