Power is a strange thing. Everyone I know who is powerful will tell you the same thing: power doesn’t really matter. It’s all about success, about doing the right thing, about doing good, and about making a difference.
They know, and I know, that they are talking complete nonsense. At the end of the day, power (and influence) is everything. And not only does it matter how powerful you are, but it matters how much more or less powerful you are than the other guy. That is life, that is human nature, and it is nothing to be ashamed about.
Which is why we have devoted this entire issue of Arabian Business to our listing of the 100 most powerful Indians in the Gulf. Regular readers will know that Arabian Business produces the annual Power 500 listing of the world’s most influential Arabs. But we have also long believed that if any one community in the Arab world deserves its own power listing, it is the Indian community.
And with good reason. Within the GCC, 3.7 million Indians currently live and work. A staggering 1.75 million are based in the UAE alone, making up an incredible 30 percent of the population. In fact, India and the UAE are each other’s largest trading partner — exports and imports between the two countries in 2010-2011 reached $67bn. This trend is set to continue, with more than 100 new Indian firms having registered within Dubai’s JLT Free Zone in the first eight months of this year alone.
Having been part of the team that compiled this year’s list, one thing really stands out: in every sector of society in the Arab world, Indians are making it and making it big. There are countless “self-made” billionaires such as Yusuffali MA and B R Shetty. There is no shortage of corporate stars like Standard Chartered’s V Shankar and Deutsche Bank’s Ashok Aram. You want a truly moving story of self-sacrifice and devotion to charitable causes? Look no further than K Kumar. Some of the finest doctors and scientists in the world, such as the pioneering Lasik surgeon Dr Pramod Warhekar, are based here.
This year, more than any other, I also believe we have published for the first time a number of names that will surprise the masses. Did anyone really know that one of the world’s most successful businessmen and a founding shareholder of Bharti Airtel, Raghuvinder Kataria, has been living in Dubai for the last ten years? They do now.
On Tuesday night, the consul general of India, His Excellency Sanjay Verma, will be hosting a gala dinner at the Madinat Jumeirah for everyone on this year’s list. Having invited everyone, we haven’t actually told them their ranking yet, which they will find out on Sunday morning.
I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that I will spend most of Tuesday evening getting an ear-bashing from a number of people who feel they should have been ranked higher. Others will question some of the names on the list, and as always, at least five people will leave in disgust before dinner is served.
As I said earlier — that’s life, that’s human nature. But I also hope the vast majority will see beyond the rankings (which are entirely subjective) and look at the wider picture: the list is a celebration of the incredible success and contribution that Indians have made to the growth of the GCC economies. Everyone, of every nationality, should applaud their achievements.
Anil Bhoyrul is the Editorial Director of Arabian Business.