14 June, 2021

The Heroes

An eminent jury picks out Sixty Great Indians in 60 years of our Republic

The Heroes

Assembling a list of 60 people to represent sixty years of the Republic is a kind of indoor game, fundamentally no more important than arguing about the ten best Hindi films of the sixties. But the nation-state is a charismatic beast: it invests everything it touches, even the trivial business of list-making, with significance. When our jurors sat down to the impossible business of finding sixty names to stand in for the nation, there was agreement, argument, accommodation. And sometimes, there were differences of opinion that couldn’t be reconciled. And this despite the fact that the three jurors agreed, before they started, to exclude villains from the list, no matter how historically significant they were.

So while B.G. Verghese allowed that Sunil Gavaskar, Bhupen Khakar and MGR were worthy names, he would rather have had Tenzing Norgay, Sukumar Sen (who organised...

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