These men and women may not live in India but they sure do make our hearts swell with pride at the milestones they have achieved.
Be it from acting, science, arts, dance or music, people from India have made their presence felt on the global stage this year. And several Indian-origin politicians have been elected in foreign countries as well: while Bihar’s Abhay Singh Kumar became the first Indian to be a part of Russia’s cabinet, multiple people of Indian origin, including Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Pramila Jayapal were re-elected in the US midterm elections held recently.
As we approach the end of 2018, we list the achievements notched up by Indian-origins globally.
1. Neeraj Bhatia
Leading Indian-American tax consultant and certified public accountant Neeraj Bhatia has been conferred with the prestigious Hind Rattan Award for 2018. Bhatia is an accomplished accounting professional backed by over 30 years of practice in international and domestic tax planning and compliance for startups and multinational entities.
Instituted by the NRI Welfare Society of India, the Hind Rattan Awards honour high achievers of Indian origin from professional disciplines. Over the past 37 years, the NRI Welfare Society has become a strong bridge connecting people of Indian origin with India. Its focus is to "strengthen emotional bonds" between the diaspora and the country. Bhatia runs a successful tax and accountancy firm in the heart of Silicon Valley with offices in New Delhi as well. He specialises in international tax, audit and review, accounting, compliance and reporting, immigration services and corporate compliance.
2. Niklaus-Samuel Gugger
Nik Gugger’s biological mother abandoned Niklaus-Samuel Gugger at a hospital 48 years ago, just after his birth. Today, he is the first Indian to be elected to the Swiss parliament.
Born in CSI Lombard Memorial Hospital in Karnataka's Udupi town on May 1, 1970, Niklaus was adopted by a Swiss couple within a week of his abandonment. Niklaus's new parents -- Fritz and Elizabeth -- took him to Kerala when he was just 15 days old and they lived there for around four years before moving back to Switzerland.
One of the youngest members of the Swiss parliament, Niklaus would be the only Indian for at least the next decade as there are no other active Indian-origin politicians in the country presently.
3. Akshay Venkatesh
Akshay Venkatesh is an Indian-born Australian mathematician who is one among the four recipients of this year's Fields Medal. The Fields Medal is the highest honour conferred upon a mathematician and is given every four years to those below the age of 40.
The Fields Medal was given to Akshay at the International Congress of Mathematics, held in Rio de Janeiro. He is the second Indian-origin person to win the prestigious prize after Manjul Bhargava, a Princeton University graduate, in 2014.
Akshay was recognised for his use of dynamics theory, which studies the equation of moving objects to solve the problem in number theory. It is the study of whole numbers, prime numbers, and integers. Akshay has won many awards for his contribution in the field of mathematics. He is the recipient of the Salem Prize (2007), Sastra Ramanujan Prize (2008), Infosys Prize (2016) and Ostrowski Prize (2017).
4. Abhay Singh Kumar
Hailing from Bihar's Patna and having studied medicine in Russia, Abhay won the Assembly election from Russia's Kursk this year. A part of the ruling political party United Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, for three years, Abhay's achievements are being lauded across social media.
Over the last few years, Abhay became the deputat of Kursk city Assembly. An alumnus of Patna's Loyola High School, he returned to India after pursuing medicine but eventually chose to join the pharmaceutical business in Kursk. Abhay also owns the Uralskiy Trade Centre, a mall located in Kursk.
5. Rita Baranwal
Indian-American Rita Baranwal, Director of GAIN (Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear), was nominated for the post of Assistant Secretary of Energy (Nuclear Energy) at the Department of Energy, by the Trump administration.
What made the Trump administration choose Rita for such a prominent role was her extensive research background. Rita earned her BA in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD from the University of Michigan. She also serves on advisory boards for MIT’s materials research laboratory and UC Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department.
In the past, she has served as the Director of Technology Development & Application at Westinghouse. At the same time, she was also the manager in Materials Technology at Bechtel Bettis. She used to supervise the research and development in nuclear fuel material for US naval reactors as well.
6. Hasvant Singh
An Indian-American chemical engineer, Hasvant Singh received the Distinguished Service medal from NASA for his seminal contribution to understanding the Earth’s natural atmosphere and the global change resulting from human activities. He is also a member of the United Nations council to promote, organise and coordinate international research efforts towards a cleaner and healthier world in less developed countries.