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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during an election rally. (IANS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during an election rally. (IANS)

TIME Person of the Year 2014: Not Modi But the Ebola Fighters

The TIME magazine declared ebola fighters as the winners of the 2014 ‘Person of the Year’ title, pushing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi back, who lost the time poll for the year though he became the winner of this year’s reader poll for TIME Person of the Year.

Modi’s name does not figure in the magazine editors’ own list of final eight when the list was shortened from 50 global leaders and CEOs to eight individuals. According to the magazine editor Nancy Gibbs, “They (the ebola fighters) risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved.”

This year’s possible winners included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iraqi Kurdish President Massoud Barzani and singer Taylor Swift. The list also included groups of individuals, like the Ebola caregivers and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the final tally of reader poll, Modi received more than 16 percent of the almost five million votes cast. Protesters who took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager finished second with nine percent. Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and the doctors and nurses treating Ebola rounded out the top five.

However,  the supporters of Modi seem to be disappointed with result that was telecasted on Wednesday. Similarly, in 2013, though Egypt’s General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was able to top readers’ poll with many Egyptians participating in the poll, the editors chose Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church as Person of the Year.

Another similar incident that took place was in 1938, when TIME chose Adolf Hitler as the Man of the Year in 1938 for the Munich Agreement which shattered the diplomatic alliances between France and Britain and the newly created Eastern European countries to keep Germany in check.

However, Time explained what was the most controversial of its choices, thus: “Hitler became in 1938 the greatest threatening force that the democratic, freedom-loving world faces today.”

While making it clear why the magazine picked Adolf Hitler as the winner, the editor said, “Hitler’s rise began in 1919, when he joined the German Workers Party, which was renamed the Nazi party. Within two years he was the party’s leader. In 1933, Hitler became chancellor of Germany and soon consolidated his power, banning other parties and establishing totalitarian rule.”

Adding, “He put the unemployed to work in public programs, rebuilt the army and sent Jews, communists and others to concentration camps. On September 1, 1939, Hitler began World War II by invading Poland. By 1941, German troops had become bogged down in Russia, and in 1944 the Allies began their advance on Germany. Hitler lived his final months in a Berlin bunker, committing suicide on April 29, 1945.”

Meanwhile, when Modi got into the list of top 50 contenders, it is a moment of pride for India as no Indian has been chosen to the coveted honour as the TIME Person of the Year, since Mahatma Gandhi in 1930.

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