People | Verve’s 50 Power Women 2009

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Verve’s 50 Power Women 2009
Published: Volume 17, Issue 6, June, 2009

Rajshree Pathy (52)
SUGAR BARONESS

For knowing how to build, and how to sustain the balance between business and social success. For nurturing young Indian artists and accumulating one of the finest Indian contemporary art collections, and creating a larger-than-life home in which she lives with her art instead of looking at it. For being a bon vivant with whom life, like sugar, is so very sweet.

Mallika Dutt (47)
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BREAKTHROUGH

From the distant shores of New York, Mallika Dutt has struck a chord in the lives of most Indians with her Bell Bajao campaign. This campaign against domestic violence on TV and other media, shows neighbours including actor Boman Irani, knocking at people’s doors when they hear a domestic quarrel. The campaign has been received so well by the Indian audience that people have reportedly gone and knocked on neighbours’ doors when they suspect domestic violence. A human rights advocate, Dutt is the founder of Breakthrough, which addresses critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, racial justice and immigrant rights.

Awakening of consciousness For the first time, at Mt Holyoke College, USA taking Women’s Studies courses.
Turning point The Man Ke Manjeere campaign where she had Shubha Mudgal sing to Shantanu Moitra’s music. The album based on women’s rights had the whole nation hooked. She realised that to improve women’s rights, media campaigns have to be organised at the community level.
Is proud of the fact That people are bell bajao-ing all over the country.
Strongly believes The most effective solutions to the world’s problems can only be found if women are sitting at the table.
Stress busters Regency romance novels on her e-book reader.
Driving philosophy Human rights begin at home.

Meera Shankar (59)
AMBASSADOR TO USA

She made history by becoming the first serving diplomat to be posted as US ambassador in Washington in more than two decades after K Shankar Bajpai. Meera Shankar, who succeeds Ronen Sen, also has the distinction of being India’s second woman ambassador to the US after Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit. Shankar, who recently presented her credentials at the State Department to US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, will reportedly be among the first group of ambassadors to ‘exchange letters’ and be greeted by President Obama in the White House. America is familiar terrain for the 1973 batch Indian Foreign Service officer, who was posted in Washington between 1991 and 1995 as minister of commerce under the then Ambassador Siddhartha Shankar Ray.

Career milestones Posted to Germany in December 2005. Served as additional secretary (UN, disarmament and international security) from 2003-5, joint secretary (Nepal-Bhutan, SAARC) from 1997-2003 and also had a stint in the Prime Minister’s Office from 1985-1991, most notably when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister.
Quote unquote Raymond Vickery, senior vice president at Stonebridge International, a top Washington DC lobbying firm, reportedly said, ‘Ambassador Shankar is an outstanding choice for the post of Ambassador to the United States…her selection bodes well for continuing the upward trajectory of US-India relations.’
Reputed for Her formidable intellect, energy and humour.

Chitra Ganesh (34)
ARTIST

Myth, history, sexuality, imperialism and literature all find expression in Chitra Ganesh’s striking unique drawings and installations. Developing an audience in Europe and South Asia as well as the US, connecting with an audience that’s both local and international and having her work in top-quality collections like the Devi Art Foundation, Deutsche Bank, the Saatchi Collection, and Whitney Museum of American Art have made her an art force to reckon with. New York-based Ganesh spent her childhood between India and the US, and counts a short animation she made her most significant work from last year. The artist is currently excited about travelling to Istanbul and Mexico to work on the sound for a film in progress, solo presentations in New York and Europe, making new comics and exploring her favourite formal concerns in painting..

Trophy clutch The New York Foundation for the Arts Artists’ Fellowship 2009, numerous grants and residencies throughout the US. Contributed to publications such as the anthology Juicy Mother 2, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards edited by Jennifer Camper.
Inspirations Literature, music and song lyrics, lives of other artists, nature, New York City, travel, Frida Kahlo, Amrita Sher-Gil, Max Beckmann and the music of Geeta Dutt, Sam Cooke, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Manu Chao.
Signature style Urban hippie – a bit of bling plus lots of vintage. “I don’t wear designer clothes. Mark Ecko/Ecko Red is the exception.”
Pet causes Several grass roots social movements: access to arts education, lesbian and gay rights, post- 9/11 anti-detention, deportation and immigration reform.

 

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