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The Influentials: People Who Impact Jaipur

DNJAI21412 | 12/31/2010 | Author : Team DNA | WC :5178

Yearend Special 2010

2010 Here are The Influentials, DNA After Hrs’ list of the top people who call the shots in Jaipur. They are the ones who matter the most and make the difference... to public policy, governance, development, social life in the city and beyond. While power is viscous near the perimeter, it is solid towards the centre. And that is why, we bring to you the people, at the top of the inventory,  who are at the core of influence and change. Read on...

Fortune’s favourite: Ashok Gehlot, chief minister
Unruffled by all the controversies surrounding his ministers, and despite maintaining a studiously low profile, the top man of the government of Rajasthan continues to hog the limelight with his government completing two years in power. And even as he tries to tighten his grip on his ministers and bureaucrats with recent initiatives like Prashasan Gaon ke Sang, his detractors’ attempts to unsettle him only seem to strengthen his position—the ‘Rajasthan ka Gandhi’ continues to remain a favourite with 10 Janpath. Though it will be interesting to see how he walks the tightrope of administering the state while ensuring the volatile caste cauldron does not boil over, thanks to the recalcitrant Gurjars and resistant Jats, who refuse to share the OBC reservation pie!
Queen V she remains:  Vasundhara Raje, general secretary, BJP 
Even two years after having lost the throne of power, the former chief minister remains the focus of attention—from both the ruling Congress and her own BJP—in the state. Be it her diatribe against her successor Ashok Gehlot or her jousts with students at college functions, the Queen V continues to rule and make her presence felt in the power circles. And the ease with which she interacts and mingles even with her political rivals at social gatherings is something that even her opponents envy.
Power to ’em!: Padmini Devi & Diya kumari, royalty
The royal ladies wield the real power at the City Palace with an ailing Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh confined largely. Reportedly, the authoritative maharani takes all the decisions while quietly training her daughter to be regent until grandson Padmanabh—officially adopted by the ex-maharaja some years ago—is ready to take over the reins of their vast properties, businesses and, of course, disputes!
Master juggler: CP Joshi, Union minister, for rural development
Juggling his many roles at the Centre and in the state, the Union minister, Congress president and RCA president still doesn't mind being projected by his faithful supporters as the leading contender for the chief ministerial post after Gehlot. Though always cautious about stirring any controversy over the issue, the ‘spontaneous’ professor gave some food for thought to many with his  ‘I am a collaborator and not a follower’ remark about Gehlot.
Mr Troubleshooter: Shanti dhariwal, home and UDH minister
The most powerful minister in the Rajasthan cabinet has been in the media glare for all the wrong reasons most of this year. But within the government that has not taken away the title of ‘CM's troubleshooter’ from him.  Even his remarks in the assembly against a legislator, and, lately, his reported abortive confrontation with chief secretary S Ahmed over Statue Circle, followed by some discontent among Congress legislators, have done little to lower his stature.
Man Friday: Shreemat Pandey, principal secretary to CM 
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot's  Man Friday, who is in the know of all crucial goings on and movements within the secretariat and bureaucracy, Shreemat Pandey is the fulcrum of the state machinery. Reported as having sacrificed a plum career opportunity for Gehlot, this 1984 batch IAS officer returned as the CM’s secretary in his second term and now remains at the helm of affairs.
On the ball: Mahesh Joshi, Jaipur MP
After engineering the advent of BSP MLAs within the Congress fold in 2008, the Brahmin leader has fast emerged as a young leader with some foresight—supporting Jyoti Khandelwal for mayorship being a case in point. According to those in the know, this ‘youthful’ politico, who blogs to keep in touch with his constituency, controls the Jaipur political scene and hence enjoys the proximity to chief minister.
A masterly man: Prof VS Vyas, member, PM’s economic advisory council & deputy chairperson state planning board
Ateacher throughout his life, Professor Vijay Shankar Vyas has taught at IIM, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Boston and has been senior advisor to the World Bank.
At nearly 80, the economist is on the economic advisory council to the prime minister. In the state itself, his power derives from the fact that there is very little policy planning that happens without the benign Prof’s presence.
Rights angle: Aruna Roy, member, national advisory council
This campaigner for the Right to Information is a voice to reckon with in Rajasthan’s corridors of power being a member of the national advisory council and advising the Union government on policy matters. Celebrated for chucking a promising bureaucratic career for social activism—establishing the concept of social audit of public accounts is one of her major achievements—Roy sure walks tall, be it here in Jaipur or at the Centre.
Jewel in the Cong: Rajiv arora, MD, Amrapali Jewels
That Rajiv Arora was in the first Congress list for the 2008 assembly elections was no surprise. A close supporter and campaigner for the CM since their young, activist days, though Arora was eased out of the RTDC chairmanship—reportedly by rival Bina Kak—in Gehlot’s last term and lost his first election, he has continued to hold sway in the CM’s coterie.
Man for all seasons: Ajay Chopra, director, Crayons Advertising
For most, Ajay Chopra bagging the Congress party’s `150cr publicity account in the last state assembly and general elections was just the seal on the special relationship the advertising maverick shares with the chief minister—reportedly he is the only one to meet Gehlot every day. Socially too, the multi-faceted Chopra commands great respect, not least for his cultural and literary linkages with Javed Akhtar among others of similar stature.
P3 meets P1: Bina kak, minister for woman & child development, tourism, art & culture and archaeology
The only one in the Gehlot ministry to go against the ‘politics of message’ propagated by the rest of her colleagues, the flamboyant Ms Kak is not afraid to be her Bollywood best in public or private—campaigning, hosting her children’s weddings, or showing filmstars around pet projects like her school for the disabled. This able lady naturally has high ambitions. Whether she will fulfil them is moot, though the social set she holds sway over would sure love her to.
Rallying point: Arun Chaturvedi, BJP state president
Arun Chaturvedi has been seen trying to hold his ground with the backing of the Sangh despite resistance from non-RSS factions. His non-controversial tenure seems to have struck the right chord with the high command, and that has given enough reason to many to rally around him as an emerging power centre.
Media maven: Jagdish chandra, CEO ETV
Love him or hate him, the bureaucrat-turned-journalist remains as sought after and popular within the power circles as ever. Once himself a media-savvy bureaucrat, who was among Vasundhara Raje’s most trusted band of officials, and now the head of a news channel, Jagdish Chandra ‘Qatil’ is banked upon not only by his former colleagues and the government's publicity managers when it comes to spreading the right kind of message, but also tapped by the high and the mighty for his crucial inputs on political matters of the state and even the fraternity to which he now belongs.
Salad days: Salauddin Ahmad, chief secretary
The first state chief secretary to represent the minority at the topmost level, Salauddin Ahmad has brought in an air of freshness in government functioning by strongly advocating field visits. A favourite in the social circles as ‘Salad’, the outspoken bureaucrat (who stared down Shanti Dhariwal, no less, over Statue Circle), seems to have struck right chord within the bureaucracy with his good vocal cords and flair for classical music.
Powerfully low-key: CK Mathew, principal secretary, finance
The backbone of the state's functioning, CK Mathew is a key participant in all key decision- making of the government. Mathew fits in Gehlot's mould, because, like him, he is a silent performer. He is methodical and pushes for transparency. No wonder, then this author of three fiction books continues to rate the highest in the CM’s confidence from his last term... and is a power centre for the same reason.
Well-connected: Sachin Pilot, minister of state for IT and communications
Far from the spectrum of controversies involving his senior in the ministry, the young union minister of state has done well in maintaining the connectivity with the masses in the state, through his regular visits here. Besides introducing new schemes for students and fibre to home plan in his constituency, right now the greater challenge for him seems to be keeping away from all the lobbyists and self-proclaimed power centres, that now are being tapped by various agencies for all the wrong reasons!
Cool in khaki: Harish Chandra Meena, director general of police
Apart from the fact that HC Meena happens to be the younger brother of Union minister Namo Narayan Meena, the influence of this 1976 batch IPS officer arises from the confidence of having worked in almost all areas of state policing and at all posts since his first posting as ASP Manak Chowk in 1981. Besides, Meena has also had long stints at the Centre as well, including one with CRPF. Consequently, his knowledge of all aspects of policing gives him a strong grip over state functioning.
The sheriff: BL Soni, IG Jaipur (Range I)
Inspector General of Jaipur (Range I) BL Soni is an IPS officer of the 1988 batch. Having served on central deputation to CBI as DIG, he has investigated into several high-profile cases and brought them to logical conclusion. As IG Jaipur, Soni has enforced several new measures of crime control, including community liaisoning group, appointment of investigating officers, increasing police visibility on roads and others. The highly tech- savvy Soni recently launched a laptop tracking service in Jaipur!
Close to RG: Bhanwar Jitendra Singh, MP
A close aide of India’s future prime ministerial hope, Bhanwar Jitendra Singh is often seen accompanying Rahul Gandhi on his Rajasthan visits, raising the hopes of his supporters largely due to his proximity to the junior Gandhi. Not surprisingly, many have already started rallying around the Alwar MP, who see in him a chief ministerial candidate for Rajasthan.
Legal eagle: Paras Kuhad, leading lawyer
Paras Kuhad has been practising as an advocate since 1977 and presently heads one of the largest law firms in country, the Paras Kuhad & Associates. He has kept service to the society at the core of his work and established the Kuhad Trust. Under the trust he has adopted a community health centre at Ahore. The Trust organises fortnightly panchayat samiti-wise free eye camps in the whole of Jalore district round the year to make this area a cataract free zone. He is also the mind behind opening a research organisation, the Centre for Public Policy. Under the aegis of the Centre, the social and working conditions of rickshaw-pullers in Jaipur city have been studied.
Diamonds forever: Navratan Kothari, a pioneer of diamond industry
Few people have achieved such widespread recognition and respect as Navratan Kothari, who is the true pioneer of the diamond industry and beyond. His vision and leadership of KGK Group began in the 1960s when he joined the family business.  Over the years, he has been responsible for moving the company into a global organisation that now operates in 15 countries. Kothari's philanthropic contributions include giving his personal time and support to help cancer patients and advance research through Bhagwan Mahavir Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.
He is also responsible for helping more than 4,000 students in Jaipur, South Africa and Russia learn the skills needed to enter the diamond and jewellery business.
The rebel: Kirori Lal Meena, MP
The grassroot tribal leader and MP has been living up to his image of troublemaker. Even Gehlot's effort to keep him under rein by giving his better half a ministerial post has not prevented him from being true to his raison d’etre. Known for rebelling against governments irrespective of party, his only loyalty seems to be with his community.
Doc for all: Ashok Panagaria, doctor
A medical teacher for the last 34 years and winner of Dr BC Roy award for excellence in medical education, Dr Ashok Panagaria is one of best neurologists in the country. Besides, his efforts to integrate the Indian philosophy of health with science and religion in the form of brain-mind-body medicine is also becoming popular. He also delivers lectures on happiness and spiritualism besides writing for magazines.
Knowledge=Power: SR Dharkar, doctor
Dr SR Dharkar developed the department of neurosurgery at SMS medical college in 1978 and served as principal of SMS medical college from 1999 to 2006. He has also served as dean, faculty of medicine and pharmaceutics at Rajasthan University. He has published 113 research papers and is now practising at the SK Soni hospital and also organises regular neurosurgical camps in rural areas.
Batting strong: Sanjay Dixit, secretary, RCA
Soon after the end of the Indian Premier League III, Dixit was one of the most sought-after persons in the media. A bureaucrat and Rajasthan Cricket Association secretary, Dixit increased troubles for ‘rival’ and then IPL commissioner Lalit Modi by speaking out on things hitherto kept under cover. Now he rules the fate of cricket in the state along with president CP Joshi.
Repository of ideas: ML Mehta, former bureaucrat
Former head of the state bureaucracy, ML Mehta continues to pull strings of the establishment even years after his retirement. This is possible only because he got a mind full of ideas and clear concepts for governance. He is honoured beyond his political thinking only because his initiatives are unique and indispensable for development. He heads RMoL.
Designs on Jaipur: Anoop bartaria, architect
Anoop Bartaria’s architectural designs have been applauded for their interesting concepts.  Bartaria is an expert in structural engineering. With his business acumen he has become chairman of Sincere group and vice chairman of World Trade Park (WTP). He is also the brain behind the Jaipur Marathon, organised to instill a sense of pride for the city among Jaipurites.
Trusted name: LC Sharma, principal, SMS Med College
He has pioneered kidney transplant at the SMS hospital. Now he has been entrusted by the state government to manage the business of the apex hospital as medical superintendent of the institution. He is heading many a path-breaking research in the field of nephrology and has become a trusted name in kidney-related problems from kidney stones to dialysis and transplant.
Power couple: Timmie & Apurv Kumar, philanthropist / hotelier
The exuberant and stylish Timmie Kumar and her hotelier husband Apurv are firmly established on the Jaipur charity, tourism and social scene even though they made the city their home only a decade ago. While Timmie makes her contribution to change in the city supporting the arts, destitute children and stray animals, Apurv is a quiet yet powerful voice on matters concerning one of the prime revenue earners for the state—tourism.
Social satraps: Jyotika & Ram Pratap diggi, hoteliers
Relatively lesser known to the larger public till a few years ago, the gracious Jyotika and her suave husband Ram Pratap have leapfrogged to the global stage since they began to host the Jaipur Literature Festival at their charming heritage property in the heart of the city.  Warmly hospitable and indefatigable hosts, they have played no small part in ensuring that the festival gets placed on the international map.
Dishing it out : Vinay & Rajnish Pardal, restaurateurs
For the sons of Ved, who founded Niros in an age when eating out was an alien concept in traditional Jaipur, keeping tabs on the city’s changing tastes (in food and and influence) comes naturally. And why not, when some of the most illustrious personalities in the country, and outside it, have broken bread with them. At the heart of Jaipur’s social scene, the brothers rub shoulders with the who’s who, be it the polo set, the political set or the Johnnies-come-lately and prove that quiet, unwritten rule of the city’s haute  society: You are in if you are seen with the Brothers Pardal.
Voice of Rajasthan: Lakshmi Kumari Chundawat, writer
It is hard to describe this three-time legislator who ran three consecutive terms in Assembly when it was unusual for a woman to even step out of her house. From writing regular newspaper columns to penning the first of her books on Rajasthani tradition and culture in 1948, Rani Laxmi Kumari Chundawat continues to be a powerful and energetic voice of Rajasthan even in the ninetieth decade of her life. Recently, the Rani Laxmi launched a DVD of Rajasthani folk tales.
The czar of arts: Prakash Surana, Jeweller & Patron of arts 
For over 40 years, he has been at the forefront of Jaipur’s classical music scene; indeed, he has single-handedly created an audience with his patronage of the arts through Shruti Mandal music society. The classical greats count him their close friend and, besides bringing them to Jaipur regularly, he also encourages homegrown talent.  So synonymous is he with this aspect of his life
that it is easy to forget his other calling—that of being jeweller to royalty and much of affluent India.
Weaving dreams: Faith & John Singh, conservationists
Dig a little into Jaipur’s life and culture and you will find that—apart from the well-documented revival of the dying Sanganeri hand-block printing through Anokhi—be it heritage, environmental conservation, primary education, motor sports, animal welfare, the arts or literature... there is little that  John and Faith Singh have not kickstarted or been engaged in, individually or jointly! Two of the more publicised initiatives being the Jaipur Virasat Foundation and the Lit Fest. Though now seeking a less public role, they retain their influence for the strength of their vision alone.
Commanding respect: Vidyasagar Upadhyay, Artist
A pioneer in the field of abstraction in Rajasthan, Upadhyay’s day begins and and ends with painting. An extremely prolific artist, he has won several awards for his works, including the national award the Lalit Kala Akademi. Upadhyay’s sphere of influence stems not just from the seniority he has in his chosen vocation, but also from the respect he commands among his peers as well as the younger generation for his non-controversial functioning in a field notorious for factionalism and undercutting.
Terracotta warrior: Himmat Shah, Sculptor
Himmat Shah, born in 1933, studied painting at the faculty of fine arts of MS University, Baroda in Fifties. Shah’s sculptures in bronze and terracotta explore materiality, texture and the various ways in which reality can be presented. They internalise the built-in obsolescence of consumerist society. His gilded objects of clay have the traces of paintings on them and there are unreadable hieroglyphs gouged into his series of metal heads. This Jaipur-based artist was conferred with the Kalidas Samman in 2003 by the government of Madhya Pradesh. Shah has also received the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Award in 1996 and the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award (New Delhi) in 1988.
The maverick: Col Kuldeep Singh Garcha, polo player & promoter
The Colonel has been a flamboyant presence and off the polo field in Jaipur for many years now. That this cavalryman has been one of India’s foremost players with his handicap of five goals playing in more than 20 countries, and captained India on innumerable occasions are mere statistics. A close friend and business partner of the late Rajmata Gayatri Devi
for many decades, the Arjuna awardee—who has jostled in the polo field with royals such as Prince Charles—has influenced and directed the course of Indian polo after greats like Sawai Man Singh through coaching the national team and promoting the sport by setting up India’s first private polo and riding club and guiding younger talent.
In classic mould: Vishwamohan Bhatt, classical music exponent
In 1994, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt won the Grammy Award. This was the first time many music lovers here even heard of the world-renowned award, and the honour put Bhatt, along with Jaipur, on the world map of music. Known for his successful Indianisation of the Hawaiian guitar, with his perfect assimilation of sitar, sarod and veena techniques, Bhatt has attracted acclaim from all across the world. It comes as no surprise that this Jaipurite has been conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Padma Shri.
The M-Word: Mita kapur, writer & literary consultant
She unleashed a literary avalanche on Jaipur by designing and effecting the Jaipur Lit Fest in 2006 and 2007. A writer, of newspaper articles and now a book, herself, Mita Kapur is emerging as a leading voice in southeast Asia on matters literary by virtue of being at the helm of literary events and by managing writers through Siyahi, the literary consultancy and management firm she has founded.
Bon vivant: Sanjeev bali, liquor baron & restaurateur
MD of Mount Shivalik, Sanjiv Bali has over 21 years in the liquor and beer industry. A regular presence on the polo scene, he has his own team competing in tourneys, he also has a finger in the hospitality pie through his fine dining restaurant, 1135 AD, at Amber.
Voice of Rajasthan: Lakshmi kumari chundawat, writer
It is hard to describe this three-time legislator who ran three consecutive terms in Assembly when it was unusual for a woman to even step out of her house. From writing regular newspaper columns to penning the first of her books on Rajasthani tradition and culture in 1948, Rani Laxmi Kumari Chundawat continues to be a powerful and energetic voice of Rajasthan even in the ninetieth decade of her life. Recently, the Rani Laxmi launched a DVD of Rajasthani folk tales.
Meet the folk-ers: Rajasthan roots, music band
A few years back, young Aditya Bhasin was seen as just another rich kid indulging in his ‘hobby’ of strumming. Today, the world is the stage for him and his collective of folk musicians, Rajasthan Roots, which promotes performing arts of the state by bringing folk to a multicultural platform and creating contemporary music. Beginning with the Jaipur Literature Festival, the band has now performed in many countries and is the contemporary voice of fusion, giving Rajasthani folk its new power.
Notes of faith: Wasifuddin Dagar, classical musician
Just 41 years old, Wasifuddin, born to Ustad Faiyazuddin Dagar, is a very important representative of the ancient Dhrupad form of Indian classical music. Known for the style that he has adopted from his father and uncle Ustad Zahiruddin Dagar, Wasif belongs to the 20th generation of the Dagar dynasty that has kept faith with dhrupad through its years of neglect. The young Padma Shri remains faithful to the city of his birth and has maintained a base in Char Darwaza, the family seat.
His lines speak: Gopal Swami Khetanchi, painter
Rajasthan has produced many artists, but few are as meticulous in their work as GS Khetanchi. Born in 1958 in a mofussil town, Khetanchi went on to acquire an arts degree in drawing and painting. However, they were not his sole calling. He has worked as assistant art director in films like Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Kalia, and also as an illustrator for newspapers. And while he has not been doing these, Khetanchi has been putting up shows all over the country, including at top galleries.
She’s got the power: Krishna Poonia , discus throw champion
She made international headlines when she scripted history by winning gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.
She is the first Indian woman to won the gold in the games in track and field single events. Besides,
Krishna Poonia again brought laurels home when she won the bronze in the recently concluded Asian Games at Guangzhou. It was her best year on the field.
Amazing armyman: Bajrang Lal Takhar, rowing champion
From  Balu Baba Ki Dhani in Sikar district to win the first individual rowing gold medal for India at the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou is a long way. But Bajrang Lal Takhar has traversed the distance with incredible determination. This naib subedar in the Rajputana Rifles regiment of the Indian Army and Arjuna awardee won the gold for India defeating the favourite Chinese and Japanese rowers.
Olympian feat: Limba Ram
He has achieved what he deserved. Olympian Limba Ram was the chief coach of the Indian archery team for the Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou. Before the archery association of India employed him, Limba
saw some terrible days in hometown Jaipur, which included living in the garage of MLA quarters. His team performed well in both the events and the state government finally woke up and
acknowledged his achievement and awarded him `10 lakh in recognition.
Billboard Badshah: Ballabh maheshwari, adman business entrepreneur
Ballabh Maheshwari has achieved great success in the field of advertising. He is the director of Shakun Advertising and NS publicity, which has contracted several advertising sites not just in the state, but in the entire country. He has also served people through his various social activities. Indeed, he is a guide for aspirants, who want to achieve something in this field.
Inspiration for some: Satish Katta, businessman
Satish Katta has earned name in the field of textiles, tourism, transportation, agro products and hotels and resorts. His firm Siyaram exports is a leading one in the industry. He has also entered the media field and launched HBC channel in Jaipur. Katta is an inspiration for all those who want to rise to success from the bottom. He is also associated with several social and charitable organisations.
Raising the bar: Kavita Srivastava ,activist
This name is most commonly heard among victims of atrocities. Love her or hate her, most governments cannot ignore her when she raises her voice for victims of injustice. most famously associated with the Bhanwari Devi case, Srivastava, national secretary of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), can be found  arguing for food entitlements of the poor or the Right to Education for children.
Building block: Atma Ram Gupta, builder
Atma Ram Gupta, a chartered and cost accountant, is the backbone of the ARG Group. The group was established in 1989 with its first project Apollo Apartment and since then has successive projects to its credit in the area of construction. His dedication to his work has got it wide acceptance amongst buyers, retailers and investors. Gupta is also associated with Lions Club, Rotary Club and is the president of Rajasthan Swasthya
Yog Parishad Trust, Jaipur.
Real(ty) king: Dhirendra Madan, builder 
Dhirendra Madan is chairman and managing director of Mahima group, which is the mother company of 12 different companies involved in construction, development and maintenance of the projects of Mahima Group. Born in 1958, Madan started his journey of entrepreneurship from the automobile industry. The group successfully diversified into real estate more than a decade ago, creating various milestones on its way to developing into a city giant in the field of real estate.
Rise and shine: Sandeep Bakshi, educationist
Chancellor of Jaipur National University (JNU), Sandeep Bakshi is an educationist who has reached to the very top of his field. Starting with a primary school many years ago, Bakshi has now become the promoter of one of the first private universities of Rajasthan and a chain of schools from pre-primary to senior secondary level.
Unique record: Vibhishek singh, builder
A dedicated and enthusiastic professional, Vibhishek is a visionary in real estate scenario in the state. He is managing director at Unique builders. After graduating in commerce from the University of Bombay, he associated himself with the family business of commodities and construction materials manufacturing, a venture founded by his father 30 years ago. He has been involved in integration initiatives of the family business. He has added a new dimension to the company's profile and elevated the group to be one of the largest real estate companies of Rajasthan. One of his initiatives has been to create a Guinness record for the biggest bhoomi pujan by more than 3000 pandits at the same time.
Landmarks man: Ravindra Singh Thakkar, builder
Ravindra Singh believes he seeks to build a better life for his customers by leveraging his company’s core strengths the 5 Ls of leadership, luxury, lifestyle, location and legacy—to create landmarks of exemplary quality and design that benchmark among the highest standards of international living in the Pink City. His vision now encompasses not just providing quality living to their esteemed clientele but also unfurling a revolution that is redesigning skylines, business lines and life lines as well.
She’s school: Jaishree Periwal, educationist
After running the business of exporting antique items successfully for years, Periwal has now revolutionised school education in the city as director of Step By Step school. This socialite-turned-educator has introduced several new concepts for city school education. Her ideas have evolved to change the entire teaching-learning process for Jaipur’s children and become a whole new experience than traditional schooling.
Shooting star: Shagun Chaudhary, shooter
One of the top rifle shooters of the country, Shagun Chaudhary is a name to reckon with in Jaipur. She was selected to join the Indian team for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, but missed out on a bronze medal by a margin of single point. A popular figure on the social circuit of the city, Shagun is universally liked for her pleasant personality, easygoing and is a regular on the party scene when she is not playing for the state and the country.
Multifaceted enterprise: Surendra kumar golcha, entrepreneur
For most in the city, the name Surendra Kumar Golcha is associated with cinema. After all, he and his family have been synonymous with it for the last four generations from 1935—they own some of the best film theatres in the country. An entrepreneur in the traditional mould, Golcha’s main business interests are in mining, supplying raw material to diverse industries. In the social sector, he is known for supporting many educational institutions, hospitals and sports coaching centres.
Power-packed thali: Ajay Agarwal, Restaurateur
In the busy Johri Bazar, the five decade-old Lakshmi Mishthan Bhandar’s heritage structure with its kitschy glass windows remains one of the must-visit places even today. Known for its vegetarian thalis and sweets across the country, the restaurant has been evolving under Agarwal’s stewardship to suit both foreign and Indian customers even changing its recipes and adding garlic and onion to compete with the increasing competition. The unremitting popularity of the place is a proof of his efforts.
Ringing in rusticity: Subhash Vaswani, hotelier
Twenty years back when Subhash Vaswani started Chokhi Dhani, even he did not imagine such response. The rustic resort has redefined hospitality, especially in the domestic segment. For, while Chokhi Dhani may attract its share of ‘traditional Rajasthan’-seeking international tourists, it is the middle-class Indian tourist who truly sets its cash registers ringing. All set to expand to Chennai, Raipur, Sonepat and Ludhiana after Indore and Pune, Vaswani is also planning an art centre, Kalagram, to showcase state artists.

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