17 People We Will Miss In 2012

Published: Dec 19, 2011 06:23:20 AM IST
Updated: Dec 19, 2011 08:23:20 AM IST

1. Tiger Pataudi, 70


Former Indian cricket captain, under whom we got our first series win in New Zealand. A phenomenal talent, he played with just one eye and scored six centuries and 2,793 Test runs against some of the most lethal fast bowling ever seen. More than his record or royal charm, his most significant legacy is that he made Indians believe that they can take on the best teams on their turf, and win.

2. Dennis Ritchie, 70

Created the software tools and programs that together with their direct descendants, power today’s search engines and smartphone operating systems, including Apple iOS and Google. His book, The C Programming Language, co-written with fellow Bell Labs scientist Brian Kernighan, is a classic. He will be missed for his far-reaching and lasting contribution to computer science.

3. Bhupen Hazarika, 85

A music icon of Northeast India, he was a singer, lyricist, music director, and film maker. He used all these talents in his political activism, with his songs often touching on social issues. He won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1992 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001.

4. Steve Jobs, 56


The college-dropout behind the iconic iPhone and iPad will be best remembered for creating products that people did not even realise they needed. Creating new markets and product lines, Jobs was also a showman during product launches. He sure made a huge difference to the way we communicate and have fun, and all for the better.

5. Bhimsen Joshi, 88

Even for those who did not understand music, this legendary singer’s voice conveyed great power and passion. For those who did, he was among the greatest exponents of Hindustani classical music, and a master of nuance. The winner of numerous awards, including the Bharat Ratna, his legacy will live on most prominently in Pune’s annual Sawai Gandharva music festival, which he started.

6. Shammi Kapoor, 79

Best known for his unconventional dance moves, Kapoor’s career was short-lived, but he changed the way Bollywood heroes were seen. One of the earliest pin-ups of the industry, his “Yahoo!” in the 1961 film Junglee has been forever associated with him. In his later years, he embraced spirituality and the Internet.

7. Peter Roebuck, 55

The former Somerset captain-turned-cricket writer known for his irreverent sense of humour, and sometimes a withering tongue, committed suicide (says the police) in South Africa. While his death remains mysterious, his contribution to cricket writing leaves no room for doubt — he was the best of his generation.

8. Joe Frazier, 67

World heavyweight champion (1971-73), he was Mohammad Ali’s toughest opponent who defeated him in ‘The Fight of the Century’ in 1971. His devastating left hook sent boxers sprawling and, on occasion, to the hospital. He won 27 of 37 fights on knockout.

9. M.F. Husain, 95

Everything about the great painter was big — be it his canvases, or serial productions or obsessions with glamorous divas like Madhuri Dixit. His experiments with the nude form led right wing groups to attack his exhibitions and forced him to leave India for good in 2006. His refusal to accept boundaries to his freedom of expression will remain his enduring legacy.  

Images: 1. Sachin Kadvekar / Fotocorp; 2. Denise Panyik Dale; 3. Ujjal Deb/ Fotocorp; 4. Robert Galbraith / Reuters; 5. Kedar Nene / Fotocorp; 6. Madhu Kapparath for Forbes India; 7. Getty Images; 8. Will Burgess / Reuters; 9. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

10. Mario de Miranda, 85

Hilarious newspaper cartoons, paintings, exquisitely detailed art in travel books, light, happy illustrations in school textbooks, cheery murals… Mario (just his first name and people know who you were talking about) was an artist with a touch all his own, an affectionate observer who could always find the light side.

11. Socrates, 57

The World Cup hero of the Brazilian team in 1982, he represented his country 80 times, and inspired millions in Brazil and Latin America. Instantly recognisable as a bearded 6ft. 4in. midfield, he was a genius at passing the ball and finds a place in most lists of best-ever football teams. He died of complications related to food poisoning that came after being hospitalised in August for alcohol abuse.

12. Dev Anand, 88

A superstar of the 1950s and 1960s, he starred in hits like Guide, Jewel Thief and Hum Dono. He also launched Zeenat Aman, Tina Munim and Jackie Shroff, who went on to have successful careers. Although his recent movie-making ventures were subject to ridicule, he remained unfazed and undeterred.

13. Sultan Khan, 75

The soulful voice behind popular songs like ‘Piya Basanti’, and a master of the sarangi, Ustad Sultan Khan was known for his international collaborations and for experimenting with his music. He died of kidney failure.

14. Indira Goswami, 69


One of the biggest names in Assamese literature, and winner of the Jnanpeeth Award, Goswami was influential in bringing the armed rebel group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to the negotiating table, which resulted in the surrender of one of its core commanders.

15. Har Gobind Khorana, 89

He was not an Indian when he died, but he was the first India-born winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. More importantly, he inspired a whole generation of Indian scientists and others associated with medicine to believe in themselves.

16. Jagjit Singh, 70

The maestro of ghazals, he took this poetic form of music much beyond India. Tasting his first big success in 1976, he, along with wife Chitra, continued their musical journey till the tragic death of their son. Singh went into depression, and it showed at his concerts. He died of brain haemorrhage.

17. Elizabeth Taylor, 79

The star of movies like A Place in the Sun and Cleopatra, Taylor lived a life that remained in the public eye long after she stopped acting. Her life — from the time she was 11 — was one that kept the gossip mills running, specially her eight marriages, two of which were to Richard Burton. Later, her support for humanitarian causes and her ever-present diamonds at charity events kept her firmly in the news.

Images: 10. Frederick Noronha; 11. Reuters; 12. B Mathur / Reuters; 13. Sameer Joshi / Fotocorp; 14. Apoorva Salkade / Fotocorp; 15. Keystone / Getty Images; 16. Sameer Joshi / Fotocorp; 17. Reuters

(This story appears in the 06 January, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Pc

    This is an important list of the 17-but you are also missing Kuldip Manak.

    on Jan 4, 2012
  • Bhaskar

    Not including Sathya Sai Baba, one of the most prominent philanthropist of our generation, and including guys like Mario Miranda, who might be missed only by some old people at the paper in which he drew, or the over-hyped Shammi Kapoor, shows that you did not get your priorities right.

    on Dec 31, 2011
  • Reader

    What about Satya Sai Baba?

    on Dec 19, 2011
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