US-based Foreign Policy magazine's list consists of four other Indians including writer-activist Arundhati Roy and researcher Deepa Narayan
Social activist Anna Hazare, software czar Azim Premji and four other Indians have been named in the US-based Foreign Policy magazine's list of the top 100 global thinkers for 2011.
Economist Abhijit Banerjee, writer-activist Arundhati Roy, researcher Deepa Narayan and scholar Arvind Subramanian are the other Indians in the list topped by Arab activists who helped bring democracy to the Middle East. US President Barack Obama is ranked 11th on the list.
India's bill Gates: The magazine said that they included Premji because of his unprecedented philanthropy. File pic
Nine Indians figured in the 2010 list.
The highest spot to an Indian this year went to Premji, ranked at 14, who the magazine called the "Bill Gates of India".
"It's not just because of Azim Premji's enormous wealth that he is compared to the American technologist turned philanthropist," the magazine said about India's third richest citizen with a net worth of $13 billion (Rs 67,624 crore), according to Forbes magazine.
"It is Premji's unprecedented philanthropy, that recently has borne out the Gates comparison," it said noting the chairman of the IT firm Wipro, recently contributed nearly $2 billion to a rural education project.
Anna fever Anna Hazare, who is leading a popular campaign demanding tough new laws to curb corruption, is the next Indian who features on the list, ranked at number 37. He figures for "asking the world's largest democracy to live up to its billing".
"The simplicity and single-mindedness of Hazare's crusade has awakened millions of middle-class professionals who are fed up with India's pervasive culture of graft," the magazine said.
Economist Abhijit Banerjee, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was ranked 60th along with fellow economist Esther Duflo for their book, Poor Economics, on the world's poorest.
Poverty researcher Deepa Narayan (rank 79) gets on the list for "seeing the poor as more than victims", while the author of The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (rank 94) is described as the "voice of India's voiceless".
Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at Washington's Peterson Institute for International Economics was ranked 97 on the list for "sounding the alarm on China's economic ascendancy" in his new book Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance.