In many ways, a country is like the theatre. It needs a resplendent cast of characters to stay inspired and plots to entertain it. The eclectic mix of people we feature in this section perform diverse roles and functions. They include activists, conservatives, opinion leaders, rebels, crusaders, doers, dreamers and innovators. Collectively, all of them contribute to the making of the passion called India. We have among us sceptics who complain that the level of political discourse has been degraded, mostly by those we elect. Yet we also have those who tirelessly call them out and fight for expanding the space for dialogue, without which a democracy cannot forge ahead. India, we are often told, is a country with a chequered past and an uncertain future. But as a nation, it has managed to flourish and triumph against daunting odds and terrifying prophecies, thanks to people such as these who play a pivotal role in championing truth and action. This list, therefore, is a celebration of our faith in hope and our ability to push boundaries, fight off challenges, overcome the odds, solve problems, invest in aspirations, and, above all, dream big.