Great Personalities (Past and Present]
Akbar (1556–1605)—He was the greatest of Mughal Emperors of India, founder of the new religion ‘Din-i-Ilahi’.
Alberuni—A great historian who visited India in company with Mahmud Ghazni’s forces.
Amartya Sen Prof.—The recipient of Nobel Prize for Economics for the year 1998 Prof. Amartya Sen revolutionized world outlook on welfare economics.
Andrew C.F.—A British missionary who came to India in 1904. He worked for the freedom of India. He was known as Deen Bandhu.
Prof. Anusuya Chinaswamy Turan—Internationally acclaimed South African palaeobiologist of Indian Origin, Prof. Anusuya Chinaswamy Turan was named ‘Woman of the year 2005’ by certain South African agencies.
Arvid Carlsson—He has been awarded Nobel Prize 2000 in Medicine.
Arun Netravali—President of Bell Labs (USA), he is known as India’s Thomas Alva Edison. Like Edison’s 1093 patented inventions, Netravali’s 70 have hastened the evolution of techonology. Among his inventions is the world’s smallest working transistor.
Dr. Abdul Kalam, A.P.J.—He had been a scientist of repute, familiarly known as Missile Man of India. He was elected President of India in July 2002.
Aryabhatta—A great astronomer and mathematician of ancient India. India named her first scientific satellite after his death.
Amir Khusro—A great Muslim saint who lived in the time of Alauddin Khilji. Known for his Pahelis and songs.
Arthen Dunkel—He was the author of the ‘Dunkel Draft’ which ushered in global free-trade treaties and the World Trade Orga-nisation. He passed away in 2005.
Baden Powell (1857-1941)—Founder of the Boy Scouts Movement in 1908 and Girl Guides in 1910.
Bana Bhatt—The most learned Court poet of Harshvardhana, author of ‘Kadambari’ and ‘Harshcharitsar’.
Beethoven—A great German musician and composer of world fame.
Besant Annie (1846-1933)—An Irish woman who staunchly supported India’s freedom movement. Founder of the Theosophical Society in India.
Bjorn Borg—The tennis wonder of Sweden the Wimbledon Tennis King. He won his 5th successive Wimbeldon men’s singles title in London on July 5, 1980.
Bhabha Dr. Homi Jahangir (1909-66)—Was a great Indian scientist, first chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India; made significant researches in the structure of atom and cosmic rays.
Bennerji Womesh Chandra—The first President of Indian National Congress.
Bhaskara I—A noted Indian astronomer of 9th century A.D.
Bhaskara II—One of the distinguished Indian astronomers and mathematicians of 12th century A.D. It may be remembred that India named her 2nd scientific satellite launched into space from a Soviet cosmodrome on June 27, 1979 after the name of Bhaskara.
Bhattacharya, Kanchan Chaudhry—Ms. Kanchan Chaudhry Bhattacharya became the first woman Director General of Police (DGP) in the country when she assumed charge as DGP Uttaranchal on June 17, 2004.
Bose, Nand Lal—Famous Indian artist, died in May 1966.
Bose J. C. (1858-1937)—Eminent Indian botanist; inventor of crescograph.
Bose, Subash Chandra—A great freedom fighter of India; popularly known as Netaji; founded the Indian National Army. Died in a plane crash in 1945.
Chatterjee Bankim’ Chandra—Literary king of Bengal after Madhusudan; author of ‘Anand Math’.
Columbus (1446-1506)—Famous Italian navigator who discovered America in 1492.
Confucius (551-449 B.C.)—Chinese sage and philosopher; founder of the great world religion Confucianism.
Che Guevara—A guerilla revolutionary who tried to foment revolts in several Latin American countries; shot dead in 1967.
Dante (1265-1321)—One of the greatest Italian poets; author of Divine Comedia’.
Darwin Charles (1802-82)—Discoverer of the Theory of Natural Selection, author of ‘The Origin of Species’.
Epicurus (542-270 B.C.)—Greek philosopher; founder of Epicurean philosophy.
Fa-hien—The first Chinese pilgrim who visited India during the reign of Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya.
Florence Nightingale—Also known as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ the great English nurse who served the wounded soldiers in the Crimean War.
Galileo (1564-1642)—Italian scientist; inventor of telescope.
Garibaldi (1807-1882)—A great Italian fighter for freedom; played a great role in the unification of Italy.
Gayir Khan Irishanov—He is the world’s oldest living person. He lives in Dagestan, Russia and will celebrate his 135th birthday in 2001.
Girija Devi—A Dalit woman from East Champaran district of Bihar, Ms. Girija Devi addressed the 15th session of United Nations Division of Advancement of Women and Development of Economic and Social Affairs on February 27, 2006 in New York (USA).
Hieun Tsang—The Chinese pilgrim who visited India in seventh century during the reign of King Harshvardhana.
Hume Alan Octavian—An English statesman who founded the Indian National Congress in 1885.
Jayakanthan, D.—Noted Tamil writer D. Jayakanthan was conferred the 38th Jnanpith award in 2005 Jayakanthan who has won National and International aclaim for his thought-provoking essays, short stories, novels and novellas, lent to the half of the 20th century a contemporary blend of cultural and political history of Tamil people.
Kiran Bedi—India’s first woman IPS officer and a Magsaysay Award winner, has been appointed to the prestigious post of United Nations Civilian Police Adviser in the Department of Peace-keeping Operations.
Le Corbusier—The architect who designed Chandigarh.
Dr. Kalpana Chawla (1961–2003)—Born in India in 1961, Kalpana Chawla was the US astronaut who lost her life along with 6 other astronauts aboard US space shuttle Columbia, on Feb. 1, 2003. The space shuttle exploded in the sky only 16 minutes before its scheduled landing time.
Epstein—The great British sculptor.
Jamini Roy—Famous Indian painter.
J. M. Coetzee—South Africa born novelist J. M. Coetzee who bagged Booker Prize in 1983 and again in 1999 has added one more feather to his cap by winning Nobel Prize for Literature 2003. He is the first author to win Booker Prize twice.
M. S. Subbulakshmi—The, ‘Nightangle of Carnatic Music’ as also the celebrated exponent of classical and non-classical music, Bharat Ratna M.S.Subbulakshmi passed away at Chennai on Dec. 11, 2004 at the age of 88. She had also been honoured with Magsaysay Award. She had the unique honour of reciting devotional songs during the Silver Jubilee celebrations of UN in 1970. He impeccable music charmed one and all.
M.S. Swaminathan—Padma Vibhushan Dr. M. S. Swaminathan is called as ‘Father of Green Revolution’ in India and had been the DG of ICAR and presently he is the Chairman of ‘Rashtrya Kisan Auog’ (Est. in Feb. 2004).
Muttiah Muralitharan—Ace Sri Lankan off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan became the first bowler in cricket history in the world to claim over 1000 wickets in (593 in Tests and 411 in ODIs) international cricket. He achieved this unique milestone while playing against Bangladesh in Chittagong (Bangladesh) on March 2, 2006, which was also the 100th Test match of his career.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy—A great social reformer of Bengal helped William Bentick, Governor-General of India (1828-35) in the abolition of Sati and other social evils; founder of Brahmo Samaj.
Ray Satyajit—The famous Indian film producer and director. He has received several awards for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema. His famous films are Sonar Kella and Shatranj Ke Khilari (Hindi) etc.
Susruta (14th Century A.D.)—One of the great ancient Indian surgeons.
Tilak, Balgangadhar (1856-1910)—A great nationalist Mahara-shtrian leader of India; wrote a commentary on the Gita while in a jail.
Vivekanand—A great propagator of Vedantic Philosophy; disciple of Swami Ram Krishna Paramhans, founded Ram Krishna Mission at Belur (West Bengal).
Joan of Arc (1412-31)—The girl whose heroism inspired the Frenon to drive the English out of Orleans. She was burnt alive on the stakes.
Kabir—One of the greatest exponents of Bhakti movement. He believed in the unity of God and equality of all religions.
Kalhan—11th century poet-historian of Kashmir, author of the famous book ‘Rajtarangini’.
Kautilya—The great politician who helped Chandra Gupta Maurya in securing political power.
Kumarila Bhatt—A well-known preacher of Hinduism during the 8th century.
Krishna Dev Rai—He was the most famous Raja of Vijai Nagar kingdom and the last great Hindu ruler of Southern India (1509-29).
Kamal Ataturk—Builder of modern Turkey. He defended the Dardanelles against the British in 1912 and drove the Greeks out of Turkey in 1922. President of the Turkish Republic and its virtual dictator (1923-28).
Leonardo da Vinci—One of the greatest all-round geniuses the world has ever produced—painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, engineer and musician. Painted ‘Mona Lisa’. The ‘Last Supper’.
Machiavelli—A fifteen-sixteenth century Florentine historian and diplomat; author of the famous treatise ‘The Prince’.
Magellan—Commanded the first expedition in 1519 to sail round the world. Discovered passages to the Pacific from the Atlantic through Straits later on named after him.
Manu—Famous Hindu Law giver; author of Manusmiriti.
Martin Luther (1483–1546)—Great German religious re-former, who headed Reformation in Europe.
Marx, Karl (1818–83)—German philosopher; author of ‘Das Capital’ and communist Manifosts.
Max Muller—A great German scholar of the 19th century who discovered the treasure of Sanskrit literature and folklore to the world.
Mahatma Gandhi (M.K. Gandhi) (1869–1948)—The greatest Indian after Buddha; father of the Indian nation; achieved freedom for India; was assassinated in 1948.
Mark Inglis—Mark Inglis of New Zealand made history on May 15, 2006, when he became the first double amputee to scale Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world. Inglis, who had lost both of his legs in a climbing accident 24 years ago, reached the summit after 40 days of tough climbing.
Nanak, Guru (1469–1538)—Founder of the Sikh faith.
Nero (37–68 A.D.)—A tyrant and notorious sixth Roman emperor responsible for persecution of his countrymen.
Ms. Nivruti Rai—The first overseas citizen of India (OCI) card was presented to Ms. Nivruti Rai, an IT professional working in Intel, by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the inaugural function of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas–2006 in Hyderabad on January 7, 2006.
Panini—A great Sanskrit grammarian of ancient India.
Percy Sonn—Mr. Percy Sonn of South Africa was appointed as the new President of the ICC (International Cricket Council) on July 7, 2006. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Sonn is the first person from Africa to be appointed to the most senior post at cricket’s world governing body.
Picasso Pablo (1881-1973)—A great Spanish painter : founder of Cubism.
Pinter, Harold—British playwright, Mr. Harold Pinter whose spare style and use of silences has given rise to the adjective, ‘Pintersque’, won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature. Regarded as Britain’s one of best known dramatists, he has written many plays including The Birthday Party, The Caretaker etc.
P. N. Menon—P. N. Menon, a distinguished film maker who heralded a new wave in the Malyalam film industry died at Kochi on Sept. 9, 2008 at the age of 82. Winner of the J. C. Daniel Award for his outstanding contributions to the Malyalam film industry. Mr. Menon started his film career as a poster designer and art director. He had a penchant for visuals that struck a different chord among the viewers.
Pulkesin II (608–642)—The most powerful ruler of Chalukya dynasty in the Deccan.
Raman, C.V.—Professor of Physics and was, for his discovery of Raman Effect, awarded Nobel Prize.
Rousseau (1512–78)—Famous for his two remarkable works. ‘Confessions’ and ‘Social Contract’ which laid down principles of government and conduct; one of the intellectual forces of the French Revolution.
Shakespeare (1564–1616)—England’s greatest poet and dramatist. He was born at stratford on-Avon.
Shashi Tharoor—Mr. Shashi Tharoor has been nominated as a candidate by the Union Government for the post of United Nations Secretary General which falls vacant by the end of 2006. Mr. Tharoor, who is presently the Under Secretary in the UN, has been working for it since 1978.
Sreedharan E.—M. D. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. Mr. E. Sreedharan has been named one of the top 25 newsmakers of 2005 by the USA periodical Engineering News Record. Mr. Sreedharan has been named for the timely completion of Delhi’s 66 km. Metro rail project.
Sun-Yat-Sen—The founder of Chinese Republic, in 1912. He played a prominent part in 1911 Revolution.
Tagore, Rabindra Nath—Great Indian poet, novelist, awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
Thyagaraja—Was South India’s best known and best-loved musician. He composed his songs in Telugu.
Todar Mal—One of the Nav Ratanas and Revenue Minister in the Court of Akbar.
Tolstoy, Leo—A great Russian writer. Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by his works.
Tulsi Das—A great Hindu religious preacher, author of famous ‘Ram Charit Manas.’
Vatsayan H.S.—He was an eminent Hindi poet and novelist. He was awarded Jnanpith award for 1978 for his collection of poems.
Vivekanand (1865–1932)—A great Hindu saint and religious leader, founder of Ram Krishan Mission.
V.S. Naipaul—A distinguished writer of world fame. He is of Indian origin, now living in England. He has been honoured with Nobel Prize for Literature for 2001.
Wilbeforce, William—A distinguished agitator and orator against slave trade during the reign of George III.
V.V. Giri—The fourth President of India. He died in Madras on June 24, 1980 at the age of 85.
Javier Perez de Cuellar—He was the Secretary General of the United Nations. He took over the stewardship of the United Nations from Dr. Kurt Waldheim on January 1, 1982 and remained in office till 31 Dec., 1991.
Mark Shuttleworth—He is the world’s second and South Africa’s first space tourist. He was hurled into space by Russian Soyuz T.M.-34 rocket in April 2002 to reach the International Space Station.
Yuichiro Miura—He hails from Japan. He is the oldest man yet ever to reach Mt. Everest. He sealed the peak in May 2003 along with his son Gota.
Baumgartner—Austrian adventurer who flew across the English Channel without aircraft with the help of a special parachute.
Chloe Bennion—A six year old girl with an IQ of 138, she has become the youngest current member of Meusa International, a high IQ society. Meusa welcomes people from all walks of life whose IQ is in the top 2 per cent of the population.
L. N. Mittal—The second Indian billionaire (next to Wipro’s Azim Premji) with a net worth of $ 6•2 billion, Mr. L. N. Mittal is one of the 7 Indian billionaires listed by Forbes list of world’s 587 billionaire. He is the founder and Chairman of LNM Group, poised to become world’s largest steel maker. Lately he has been ranked as the third richest man of the world and the richest man of the U.K.
Pope Benedict XVI—Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (78) was elected 265th Pope of Roman Catholic Church on April 19, 2005 in Vatican City taking the name of Benedict XVI. He was formally inaugurated on April 24, 2005.
Yasser Arafat—Chairman of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) since 1969 and co-founder of Al-Fatah (1956), President of Palestinian Authority, Mr. Yasser Arafat passed away in Paris on Nov. 11, 2004 at the age of 75, leaving his dream of Palestinian statehood unfulfilled. He symbolised for decades the Palestinian people’s struggle for an independent homeland.
Steve Fossett—US adventurer Steve Fossett has set records in sailboats, gliders and hot-air balloons. On March 3, 2005, he did it in an aeroplane. When he touched down at Salina airport, he became the first person to circumnavigate the globe on a solo, non-stop, non-refuelled flight. On Feb. 12, 2006 he established the world record of longest yet non-stop flight in his Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.
V. Kurean—Dr. V. Kurean (born on 26 Nov. 1921) is the founder of NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) Anand (Gujarat) and is also called as ‘Father of White Revolution’ in milk sector in India.