A special collection of seventy influential men and women in contemporary history of India. In 2017 India is celebrating 70 years of independence.
1. MK Gandhi: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu and Gandhiji, was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, he led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.
2. APJ Abdul Kalam: Dr Kalam, popularly known as the “Missile Man”, was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. He performed the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He received several prestigious awards including Bharat Ratna and played a crucial role when India tested its nuclear weapons at Pokhran in 1998 when the Vajpayee government was in power.
3. Dadasaheb Phalke: “The father of Indian cinema” DhundirajGovindPhalke was born on April 30, 1870 in Nasik, Maharashtra. The first film he made was Raja Harishchandra in 1912, which was shown publicly for the first time on May 3, 1913 at Bombay’s Coronation Cinema. The Government of India instituted the DadasahebPhalke Award in his honour.
4. BR Ambedkar: Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Baba Saheb, was a jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour. He was Independent India’s first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India and Bharat Ratna was posthumously conferred upon him.
5. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay: He was one of the most important leaders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the present day Bharatiya Janata Party.
6. Jayaprakash Narayan: He was an Independence activist and one of the great political leaders of modern India. He was commonly known as JP and Loknayak (Leader of masses). M. K. Gandhi was his mentor. In 1942, During the Quit India Movement he was at the forefront of the agitations. After India got independence in 1947, his attention turned towards the social service.
7. Field Marshal K. M. Cariappa: He was the first Indian commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army. He led Indian forces on the Western Front during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. He is one of only two Indian Army officers to hold the five-star rank of field marshal; the other being Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949.
8. Rajendra Prasad: He was an Indian politician who became the first President of India. He was one of the architects of the Indian Republic, having served as the president of the Constituent Assembly and later as the first president of independent India. Prasad is the only president to have been elected twice for the office. Prasad joined the Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. A supporter of Mahatma Gandhi, Prasad was imprisoned by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942.
9. Pt. Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi: He was a legendary Indian vocalist from Karnataka in the Hindustani classical tradition. He is known for the khayal form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional music (bhajans and abhangs). In 1998, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. Subsequently, he received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, in 2009.
10. Atal Bihari Vajpayee: He was the first head of government from outside the Congress party to serve a full five-year term, as a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A Padma Vibhushan awardee, he is also a recipient of India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, which was conferred on him in 2015.