100 Great Indian Lives

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Item Code: IDJ903
Author: H. D. Sharma
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 978819107367
Pages: 728
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight 810 gm
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Book Description


This anthology presents short biographies of one hundred persons who lived during the last two hundred years and who are no more. It is difficult to assess the greatness of a living person; his fame could be ephemeral. Hence, the omission. A great variety of persons are portrayed: politicians, statesmen, freedom fighters, writers, philosophers, scientists, painters, dancers, social workers and reformers, religious leaders and Indologists (Indian and also Britishers who lived part of their lives in India). Thus, in a way, this anthology is different from most others, which lay more emphasis or cover exclusively leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Rajagopalachari, Subhas Bose, Jinnah and Maulana Azad. Of course, they have been included, but there are several others who are lesser known and seldom written about but are 'great' in their own way because they gave their entire lives for a cause. There is Khuda Bakhsh, who spent his life collecting rare manuscripts, spending a fortune and built one of the finest libraries in the country almost single-handedly. Today, the Khuda Bakhsh Library (Patna) is a public library. There is Zorawar Singh, one of the greatest military generals, whom any country would be proud of.

He annexed Ladakh from the Chinese in the nineteenth century and even invaded Tibet, where he died fighting in extremely inhospitable climate near Kailash Mansarover. Bhagat Puran Singh devoted every single day of his adult life helping the crippled and 'discards' of the society and built an institution called Pingalwada (home of the crippled) in Punjab. There are several others who deserve homage from the society they served, but have been unjustly forgotten and pushed into oblivion. The book is an attempt to remind people about those great souls.

Individuals do matter in history but the sum total of their lives cannot replace systematically written history, for history is not a game of personalities but constitutes the interplay of several divergent forces. However, this book may throw light on some of the fringes of history, which a history book ignores.

Indians are notorious for writing hagiographies rather than biographies. They do not want to reveal failures and unpleasant facts about a person. They relish in presenting a person as an ion and a demigod. Such biographies, according to critics, are invariably colourless and dull, besides presenting untruth. This book has followed Voltaire's advice: "One owes respect to the living; to the dead one owes nothing but truth". We have tried to the living; to the dead one owes nothing but truth". We have tried to avoid hearsay and have mainly depended on documented source material. This applies, especially to political personages. In the process, if long held myths about some persons come tumbling down, facts and truth have to be blamed.

I believe that three things are necessary in a biography: it should tell enough about a person; it should throw some light on the times when a person lived and finally, it should be readable. Towards this end, I have tried.

I am indebted to so many persons who helped me in various ways during the three years, which it took me to write the book, that it will not be possible to thank them all. A few of them, however, stand out. Most of the research work was done in the Banaras Hindu University Library. B.N. Singh, the acting librarian, and my erstwhile colleague, was most helpful and without his help, it would have been extremely difficult to complete the book. The other library staff, including people who carried the heavy volumes, were also very helpful. Dr. Mohd. Ziauldin Ansari, director, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna, was prompt in sending me the literature about its founder and providing me details about the latest developments in the library. R. K. Singh, chairman, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Research Centre, Varanasi, threw much light on the life and work of the Swami. To all these persons, my grateful thanks. My unassuming research assistant, S. P. Mukherjee a retired professional librarian himself, was of great help in my search for biographical material. I have to thank my two typists, Bimlendu Bhattacharya and Onkar Nath Sharma, who had to type each of the seven hundred odd pages at least three time without losing patience. I must thank my publisher for suggesting the title and for waiting three long years for me to complete the book. Lastly I am indebted to the editors Sugeetha Roy Choudhury, Disha Mullick for painstakingly going through the manuscript and for giving extremely useful suggestions which saved me for committing many smaller and some major errors.

From the Book

This is a well-documented set of a hundred short biographies of people who have left their footprints on the sands of Indian history, in different ways. The figures included lived in the last two hundred years, but are no longer alive. Included are persons from almost every field of activity-writers, artists, scientists, social reformers, educationalists, politicians and freedom fighters. Several Britishers who spent a major part of their adult lives in India and contributed in a major way to the country are also included.

This is a unique volume for all those interested in the larger-than-life figures in India's turbulent history over the past two centuries.

H. D. Sharma was educated in the Universities of Punjab, Delhi and Michigan. He was the recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship twice. He has worked as a librarian and taught library science in universities in India and abroad. He has also authored and edited a number of books.




Preface ix
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1856) 1
Charles Freer Andrews (1871-1940) 9
Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) 16
Chandra Shekhar Azad (1906-1931) 24
Bahadur Shah II (Zafar) (1775-1862) 29
Surendranath Banerjee (1848-1925) 35
Annie Besant (1847-1933) 41
Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909-1966) 47
Bhagwan Das (1869-1958) 53
Subramania Bharati (1882-1921) 60
Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982) 65
Jagadis Chandra Bose (1858-1937) 72
Rahmat Ali (1897-1950) 79
Rash Behari Bose (1880-1945) 85
Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945) 92
Syed Ahmad Brelvi (1786-1831) 102
Bhikhaji Rustam Cama (1861-1936) 108
William Carey (1961-1834) 113
Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya (1814-1893) 118
Alexander Cunningham (1814-1893) 123
Chitta Ranjan Das (1870-1925) 128
Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883) 135
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-1831) 142
Morarji Desai (1896-1995) 147
Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848-1909) 153
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) 158
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) 169
Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869) 193
Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950) 201
Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915) 208
Lala Har Dayal (1884-1939) 215
David Hare (1775-1842) 224
Keshavrao Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) 228
Allan Octavian Hume (1829-1912) 234
Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) 240
Kasturi Ranga Iyengar (1859-1923) 245
M. R. Jayakar (1873-1959) 250
Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) 255
Kumaraswami Kamaraj (1903-1975) 267
Dhondo Keshav Karve (Maharishi) (1858-1962) 273
Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988) 278
Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-1898) 283
Khuda Bakhsh (1842-1908) 292
J. B. Kriplani (1888-1982) 298
Lakshmi Bai (1835-1858) 303
Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861-1946) 309
Pherozeshah Mehta (1845-1915) 316
V.K. Krishna Menon (1896-1974) 321
Syama Prasad Mookerjee (1901-1953) 329
Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) 335
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (1887-1971) 346
E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker (1879-1949) 354
Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) 361
Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917) 369
Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-79) 374
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) 382
Motilal Nehru (1861-1931) 395
Nivedita (Sister) Margaret E. Noble (1867-1911) 402
Bipin Chandra Pal (1858-1932) 408
Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (1872-1931) 414
Govind Ballabh Pant (1887-1961) 419
Bhai Parmanand (1874-1947) 426
Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950) 433
Jotirao Govindrao Phule (1827-1890) 444
Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) 449
Premchand (1880-1936) 457
James Prinsep (1799-1840) 464
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) 468
Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928) 474
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1879-1972) 481
Ramakrishna Parmahansa (1836-1886) 488
C. V. Raman (1888-1970) 494
Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) 500
Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901) 504
Manabendra Nath Roy (1887-1954) 510
Rammohun Roy (1772-1833) 517
Swami Sahajanand Saraswati (1889-1950) 524
V.S. Srinivasa Sastri (1869-1946) 530
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966) 537
Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-1889) 545
Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966) 550
Swami Shraddhanand (1856-1926) 555
Bhagat Singh (1907-1931) 561
Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) 571
Dwarkanath Tagore (1794-1845) 578
General Zorawar Singh (1784-1841) 583
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) 590
Purushottam Das Tandon (1882-1961) 598
Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata (1839-1904) 605
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) 611
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920) 617
Tatya Tope (1814-1859) 625
Uday Shankar (1900-1977) 630
Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) 636
Shyamji Krishna Varma (1857-1930) 640
Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-1891) 649
M. Visvesvaraya (1861-1962) 655
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) 661
Horace Hayman Wilson (1786-1860) 669
Bibliography 673
Index 683

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