Famous Indians of the 20th Century (Biographical Sketches of Indian Legends)

Item Code: IDK464
Author: Vishwamitra Sharma
Publisher: Pustak Mahal
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788122308297
Pages: 323
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
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Book Description

Undoubtedly the cradle of the first major civilization, five millennia ago India was a fabled land where milk and honey flowed freely. Through the next few millennia, the land produced many noble souls who kept the country's rich spiritual and cultural heritage throbbing. From astronomy, mathematics and medicine to spiritual mastery and renowned universities, the land produced the best in all spheres.

Somewhere down the line, we lost our way, with complacency and inertia taking over, even as the world forged ahead and we were enslaved by different foreign invaders, including the British.

Centuries of serfdom, strife and struggle followed, as we sought to assert our identity and preserve the nation's rich cultural heritage. It was during this period of enslavement that countless inspiring personalities came to the helm, exhorting countrymen inspiring personalities came to the elm, exhorting countrymen to awake from their slumber, throw off the foreign yoke and reclaim India's rightful place among the comity of nations. One man who inspired Indians and foreigners through his oratory was 19th century legend, Swami Vivekananda, who once said: "First reform yourself before you reform the world." And a writer like Premchand used the written word as a source of inspiration.

Some of the most inspiring personalities lived during the 20th century, a crucial period in the country's march towards independence. In this reawakening, individuals from every sphere contributed their mite: freedom fighters, politicians, social reformers, writers, artists and philosophers – even film and sports personalities. For instance, hockey wizard Dhyan Chand helped India whitewash all the white, supposedly superior nations during the Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932) and Berlin (1936) Olympics. India's stupendous gold run during this period dazzled onlookers, stunned opponents and silenced critics. It was moments such as these that had the nation glowing with pride, underscoring the fact that true genius couldn't be repressed despite centuries of cultural and imperialist hegemony.

Added to these were the inspiring examples of Gandhi, Tilak Vinoba Bhave, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore and countless others who led from the front during the freedom struggle. Most Indian leaders eschewed violence, focusing on out ancient tradition of non-violent protest.

Once freedom was won, the war was still not over. Centuries of foreign domination had bankrupted the nation and its treasury and the 'Made in India' tag carried negative connotations A new crop of individuals then came to the fore, ensuring the country did not lag behind in innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. JRD Tata, MS Oberoi, GD Birla, AB Godrej, Jamnalal Bajaj, Jagadish Chandra Bose, CV Raman, Homi Bhabha, Dhirubhai Ambani and others ensured that India's ancient spirit of enterprise was re-ignited. And a guru like Osho Rajneesh showed the path of spiritual freedom not just to Indians but also to foreigners.

Where once we did not manufacture even a safety pin, India is today the cynosure of all eyes with the world, largest pool of trained manpower. In many spheres, the 'Made in India' tag is now flaunted, not hidden – particularly in Information Technology. Where once Indian students aspired to study at Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and other foreign universities, today the best foreign companies come to India every year for bodyshopping at the IIT campuses, vying for our best brains through stupendous packages!

In this amazing turnaround, hundreds and thousands of Indians have played a key role. Selecting only hundred-odd names has been an arduous task, with other equally deserving ones having been left out due to space constraints. This is not just a collection of achievements and milestones by select individuals – it is the story of an entire era.

I am grateful to M/s Pustak Mahal for accepting this book for publication. Thanks also to Ms A Sunita Purushottaman for helping me in this endeavour. And grateful thanks to the editorial staff at Pustak Mahal without whose untiring efforts this book would not have seen the light of day.

Back of the Book

For people of all age groups, reading about the lives and times of great Indians is always inspiring and uplifting. This book presents insights on more than 100 famous Indians of the 20th century. The names include Gandhi, JP, Dr Zakir Hussain, JRD Tata, MS Oberoi, Ramnath Goenka, J C Bose, Homi Bhabha, Vinoba Bhave, Baba Amte, Mother Teresa, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, R K Narayan, Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Shergil, Osho, J. Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, Satyajit Ray, Madhubala, V. Anand, Sam Manekshaw, Salim Ali and V. Kurien, amongst others.

From their early years to achievements in the chosen fields, Famous Indians of the 20th Century covers all the relevant details. The book makes excellent reading for students, teachers, parents and all other professionals seeking credible information on the lives and achievements of famous Indians of the 20th century.

Vishwamitra Sharma is a prolific and versatile writer. He has edited hundreds of books and published thousands of articles in national dailies and weeklies. He has authored over 80 books on various subjects such as science, health, yoga, palmistry, astrology, vaastu shastra and the like.

He began his journalistic career before 1947 in Lahore with the daily Milap. During the turbulent pre-Partition days, he took part in the freedom struggle under the dynamic leadership of Jayprakash Narayan. After moving to independent India in 1947, he joined the Hindi daily Jansatta. Thereafter, he worked with All India Radio for 20 years. After retirement, he worked in the book publishing industry.

An octogenarian now retired from active service, he still continues to pen his thoughts.


Mahatma Gandhi8
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel14
Bhagat Singh18
Pt Jawaharlal Nehru20
Netaji Subhash Chandra24
Jayprakash Narayan27
Lokmanya Tilak30
Madan Mohan Malaviya32
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad34
Veer Savarkar36
Aruna Asaf Ali38
Lala Lajpat Rai40
Dadabhai Naoroji46
Gopal Krishna Gokhale47
Chandra Shekhar Azad48
Indira Gandhi51
Shyama Prasad Mukherjee55
Atal Behari Vajpayee57
Dr Zakir Hussain59
Rajiv Gandhi62
Dr Ram Manohar Lohia64
Jyoti Basu66
Chandrababu Baidu68
Bindhan Chandra Roy70
JRD Tata74
Ghanshyam Das Birla76
Dhirubhai Ambani78
Mohan Singh Oberoi80
Ramnath Goenka82
N.R. Narayana Murthy83
Sabeer Bhatia84
Shiv Nadar85
Harprasad Nanda86
Laxman Rao Kirloskar87
Karsanbhai Patel88
Keshub Mahindra89
Azim H. Premji90
Sir Shri Ram91
Ardeshir Burjorji Godrej92
Jagadish Chandra Bose96
M.S. Swaminathan98
Sir C.V. Raman100
Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha102
Dr Vikram Sarabhai104
Dr M. Visvesvaraya106
Dr Raja Ramanna108
Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam110
Maharishi Karve114
Baba Amte116
Vinoba Bhave118
Ela Bhatt122
Mother Teresa124
Dr B.R. Ambedkar127
Rabindranath Tagore130
Sharat Chandra Chatterjee131
'Jigar' Moradabadi135
'Josh' Malihabadi136
Harivansh Rai Bachchan138
Umashankar Josh143
Salman Rushdie144
R.K. Narayan146
Raja Ravi Varma150
Nandalal Bose152
Amrita Shergil153
Maqbool Fida Husain155
M.S. Subbulakshmi157
Lata Mangeshkar159
Vallathol Narayan Menon160
Kamladevi Chattopadhyay161
Pt. Ravi Shankar163
Dr S. Radhakrishnan168
Jiddu Krishnamurthi171
Swami Chinmayananda173
Osho Rajneesh175
Sri Aurobindo177
Dadasaheb Phalke168
Durga Khote184
Satyajit Ray185
Prithviraj Kapoor188
Raj Kapoor 190
Amitabh Bachchan192
M.G. Ramachandran194
Dilip Kumar196
Meena Kumari198
Dhyan Chand202
Sunil Gavaskar204
P.T. Usha205
Viswanathan Anand207
Sachin Tendulkar208
Mihir Sen209
Kapil Dev210
Jamnalal Bajaj212
Amartya Kumar Sen215
Tenzing Norgay217
Sam Manekshaw219
Salim Ali221
Dr Verghese Kurien222
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