Famous 19th Century Indian Writers

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Rabindranath Tagore
102
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

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Sarojini Naidu
(Poet and Freedom Fighter)

Sarojini Naidu
15
Birthdate: February 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hyderabad, India
Died: March 2, 1949

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

 3 
Savitribai Phule
(Social Reformer, Poet)

Savitribai Phule
6
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

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Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
10
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

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Munshi Premchand
(Novelist and Author)

Munshi Premchand
9
Birthdate: July 31, 1880
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lamhi, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: October 8, 1936
Indian author Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, better known by his pseudonym, Munshi Premchand, was one of the most celebrated Hindi-language writers of the 20th century. He initially wrote as Nawab Rai. Some of his greatest works include the novels Godaan, Idgah, and Karmabhoomi. He also wrote short stories and plays. 

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Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
(Indian Islamic Reformer and Educationist Who Founded the ‘Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College’, the First Muslim University in Southern Asia)

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
5
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.

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Mirza Ghalib
5
Birthdate: December 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Agra, India
Died: February 15, 1869

Mirza Ghalib was an Indian poet whose works give a detailed description of the beginning of British rule and the subsequent events in India. A respected poet, who wrote in Urdu and Persian languages, Ghalib remains popular among the Hindustani diaspora across the world. Several films and TV shows have been made in his honor.

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Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
(Islamic Scholar, Reformer)

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bareilly
Died: October 28, 1921

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, also known as Ala-Hazrat, was a renowned Islamic scholar and an Urdu poet. Born in Bareilly, British India, he belonged to a family of Rohilla Pushtuns who had migrated from Qandahar. He wrote about various subjects such as philosophy, science, and astronomy.

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Sri Aurobindo
(Philosopher, Spiritual Leader)

Sri Aurobindo
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 5, 1950

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, poet, yogi, teacher, and nationalist. He was one of the most influential leaders of the Indian independence movement before becoming a spiritual reformer, focusing on spiritual evolution and human progress. He is credited with founding the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, which continues to serve spiritual aspirants from all over the world.

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William Makepeace Thackeray
(Author & Novelist)

William Makepeace Thackeray
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 24, 1863

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1838
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naihati, Kolkata
Died: April 8, 1894

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was an Indian poet, novelist, and journalist. He is credited with composing India's national song, Vande Mataram, which personifies India as a mother goddess. The song played a major role in inspiring revolutionaries during India's struggle for independence. Dubbed Emperor of Literature, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote 14 novels alongside several poems.

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
4
Birthdate: September 15, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Debanandapur, Bandel, India
Died: January 16, 1938

Iconic Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is best known for his works such as Devdas, Srikanta, and Parineeta, many of which have been made into films. Born into a poverty-stricken family, he found solace in literature and began writing in his teens. He was a prominent figure of the Bengali Renaissance.

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Jaishankar Prasad
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: January 14, 1937

Jaishankar Prasad was an Indian poet and an important figure in modern Hindi theatre and Hindi literature. Along with Mahadevi Verma, Sumitranandan Pant, and Suryakant Tripathi, Prasad is counted among the Four Pillars of Romanticism in Hindi literature.

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Bipin Chandra Pal
3
Birthdate: November 7, 1858
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Habiganj District, Bangladesh
Died: May 20, 1932

Bipin Chandra Pal was an Indian nationalist, social reformer, writer, orator, and freedom fighter. Along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal was part of the famous Lal Bal Pal triumvirate. Pal played a key role in the establishment of the Swadeshi movement. He also worked for popular publications and promoted his brand of nationalism.

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Michael Madhusudan Dutt
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jessore District
Died: June 29, 1873

Michael Madhusudan Dutt was an Indian poet, dramatist, and writer who predominantly wrote in the Bengali language. A pioneer of Bengali drama, Dutt is widely considered the most skilled poet in the history of Bengali literature. His life and career inspired the 1950 drama film Michael Madhusudhan, in which Dutt was played by Indian actor Utpal Dutt.

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Mir Taqi Mir
(Former Urdu poet of the 18th century Mughal India and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself)

Mir Taqi Mir
3
Birthdate: January 25, 1824, 1723
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 20, 1810

Mir Taqi Mir was an Indian poet who lived during the 18th century. He is credited with shaping the Urdu language and is remembered as one of the most important poets of the Urdu language. Mir Taqi Mir's life and career inspired the 2016 Pakistani biographical film Mah e Mir, in which Mir is played by Pakistani actor Fahad Mustafa.

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: December 26, 1831

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was an Anglo-Indian poet who became the assistant headmaster of Hindu College, Kolkata. He was born to a Christian Indo-Portuguese father and an English mother in British India. A brilliant young man, he was a radical thinker of his time, and his activities kindled the intellectual revolution in Bengal. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 22.  

Vallathol Narayana Menon
3
Birthdate: October 16, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Malappuram
Died: March 13, 1958

Vallathol Narayana Menon was an Indian poet who predominantly wrote in the Malayalam language. A nationalist poet, Menon played an important role during the Indian freedom movement by writing poems that evoked a sense of nationalism. The founder of Kerala Kalamandalam, Menon is also credited with reinvigorating Kathakali, one of the most popular Indian classical dances.

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Sukumar Ray
(Photographer, Poet, Writer, Illustrator, Playwright, Children's writer)

Sukumar Ray
3
Birthdate: October 30, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: September 10, 1923

Sukumar Ray was a 19th-century Bengali writer and poet born in British India. He is most remembered for his writings for children. He was born into a prominent family as the son of a famous writer, painter, and instrumentalist. Sukumar Ray worked during the pinnacle of the Bengal Renaissance and was close friends with Rabindranath Tagore. 

 

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Ashraf Ali Thanwi
(Former writer who authored several hundred books including Bayan Ul Quran and Bahishti Zewar)

Ashraf Ali Thanwi
3
Birthdate: 1862 AD
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1943 AD

Ashraf Ali Thanwi was not just a prominent Indian Sunni Islamic scholar but had also penned countless books, such as Bayan Ul Quran, on various aspects of Islam. Apart from making efforts to retain the authority of Islamic scholarly tradition, he also supported the Muslim League and the creation of Pakistan.

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Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Bengal
Died: November 1, 1950

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay was a Bengali writer born in British India. His autobiographical novel, Pather Panchali (The Song of the Road), is considered his magnum opus. As a young man, he worked in many odd jobs before becoming a writer. Many of his novels were adapted into films. In 1951, he was posthumously awarded the Rabindra Puraskar. 

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Maithili Sharan Gupt
(Was one of the Most Important Modern Hindi Poets)

Maithili Sharan Gupt
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chirgaon, North-Western Provinces, India
Died: December 12, 1964

Maithili Sharan Gupt was a Hindi poet considered one of the most important modern poets in the language. He was a pioneer of  Khari Boli (plain dialect) poetry. Most of his works were on patriotic themes, and he was widely quoted during India’s independence struggle. Indian nationalist Mahatma Gandhi gave Gupt the title of Rashtra Kavi. 

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Bharathidasan
3
Birthdate: April 29, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pondicherry
Died: April 21, 1964

Known as the Revolutionary Poet, Kanagasabai Subburathnam, or Bharathidasan, was a significant figure of Tamil literature. With his writings, he supported the Dravidian movement. The Sahitya Akademi Award winner also penned the state song of Pondicherry, Tamil Thai Valthu, and wrote gems such as the Golden Parrot-winning play Amaithi-Oomai.

Bharatendu Harishchandra
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1850
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Varanasi, India
Died: January 6, 1885

Bharatendu Harishchandra was a 19th-century Hindi writer and poet who is regarded as the father of Hindi literature as well as Hindi theater. He authored numerous dramas, travel accounts, and life sketches. He mainly wrote about the issues faced by Indians, such as poverty, exploitation, and class struggles. A nationalist, he urged Indians to prioritize Indian-made products. 

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri
(Indian writer)

Nirad C. Chaudhuri
4
Birthdate: November 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, British India (now Bangladesh)
Died: August 1, 1999

 26 
Shibli Nomani
(Former writer known for the founding of the Shibli National College in 1883 and the Darul Mussanifin)

Shibli Nomani
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: November 18, 1914

Masti Venkatesha Iyengar
3
Birthdate: June 6, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Malur
Died: June 6, 1986

 28 

Bhai Vir Singh
2
Birthdate: December 5, 1882
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab, British India
Died: June 10, 1957

Bhai Vir Singh was an Indian poet, scholar, and theologian. He was a prominent figure of the Sikh revival movement and made significant contributions to the renewal of Punjabi literary tradition. The son of a physician, he received both traditional indigenous training as well as modern English education. He was one of the founders of the Punjab & Sind Bank. 

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K. M. Panikkar
(Diplomat)

K. M. Panikkar
4
Birthdate: June 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Travancore, India
Died: December 10, 1963

Born in British India, K. M. Panikkar was educated at Oxford. Apart from teaching at the University of Calcutta and the Aligarh Muslim University, he also worked with Hindustan Times as a journalist. A diplomat in his later life, he had also been an ambassador to China, France, and Egypt.

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Sayyid Amir Ali
(Political Leader)

Sayyid Amir Ali
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1849
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cuttack, India
Died: August 3, 1928

Jurist and political leader Sayyid Amir Ali supported British rule in India rather than what he thought would be a Hindu-dominated rule in independent India. A Calcutta High Court judge, he was behind the formation of India’s first mosque and also established the National Mohammedan Association. He also penned English interpretations of Islam.

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Devaki Nandan Khatri
0
Birthdate: June 18, 1861
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Muzaffarpur, Bihar, India
Died: August 1, 1913

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Anthony Firingee
0
Birthdate: 1786 AD
Birthplace: Unknown
Died: 1836 AD

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Gurazada Apparao
(Playwright, Poet)

Gurazada Apparao
1
Birthdate: September 21, 1862
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: November 30, 1915

Gurazada Apparao was a noted Indian playwright, poet, dramatist, and writer. He is remembered for the significant contribution he made to Telugu theater. His play Kanyasulkam (1892) is widely considered the greatest play in the Telugu language. Born in British India, he was a nationalist who composed the Telugu patriotic song "Desamunu Preminchumanna.”  

 34 

Surendranath Dasgupta
1
Birthdate: September 21, 1862, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kushtia, Nadia, Bengal, British India
Died: December 18, 1952

Surendranath Dasgupta was an Indian scholar, teacher, and writer. An influential scholar, Dasgupta is best remembered for his book A History of Indian Philosophy, which is among his most-read works. He also served as a professor in popular institutions like Chittagong College and Presidency College.

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Mah Laqa Bai
1
Birthdate: April 7, 1768
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hyderabad, India
Died: July 31, 1824

Born to a courtesan mother in Aurangabad, as Chanda Bibi, Mah Laqa Bai mastered Deccani Kathak. She grew up to be a refined woman, skilled in everything from martial arts to poetry. Remembered for her fine ghazals and Urdu poetry, she was also the courtesan of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

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V. S. Srinivasa Sastri
1
Birthdate: September 22, 1869
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Valangaiman, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: April 17, 1946

Known for his mastery over English, Indian orator V. S. Srinivasa Sastri was also a noted independence activist, politician and writer.  A close follower of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and a friend of Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi, he took part in various international delegations and was seen as too sympathetic to British rule in India by many nationalistic leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru.  

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Dinshah Fardunji Mulla
(Author, Judge)

Dinshah Fardunji Mulla
0
Birthdate: 1868 AD
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: 1934 AD

Dinshah Fardunji Mulla, or Dinshaw Mulla, initially co-founded the law firm Mulla & Mulla, which later merged with an English firm. An author of numerous law textbooks and a professor of law, he was later knighted for his achievements. He was also a member of the Privy Council.

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Frederic Farrar
1
Birthdate: August 7, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: March 22, 1903

Anglican cleric Frederic Farrar is best remembered for the tales of school life that he had penned in the novel Eric, or, Little by Little. As a philologist, he applied Charles Darwin’s theory to the evolution of languages. He had even been a pallbearer at Darwin’s funeral.

 39 
Adela Florence Nicolson
(Poet, Author, Writer)

Adela Florence Nicolson
0
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stoke Bishop
Died: October 4, 1904

Adela Florence Nicolson was a 19th-century English poet. She initially wrote under the pseudonym Laurence Hope but eventually gained fame as Violet Nicolson. She spent many years in India owing to her father’s job and was influenced by the works of Indian poets and the Sufi poets of Persia. She died of suicide at the age of 39.  

 40 
I. C. Chacko
(Philologist, Geologist)

I. C. Chacko
0
Birthdate: December 25, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alappuzha, Kerala
Died: May 27, 1966