Famous 19th Century Indian Writers

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 1 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
Famous As: Poet
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.

 2 Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu
Famous As: Poet and Freedom Fighter
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 Munshi Premchand

Munshi Premchand
Famous As: Novelist and Author
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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 4 Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule
Famous As: Social Reformer, Poet
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.

 5 Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo
Famous As: Philosopher, Spiritual Leader
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.

 6 Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
Famous As: Social Reformer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paschim Midnapore District, West Bengal, India
Died: July 29, 1891

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an Indian social reformer and educator. He is best remembered for his efforts to modernize and simplify Bengali prose for which he is widely regarded as the father of Bengali prose. As a social reformer, Vidyasagar played a crucial role in enacting the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, which legalized the remarriage of Hindu widows in India. 

 7 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
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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 8 Mirza Ghalib

Mirza Ghalib
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Agra, Mughal Empire
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.

 9 William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray
Famous As: Author & Novelist
Birthdate: July 18, 1811
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 24, 1863

 10 Sir Syed Ahmad Khan

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
Famous As: Founder of Aligarh Muslim University
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.

 11 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Famous As: Writer
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.

 12 Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 27, 1838
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kanthalpara, Bengal
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.

 13 Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
Famous As: Leader of Indian Independence Movement
Birthdate: October 2, 1869
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British Indian Empire
Died: January 30, 1948

An Indian lawyer and anti-colonial nationalist, Mahatma Gandhi was a major figure in India’s fight for independence from British rule. He is renowned for his employment of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience methods. Despite his popularity, he had numerous detractors as well and was assassinated in 1948. He is widely considered the Father of the Nation in India.

 14 Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
Famous As: Islamic Scholar, Reformer
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.

 15 Jaishankar Prasad

Jaishankar Prasad
Famous As: Poet
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.

 16 Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
Famous As: Poet, Writer
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. 

 17 Maithili Sharan Gupt

Maithili Sharan Gupt
Famous As: Linguist, Poet, Politician, Translator
Birthdate: August 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chirgaon
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. 

 18 Bharatendu Harishchandra

Bharatendu Harishchandra
Famous As: Writer
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. 

 19 Bipin Chandra Pal

Bipin Chandra Pal
Famous As: Writer
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.

 20 Michael Madhusudan Dutt

Michael Madhusudan Dutt
Famous As: Poet, Writer
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.

 21 Rahul Sankrityayan

Rahul Sankrityayan
Famous As: Linguist, Author, Autobiographer, Biographer
Birthdate: April 9, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pandaha
Died: April 14, 1963

Rahul Sankrityayan was an Indian freedom fighter and writer. A polyglot, Sankrityayan loved traveling and helped develop travelogue writing as a literary form in India. Dubbed the father of Indian travelogue, Rahul Sankrityayan wrote several travelogues having spent 45 years on travels away from home. In 1963, he was honored with India's third-highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan.

 22 D. R. Bendre

D. R. Bendre
Birthdate: January 31, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dharwad
Died: October 21, 1981

D. R. Bendre was an Indian poet and writer. Regarded as the 20th century's greatest Kannada lyric poet, Bendre is also considered one of the greatest Kannada-language poets of all time. Bendre was honored with India's highest literary award, the Jnanpith Award, in 1973. He was also honored with the Sahitya Akademi and Padma Shri for his contribution to literature.

 23 Nirad C. Chaudhuri

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

 24 Kalki Krishnamurthy

Kalki Krishnamurthy
Famous As: Screenwriter, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: September 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Thanjavur district
Died: December 5, 1954

Ramaswamy Krishnamurthy, better known by his pseudonym Kalki, is remembered for his immense contribution to Tamil literature, which included his short stories, novels, and novellas. His social novel Alai Osai won him a Sahitya Akademi award. He also used the pseudonym Karnatakam to write as a film and music critic.

 25 Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda
Famous As: Spiritual & Yoga Teacher
Birthdate: September 8, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: July 14, 1963

Swami Sivananda was an Indian yoga guru and spiritual teacher. Sivananda was working as a physician before embracing monasticism. He is credited with founding a spiritual organization called the Divine Life Society (DLS) which currently has branches around the world. His disciple Vishnudevananda popularized a spiritual yoga system which is named after Swami Sivananda.

 26 Vallathol Narayana Menon

Vallathol Narayana Menon
Famous As: Author
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.

 27 Sukumar Ray

Sukumar Ray
Famous As: Photographer, Poet, Writer, Illustrator, Playwright, Children's writer
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. 


 28 Ashraf Ali Thanwi

Ashraf Ali Thanwi
Famous As: Mufassir, Theologian
Birthdate: August 19, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh
Died: July 4, 1943

 29 Bharathidasan

Famous As: Author
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.

 30 Henry Louis Vivian Derozio

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio
Famous As: Poet
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.  

 31 Masti Venkatesha Iyengar

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

 32 Bhai Vir Singh

Bhai Vir Singh
Famous As: Poet
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. 

 33 Devaki Nandan Khatri

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

 34 K. M. Panikkar

K. M. Panikkar
Famous As: Diplomat
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.

 35 Sayyid Amir Ali

Sayyid Amir Ali
Famous As: Political Leader
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.

 36 Gurazada Apparao

Gurazada Apparao
Famous As: author, poet
Birthdate: September 21, 1862
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yelamanchili
Died: 1915 AD

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.”  

 37 Surendranath Dasgupta

Surendranath Dasgupta
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: September 30, 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.

 38 Frederic Farrar

Frederic Farrar
Famous As: Author
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 Mah Laqa Bai

Mah Laqa Bai
Famous As: Poet
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.

 40 V. S. Srinivasa Sastri

V. S. Srinivasa Sastri
Famous As: Politician
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.  

 41 Dinshah Fardunji Mulla

Dinshah Fardunji Mulla
Famous As: Author, Judge
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.

 42 I. C. Chacko

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

 43 Adela Florence Nicolson

Adela Florence Nicolson
Famous As: Poet, Author, Writer
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.