A pioneer of Hindi romantic poetry and the Chhayavaad movement, Harivanshrai Bachchan is best remembered for his book of 135 quatrains, Madhushala. He was the first Indian to earn a PhD in English literature from Cambridge University. He was also the father of legendary Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan.
Bhupen Hazarika was an Indian playback singer, musician, poet, lyricist, and filmmaker. He is remembered for composing such songs that highlight the importance of humanity and universal brotherhood. His songs remain popular in places like Assam and Bangladesh. He is also credited with introducing the folk music of Assam to Bollywood. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2019.
C. N. R. Rao already had a PhD degree at age 24 and became the youngest lecturer at the IISc. The Padma Shri- and Padma Vibhushan-winning Indian chemist is best known for his research on areas such as surface chemistry, superconductivity, and nano technology. He is a self-confessed technophobe.
Badshah is a singer, rapper, businessman, and film producer. Widely regarded as one of the highest-paid artists in India, Badshah is also considered one of the most controversial Indian rappers. His song Genda Phool is considered controversial, but is yet one of the most successful songs in Indian history. He has been featured thrice in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list.
Born to an Indian freedom fighter, Ram Manohar Lohia grew up to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Indian National Congress to oust the British. He was also associated with Gandhiji’s Quit India movement. He had also co-established the Congress Socialist Party and written extensively on the caste system.
Born to a math professor father and a Sanskrit scholar mother, Astrophysicist and IUCAA professor Jayant Narlikar grew up to collaborate with Sir Fred Hoyle, leading to the conformal gravity theory, also known as the Hoyle-Narlikar theory. He has won the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and penned sci-fi novels, too.
Known as the father of research laboratories, Indian physical chemist Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar was a BHU professor. An avid poet, he also penned the kulgeet of the university. He was the first chairman of UGC, headed CSIR, and played a key role in setting up many R&D labs in India.
One of Bihar’s greatest superstars, Manoj Tiwari had begun his career as a singer in the temples of Varanasi. The BHU alumnus has sung hits such as Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Lala. He later joined the BJP and became a Lok Sabha MP. He had also been the president of Delhi state BJP.
Flemish author Koenraad Elst, who calls himself a “secular humanist,” joined the Banaras Hindu University for his research on Hindu revivalism, after spending his initial years as a hippie. He is known for promoting the Out of India theory, which states the ancient Aryans had originated from the Indian subcontinent.
Born to a Spanish Catholic mother and an Indian Hindu father in Barcelona, Raimon Panikkar grew up to be a Catholic priest and a philosophy professor. An expert in comparative religion, he compared the tenets of Catholicism and Hinduism in his doctoral thesis. He also penned several spiritual texts.
British-American anthropologist Colin Turnbull is best remembered for his books The Forest People and The Mountain People. After serving the naval reserves during World War II, he worked as a researcher at the Banaras Hindu University before returning to Oxford. He also taught at the George Washington University.
B. P. Koirala was a Nepalese political leader, revolutionary, and writer. He is best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1959 to 1960. He also served as the Home Minister of Nepal in 1951. B. P. Koirala, who was an ardent advocate of democracy, is often counted among the greatest political figures of Nepal.