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.
Counted amongst world’s best batsmen, Virat Kohli is the former captain of Indian national cricket team. Under his captaincy, Indian cricket rose to great heights and he is the most successful Indian Test captain till date. He shot to fame when he led India’s Under-19 team to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Since then, Virat Kohli has proved his talent in all forms of the game.
Sundar Pichai is the CEO of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. An alumnus of IIT, Stanford and Wharton, Pichai has come a long way, from innovating Google’s products such as Chrome, Google Drive and Google Apps to leading the software giant and being one of the most sought-after names in the tech industry.
India's first Minister of Law and Justice, B. R. Ambedkar inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement. He also fought against social discrimination prevalent in India at that time. Widely regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution of India, Ambedkar was posthumously honored with India's highest civilian award - The Bharat Ratna.
The 14th PM of India, Narendra Modi, created history when he became the first prime minister outside of the Congress party to win two consecutive terms with a full majority; he achieved this feat in 2019. From Bharatiya Janata Party worker to India’s PM, Modi’s journey is remarkable. However, he’s been plagued by controversies too, including the handling of 2002 Gujarat riots.
Former Indian international cricketer M. S. Dhoni captained the Indian national team from 2007 to 2016. He played as a right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper. With more than 10,000 runs scored, he is one of the highest run-scorers in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He also became the first wicket-keeper to effect 100 stumpings in ODI cricket.
A self-taught genius Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan is known for his contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory and continued fractions. Born into a humble family, the celebrated mathematician struggled with poverty but still managed to publish first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society. Later, his collaboration with English mathematician G. H. Hardy proved very productive.
Referred to as King of Bollywood and King Khan in the media, Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan is considered one of the most successful film stars of the Hindi film indusrty. Beginning his career as a TV actor, he struggled for many years before making it big as a Hindi film star.
Often referred to as the God of Cricket in India, Sachin Tendulkar is a retired cricketer. Also known for his humility on and off the field, Sachin is one of the most revered, celebrated, and decorated cricketers. Considered one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Sachin Tendulkar played a key role in turning India into a cricket-frenzy nation.
The richest person in Asia, Mukesh Ambani is an Indian billionaire business magnate. He is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL). The son legendary Dhirubhai Ambani, he started his career by helping his father build their family business. As of today, he is the only Indian businessman on Forbes' list of the world's most powerful people.
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.
Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, Rajinikanth had humble beginnings and had even worked as a coolie and a bus conductor in his younger days. Starting his career with minor plays, he had phenomenal success in Tamil movies and grew up to be one of India’s greatest superstars, earning the nickname Thalaiva.
14 Bhagat Singh
Bhagat Singh is one of the most revered freedom fighters of Indian Independence movement. His execution by the British rulers at a young age of 23 inspired many young people to join the freedom struggle. His life’s mission was to free India from colonial rule and his legacy as a symbol of bravery and patriotism continues to live on.
The founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math, Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, and spiritual leader. He is credited with introducing the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western world. He is also credited with elevating the status of Hinduism as a major religion in the modern world by raising interfaith awareness.
An Indian nationalist known for his role in the country’s struggle for freedom from the British, Subhas Chandra Bose was a politician with radical views. He was part of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s. However, his association with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan made him a controversial figure.
Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.
Hrithik Roshan is one of the most popular and highest-paid Indian actors. Also known for his dancing skills, Hrithik has established himself as a style icon and sex symbol over the years. One of the most bankable Indian stars, he started his career with romantic films, eventually finding success as an action hero.
Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.
22 Ratan Tata
Ratan Tata is a well-known Indian industrialist and the former charman of Indian multinational conglomerate Tata Sons. His reign as chairman was marked by acquisitions of iconic global brands, such as Tetley, Jaguar Land Rover and Corus by the Tata Group. Ratan Tata was instrumental in turning Tata Group from a largely India-centrist group into a global business.
23 Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar is one of the most popular and successful actors of Hindi cinema. He has been honored with several prestigious awards, such as Filmfare Awards, a National Film Award, and Padma Shri. Dubbed Indian Jackie Chan, Akshay Kumar is renowned for performing dangerous stunts in films.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee served as the 10th Prime Minister of India and was the first prime minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress. The BJP politician had been a journalist and an RSS member. He was a noted poet, too. During his tenure as prime minister, he carried out Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998 and declared India as a country with nuclear weapons capability.
25 Rohit Sharma
Indian right-handed batsman Rohit Sharma is also the vice-captain in the limited-overs format. One of the few cricketers to score a century in all three formats, he is also the first player with two ODI double centuries. He is WWF-India’a Rhino Ambassador and works for PETA’s campaigns for street animals.
Osho Rajneesh was an Indian godman and mystic. Also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, he was the founder of the Rajneesh movement. He preached the importance of meditation, mindfulness, celebration, love, courage, and creativity and called for a more open attitude to human sexuality, because of which he was considered a controversial new religious movement leader.
27 Irrfan Khan
28 A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman is an Indian film composer, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Rahman is one of the most decorated and celebrated musicians in Indian history. He was won several prestigious awards including two Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Award. In 2009, he was named among the 100 most influential people in Time.
30 Aamir Khan
Considered one of India’s most influential and best actors of all time, Aamir Khan is known for his interesting choice of films, which are well-crafted, entertaining and commercially successful. They mostly have a social message and are appreciated both by critics and the people. Sarfarosh, Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, 3 Idiots, PK and Dangal are some of his acclaimed films.
Sai Baba of Shirdi was an important and influential Indian spiritual master. Identified both as a Muslim fakir and a Hindu saint, Sai Baba's teachings are still relevant among Muslim and Hindu communities around the world. While Shri Sai remains a common name for establishments in India, his temples are also located in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Asia.
Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in India. He was mostly advised by philosopher Chanakya. He conquered the Nanda Empire and fought the Seleucid-Mauryan War, too. His reign was marked by religious tolerance, and cultural and economic prosperity. He later relinquished his throne and became a Jain monk.
Dharmendra is considered to be one of the most successful, popular and handsome actors in the history of Indian film industry. Though he is known for his action roles, he has done a wide range of Hindi films. Sholay, Bandini, Anupma, Phool Aur Paththar, Seeta Aur Geeta, Chupke Chupke, Satyakam and Azaad are some of his notable films.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was an Indian politician who played an influential role in the Indian independence movement. Dubbed the Iron Man of India and Unifier of India, Sardar Patel played an important role in integrating various princely states into a united, independent nation. In 2018, the world's tallest statue called the Statue of Unity was dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India and served from 1962 to 1967. He is regarded as one of India’s most eminent scholars and wrote extensively on Indian philosophy and religion. Lifelong he defended Hindu traditions and culture against criticism from the West. September 5, his birthday, is observed as Teachers Day in India, in his honour.
37 Dilip Kumar
An iconic figure of Indian cinema, actor Dilip Kumar has delivered hits like Madhumati, Devdas, Mughal-e-Azam, Ganga Jamuna, Ram Aur Shyam and Kohinoor in his six decades career. His brilliant portrayal of tragic roles had earned him the nickname of The Tragedy King. The veteran actor has been the recipient of prestigious honours like Filmfare Awards, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
S. S. Rajamouli is an Indian film director best known for his work in the Telugu film industry. Rajamouli is credited with directing one of the most successful and popular Indian films of all time, Baahubali. In 2016, S. S. Rajamouli was honored with the prestigious Padma Shri Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.
40 Shah Jahan
Shah Jahan, emperor Jahangir’s son, ruled as the fifth Mughal emperor, from 1628 to 1658. He is known for commissioning the Taj Mahal for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, among other contributions to Mughal architecture. He was put under house arrest by his son, Aurangzeb, during his final years.
Dhirubhai Ambani was an Indian business tycoon. He is credited with founding Reliance Industries, which is currently the largest company in the country in terms of revenue. Dhirubhai Ambani's life and career inspired the 2007 drama film Guru, in which his character was portrayed by Abhishek Bachchan.
42 Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh is an Indian retired cricket player who was noted for his exceptional fielding abilities and aggressive stroke play. Considered one of India's greatest limited-overs players, Yuvraj Singh helped India win the 2011 World Cup with his all-round abilities. He also serves as an inspiration to cancer patients as he fought cancer amidst his career and made his international comeback.
43 Sanjay Dutt
Sanjay Dutt is an Indian film actor who appears in Hindi movies. One of the most popular actors in India, Dutt is also known for his off-screen controversies; he was arrested in 1993 for possessing illegal weapons. His life and career inspired the 2018 biographical film Sanju where he was played by Ranbir Kapoor.
44 C.V. Raman
Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist whose work Midnight's Children is widely considered the best novel of all Booker Prize winners. In 2007, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to literature. In 2008, he was ranked 13th in the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list published by The Times.
48 Anil Kapoor
Aurangzeb reigned over most part of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years as the sixth Mughal emperor. He helped the Mughal Empire reach its greatest extent and helped India become the biggest manufacturing power and the world's largest economy. He was known for his religious piety and led a very simple life..
National Film Award- and Padma Shri-winning Indian Malyali actor Muhammad Kutty Panaparambil Ismail, or Mammootty, is a superstar in Southern India. Initially a lawyer, he later soared to fame with films such as Vidheyan and Mathilukal. He also chairs Malayalam Communications and is devoted to medical and other charitable causes.