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 presently the captain of Indian national cricket team. A cricket lover, he started training while still young and shot to fame when he led India’s Under-19 team to victory at the 2008 Under-19 World Cup. Since then, Kohli has proved his talent in all forms of the game.
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.
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.
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.
The Winner of Miss World 2000; a successful actress in Hindi films; the owner of production house that promotes regional Indian cinema and the first Indian actor to play the lead character in an American television show – Priyanka Chopra’s list of achievements is long. The popular star is also a singer, a tech investor and the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
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.
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.
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.
Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the central figures of the Indian independence movement along with personalities like Mahatma Gandhi. He became the first prime minister of India and left behind such a legacy that his direct descendants continue to play an important role in Indian politics.
The third Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi served as PM from 1966 till 1977 and then again from 1980 till her assassination in October 1984. She is considered one of India’s strongest PM and is hailed for leading India to victory over Pakistan in 1971, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. However, she is also categorised as authoritarian and is criticised for imposing Emergency in 1975.
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.
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.
18 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.
20 Alia Bhatt
Indian actress Alia Bhatt made her debut at the age of six in the movie Sangharsh. More than a decade later, she appeared in the movie Student of the Year as its leading lady. The movie succeeded and since then the actor’s career has seen tremendous rise. Her performances in movies like Highway, Raazi and Gully Boy have won her both, popularity and awards.
Deepika Padukone is one of the highest-paid Indian actresses. She is also known for her off-screen work, which involves supporting charitable organizations. She founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation, which aims at creating awareness on mental health. In 2018, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world.
22 P. V. Sindhu
P. V. Sindhu is an Indian badminton player. In 2016, she won the Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first Indian woman to receive an Olympic silver. Sindhu became a national icon following her performance in the 2016 Olympics. In January 2020, she was honored with the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award.
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.
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.
Indian actress and producer, Anushka Sharma is one of the most popular and highest-paid actresses in the country. She was featured by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30 list of 2018 and is the recipient of numerous awards. Beginning her career as a model, she soon ventured into acting and made a name for herself within a short while.
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.
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.
30 Akshay Kumar
Noted for his performances in a range of film genres, Indian actor Saif Ali Khan is counted among the top actors in Bollywood. Even though he made his debut in the early 1990s, it took him many years to establish himself. His career saw a resurgence in the 2000s, and he went on to win critical praise for his work.
33 Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif is one of the top actresses of the Hindi film industry. Namastey London, New York, Raajneeti, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Ek Tha Tiger, Dhoom 3, Bang Bang and Bharat are some of her hit films. Her career has seen highs and lows and many times she has been criticised for her acting.
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.
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.
37 Irrfan Khan
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.
40 Sunny Leone
In 2010, Sunny Leone was named among 12 top porn stars by Maxim magazine. After a flourishing career in the porn industry, Sunny Leone settled in India where she is currently popular as a film actress. Her journey from a porn actress to a successful Bollywood personality is viewed as an inspirational story by many young women across the world.
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.
44 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.
An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and a missionary, Mother Teresa was the founder of Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation. She was both an admired and controversial figure and was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. While she was admired by many for her charitable work, she also earned criticism for her stance against abortion and contraception.
46 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.
48 Saina Nehwal
A former world no.1, Saina Nehwal holds the feat of being the only Indian female player and overall the second Indian player to achieve this ranking. She is the first Indian female to have bagged in an Olympic medal in badminton. She was also awarded India's third highest civillian award, the Padma Bhushan.
49 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.
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..