Famous Indian Activists

Indian activists have for many years, fought for the rights of the common man. In a country where discrimination based on class, caste and creed are rampant, the pain and suffering of the masses often go unnoticed. It is then that people like Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Maneka Gandhi and Anna Hazare, amongst others, take heed, and make it their responsibility to spread awareness, protest and seek help as and when needed. It does not matter if these famous Indian activists resort to active protest or litigation or even mere public appeal, what makes the difference is that they have the courage to stand up for others against corruption. These activists battle it out with the wrong-doers for a plethora of causes, from women’s rights to environmental issues to cruelty against animals. Often disliked by the authorities as well as the ones at fault, these activists have become famous and popular amidst victims of injustice, for the empathy they show. Here you will find a collection of biographies of some of the most well-known Indian activists. Read on and find out all about their life stories, timelines and also some interesting facts & trivia pertaining to their lives.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi.
4
Famous As: Child Rights Activist
Birthdate: January 11, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vidisha, India

 2 Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
4
Famous As: Socio-religious Reformer
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radhanagore, West Bengal, India
Died: September 27, 1833

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian social and religious reformer. He is credited with co-founding the Brahmo Sabha, a social-religious reform movement. Often referred to as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance, Roy has had an influential role in fields like politics, education, and religion. In 2004, he was ranked 10th in BBC's Greatest Bengali of all time poll.

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 3 Shabana Azmi

Shabana Azmi.
6
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

 4 Anna Hazare

Anna Hazare.
4
Famous As: Social Activist
Birthdate: June 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India

 5 Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Godse.
5
Famous As: Assassin of Mahatma Gandhi
Birthdate: May 19, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Maharashtra
Died: November 15, 1949

Nathuram Godse was an Indian man who gained notoriety for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, a popular figure in India's successful campaign for independence from British rule. He was an advocate of Hindu nationalism and opposed many of Gandhi’s political views. He shot Gandhi thrice at point-blank range on 30 January 1948. Godse was later executed for this crime.

 6 Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh.
4
Famous As: Activist, Journalist
Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Died: September 5, 2017

 7 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
3
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 Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi.
0
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.

 9 Tina Ambani

Tina Ambani
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 11, 1957
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bombay, State of Bombay, India

 10 Arvind Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal.
8
Famous As: Anti Corruption Activist, Politician
Birthdate: August 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Siwani, Haryana
Indian politician Arvind Kejriwal is the incumbent chief minister of Delhi and the founder of the Aam Aadmi Party. The Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning leader is an IIT-KGP alumnus and was initially a joint commissioner of income tax with the IRS. His book Swaraj highlights burning issues such as corruption.
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 11 Manisha Koirala

Manisha Koirala
10
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 16, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kathmandu, Nepal

 12 Kiran Bedi

Kiran Bedi
3
Famous As: Police officer
Birthdate: June 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amritsar, India

 13 Jaya Prada

Jaya Prada
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India

 14 Maneka Gandhi

Maneka Gandhi.
6
Famous As: Politician, Animal Rights Activist
Birthdate: August 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Delhi, India

 15 Charan Singh

Charan Singh
3
Famous As: Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: December 23, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Noorpur, Uttar Pradesh India
Died: May 29, 1987

Charan Singh was an Indian politician who served as the prime minister of India for a short period of 24 weeks between July 1979  and January 1980. Referred to as the champion of India's peasants, Charan Singh is best remembered for working towards the welfare of farmers. Lucknow's international airport, which was earlier named The Amausi Airport, is now named after him.

 16 Gautami

Gautami
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nidadavole, Andhra Pradesh, India

 17 Amala Akkineni

Amala Akkineni
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 12, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India

 18 Javed Jaffrey

Javed Jaffrey
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: December 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Malliwala, Uttar Pradesh, India

 19 Kasturba Gandhi

Kasturba Gandhi.
3
Famous As: Wife of Mahatama Gandhi
Birthdate: April 11, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porbandar
Died: February 22, 1944

 20 Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi
3
Famous As: Human rights activist, Writer, Poet, Novelist, Educator, Short story writer
Birthdate: January 14, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dhaka
Died: July 28, 2016

Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning Indian author Mahasweta Devi is regarded as a gem of the Bengali literary world. She had also been a left-wing social activist, and her works such as Hajar Churashir Maa and Rudali have either tribals or people from the marginalized communities as their protagonists.

 21 Biju Patnaik

Biju Patnaik
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Asika Aska, Bihar, India
Died: April 17, 1997

 22 Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 21, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madras, Tamil Nadu, India

 23 Gul Panag

Gul Panag
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chandigarh, Punjab, India

 24 Baba Amte

Baba Amte.
3
Birthdate: December 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wardha, Maharashtra
Died: February 9, 2008

 25 Nandana Sen

Nandana Sen
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

 26 Nandita Das

Nandita Das
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 7, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delhi, India

 27 Anant Nag

Anant Nag
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 4, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bombay, State of Bombay, India

 28 Ram Manohar Lohia

Ram Manohar Lohia
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Akbarpur, India
Died: October 12, 1967

 29 Kovai Sarala

Kovai Sarala
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

 30 Teji Bachchan

Teji Bachchan
3
Famous As: Human rights activist
Birthdate: August 12, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Faisalabad, Pakistan
Died: December 21, 2007

 31 Mahadevi Varma

Mahadevi Varma.
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: March 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Farrukhabad, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India
Died: September 11, 1987

A leading figure of the Chhayavad movement of Hindi literature, Indian author Mahadevi Varma was also a Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan winner. A champion of women’s rights, she contributed to the establishment of the Prayag Mahila Vidyapeeth for educating girls. She also developed the soft Khadi boli.

 32 Rukmini Devi Arundale

Rukmini Devi Arundale.
3
Famous As: Bharatnatyam Dancer
Birthdate: February 29, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: February 24, 1986

 33 Debashree Roy

Debashree Roy
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 13, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

 34 Surendranath Banerjee

Surendranath Banerjee
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 10, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: August 6, 1925

 35 Jamnalal Bajaj

Jamnalal Bajaj
2
Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: November 4, 1889
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sikar, India
Died: February 11, 1942

 36 Medha Patkar

Medha Patkar.
3
Famous As: Social Activist
Birthdate: December 1, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mumbai

 37 Poonam Dhillon

Poonam Dhillon
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 18, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India

 38 Sunderlal Bahuguna

Sunderlal Bahuguna
3
Famous As: Environmentalist, Political activist
Birthdate: January 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tehri

 39 Nana Saheb

Nana Saheb.
2
Famous As: Peshwa of the Maratha Empire
Birthdate: May 19, 1824
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bithoor
Died: 1859 AD

 40 Mahadev Govind Ranade

Mahadev Govind Ranade.
3
Famous As: Judge, Social Reformer
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niphad
Died: January 16, 1901

 41 Rahul Bose

Rahul Bose
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: India

 42 Bipin Chandra Pal

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

 43 Sugathakumari

Sugathakumari
2
Famous As: Writer, Human rights activist, Children's writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aranmula

Sugathakumari was an Indian activist and poet who played a major role in Kerala's feminist and environmental movements in the late-1970s. She is credited with founding organizations like Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi and Abhaya, which work towards protecting nature and safeguarding women and the mentally ill respectively. During her lifetime, she was honored with several prestigious awards like the Padma Shri.

 44 K. Shivaram Karanth

K. Shivaram Karanth
2
Famous As: Author, Poet
Birthdate: October 10, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Udupi district
Died: December 9, 1997

Indian polymath and environmentalist K. Shivaram Karanth, who enriched Kannada literature with his novels and plays, was named the "Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India" by Ramachandra Guha. He had quit college to join the Non-Cooperation Movement and later returned his Padma Bhushan to protest against the Emergency of the 1970s.

 45 Ranjini

Ranjini
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 29, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Singapore

 46 Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Physicist, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: November 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dehradun

Indian environmental activist and physicist Vandana Shiva is known for her anti-GMO campaigns. The Gandhi of grain is the founder of RFSTN, which promotes sustainable agriculture, and is against globalization. She developed an interest in environmentalism after witnessing a forest at her hometown being cleared for a project.

 47 Teesta Setalvad

Teesta Setalvad
2
Famous As: Author, Journalist
Birthdate: February 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai

 48 Naresh Kanodia

Naresh Kanodia
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kanoda, British India
Died: October 27, 2020

 49 Aruna Roy

Aruna Roy.
2
Famous As: Political and Social Activist
Birthdate: June 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chennai

 50 Ela Bhatt

Ela Bhatt
2
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: September 7, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ahmedabad, India