Famous Indian Essayists

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 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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.

 2 Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy
Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist
Birthdate: November 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Assam

Apart from her bestselling books such as The God of Small Things, Man Booker Prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is also known for her left-wing political activism. Born to a Syrian Christian mother and an Indian Hindu father, Roy had initially studied architecture and worked as a script writer.

 3 Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 19, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kasauli
Sahitya Akademi Award-winning children’s author Ruskin Bond is best known for creating the protagonist Rusty, modeled on his childhood in Dehradun and found in his books such as The Room on the Roof. Many of his books, such as The Blue Umbrella have been made into films. 
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 4 Rahul Khanna

Rahul Khanna
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Rahul Khanna is an Indian film actor and writer best known for his work in the Hindi film industry. He is also known as the elder son of popular actor Vinod Khanna. Apart from working in the film industry, Rahul Khanna also appears on TV, hosting important events like the Miss India pageant, the IIFA Awards, and the Screen Awards.

 5 Amrita Pritam

Amrita Pritam
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died: October 31, 2005

Amrita Pritam was an Indian poet, essayist, and novelist who wrote in Hindi and Punjabi languages. She is widely regarded as the first major female Punjabi poet and the leading Punjabi-language poet of the 20th century. In 1956, she was honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award, becoming the first woman to receive the prestigious award.

 6 Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer
Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Essayist, Writer, Diarist, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 21, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Thalayolaparambu
Died: July 5, 1994

Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was an Indian independence activist, writer, novelist, and humanist. He is best remembered for his simple style of writing that impressed the critics and the common man alike. One of the most celebrated and renowned writers from India, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was honored with prestigious awards, such as the Sahitya Academy Fellowship.

 7 Vijay Tendulkar

Vijay Tendulkar
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kohalpur, India
Died: May 19, 2008

Apart from his 28 full-length plays, renowned dramatist Vijay Tendulkar had also penned many short stories and a novel. Apart from winning the Padma Bhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, he also won a National Award for penning the screenplay of the Shyām Benegal film Manthan.

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 8 Nagarjun

Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: June 30, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Madhubani, Bihar, India
Died: November 5, 1998

Vaidyanath Mishra, better known by his pen name, Nagarjun, was an Indian poet who wrote in  Hindi and Maithili. Besides poetry, he also penned numerous short stories, novels, and biographies. Widely regarded as the most prominent protagonist of modernity in Maithili, he was known as Janakavi, the people's poet. He was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1969. 

 9 Krishna Sobti

Krishna Sobti
Famous As: Writer, Essayist
Birthdate: February 18, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gujrat, Punjab Province, British India
Died: January 25, 2019

Krishna Sobti was an Indian novelist and essayist. She is best remembered for her novel Zindaginama which earned her the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1980. In 1996, she received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for her contribution. Her contribution was also honored with the Jnanpith Award in 2017. Sobti's novels have been translated into several languages including English, Russian, and Swedish.

 10 Suryakant Tripathi

Suryakant Tripathi
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 21, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Midnapore, West Bengal, India
Died: October 15, 1961

Known by his pseudonym, Nirala, Suryakant Tripathi was a pioneer of the Neo-Romantic movement Chhayavaad. After losing his family to a flu epidemic, he became a proof-reader and gradually began to write. Apart from novels and prose works such as Kullibhat and Nirupama, he also penned countless poems, especially in free verse.

 11 Anita Nair

Anita Nair
Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist, Children's writer
Birthdate: January 26, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shoranur

Critically acclaimed novelist and children’s author Anita Nair initially worked for an ad agency in Bangalore. Her novel Lessons in Forgetting was later made into a National Award-winning film. A UNHCR supporter, she has won several awards, such as the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award and the JFW Award.

 12 Harishankar Parsai

Harishankar Parsai
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: August 10, 1995

Hindi author Harishankar Parsai was known for his own brand of satire. Equipped with an MA degree in Hindi, he had initially taken up a job, which he later quit to launch a magazine named Vasudha and become a full-fledged author. The Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer remains a pioneer of Hindi satire.

 13 Dharamvir Bharati

Dharamvir Bharati
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 25, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: September 4, 1997

Padma Shree- and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award-winning Hindi poet and playwright Dharamvir Bharati had penned iconic novels such as Suraj ka Satwan Ghoda and Gunaho Ka Devta. A PhD in Hindi from Allahabad University, he had also been a lecturer and the chief editor of Dharmayug.

 14 Bharati Mukherjee

Bharati Mukherjee
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 28, 2017

Bharati Mukherjee was a writer who also taught at the University of California, Berkeley as a professor emerita in the English department. The author of several short story collections and novels, Bharati Mukherjee was honored with many prestigious awards, such as the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1988.

 15 Makhanlal Chaturvedi

Makhanlal Chaturvedi
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 4, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Babai, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: January 30, 1968

One of the most significant leaders of the Neo-romantic movement of Hindi literature, known as Chhayavaad, Makhanlal Chaturvedi created history by becoming the first Sahitya Akademi winner in Hindi literature. The Padma Bhushan winner is best known for his work Him Taringini. He also edited nationalist journals as Karmaveer.

 16 Hazari Prasad Dwivedi

Hazari Prasad Dwivedi
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 19, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: May 19, 1979

Hindi author Hazari Prasad Dwivedi was the son of Sanskrit scholar Pandit Anamol Dwivedi. Well-versed in astrology and Sanskrit, he later taught Sanskrit and Hindi at Visva Bharati. He also served BHU as the Reader of its Hindi department. He also won a Padma Bhushan and a Sahitya Akademi Award.

 17 Kamleshwar

Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: January 6, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: January 27, 2007

Hindi author Kamleshwar began his career as a proof-reader and editor. He remains best known for his iconic novel Kitne Pakistan, or Partitions, which won him a Sahitya Akademi Award. He also won a Padma Bhushan for his works and penned scripts of several hit Hindi films, such as Aandhi.

 18 Vishnu Prabhakar

Vishnu Prabhakar
Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: June 21, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Miranpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: April 11, 2009

Hindi author Vishnu Prabhakar created history when he became the first from his state Haryana to win a Sahitya Akademi award, a coveted literary award in India. Primarily known for his novels and stories, he had also penned poems. Awara Masiha and Ardhanarishwar remain two of his best-known works.