Famous Indian Leaders

The land of Vedas, India has been the home to many great political minds. The likes of Chanakya, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi have been born on this ancient land. The ideologies of these leaders have inspired millions across the globe. Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of non-violence and Satyagraha served as the two important pillars on which the country won its independence. The contribution of other famous freedom fighters like Subash Chandra Bose, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sarojini Naidu, is engraved in golden letters in the Indian history. While Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who is referred to as the ‘Iron Man of India’ was involved in the formation of the states which constitute the present India, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the brains behind the mammoth constitution of the country. The legacy of Gandhi was carried forward by the leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jayprakash Narayan and Indira Gandhi, The leaders had a mammoth task of leading the country on the path of economic sustainability and it was only under their guidance that the country steered onto the path of advancement. Explore our collection of biographies of some of the famous Indian leaders and learn all about their lives, timeline and achievements. You will also find some interesting facts and trivia about these personalities.

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 A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
22
Famous As: Former President of India, Missile Man of India
Birthdate: October 15, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: July 27, 2015
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, India’s 11th president, had earlier been an aerospace scientist at DRDO and ISRO. Known as the “People’s President” and the “Missile Man of India,” he was instrumental in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests. He died of a cardiac arrest while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong.

 2 Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi.
68
Famous As: Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: September 17, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vadnagar, Gujarat, India

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.

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 3 B. R. Ambedkar

B. R. Ambedkar.
23
Famous As: Indian Jurist
Birthdate: April 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dr. Ambedkar Nagar, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: December 6, 1956

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.

 4 Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh.
13
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: September 27, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Banga, Punjab, British India
Died: March 23, 1931

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.

 5 Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
22
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: December 25, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gwalior
Died: August 16, 2018

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.

 6 Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose.
13
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: January 23, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cuttack, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day Odisha, India)
Died: August 18, 1945

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.

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 7 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
14
Famous As: Iron Man of India
Birthdate: October 31, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nadiad
Died: December 15, 1950

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.

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 8 Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
9
Famous As: Indian teacher
Birthdate: July 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ratnagiri, British India (present-day Maharashtra, India)
Died: August 1, 1920
Indian nationalist and freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, also known as Lokmanya Tilak, promoted the concept of Swaraj, or self-rule. He was part of the freedom-fighter trio know as Lal Bal Pal, along with fellow Indian National Congress members Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal.
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 9 M. G. Ramachandran

M. G. Ramachandran.
7
Famous As: Actor, Politician
Birthdate: January 17, 1917
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kandy, British Ceylon (Now Sri Lanka)
Died: December 24, 1987

M. G. Ramachandran was an Indian actor-turned-politician who served as the third chief minister of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is credited with founding one of the most popular political parties of Tamil Nadu, The AIADMK. Widely regarded as a humanitarian and cultural icon, Ramachandran's portraits can still be seen all over Tamil Nadu.

 10 Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri.
11
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: October 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mughalsarai, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India (now in Uttar Pradesh, India)
Died: January 11, 1966

The second prime minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was known for his environmental campaigns and his support for the White Revolution. His slogan "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War, became immensely popular. He ended the war by signing the Tashkent Agreement, but died a day later.

 11 Rajiv Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi.
12
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: August 20, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: May 21, 1991

Rajiv Gandhi was the sixth and the youngest Prime Minister of India. He played a major role in suhering the computer era in India. During the initial phase of his term, he was very popular but later on his regime was marred by corruption scandals and he lost the next election. He was assassinated by Tamil militants, while he was the leader of the opposition. 

 12 Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi.
138
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.

 13 Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar Azad.
8
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bhavra
Died: February 27, 1931

 14 Rajendra Prasad

Rajendra Prasad.
8
Famous As: Former President of India
Birthdate: December 3, 1884
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ziradei, Siwan, Bihar
Died: February 28, 1963
Rajendra Prasad was India’s first and longest-tenured president, from 1950 to 1962. He was re-elected in 1957, thus becoming the only Indian president to serve two terms. He had previously been a freedom fighter and later also served as the president of the Constituent Assembly, which drafted India’s constitution.

 15 Bal Thackeray

Bal Thackeray
9
Famous As: Politician, Journalist, Painter
Birthdate: January 23, 1926
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mumbai
Died: November 17, 2012

Legendary Indian politician Bal Thackeray, or Balasaheb Thackeray, was the patriarch of one of the most influential political families of India and the founder of the Shiv Sena. He went from being a cartoonist to the godfather of Maharashtra, though his overtly regional and Hindu nationalist ideals were often criticized.

 16 Morarji Desai

Morarji Desai.
5
Famous As: Politician, Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: February 29, 1896
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bhadeli, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died: April 10, 1995
Bharat Ratna-recipient Morarji Desai was a freedom fighter and served as the prime minister of India from 1977 to 1979. He had also been the minister of home affairs and the minister of finance. He was initially part of the Indian National Congress and later joined the Janata Party

 17 Shivaji

Shivaji.
31
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shivneri
Died: April 3, 1680

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.

 18 K. Kamaraj

K. Kamaraj.
5
Famous As: Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, India
Birthdate: July 15, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: October 2, 1975

 19 L. K. Advani

L. K. Advani.
8
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 8, 1927
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Karachi

L. K. Advani is a retired Indian politician who served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India from 2002 to 2004. A co-founder of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has also been the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha on two occasions. He is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honor.

 20 Ashoka

Ashoka.
9
Famous As: Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty
Birthdate: 0304 BC
Birthplace: Pataliputra
Died: 0232 BC
Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. Following the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan, he converted to Buddhism and propagated the faith.

 21 N. T. Rama Rao

N. T. Rama Rao
11
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nimmakuru, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: January 18, 1996

 22 Rani Lakshmibai

Rani Lakshmibai.
9
Famous As: Queen of Jhansi State
Birthdate: November 19, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: June 18, 1858

 23 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
10
Famous As: Confident, Ambitious
Birthdate: September 5, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Thiruttani, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: April 17, 1975

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.

 24 C. Rajagopalachari

C. Rajagopalachari.
5
Famous As: Politician, Independence Activist, Lawyer, Writer & Statesman
Birthdate: December 10, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madras Presidency (British India)
Died: December 25, 1972

Bharat Ratna-winner C. Rajagopalachari, nicknamed Rajaji or C.R., was the last Governor-General of India and the first Indian to hold the post. He had also served as an INC leader, the Governor of West Bengal, and the Premier of the Madras Presidency. He launched the Swatantra Party and propagated peace.

 25 Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey.
6
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 19, 1827
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nagwa
Died: April 8, 1857
Indian soldier Mangal Pandey was a significant figure in the Indian rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, or First War of Independence. Pandey was a sepoy of the British East India Company’s 34th BNI Regiment. His life inspired the Bollywood movie Mangal Pandey: The Rising

 26 Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi.
13
Famous As: Former President of Indian National Congress
Birthdate: December 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lusiana, Lusiana Conco, Italy

Sonia Gandhi is an Indian politician and president of one of the most prominent Indian political parties, The Indian National Congress. As the president of Indian National Congress, which has been one of India's most successful political parties in the country's post-independence history, Sonia Gandhi remains one of the most powerful women in India.

 27 Lala Lajpat Rai

Lala Lajpat Rai.
5
Famous As: Freedom Fighter
Birthdate: January 28, 1865
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dhudike, India
Died: November 17, 1928

Lala Lajpat Rai was an Indian politician who played a major role in the Indian Independence movement. He is credited with inspiring many young men, including Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad, to join the freedom struggle through journalistic writings and activism. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari

 28 Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw.
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amritsar, Punjab
Died: June 27, 2008
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was the Indian Army’s Chief of the Army Staff during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, in which India emerged victorious. He had started his military career with the British Indian Army during World War II. He had also been awarded the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

 29 Mayawati

Mayawati
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 15, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Delhi, India

 30 P. V. Narasimha Rao

P. V. Narasimha Rao.
9
Famous As: Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: June 28, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Karimnagar
Died: December 23, 2004

The ninth Prime Minister of India, P. V. Narasimha Rao, is often called the Father of Indian Economic Reforms due to a major economic transformation in India during his prime ministership. He dismantled the Licence Raj and his economic policies rescued India from an impending economic collapse. 

 31 Jayaprakash Narayan

Jayaprakash Narayan.
4
Famous As: Political Leaders
Birthdate: October 11, 1902
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saran district
Died: October 8, 1979

Jayaprakash Narayan was a theorist, political leader, socialist, and Indian independence activist. Often referred to as the Hero of Quit India Movement, Jayaprakash Narayan was honored with the prestigious Magsaysay Award in 1965 for Public Service. He was posthumously honored with India's highest civilian award—The Bharat Ratna—in 1999.

 32 Mohammad Azharuddin

Mohammad Azharuddin
7
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 8, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Mohammad Azharuddin, also known as Azhar, was the captain of the Indian cricket team for much of the 1990s. He made headlines for his affair with actor-model Sangeeta Bijlani, which later culminated in marriage. He was later banned from cricket for match-fixing. He also became an Indian National Congress MP.

 33 Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pune

 34 Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji.
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bombay, British India
Died: June 30, 1917

 35 Chiranjeevi

Chiranjeevi
13
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 22, 1955
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mogalthur, Andhra State, India

Chiranjeevi is an Indian actor best known for his work in the Telugu film industry. In an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, Chiranjeevi has received many prestigious awards for his contribution to Indian cinema. In 2006, he was honored with India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan. He is often considered one of the biggest stars in India.

 36 Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan.
5
Famous As: Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty
Birthdate: 1149 AD
Birthplace: Ajmer
Died: 1192 AD

A king from the Chahamana dynasty, Prithviraj Chauhan ruled Sapadalaksha in present-day north-western India. The son of king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi, he ascended to the throne when he was just a child. As a young man, he became known as a brave warrior and an excellent military commander. Various sources differ on the exact circumstances of his death.

 37 H. D. Deve Gowda

H. D. Deve Gowda
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haradanahalli, Karnataka, India

Former prime minister of India, H. D. Deve Gowda is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka. Born to a backward-class family in Hassan, Deve Gowda had initially studied civil engineering. He had previously been an INC member but later quit the party to become a Janata Dal leader.

 38 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
6
Famous As: Founder of the Sikh Empire
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gujranwala
Died: June 27, 1839
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the "Lion of Punjab" and the “Napoleon of the East,” was a Sikh leader who reigned over the northwest Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. He fought valiantly against the Afghans and introduced many modern reforms. His Khalsa Army included people of all religions.

 39 Mulayam Singh Yadav

Mulayam Singh Yadav
7
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saifai

 40 K. R. Narayanan

K. R. Narayanan.
3
Famous As: President of India
Birthdate: October 27, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Uzhavoor
Died: November 9, 2005

Born to a modest Ayurveda practitioner in a Kerala village, K. R. Narayanan initially dabbled in journalism and then studied political science at LSE. He later served as the president of India, becoming the first Dalit to achieve the feat. He had also been an ambassador to the U.S. and China.

 41 Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda.
4
Famous As: Tribal Leader Who Revolted Against the British Rule
Birthdate: November 15, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ulihatu, Khunti, India
Died: June 9, 1900

 42 Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi.
34
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: November 19, 1917
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: October 31, 1984

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.

 43 Syama Prasad Mookerjee

Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
5
Famous As: Indian Politician
Birthdate: July 6, 1901
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Calcutta, India
Died: June 23, 1953

 44 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
11
Famous As: Indian scholar
Birthdate: November 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Died: February 22, 1958

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian independence activist, Islamic theologian, and scholar. He played a key role in the Indian independence movement, serving as a senior leader of the Congress. His contribution to the Indian education system is recognized across India by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day

 45 C. N. Annadurai

C. N. Annadurai.
4
Famous As: First Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Birthdate: September 15, 1909
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kanchipuram
Died: February 3, 1969

 46 Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman
11
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Madurai, Madras State, India (present-day Tamil Nadu)
One of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2020 according to Forbes, BJP member Nirmala Sitharaman is the first woman to be a full-time finance minister of India. The Madurai-born JNU alumna had earlier quit her PhD program in economics midway to move to London with her husband.

 47 Chandra Shekhar

Chandra Shekhar
5
Famous As: politician
Birthdate: April 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ibrahimpatti
Died: July 8, 2007

 48 Charan Singh

Charan Singh
6
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.

 49 Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh.
7
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: September 26, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gah, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan)

The 13th Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh became the first Sikh in office when he took office in 2004. A prominent economist and academic, he held several key posts in the Government of India in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for his humility, he  has been described by the media as "one of the world's most revered leaders."

 50 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
9
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.