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
33
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
98
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.

 3 B. R. Ambedkar

B. R. Ambedkar
35
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.

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 4 Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh
19
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: September 28, 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 Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose
19
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.

 6 Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
33
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.

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 7 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
17
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 Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri
15
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of India
Birthdate: October 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mughalsarai, 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.

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 9 Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
12
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.

 10 Rajendra Prasad

Rajendra Prasad
11
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.

 11 Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar Azad
12
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bhavra
Died: February 27, 1931

Chandra Shekhar Azad joined India’s freedom struggle against the British after being deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Born Chandra Shekhar Tiwari, he declared himself as Azad when arrested in connection with Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement. He shot himself to death to escape being held captive by the British.

 12 Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi
166
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 Morarji Desai

Morarji Desai
7
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

 14 K. Kamaraj

K. Kamaraj
6
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

 15 L. K. Advani

L. K. Advani
12
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.

 16 P. V. Narasimha Rao

P. V. Narasimha Rao
11
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. 

 17 Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj
13
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 14, 1952
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New Delhi, india
Died: August 6, 2019

Supreme Court lawyer and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had held several ministries, such as external affairs and information and broadcasting. Named India’s “best loved politician” by Wall Street Journal, Swaraj was known for her prompt assistance to Indians in emergency situations abroad and was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously.

 18 Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw
4
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.

 19 Shivaji

Shivaji
35
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.

 20 Sharad Pawar

Sharad Pawar
7
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pune

 21 Ashoka

Ashoka
11
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.

 22 C. Rajagopalachari

C. Rajagopalachari
6
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.

 23 Rani Lakshmibai

Rani Lakshmibai
14
Famous As: Queen of Jhansi State
Birthdate: November 19, 1828
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Varanasi
Died: June 18, 1858

Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.

 24 Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey
7
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 19, 1827
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Nagwa, Uttar Pradesh, India
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

 25 Lala Lajpat Rai

Lala Lajpat Rai
6
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

 26 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
12
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.

 27 M. Karunanidhi

M. Karunanidhi
6
Famous As: Politician, Screenwriter, Author, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: June 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: August 7, 2018

The patriarch of the Karunanidhi political family of India, M. Karunanidhi had been the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for almost 20 years. The DMK leader was also a noted scriptwriter and author, having written films such as Parasakthi. His son, M. K. Stalin is the current Tamil Nadu chief minister.

 28 Rajiv Gandhi

Rajiv Gandhi
16
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. 

 29 Jayaprakash Narayan

Jayaprakash Narayan
5
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.

 30 Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi
17
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.

 31 Dadabhai Naoroji

Dadabhai Naoroji
6
Birthdate: September 4, 1825
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bombay, British India
Died: June 30, 1917

Dadabhai Naoroji was an Indian scholar and political leader. Dubbed the Grand Old Man of India, Naoroji is remembered for co-founding the Indian National Congress where he served as the president on three occasions. He also played an important role in India's fight for freedom, popularizing the Indian wealth drain theory through his book Poverty and Un-British Rule in India.

 32 Sarojini Naidu

Sarojini Naidu
8
Famous As: Poet and Freedom Fighter
Birthdate: February 13, 1879
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hyderabad, India
Died: March 2, 1949

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian poet and political activist. An important figure in the Indian Independence Movement, she was a proponent of anti-imperialistic ideas, women's rights, and civil rights. Her illustrious career as a poet earned her the nickname Nightingale of India. After India became independent, she became the first woman to hold the office of Governor in the Dominion of India.

 33 Mary Kom

Mary Kom
7
Famous As: Boxer, Politician
Birthdate: March 1, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kangathei, Manipur, India
Indian boxing legend Mary Kom, known as “Magnificent Mary,” is the only female to win the World Amateur Boxing championship six times. She has won golds at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and an Olympic bronze, too. The Padma Vibhushan-winner is also a Rajya Sabha member.

 34 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
12
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

 35 Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan
6
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.

 36 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

In spite of his short life, which ended at age 24, Birsa Munda is remembered for spearheading the tribal movement against the British. He also made the British introduce new laws for the protection of the tribal land rights. He died in prison while undergoing trials.

 37 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.

 38 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
8
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 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.

 40 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

 41 Manmohan Singh

Manmohan Singh
9
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."

 42 Mulayam Singh Yadav

Mulayam Singh Yadav
8
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 22, 1939
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saifai

 43 Chiranjeevi

Chiranjeevi
17
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.

 44 Chandra Shekhar

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

 45 Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik
4
Famous As: Indian politician
Birthdate: October 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cuttack, India

 46 Arun Jaitley

Arun Jaitley
11
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer, Spokesperson, Strategist
Birthdate: December 28, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Delhi

BJP member Arun Jaitley had led ministries such as finance, defense, and law and justice. The Indian politician was a skilled lawyer and had been part of cases such as the 2002 Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola case in the Supreme Court. He was awarded a Padma Vibhushan posthumously.

 47 Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman
12
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.

 48 Gopal Krishna Gokhale

Gopal Krishna Gokhale
4
Famous As: Pioneer of Indian Independence Movement
Birthdate: May 9, 1866
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kothluk, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra
Died: February 19, 1915

 49 Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi
41
Famous As: 3rd 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.

 50 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
14
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.