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.
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.
Maneka Gandhi is an Indian politician, environmentalist, and animal rights activist. She is credited with inspiring several individuals towards social entrepreneurship. Maneka Gandhi is best known as an animal rights leader for which she has received several international awards. She is also credited with establishing an animal welfare organization named People for Animals.
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.
The daughter of Kannada poet P. Lankesh, Gauri Lankesh began her career as a journalist for The Times of India. She also worked as an editor of Lankesh Patrike. Later, she was known for her firebrand left-wing activism against Hindutva and was eventually shot dead by three men near her Bengaluru home.
Kasturba Gandhi was an Indian freedom fighter and political activist. Best remembered as the wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Kasturba took part in Indian independence movements along with her husband. Her life and career inspired a play titled Kasturba which was written by Narayan Desai and directed by Aditi Desai. The play was staged several times in India.
Nandi Award-winning comedian Kovai Sarala has been loved by Tamil and Telugu audiences for her roles in films such as Sathi Leelavathi and Uliyin Osai. She began her acting career in 9th grade and has since then appeared in over 300 films. She is now part of the Makkal Needhi Maiam party.
Born to an Indian freedom fighter, Ram Manohar Lohia grew up to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Indian National Congress to oust the British. He was also associated with Gandhiji’s Quit India movement. He had also co-established the Congress Socialist Party and written extensively on the caste system.
Mahadev Govind Ranade was an Indian social reformer, scholar, author, and judge. Ranade is credited with co-founding the Indian National Congress as well as founding several organizations like the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, Widow Marriage Association, and Vaktruttvottejak Sabha. He also contributed as an editor of a nationalist publication named Induprakash.
One of Orissa’s political icons, Biju Patnaik had led the Indian state as its chief minister for two terms. Often regarded as the Hero of Kalinga, he had a major role in shaping the post-independence infrastructure of Orissa and was also part of India’s freedom struggle. He was also a skilled pilot.
Sunderlal Bahuguna was an Indian environmentalist best remembered for his involvement in the Chipko movement. The movement, which aims at conserving forests, received a major boost after Bahuguna created the slogan ecology is the permanent economy. The movement inspired similar movements across India. Sunderlal Bahuguna is also remembered for leading the anti-Tehri Dam movement.
Bipin Chandra Pal was an Indian nationalist, social reformer, writer, orator, and freedom fighter. Along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal was part of the famous Lal Bal Pal triumvirate. Pal played a key role in the establishment of the Swadeshi movement. He also worked for popular publications and promoted his brand of nationalism.
Social activist Aruna Roy is best known for establishing the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan. Initially a professor, she later served as an IAS officer, following which she concentrated on social work. She spearheaded the right to information movement, which led to the passage of the RTI Act in 2005.
Mohammad Ali Jauhar was an Indian Muslim activist, journalist, poet, and freedom fighter. After starting his career by writing articles for major Indian and British newspapers, Mohammad Ali went on to become one of the founders and an important member of the All-India Muslim League. His life and career inspired a 1984 documentary film titled Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar.
Hakim Ajmal Khan was an Indian physician best remembered for co-founding the popular Jamia Millia Islamia University, which is currently located in New Delhi. He is also credited with establishing another institution named Tibbia College in Delhi. Hakim Ajmal Khan also took part in important pre-independent movements, such as the Khilafat movement.
Popularly referred as Rajarshi, Purushottam Das Tandon was an Indian lawyer, political leader and scholar. A member of the Indian National Congress, he actively participated in its various movements and vehemently opposed the partition of India. As a member of the Constituent Assembly, he not only promoted Hindi as the official language, but also the usage of Devanagari script. .
A Madras High Court judge and lawyer, C. Sankaran Nair had also served the Indian National Congress as its president. The author of Gandhi and Anarchy, he is best remembered for his fearless courtroom battle against Michael O’Dwyer, the Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, whom he held responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Indian academic and labor leader Abdul Bari is remembered for his involvement in the freedom struggle, his historic deal with the Tatas, and his efforts to curb slavery and other social ills. He was shot dead while on his way home while serving as the Bihar Provincial Congress Committee president.