Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.
Remembered as one of the greatest authors of Indian literature in English, R. K. Narayan created the iconic character Swami and related his experiences set in the fictional town of Malgudi. The Sahitya Akademi and Padma Vibhushan winner was also the brother of cartoonist R.K. Laxman.
Mulk Raj Anand was an Indian writer best remembered for his depiction of the people belonging to the backward class in traditional Indian society. Anand, who wrote in English, was one of the first Indian writers to achieve an International readership. In 1968, Mulk Raj Anand was honored with India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.
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.
Iconic Bengali author Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay is best known for his works such as Devdas, Srikanta, and Parineeta, many of which have been made into films. Born into a poverty-stricken family, he found solace in literature and began writing in his teens. He was a prominent figure of the Bengali Renaissance.
Indian mythologist and author Devdutt Pattanaik has redefined the genres of Indian folklore, legends and myths by retelling ancient tales through his books. A qualified physician, he later studied comparative mythology and penned bestsellers such as My Gita. His shows, such as Business Sutra and Devlok, have been hits, too.
Kamala Suraiyya, also known by her pen-name Madhavikutty and by her married name Kamala Das, was a Malayali poet who is remembered for her liberal treatment of female sexuality in her works. Her writings, such as Summer in Calcutta, form an integral part of Indian literature written in English.
Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, better known by his first name, Thakazhi, was a legendary Malayali author known for his iconic short stories and novels such as Kayar. The Jnanpith-winning author mostly focused on the backward classes of society and brought in strong realist elements in his works.
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.
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.
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 O.V. Vijayan
O.V. Vijayan was an Indian cartoonist and author who played a key role in the development of modern Malayalam language literature. Also a political observer and editorial cartoonist, Vijayan worked for popular news publications, such as The Hindu and The Statesman. During his illustrious career, Vijayan won many prestigious awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Bhushan.
Known for her iconic works such as Aag Ka Darya, Qurratulain Hyder revolutionized Urdu literature. Born to writer parents in British India, she later moved to Pakistan and then to England, where she was employed with BBC. She later moved back to India and won numerous awards such as the Jnanpith Award.
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.
Bhagwati Charan Verma was an Indian writer best remembered for his 1934 novel Chitralekha, which was adapted into two films of the same name in 1941 and 1964. He is also remembered for his five-part novel Bhoole Bisre Chitra which earned him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1961. In 1971, Verma was awarded India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan.