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Updated by RashmiRanjan Sahu on Sep 09, 2014
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The great Personalities who shaped India

The great Personalities who shaped India's future,past and present.


Aryabhatta: world’s greatest mathematician

Aryabhatta: world’s greatest mathematician

Aryabhatta (476-550 A.D.), one of theworld’s greatest mathematician- astronomer, was born in Patliputra in Magadha, modern Patna in Bihar. Many are of the view that he was born in the south of India especially Kerala and lived in Magadha at the time of the Gupta rulers. However, there exists no documentation to ascertain his exact birthplace. Whatever this origin, it cannot be argued that he lived in Patliputra where he wrote his famous treatise the "Aryabhatta-siddhanta" but more famously the "Aryabhatiya", the only work to have survived.

The mathematical part of the Aryabhatiya covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums of power series and a table of sines. This work is the first we are aware of which examines integer solutions to equations of the form by = ax + c and by = ax - c, where a, b, c are integers. Aryabhatta was an author of at least three astronomical texts and wrote some free stanzas as well.

He wrote that if 4 is added to 100 and then multiplied by 8 then added to 62,000 then divided by 20,000 the answer will be equal to the circumference of a circle of diameter twenty thousand. This calculates to 3.1416 close to the actual value Pi (3.14159).

But his greatest contribution has to be ZERO, for which he became immortal. He certainly did not use the symbol, but the French mathematician Georges Ifrah argues that knowledge of zero was implicit in Aryabhata's place-value system as a place holder for the powers of ten with null coefficients. The supposition is based on the following two facts: first, the invention of his alphabetical counting system would have been impossible without zero or the place-value system; secondly, he carries out calculations on square and cubic roots which are impossible if the numbers in question are not written according to the place-value system and zero.

He already knew that the earth spins on its axis, the earth moves round the sun and the moon rotates round the earth. He talks about the position of the planets in relation to its movement around the sun. He refers to the light of the planets and the moon as reflection from the sun. Aryabhatta gives the radius of the planetary orbits in terms of the radius of the Earth/Sun orbit as essentially their periods of rotation around the Sun. He believes that the Moon and planets shine by reflected sunlight, incredibly he believes that the orbits of the planets are ellipses. He correctly explains the causes of eclipses of the Sun and the Moon.

This remarkable man was a genius and continues to baffle many mathematicians of today. His works was then later adopted by the Greeks and then the Arabs.

Bhaskara I who wrote a commentary on the Aryabhatiya about 100 years later wrote of Aryabhatta:-
"Aryabhatta is the master who, after reaching the furthest shores and plumbing the inmost depths of the sea of ultimate knowledge of mathematics, kinematics and spherics, handed over the three sciences to the learned world."




One of the greatest figures of wisdom and knowledge in the Indian history is Chanakya. He is estimated to have lived from 350 - 283 B.C. Chanakya is touted as the "Pioneer Economist of India". Chanakya was the adviser and Prime Minister of Emperor Chandragupta. Chanakya was a professor at the University of Takshila (located in present day Pakistan) and was an expert in commerce, warfare, economics, etc. His famous works include Chanakya Neeti, Arthashastra and Neetishastra. Read this biography of Kautilya that covers his interesting life history.

Chanakya is also known by the name of Kautilya and Vishnugupta as is mentioned in his text. His famous work called Arthashastra is a classic example of statecraft and politics and is read in Europe even today. It basically consists of the principles of politics and how the state works. An able ruler has to be a ruthless leader to make sure that the state works smoothly and efficiently. The legends associated with Chanakya are very interesting and provide a testimony of his greatness.




Swami Vivekananda (Bengali: বিবেকাননদ, Bibekānondo; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta (Bengali: [nɔrend̪ro nat̪ʰ d̪ɔt̪t̪o] Norendro Nath Dot-to), was an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Ramakrishna. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world[2] and is credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.[3] He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in colonial India.[4] Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission.[2] He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began, "Sisters and brothers of America ...,"[5] in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda was inclined towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru, Ramakrishna, from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self; therefore, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After Ramakrishna's death, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing in British India. He later travelled to the United States, representing India at the 1893 Parliament of the World Religions. Vivekananda conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated as National Youth Day in India.


Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (pronounced ˈmoːɦənd̪aːs ˈkərəmtʃənd̪ ˈɡaːnd̪ʱi; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable"[2])—applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa,[3]—is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu (Gujarati: endearment for "father",[4] "papa"[4][5]) in India.

Born and raised in a Hindu merchant caste family in coastal Gujarat, western India, and trained in law at the Inner Temple, London, Gandhi first employed nonviolent civil disobedience as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, in the resident Indian community's struggle for civil rights. After his return to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants, farmers, and urban labourers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women's rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, but above all for achieving Swaraj or self-rule.

Gandhi famously led Indians in challenging the British-imposed salt tax with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in calling for the British to Quit India in 1942. He was imprisoned for many years, upon many occasions, in both South Africa and India. Gandhi attempted to practise nonviolence and truth in all situations, and advocated that others do the same. He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn hand spun on a charkha. He ate simple vegetarian food, and also undertook long fasts as the means to both self-purification and social protest.

Gandhi's vision of a free India based on religious pluralism, however, was challenged in the early 1940s by a new Muslim nationalism which was demanding a separate Muslim homeland carved out of India.[6] Eventually, in August 1947, Britain granted independence, but the British Indian Empire[6] was partitioned into two dominions, a Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan.[7] As many displaced Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs made their way to their new lands, religious violence broke out, especially in the Punjab and Bengal. Eschewing the official celebration of independence in Delhi, Gandhi visited the affected areas, attempting to provide solace. In the months following, he undertook several fasts unto death to promote religious harmony. The last of these, undertaken on 12 January 1948 at age 78,[8] also had the indirect goal of pressuring India to pay out some cash assets owed to Pakistan.[8] Some Indians thought Gandhi was too accommodating.[8][9] Among them was Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, who assassinated Gandhi on 30 January 1948 by firing three bullets into his chest at point-blank range.[9]

Gandhi is commonly, though not officially,[10] considered the Father of the Nation[11] in India. His birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Nonviolence.


APJ Abdul Kalam

APJ Abdul Kalam

Born on 15th October 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, specialised in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO`s launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, Dr Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as the Chief Executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through networking of multiple institutions.

He was the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. During this period he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State. Dr Kalam became the 11th President of India on 25th July 2002. He is pledged to transforming India into a developed nation by 2020.


Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity`s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

Numerous awards were bestowed on her beginning with Padma Shri award in 1962. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and India`s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her humanitarian work.

She died on 5 September 1997. At the time of her death, Mother Teresas Missionaries of Charity had over 4,000 sisters (nuns), and an associated brotherhood of 300 members, operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, childrens and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.


Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray is considered as the master of modern Indian cinema. He was not only a director but a producer, screenwriter, composer, writer as well as a graphic designer.

He was very popular among the world film fraternity. Great Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa once said, "To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun."

The ace director’s films were a mix up of relationships, emotions, struggles, conflicts, joys and sorrows. His first film Pather Panchali won him an award at the Cannes Film Festival. The first film of a trilogy - The Apu Trilogy and the other two films of trilogy - Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu, 1959) also brought him laurels globally.

He won a special lifetime achievement award at the 1992 Academy Awards. He`s the second Indian to have won an Oscar.

The Government of India honoured the legendary director with the Bharat Ratna in 1992.


Ratan Tata

Ratan Tata

Ratan N Tata was the chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, from 1991 till his retirement on December 28, 2012. He was also chairman of the major Tata companies, including Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels and Tata Teleservices. During his tenure, the group’s revenues grew manifold, totalling over USD 100 billion in 2011-12.

The Government of India honoured Mr Tata with its second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008. He has also received honorary doctorates from several universities in India and overseas.


Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy is the executive chairman of Infosys Limited, a global software consulting company headquartered in Bangalore, India. He is credited for creating the biggest IT empire in India that has brought India on the world IT map. Murthy founded Infosys in 1981 along with six software professionals, and served as the CEO during 1981-2002, as the chairman and chief mentor during 1981-2011, and as the Chairman Emeritus during August 2011-May 2013. Under his leadership, Infosys was listed on the NASDAQ in 1999.

Murthy was listed as one among the “12 greatest entrepreneurs of our time” listed by the Fortune magazine in 2012. The Economist ranked him among the ten most-admired global business leaders in 2005. He has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India, the Legion d’honneur by the Government of France, and the CBE by the British government. He is the first Indian winner of Ernst and Young’s World Entrepreneur of the year award and the Max Schmidheiny Liberty prize.

By Biplob Bghosal


Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw

Sam Manekshaw also known as ‘Sam Bahadur’ was the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshal. Manekshaw began his military career with the British Indian Army in World War II. Field Marshal Manekshaw became the Chief of Staff of the Indian Army in 1969 and under his command, Indian forces achieved a splendid victory in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 that led to the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 1972. In recognition of his service to the nation, he was created as the first "Field Marshal" in independent India on 1st January 1973.

Manekshaw died at the age of 94 died due to complications from pneumonia at the Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu.


MS Swaminathan

MS Swaminathan

Father of the Green Revolution in India, MS Swaminathan, was the person who transformed Indian agricultural scenario in 1960`s, catapulting India from being completely dependent on foreign food grains to a self-sufficient nation. Professor Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is known for his leadership and success and credited with introducing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India in 1960s and 1970s.

His contributions to the agricultural renaissance of India have led to his being widely referred to as the scientific leader of the green revolution movement. His advocacy of sustainable agriculture leading to an ever-green revolution makes him an acknowledged world leader in the field of sustainable food security.

Mr Swaminathan was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1971, the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1986, and the first World Food Prize in 1987. He has also been acclaimed by the TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

Javier Perez de Cuellar, former secretary general of the United Nations, once described Professor Swaminathan as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”.

  • Rashmiranjan has several years of experience with Designing.
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