Important Personalities

Part-1: Important Personalities Part-2: Important Personalities

Important Personalities


• Mahatma Gandhi was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar, located in the present day state of Gujarat.

• His father Karamchand Gandhi was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of Porbandar and mother Putlibai was a pious lady and under her tutelage Gandhi imbibed various principles of Hinduism at an early age.

• After completing his college education Gandhi left for England on September 4, 1888 to study law at University College, London.

• In 1893, went to South Africa as a legal adviser to an Indian firm in South Africa.

• As he descended in South Africa, Gandhi was left appalled at the rampant racial discrimination against Indians and blacks by the European whites.

• Soon Gandhi found himself at the receiving end of such abuse (thrown away from first class bogie of the train) and he vowed to take up the cudgels on behalf of the Indian community.

• He organized the expatriate Indians and protested against the injustices meted out by the African government.

• After years of disobedience and non-violent protests, the South African government finally conceded to Gandhi’s demands and an agreement to this effect was signed in 1914.

• Later, Gandhi realized the war that was to be waged against the British awaits his arrival in India and he returned to India in 1915.

• After reaching India, Gandhi traveled across the length and breadth of the country to witness the atrocities of the British regime.

• He founded the Satyagraha Ashram and successfully employed the principles of Satyagraha in uniting the peasants of Kheda and Champaran against the government. After this victory Gandhi was bestowed the title of Bapu and Mahatma and his fame spread far and wide.

• In 1921, Mahatma Gandhi called for the non-cooperation movement against the British Government with the sole object of attaining Swaraj or independence for India.

• Even though the movement achieved roaring success all over the country, the incident of mob violence in Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh forced Gandhi to call off the mass disobedience movement. Consequent to this, Mahatma Gandhi took a hiatus from active politics and instead indulged in social reforms.

• The year 1930 saw Gandhi’s return to the fore of Indian freedom movement and on March 12, 1930 he launched the historic Dandi March to protest against the tax on salt.

• The Dandi March soon metamorphosed into a huge civil disobedience movement.

• The Second World War broke out in 1939 and as the British might began to wane, Gandhi called for the Quit India movement on August 8, 1942.

• Post World War, the Labour Party came to power in England and the new government assured the Indian leadership of imminent independence. The Cabinet Mission sent by the British government proposed for the bifurcation of India along communal lines which Gandhi vehemently protested.

• Eventually Gandhi had to relent and on the eve of independence thousands lost their lives in communal riots.

• Gandhi urged for communal harmony and worked tirelessly to promote unity among the Hindus and Muslims.

• But Mahatma’s act of benevolence angered Hindu fundamentalists and on January 13, 1948 he was assassinated by Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse.

Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi strictly maintained that the concept of truth is above and beyond of all other considerations and one must unfailingly embrace truth throughout one’s life.

Satyagraha: In the context of Indian freedom movement, Satyagraha meant the resistance to the British oppression through mass civil obedience.

Nonviolence: The principle of nonviolence or Ahimsa has been integral to many Indian religions and Mahatma Gandhi espoused for total nonviolence in the Indian freedom struggle.

Khadi: Mahatma used the adoption of Khadi as a subtle economic tool against the British industrial might and also as a means of generating rural employment in India.


• Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14 November 1889, to a wealthy Kashmiri Brahmin family in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

• His father Motilal Nehru was a renowned advocate and also an influential politician.

• For higher education, young Nehru was sent to Harrow school and then later to Cambridge University in England. After spending two years at the Inner Temple, London, he qualified as a barrister.

• During his stay in London, Nehru was attracted by the ideas of liberalism, socialism and nationalism.

• In 1912, he had returned to India and joined the Allahabad High Court Bar.

• In 1916, Nehru participated in the Lucknow Session of the Congress. There, after a very long time, member of both the extremist and moderate factions of the Congress party had come. All the members equivocally agreed to the demand for “swaraj” (self rule). Although the means of the two sections were different, the motive was “common” – freedom.

• In 1921 Nehru was imprisoned for participating in the first civil disobedience campaign as general secretary of the United Provinces Congress Committee. The life in the jail helped him in understanding the philosophy followed by Gandhi and others associated with the movement. He was moved by Gandhi’s approach of dealing with caste and “untouchablity”.

• In 1922, some of the prominent members including his father Motilal Nehru had left the congress and launched the “Swaraj Party”. The decision, no doubt upset Jawahar but he rejected the possibility of leaving the Congress party.

• He was elected as the president of the Allahabad municipal corporation in 1920.

• In 1926, he traveled to the flourished European nations like Germany, France and the Soviet Union. Here, Nehru got an opportunity to meet various Communists, Socialists, and radical leaders from Asia and Africa.

• Nehru was also impressed with the economic system of the communist Soviet Union and wished to apply the same in his own country.

• In 1927, he became a member of the League against Imperialism created in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.

• During the Guwahati Session in 1928, Mahatma Gandhi announced that the Congress would launch a massive movement if the British authority did not grant dominion status of India within next two years. It was believed that under the pressure of Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose, the deadline was reduced to one year.

• Jawaharlal Nehru criticized the famous “Nehru Report” prepared by his father Motilal Nehru in 1928 that favored the concept of a “dominion status for India within the British rule”.

• In 1930 Mahatma Gandhi advocated Nehru as the next president of the Congress. The decision was also an attempt to abate the intensity of “communism” in the Congress. The same year, Nehru was arrested for the violation of the Salt Law.

• In 1936, Nehru was re-elected as the president of the Indian National Congress.

• Fifteen years after the Guwahati Session, on 15 August, 1947, the congress succeeded to overthrow the influential British Empire. Nehru was recognized as the first Prime Minister of independent India.

• In the year 1949, Jawaharlal Nehru made his first visit to the United States, seeking a solution to India’s urgent food shortage.

• In 1951, Jawaharlal Nehru launched the country’s “First Five-Year Plan” emphasizing on the increase in the agricultural output.

• He was also the chief framer of domestic and international policies between 1947 and 1964.

• Nehru played a predominant roles in substantiating India’s role in the foundation of NAM. He advocated the policy of Non-Alignment during the cold war and India, subsequently, kept itself aloof from being in the process of “global bifurcation”.

• In 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru suffered a stroke and a heart attack and on 27 May 1964, Nehru passed away.

• Nehru was cremated at the Shantivana on the banks of the Yamuna River, Delhi


• Vallabhbhai Patel was born on October 31, 1875 in Gujarat to Zaverbhai and Ladbai.

• He completed his law studies in 1913 and came back to India and started his law practice.

• For his Excellencies in Law, Vallabhbhai was offered many lucrative posts by the British Government but he rejected all.

• Later, inspired by Gandhi’s work and philosophy Patel became a staunch follower of him.

• In 1917, Sardar Vallabhbhai was elected as the Secretary of the Gujarat Sabha. The next year, when there was a flood in Kaira, the British insisted on collecting tax from the farmers. Sardar Vallabhbhai led a massive “No Tax campaign” that urged the farmers not to pay their land.

• The peaceful movement forced the British authority to return then land taken away from the farmers. His effort to bring together the farmers of his area brought him the title of ‘Sardar’ to his name.

• In 1928, the farmers of Bardoli faced a similar problem of “tax-hike”. After prolonged summons, when the farmers refused to pay the extra tax, the government in retaliation seized their lands. Under the leadership of Vallabhbhai Patel the agitation took on for more than six months and after a deal struck between the government and farmer’s representatives, the lands were returned.

• In 1930 Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was imprisoned for participating in the famous Salt Satyagraha called by Mahatma Gandhi.

• His inspiring speeches during the “Salt Movement” transformed the lives of numerous people, who later played a major role in making the movement successful.

• Sardar Patel was freed in 1931 following an agreement signed between Mahatma Gandhi and Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India. The treaty was popularly known as the Gandhi-Irwin pact.

• In 1931 Patel was elected as the president of Indian National Congress Party for its Karachi session.In the Karachi session, the Indian National Congress Party committed itself to the defence of fundamental rights and human rights and a dream of a secular nation. An agreement regarding this was also sanctioned.

• In 1934, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel led the all-India election campaign for the Indian National Congress. Though he did not contest a seat for himself, Sardar Patel helped his fellow party mates during the election.

• At the time of independence, Indian territory was divided into three parts. First, the territories under the direct control of the British government, second were the territories over which the hereditary rulers had suzerainty. The regions, which had been colonized by France and Portugal, formed the last. India, without the integration of these different territories under one roof, could not be considered as a unified and total country. Vallabhbhai Patel played a crucial role during the freedom struggle of India and was instrumental in the integration of over 565 princely states into the Indian Union.


• Bal Gangadhar Tilak was a social reformer and freedom fighter and was one of the prime architects of modern India and strongest advocates of Swaraj (Self Rule).

• He was a great reformer and throughout his life he emphasized on the concepts of women education and women empowerment.

• To inspire a sense of unity, he introduced the festivals like ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ and Shivaji Jayanti’. In present times Ganesh Chaturthi is considered as the prime festival of the Marathis.

• Bal Gangadhar Tilak launched two newspapers called ‘Mahratta’ (English) and ‘Kesari’ (Marathi). Both the newspaper stressed on making the Indians aware of the glorious past and empowered them to be self reliant. The newspaper actively propagated the cause of national freedom.

• Bal Gangadhar Tilak joined the Indian National Congress Party in 1890.

• Realizing that the constitutional agitation in itself was futile against the British, Tilak opposed the moderate views of the party. This subsequently made him stand against the prominent leaders like Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

• His movement was based on the principles of Swadeshi (Indigenous), Boycott and Education. But his methods also raised bitter controversies within the Indian National Congress Party and the movement itself.

• As a result, Tilak formed the extremist wing of Indian National Congress Party. Tilak was well supported by fellow nationalists Bipin Chandra Pal in Bengal and Lala Lajpat Rai in Punjab. The trio was referred to as the Lal-Bal-Pal.

• A massive trouble broke out between the moderate and extremist factions of the Indian National Congress Party in the 1907 session of the Congress Party. As a result of which, the Congress split into two factions.

• During 1908-1914, Bal Gangadhar Tilak spent six years rigorous imprisonment in Mandalay Jail, Burma. He was deported because of his alleged support to the Indian revolutionaries, who had killed British people.

• Tilak returned to India in 1915 when the political situation was fast changing under the shadow of World War I.

• Tilak decided to re-unite with his fellow nationalists and founded the All India Home Rule League in 1916 with Joseph Baptista, Annie Besant and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

• In mid-July 1920, his condition worsened and on August 1, he passed away.


• Gopal Krishna Gokhale was one of the pioneers of the Indian Independence Movement and was a senior leader of the Indian National Congress.

• He was a leader of social and political reformists and one of the earliest and founding leaders of the Indian Independence Movement and was respected widely in the Indian intellectual community.

• In 1884, after the completion of his graduation in arts at the Elphinstone College, Bombay, Gokhale joined as professor of history and political economy at the Fergusson College, Poona. He remained on the staff, finally as principal, until 1902.

• Becoming actively identified with the National Congress movement, he was for some years the joint secretary and in 1905 president at the Benares session.

• The higher education made Gokhale understand the importance of liberty, democracy and parliamentary system of the government.

• In 1985-86, Gopal Krishna Gokhale met a great scholar and a social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade. Ranade was a great leader, judge, scholar and above all social reformer. Gokhale regarded Mahadev Govinda Ranade as his “Guru”.

• Ranade helped Gokhale in establishing the “Servants of India Society” in 1905. The main objective of this society was to train Indians to raise their voices and serve their country.

• Gokhale also worked with Ranade in a quarterly Journal, called “Sarvajanik”. The Journal wrote about the public questions of the day in frank and fearless manner.

• Gokhale was the secretary of the “Reception Committee” of the 1895 Poona session of Indian National Congress and from this session, Gokhale became a prominent face of the Indian National Congress.

• For a while Gokhale was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council where he spoke strongly against the then Government.

• In 1905, Gokhale was sent by the Congress on a special mission to England to spread India’s constitutional demands among the British leaders.

• Gokhale was instrumental in the formation of the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909, which was tabled. The Reforms Act became law in 1909 but it was disappointing that despite Gokhale’s efforts, the people were not given a proper democratic system.

• However, Gokhale’s efforts were clearly not in vain and Indians now had access to seats of the highest authority within the government, and their voices were more audible in matters of public interest.

• Gokhale, during his visit to South Africa in 1912, met Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

• Gokhale made him aware of the issues confronting common people back in India.

• In his autobiography, Gandhi calls Gokhale his “mentor and guide”.

• Not only Gandhi, Gokhale also guide Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah.


• Subhash Chandra Bose was born into an affluent Bengali family on January 23, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa.

• During the period of civil disobedience movement called by Mahatma Gandhi Bose resigned from the ICS in April 1921 to join the freedom struggle.

• He joined the youth wing of the Congress Party and soon rose up the party hierarchy by virtue of his eloquence and leadership skills.

• At an early stage of his life Subhas Bose accepted Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das as his political guru.

• Over a span of 20 years, Bose was imprisoned eleven times by the British, the first one being in 1921. In 1924, after a brief period of incarceration, Bose was exiled to Mandalay in Burma.

• Subhash Bose was imprisoned again in 1930 and deported to Europe. During his stay in Europe from 1933 to 1936, Subhash Bose zealously espoused the cause of Indian freedom while meeting a number of prominent European statesmen.

• In 1937, Bose married Emilie Schenkl who was his secretary.

• Subhash Bose was twice elected president of the Indian National Congress (1938 and 1939) but following his disagreements with Mahatma Gandhi he relinquished his post and formed a progressive group known as the Forward Block.

• The principles and the philosophy of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose were instrumental factors in his embracing of armed revolution in the later part of his political career.

• Initially Bose was a follower of the Gandhian way of freedom movement but years of travel in European countries during exile and the ripening of mental faculties with age made him disenchanted with the ways of the Indian National Congress.

• Disappointed with the leniency shown by some Congress leaders towards the British, Bose became increasingly convinced that the goal of achieving freedom would remain a pipedream as long as the British held sway over the land and peaceful protests would never be able to throw the British out.

• While outlining his vision for a free India, Subhash Chandra Bose proclaimed that socialist authoritarianism would be required to eradicate poverty and social inequalities from a diverse country like India.

• He openly espoused for an authoritarian state on the lines of Soviet Russia and Kemal Atatürk’s Turkey.

• Bose was also an exponent of socialism and opined that industrialization and Soviet-style five-year plans held the key to a vibrant Indian nation.

• The Second World War broke out in 1939 and Bose launched a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest against the Viceroy’s decision to declare war on India’s behalf.

• Bose was placed under house arrest. Taking advantage of the laxity of the house guards and aided by his cousin Sishir Bose, Subhash managed to escape and traversing through enemy territories he reached Moscow.

• Bose tried to garner the help Nazi Germany but due to the indifferent attitude of Hitler and other German leaders he left for Japan and soon assumed the leadership of Indian National Army (INA) founded by Rash Behari Bose.

• Bolstered by material assistance from the Japanese forces, the INA attacked the British forces in Manipur and Nagaland in northeastern India and hosted the National Flag in the town in Moirang, in Manipur.

• But with the defeat of Japan, the invasion by the INA soon petered out and Netaji was forced to retreat to Malaya.

• Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose allegedly died in a plane crash over Taiwan, while flying to Tokyo on August 18, 1945.


• Lala Lajpat Rai immensely contributed in attaining independence the nation and helped to establish the nationalistic Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School and became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati.

• In 1888 and 1889 he was a delegate to the annual sessions of the National Congress.

• In 1895 Rai helped found the Punjab National Bank, demonstrating his concern for self-help and enterprise.

• In 1897 he founded the Hindu Orphan Relief Movement to keep the Christian missions from securing custody of these children.

• In the National Congress in 1900 he stressed the importance of constructive, nation-building activity and programs for self-reliance.

• In October 1917, he founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York.

• In 1920, after his return from America, Lajpat Rai was invited to preside over the special session of the Congress in Calcutta, (now Kolkata).

• He plunged into the non-cooperation movement, which was being launched in response to the Rowlatt Act, in principle.

• The movement was led by Lajpat Rai’s in Punjab and he soon came to be known as “Punjab Kesri” (The Lion of Punjab).

• Lala Lajpat Rai was also a noted writer. The United States of America: A Hindu’s impressions and a study, History of the Arya Samaj, Swaraj and social change, England’s Debt to India: India, The Problems Of National Education In India were among the books, he had written.

• On October 30, 1928 he died after the police lathi-charged on the activists, protesting the arrival of Simon Commission. .


• Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was one of the foremost leaders of Indian freedom struggle. He was also a renowned scholar, and poet.

• Imbued with the pan-Islamic spirit, he visited Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Turkey.

• In Iraq he met the exiled revolutionaries who were fighting to establish a constitutional government in Iran. In Egypt he met Shaikh Muhammad Abduh and Saeed Pasha and other revolutionary activists of the Arab world.

• He had a firsthand knowledge of the ideals and spirit of the young Turks in Constantinople. All these contacts metamorphosed him into a nationalist revolutionary.

• On his return from abroad, Azad met two leading revolutionaries of Bengal- Aurobinto Ghosh and Sri Shyam Shundar Chakravarty, and joined the revolutionary movement against British rule.

• Azad observed that the revolutionary activities were restricted to Bengal and Bihar, and within two years, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad helped set up secret revolutionary centers all over north India and Bombay.

• During that time most of his revolutionaries were anti-Muslim because they felt that the British government was using the Muslim community against India’s freedom struggle. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad tried to convince his colleagues to shed their hostility towards Muslims.

• In 1912, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started a weekly journal in Urdu called Al-Hilal to increase the revolutionary recruits amongst the Muslims.

• Al-Hilal played an important role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity after the bad blood created between the two communities in the aftermath of Morley-Minto reforms. Al-Hilal became a revolutionary mouthpiece ventilating extremist views. ‘The government regarded Al- Hilal as propagator of secessionist views and banned it in 1914.

• Maulana Abul Kalam Azad started another weekly called Al-Balagh with the same mission of propagating Indian nationalism and revolutionary ideas based on Hindu-Muslim unity. In 1916, the government banned this paper too and expelled Maulana Abul Kalam Azad from Calcutta and put him in jail at Ranchi from where he was released after the First World War 1920.

• After his release, Azad roused the Muslim community through the Khilafat Movement. The aim of the movement was to re-instate the Khalifa as the head of British captured Turkey. M

• aulana Abul Kalam Azad supported Non-Cooperation Movement started by Gandhiji and entered Indian National Congress in 1920.

• He was elected as the president of the special session of the Congress in Delhi (1923).

• Maulana Azad was again arrested in 1930 for violation of the salt laws as part of Gandhiji’s Salt Satyagraha. He was put in Meerut jail for a year and a half.

• Maulana Abul Kalam Azad became the president of Congress in 1940 (Ramgarh) and remained in the post till 1946.

• He was a staunch opponent of partition and supported a confederation of autonomous provinces with their own constitutions but common defense and economy. Partition hurt him greaty and shattered his dream of an unified nation where Hindus and Muslims can co-exist and prosper together.

• Maulana Abul Kalam Azad served as the Minister of Education (the first education minister in independent India) in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet from 1947 to 1958.

• He was appointed as India’s first Minister for Education and inducted in the Constituent Assembly to draft India’s constitution.

• Under Maulana Azad’s tenure, a number of measures were undertaken to promote primary and secondary education, scientific education, establishment of universities and promotion of avenues of research and higher studies.

• For his invaluable contribution to the nation, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was posthumously awarded India’s highest civilian honor, Bharat Ratna in 1992.


• Rajendra Prasad was a great leader of the Indian Nationalist Movement and also one of the architects of the Indian Constitution.

• He was elected as the first President of Republic of India.

• In 1911, during his stay in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as a legal practitioner, Rajendra Prasad joined the Indian National Congress Party and was subsequently elected to the AICC.

• During the Champaran movement, Mahatma Gandhi asked Rajendra Prasad to visit Champaran along with the other volunteers and partisans of the Indian National Congress.

• Initially Rajendra Prasad was not impressed with Gandhiji’s appearance and conversation but deeply moved by the dedication, conviction and courage of Gandhi.

• Rajendra Prasad also responded to the call of Mahatma Gandhi to boycott Western education.

• He asked his son Mrityunjaya Prasad, a brilliant student to leave the University and enroll himself in Bihar Vidyapeeth.

• He wrote articles for magazines like “Searchlight” and “Desh”.

• Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress Party in October 1934.

• In July 1946, when the Constituent Assembly was established to frame the Constitution of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected its President. And, eventually he was also elected as the first President of Republic of India.

• He was also awarded with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

• Following a brief illness, he passed away in 28 February, 1963.


• Sarojini Naidu was known by the sobriquet “The Nightingale of India” and her contribution was not confined to the fields of politics only but she was also a renowned poet.

• Sarojini Naidu was moved by the partition of Bengal in 1905 and decided to join the Indian freedom struggle.

• She met regularly with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who later introduced her to the stalwarts of the Indian freedom movement. She met Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

• Sarojini later moved on to become leader of the Indian National Congress Party. She traveled extensively to the United States of America and many European countries as the flag-bearer of the Indian Nationalist struggle.

• During 1915, Sarojini Naidu travelled all over India and delivered speeches on welfare of youth, dignity of labor, women’s emancipation and nationalism.

• In 1916, she took up the cause of the indigo workers of Champaran in the western district of Bihar.

• Mahatma Gandhi organized the Non-Cooperation Movement to protest against Rowlatt Act and Naidu was the first to join the movement.

• Sarojini Naidu also actively campaigned for the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, the Khilafat issue, the Sabarmati Pact, the Satyagraha Pledge and the Civil Disobedience Movement.

• In 1919, she went to England as a member of the all-India Home Rule Deputation.

• In January 1924, she was one of the two delegates of the Indian National Congress Party to attend the East African Indian Congress.

• In 1925, she was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress Party.

• In 1905, her collection of poems was published under the title “Golden Threshold”. Later, she also published two other collections called “The Bird of Time”, and “The Broken Wings”.

• Sarojini Naidu was the first woman Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Her chairmanship of the Asian Relations Conference in 1947 was highly-appraised.

• On 02 March 1949, Sarojini Naidu died at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.


• Lal Bahadur Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966) was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a leader of the Indian National Congress party.

• Shastri joined the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. Deeply impressed and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, he became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Jawaharlal Nehru.

• During the “Salt Movement” Lal Bahadur lead a door-to-door campaign, urging people not to pay land revenue and taxes to the British authority.

• He was one of the leading and prominent faces that continued the Quit India movement, called by Mahatma Gandhi.

• Lal Bahadur, in 1937, was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly.

• After Independence, he became the Minister of police in the Ministry of Govind Vallabh Panth in Uttar Pradesh. His recommendations included the introduction of “water-jets” instead of sticks to disperse the unruly mob.

• Impressed with his efforts in reforming the state police department, Jawaharlal Nehru, invited Shastri to join the Union cabinet as a Minister for railways.

• He was a responsible man and known for his ethics and morality. In 1956, Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned from his post, following a train accident that killed around 150 passengers near Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu.

• Nehru, had once said, “No one could wish for a better comrade than Lal Bahadur, a man of the highest integrity and devoted to ideas”.

• In 1961, he became Minister for Home and formed the “Committee on Prevention of Corruption” headed by of K. Santhanam.

• Jawaharlal Nehru was succeeded by a mild-mannered and soft-spoken Lal Bahadur Shastri on 9 June, 1964.

• He was a follower of Nehruvian socialism. Shastri tackled many elementary problems like food shortage, unemployment and poverty. To overcome the acute food shortage, Shastri asked the experts to devise a long-term strategy. This was the beginning of famous “Green Revolution”.

• Apart from the Green Revolution, he was also instrumental in promoting the White Revolution. The National Dairy Development Board was formed in 1965 during Shastri as Prime Minister.

• The 1965 Indo-Pak war took place during the tenure of Shastri which ended on 23 September 1965 after the United Nations passed a resolution demanding a ceasefire.

• The Russian Prime Minister, Kosygin, offered to mediate and on 10 January 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri and his Pakistan counterpart Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.

• Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had earlier suffered two heart attacks, died of the third cardiac arrest on 11 January, 1966.

• He is the only Indian Prime Minister, to have died in office, overseas.

• Lal Bahadur Shastri was the first person to be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, (India’s highest civilian award).


• Chandrasekhar Azad waged a valiant battle against the British and inspired the youth of the nation with his heroics.

• Chandrashekhar was deeply troubled by the Jalianwalabagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919 and at an age of 15, got involved in the revolutionary activities.

• He was caught by the British police while participating in the non-cooperation movement and sentenced to whip-lashes as punishment.

• When the magistrate asked him his name, he said “Azad” (independence). From that point onwards, Chandrashekhar assumed the title of Azad and came to be known as Chandrashekhar Azad.

• After the suspension of the non-cooperation movement by Mahatma Gandhi, Azad, along with Bhagat Singh distanced themselves from the paths of Gandhi. They were more attracted by the aggressive and violent revolutionary ideals and means.

• They formed the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association and trained the revolutionaries like Sukhdev, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Rajguru.

• Azad was instrumental in carrying out numerous acts of violence which included the Kakori Train Robbery in 1926, assassination of John Poyantz Saunders in 1928 at Lahore to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.

• On February 27, 1931, surrounded by police in the Alfred Park, Allahabad and all escape routes sealed, Azad fought and ultimately took his life with the last bullet of his pistol.


• Bhagat Singh joined the Hindustan Republican Association, a radical group, later known as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

• He established contact with the members of the Kirti Kisan Party and started contributing regularly to its magazine, the “Kirti”.

• In March 1926, the Naujawan Bharat Sabha was formed with Bhagat Singh, as its secretary.

• As an avenge to the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and his associates plotted the assassination of Scott, the Superintendent of Police, believed to have ordered the lathi charge.

• The revolutionaries, mistaking J.P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, as Scott, killed him instead. Bhagat Singh quickly left Lahore to escape his arrest.

• In response to the formulation of Defence of India Act, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association planned to explode a bomb inside the assembly premises, where the ordinance was going to be passed.

• On April 8, 1929 Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw a bomb onto the corridors of the assembly and shouted ‘Inquilab Zindabad!’.The bomb was not meant to kill or injure anyone and therefore it was thrown away from the crowded place. Following the blasts both Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt courted arrest.

• Bhagat Singh along with other revolutionaries found responsible for the Assembly bombing and murder of Saunders.

• On March 23, 1931, Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore with his fellow comrades Rajguru and Sukhdev.


• Annie Besant (1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.

• In 1890 Besant met Helena Blavatsky and became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject. As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India.

• In 1898 she helped establish the Central Hindu College and in 1922 she helped establish the Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board in Mumbai, India.

• In 1907 she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar,Madras, (Chennai).

• She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress.

• In 1916 Besant launched the Home Rule League along with Lokmanya Tilak, once again modelling demands for India on Irish nationalist practices.

• This was the first political party in India to have regime change as its main goal. Unlike the Congress itself, the League worked all year round. It built a structure of local branches, enabling it to mobilise demonstrations, public meetings and agitations.

• In June 1917 Besant was arrested and interned at a hill station, where she defiantly flew a red and green flag. The Congress and the Muslim League together threatened to launch protests if she were not set free; Besant’s arrest had created a focus for protest.

• The government was forced to give way and to make vague but significant concessions. It was announced that the ultimate aim of British rule was Indian self-government, and moves in that direction were promised.

• Besant was freed in September 1917, and in December 1917 she took over as president of the Indian National Congress for a year.

• She continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in 1933.


• Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Babasaheb, was an Indian lawyer, politician and academic who inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement and worked for equal rights for the Dalit.

• As independent India’s first law minister, he was principal architect of the Constitution of India.

• Ambedkar opined that there should be separate electoral system for the Untouchables and lower caste people.

• He also favored the concept of providing reservations for Dalits and other religious communities.

• Ambedkar began to find ways to reach to the people and make them understand the drawbacks of the prevailing social evils.

• He launched a newspaper called “Mooknayaka” (leader of the silent).

• In 1936, Ambedkar founded the Independent Labor Party.

• In the 1937 elections to the Central Legislative Assembly his party won 15 seats.

• Ambedkar oversaw the transformation of his political party into the All India Scheduled Castes Federation, although it performed poorly in the elections held in 1946 for the Constituent Assembly of India.

• Ambedkar was appointed on the Defence Advisory Committee and the Viceroy’s Executive Council as Minister for Labor.

• His reputation as a scholar led to his appointment as free India’s first, Law Minister and chairman of the committee responsible to draft a constitution.

• Ambedkar emphasized on the construction of a virtual bridge between the classes of the society. According to him, it would be difficult to maintain the unity of the country if the difference among the classes were not met.

• After his return from Sri Lanka after attending a convention of Buddhist scholars and monks in 1950 converted himself to Buddhism. I

• n his speeches, Ambedkar lambasted the Hindu rituals and caste division.

• Ambedkar founded the Bharatiya Bauddha Mahasabha In 1955.

• His book “The Buddha and His Dhamma” was published posthumously.

• Ambedkar was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1990.

Part-2: Important Personalities


• Acharya Vinoba Bhave was a freedom fighter and a spiritual teacher.

• He is best known as the founder of the ‘Bhoodan Movement’ (Gift of the Land).

• The reformer had an intense concern for the deprived masses.

• Vinoba Bhave had once said, “All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts.”

• In 1958, Vinoba was the first recipient of the international Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.

• He was also conferred with the Bharat Ratna (India’s highest civilian awards) posthumously in 1983.

Bhoodan Movement
In 1951, Vinoba Bhave started his peace-trek on foot through the violence-torn region of Telangana.

• On April 18, 1951, the Harijans of the Pochampalli village requested him to provide them with around 80 acres of land to make a living.

• Vinoba asked the landlords of the village to come forward and save the Harijans. A landlord, responded to the call and offered the required amount of land.

• This incident added a new chapter in the history of sacrifices and non-violence and was the beginning of the Bhoodan (Gift of the Land) movement.

• Following this, Vinoba Bhave traveled all across the country asking landlords to consider him as one of their sons and so give him a portion of their land. He then distributed those portions of land to the landless poor.

• He always followed the path of truth and Non-violence, as shown by Mahatma Gandhi.


• Sri Aurobindo was a revolutionary, poet, philosopher, writer, and spiritual master, during the course of his life.

• He became one of the primary leaders fighting for Indian independence, from British rule.

• With time, Aurobindo drifted from his political career and found a new motive in life – bringing a new spiritual consciousness amongst people.

• Yoga and meditation became his primary concerns in life and thus, emerged the development of a new spiritual path, which he termed as Integral Yoga. It was during this time that Sri Aurobindo Ashram, also known as The Mother, was formed. Started as a small unit, the organization soon grew is size as well as reach and is operational till date.

• In 1906 that Sri Aurobindo joined the Indian Nationalist Movement in Calcutta.

• Working as an editor in the newspaper Bande Mataram, he brought forward the idea of independence from British.

• He was also one of the founders of the Jugantar party, an underground revolutionary group.

• Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual mission commenced when he became a prominent figure in the world of politics. It was, thence, that he came across Lele Maharaj, a teacher of meditation, who taught him the art of controlling his thoughts and beliefs. A

• urobindo was arrested for the possession of weapons in 1908 and was held in jail for a year. It was during this time only that he became conscious about his inner self.

• He practiced meditation in his cell, read about the ancient principles of yoga and realized the omnipresence of God.

• Becoming aware of a divine inner guidance, Sri Aurobindo listened to his inner command, which instructed him to leave politics and work for the renewal of sanatana dharma, ‘the eternal religion’.

• After coming out of the jail, he came in contact with Sister Nivedita, a disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Thereafter, he changed his abode, from Calcutta, to Pondicherry and devoted himself completely towards spiritual disciplines.

• Sri Aurobindo also became a prolific writer, producing many articles, writings and poetry. Eventually, Pondicherry became a mecca for spiritual seekers.

• Sri Aurobindo believed that every religion was right in its own way.

• A poet, philosopher, writer and spiritual master, he offered a new vision of yoga and a spiritual path that could be followed by his disciples.

• Out of his many works, one of the most praiseworthy is ‘The Life Divine’, a comprehensive explanation of his integral yoga.


• Rabindranath Tagore, the brilliant poet and eminent educationist was born on 6th may 1861 in Calcutta.

• In 1878 he went to London and studied law for two years, but returned to India without a degree.

• On the way over to England he began translating, for the first time, his latest selections of poems, Gitanjali, into English.

• According to him the prevailing schooling system was defective and cannot favourable influence on his life. So he founded an educational institution based on his own philosophy of life and education at Santiniketan near Bolepur in West Bengal.

• He participated in the movement on Bengal division in 1905.

• His literary excellence, outstanding Educational philosophy and broad cultural outlook made him popular and famous.

• In 1913 he was awarded with the prestigious Nobel Prize for his great literary work “Gitanjali”. He was the first non-westerner to be so honored.

• In 1915 he was knighted by the British King George V. In 1919, following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops, Sir Tagore renounced his Knighthood.

• Although a good friend of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, most of the time Tagore stayed out of politics.

• He was opposed to nationalism and militarism as a matter of principle, and instead promoted spiritual values and the creation of a new world culture founded in multi-culturalism, diversity and tolerance.

• Although Tagore is a superb representative of his country – India – the man who wrote its national anthem – his life and works go far beyond his country.

• He is truly a man of the whole Earth, a product of the best of both traditional Indian, and modern Western cultures.


• Dadabhai Naoroji (4 September 1825 – 30 June 1917), known as the Grand Old Man of India, was a Parsi intellectual, educator, cotton trader, and an early Indian political and social leader.

• He was a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom House of Commons between 1892 and 1895, and the first Asian to be a British MP.

• Naoroji is also credited with the founding of the Indian National Congress, along with A.O. Hume and Dinshaw Edulji Wacha.

• He was also member of Second International along with Kautsky and Plekhanov.

• He viewed that the intervention of into India by foreigners were clearly not favorable for the country.

• R.C. Dutta and Dadabhai Naoroji first cited the drain of wealth theory.

• Naoroji’s book ‘Poverty and Un-British Rule in India’ brought attention to the draining of India’s wealth into Britain. R C Dutt blamed the British policies for economic ills in his book “Economic History of India”.

• Drain of wealth refers to the portion of national product of India, which was not available for consumption of Indians.

• Drain of wealth began in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey when the Company’s servants began to extort fortunes from Indian rulers, zamindars, merchants and common people and send home.

• In 1765, the Company acquired the Diwani of Bengal and began to purchase the Indian goods out of the revenue of Bengal and exported them. These purchases were known as Company’s investments. Duty free inland trade provided British merchants a competitive edge over their Indian counterparts.

• The actual drain, as a part of the salaries and other incomes of the English officials and the trading fortunes of English merchants, was even more.

• The drain of wealth stunted the growth of Indian enterprise and checked and retarded capital formation in India.


• Muhammad Ali Jinnah (25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a lawyer, politician, and eminent leader during national movement.

• Jinnah began political life by attending the Congress’s twentieth annual meeting, in Bombay in December 1904.

• Born in Karachi and trained as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London, Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century.

• He was a member of the moderate group in the Congress, favouring Hindu–Muslim unity in achieving self-government, and following such leaders as Mehta, Naoroji, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

• In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, a party in which Jinnah had also become prominent.

• Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims should a united British India become independent.

• In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, or non-violent resistance, advocated by the influential leader, Mohandas Gandhi.

• In 1940, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation.

• During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims.

• Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading all parties to agree to separate independence for a secular India, and for a Muslim-majority state, to be called Pakistan.

• Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until and as Pakistan’s first Governor-General from independence until his death.


• Khân Abdul Ghaffâr Khân (6 February 1890 – 20 January 1988) was an independence activist of Pashtun descent.

• He was a political and spiritual Gandhian, leader known for his non-violent opposition to the British Rule in the sub-continent, and a lifelong pacifist and devout Muslim.

• A close friend of Mahatma Gandhi, Khân Abdul Ghaffâr Khân has been nicknamed Frontier Gandhi.

• In 1910, he opened a mosque school at his hometown Utmanzai, and in 1911 joined the freedom movement of Haji Sahib of Turangzai. However in 1915, the British authorities banned his mosque school.

• Having witnessed the repeated failure of revolts against the British Raj, he decided that social activism and reform would be more beneficial for the Pashtuns. This led to the formation of Anjuman-e Islâh al-Afghân (“Afghan Reform Society”) in 1921, and the youth movement Paxtûn Jirga (“Pashtun Assembly”) in 1927.

• After he returned from the Hajj in May 1928, he founded the Pashto language monthly political journal Paxtûn.

• In November 1929, Khan founded the Khudai Khidmatgar (“Servants of God”) movement, whose success triggered a harsh crackdown by the British Empire against him and his supporters and they suffered some of the most severe repression of the Indian independence movement.

• In 1962, he was named the Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience of the Year.

• In 1987, he became the first non-Indian to be awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

• Khan is a Pashtun national hero and a key figure of Pashtun nationalism.

• Khan strongly opposed the All-India Muslim League’s demand for the partition of India.

• After partition, he pledged allegiance to Pakistan and demanded an autonomous “Pashtunistan” administrative unit within the country.


• Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (10 December 1878 – 25 December 1972) was a lawyer, independence activist, politician, writer and statesman.

• Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India.

• He joined the Indian National Congress and participated in the agitations against the Rowlatt Act, joining the Non-Cooperation movement, the Vaikom Satyagraha, and the Civil Disobedience movement.

• In 1930, Rajagopalachari risked imprisonment when he led the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha in response to the Dandi March.

• In 1937, Rajagopalachari was elected Premier of the Madras Presidency and served until 1940, when he resigned due to Britain’s declaration of war on Germany.

• He later advocated co-operation over Britain’s war effort and opposed the Quit India Movement.

• He favoured talks with both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League and proposed what later came to be known as the C. R. Formula.

• In 1946, Rajagopalachari was appointed Minister of Industry, Supply, Education and Finance in the Interim Government of India, and then as the Governor of West Bengal from 1947 to 1948, and Governor-General of India from 1948 to 1950.

• He also served as Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of Madras state.

• Rajagopalachari founded the Swatantra Party and was one of the first recipients of India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

• He vehemently opposed the use of nuclear weapons and was a proponent of world peace and disarmament.


• Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (1861–1946) was an Indian educationist and politician notable for his role in the Indian independence movement and his espousal of Hindu nationalism (being one of the initial leaders of the far-right party Hindu Mahasabha).

• Later in life, he was also addressed as ‘Mahamana’.

• He was the President of the Indian National Congress on four occasion.

• He founded the largest residential university in Asia and one of the largest in the world, Banaras Hindu University (BHU) at Varanasi in 1916, of which he also remained the Vice Chancellor from 1919 till 1938.

• Pandit Malviya was one of the founders of Scouting in India.

• He also founded a highly influential, English-newspaper ‘The Leader’ published from Allahabad in 1909.


• Ram Manohar Lohia, a socialist political leader as well as a noted freedom fighter of India was born in the village of Akbarpur, Uttar Pradesh on 23rd March, 1910.

• Ram Manohar was highly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi ideas which instigated the feeling of Swaraj (freedom) into him.

• ‘Salt Satyagraha’ was his subject in the PhD thesis paper.

• Though he had a good affinity with Jawaharlal Nehru but dissented with him on many political issues.

• His first contribution as a nationalist leader was organizing a ‘hartal’ on Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s death.

• In 1928, he joined protests against the Simon Commission.

• In Europe he organized ‘Association of European Indians’ .

• Joined Indian National Congress and established Congress Socialist Party,1934.

• He was elected the Secretary of All India Congress Committee (1936).

• He was arrested on 7th June, 1940 and sentenced to two years imprisonment for writing an article ‘Satyagraha Now’ in Gandhiji’s newspaper Harijan.

• He published and circulated posters and pamphlets on ‘Do or Die’ during the ‘Quit India Movement’, 1942.

• He along with Aruna Asaf Ali edited a Congress Party monthly newspaper called ‘Inquilab’.

• Post-independence Lohia took the leadership of building a dam on river Paniyari called ‘Lohia Sagar Dam’.

• He founded ‘Hind Kisan Panchayat’ to provide solution to the farmers after independence.

• He also set up World Development Council and World Government to retain peace.


• Aruna Asaf Ali played a leading role during Quit India Movement; elected as Delhi’s first Mayor; awarded the Lenin Prize for peace in 1975 and the Jawahar Lal Nehru award for International understanding for 1991; honored with Bharat Ratna in 1998.

• Her first major political action was during the Salt Satyagraha in 1930 when she addressed public meetings and led processions.

• In 1942 she attended the Bombay Congress Session, where the historic Quit India resolution was passed on 8th August.

• When the Congress leaders were arrested on the day after this resolution was passed, Aruna presided over the flag-hoisting ceremony at Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay.

• Her moment of reckoning came in 1942 during Quit India Movement and she rose to the occasion. She provided the spark that ignited the movement. She became a full-time activist in the Quit India movement.


• Mahadev Govind Ranade, (18 Jan, 1842 – 16 Jan, 1901), a Citpavan Brahmans of Maharashtra who was a judge of the High Court of Bombay, a noted historian, and an active participant in social and economic reform movements.

• During his seven years as a judge in Bombay, Ranade worked for social reform in the areas of child marriage, widow remarriage, and women’s rights.

• After his appointment as instructor of history at Elphinstone College, Bombay (1866), he became interested in the history of the Marathas.The publication of his ‘Rise of the Maratha Power’ followed in 1900.

• Ranade has been called the father of Indian economics for urging (unsuccessfully) the British government to initiate industrialization and state welfare programs.

• He was an early member of the Prarthana Samaj (“Prayer Society”), which sought to reform the social customs of orthodox Hinduism.

• He regularly voiced views on social and economic reform at the annual sessions of the Indian National Social Conference, which he founded in 1887.

• Ranade inspired many other Indian social reformers, most notably the educator and legislator Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who carried on Ranade’s reform work after his death.


• Chittaranjan Das (5 November 1870 – 16 June 1925) was a politician and leader of the Swaraj (Independence) Party in Bengal under British rule.

• He was a leading figure in Bengal during the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919-1922, and initiated the ban on British clothes, setting an example by burning his own European clothes and wearing Khadi clothes.

• He brought out a newspaper called Forward and later changed its name to Liberty to fight the British Raj.

• When the Calcutta Corporation was formed, he became its first Mayor.

• He resigned his presidency of the Indian National Congress at the Gaya session after losing a motion on “No Council Entry” to Gandhi’s faction.

• He then founded the Swaraj Party, with veteran Motilal Nehru and young Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, to express his immoderate opinions.

• He was a believer of non-violence and constitutional methods for the realisation of national independence, and advocated Hindu-Muslim unity, cooperation and communal harmony and championed the cause of national education.

• His legacy was carried forward by his disciples, and notably by Subhas Chandra Bose.

• He is generally referred to by the honorific Desh Bandhu.


• Jayaprakash Narayan (11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), popularly referred to as JP or Lok Nayak , was an Indian independence activist, social reformer and political leader, remembered especially for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

• Narayan joined the Indian National Congress on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929; Mahatma Gandhi became his mentor in the Congress.

• He actively participated in non cooperation movement and Quit India Movement.

• After independence, Narayan kept distance from active politics. Instead, he continue with the struggle for social reforms and joined Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement.

• He once again actively participated in politics against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency tenure.

• In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work.

• Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965.


• Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay (25 September 1916 – 11 February 1968) was an Indian philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and political scientist.

• He was one of the most important leaders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the present day Bharatiya Janata Party.

• Upadhyaya conceived the political philosophy Integral Humanism.

• The philosophy of Integral Humanism advocates the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul of each human being.

• His philosophy of Integral Humanism, which is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, bears eloquent testimony to this.

• He visualised for India a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.


• Manabendra Nath Roy (21 March 1887 – 26 January 1954), born Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, was an Indian revolutionary, radical activist and political theorist, as well as a noted philosopher in the 20th century.

• Roy was a founder of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India.

• He was also a delegate to congresses of the Communist International and Russia’s aide to China.

• Following the rise of Joseph Stalin, Roy left the mainline communist movement to pursue an independent radical politics.

• In 1940 Roy was instrumental in the formation of the Radical Democratic Party, an organisation in which he played a leading role for much of the decade of the 1940s.

• Roy later moved away from Marxism to become an exponent of the philosophy of radical humanism.


• Erode Venkata Ramasamy (17 September 1879 – 24 December 1973), commonly known as Periyar also referred as E. V. R. or Thanthai Periyar, was a social activist, and politician who started the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam.

• E.V. Ramasamy was born in Erode, Madras Presidency to a wealthy family of Balijas and at a young age, he witnessed numerous incidents of caste and gender discrimination.

• E.V. Ramasamy joined the Indian National Congress in 1919, but resigned in 1925 when he felt that the party was only serving the interests of the Brahmins.

• He questioned the subjugation of Dravidian race as the Brahmins enjoyed gifts and donations from them but opposed and discriminated them in cultural and religious matters.

• In 1924, E.V. Ramasamy participated in a non-violent agitation (satyagraha) in Vaikam, Kerala.

• In 1939, E.V. Ramasamy became the head of the Justice Party, and in 1944, he changed its name to Dravidar Kazhagam.

• The party later split and one group led by C. N. Annadurai formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949.

• While continuing the Self-Respect Movement, he advocated for an independent Dravida Nadu (Dravidistan).

• E.V. Ramasamy propagated the principles of rationalism, self-respect, women’s rights and eradication of caste.

• He opposed the exploitation and marginalisation of the non-Brahmin Dravidian people of South India and the imposition of what he considered Indo-Aryan India.

• His work has greatly revolutionised the Tamil society and has significantly removed caste-based discrimination.

• He is also responsible for bringing new changes to the Tamil alphabet.

• The citation awarded by the UNESCO described E.V. Ramasamy as “the prophet of the new age, the Socrates of South East Asia, father of social reform movement and arch enemy of ignorance, superstitions, meaningless customs and base manners.”