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10 Must-Read Biographies of Indians Who Transformed The Nation

Here’s a list of 10 biographies of pioneering Indians -- from Dr Ambedkar and Satyajit Ray to APJ Abdul Kalam and Kapil Dev -- that will leave you inspired.

10 Must-Read Biographies of Indians Who Transformed The Nation

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8 Library Cafes Across India to Bookmark For Your Travels

8 Library Cafes Across India to Bookmark For Your Travels

What’s better than freshly brewed coffee? A great book to go with it! Choose from a wide selection of literary works at these library cafes across the country.

1. Dilip Kumar: The Definitive Biography by Bunny Reuban

Dilip Kumar Autobiography

2. Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye by Andrew Robinson

Biographies of Indians - Satyajit Ray

8 Historic Libraries of India That Every Booklover Should Visit At Least Once

As Albert Einstein once said, "The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Here is a list of libraries in India that everyone should visit once.

3. The Man Who Knew Infinity (Srinivasa Ramanujan) by Robert Kanigel

Biographies of Indians - Ramanujan

4. Sir C V Raman by Uma Parameswaran

Biographies of Indians - CV Raman

5. Beyond the Last Blue Mountain (JRD Tata) by R M Lala

Biographies of Indians - JRD Tata

6. Gandhi Before India (M K Gandhi) by Ramachandra Guha

Biographies of Indians - MK Gandhi

7. Waiting for a Visa – BR Ambedkar

Biographies of Indians - Dr BR Ambedkar

8. Wings of Fire – An Autobiography by APJ Abdul Kalam and Arun Tiwari

Biographies of Indians - Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

9. Straight from the Heart: An Autobiography – Kapil Dev

Biographies of Indians - Kapil Dev

10. The Race of My Life by Milkha Singh

Biographies of Indians - Milkha Singh

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Building a Reading Habit? Here Are 8 Iconic Book Clubs to Join in India

Building a Reading Habit? Here Are 8 Iconic Book Clubs to Join in India

From promoting silent reading to hosting author events, these book clubs across the country are every reader's paradise.

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1 'Why Go For Coaching?': Ex-IRS Officer's Free UPSC CSE Course Eliminates Need for Paid Classes

2 How a Unique Initiative in Uttarakhand is Helping Youth Fight Forest Fires

3 How 7 Women-Led Startups of India Are Driving Impact at Scale in Climate Action

4 This Green Entrepreneur’s IOT Biogas Plants Fuels Kitchens at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Hewlett Packard, NTPC & more.

5 This Holi, Play With 100% Edible & Organic Colours Handcrafted By Bhil Tribals

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biography of successful person in india

biography of successful person in india

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10 Indian Success Stories That Didn't Begin At An IIT

Bhupinder Singh

Every idea is not meant to be successful in the long run but what matters is your intention and focus. Every year world's major companies and organisations line up to hire students from India's best educational institution, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). 

However, there are many who did not prefer the IITs even after cracking the entrance exam or simply dropped out during the course. Instead, these Indians proved that by believing in yourself you can do better in life, achieve fame and get bigger jobs or even start your own company, minus the IIT degrees. 

Narayana Murthy

Indian billionaire businessman tycoon Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy is the founder of Infosys

Infosys co-founder,  Narayana Murthy is one of the biggest business tycoons in India who proved that not only IITians but other college graduates can also make history. Being born into a poor family did not deter Murthy from pursuing his dreams. Murthy cleared the IIT entrance exam but didn’t join due to financial problems as his father couldn't afford it. Instead, he joined the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. A middle-class family man with no family business background launched Infosys in 1981 together with six other individuals with an initial capital of Rs 10,000 which he borrowed from his wife Sudha Murthy. Later he did his Masters degree from IIT Kanpur.

Mukesh Ambani

Second richest man in Asia, Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani is the chairman, managing director of Reliance Industries

Mukesh Ambani is the second richest man in Asia with an estimated net worth of $87.9 billion who recently bought India's expensive car 'Rolls Royce Cullinan' for a whopping Rs 13.14 crore. But did you know the Chief of Reliance Industry went to IIT-Bombay for study? Yes, you read right, he cleared IIT-JEE and joined IIT Bombay but dropped out from there to join the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai to pursue Chemical Engineering as an inter-science. Today Mukesh Ambani is the Chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s biggest oil, a petrochemical company with operations in retail and telecom & the richest man of India.

Shashvat Nakrani

Shashvat Nakrani is the co-founder of payments app BharatPe

'Youngest richest self-made' individual, Shashvat Nakrani is co-founder of digital payment app BharatPe along with one of the Shark Tank India's judges Ashneer Grover and Bhavik Koladiya. Shashvat did his schooling from his father's institute in Bhavnagar, Gujarat and went to IIT Delhi for further study but dropped out in 2018 to start the UPI payment service provider, BharatPe. He was named the 'youngest richest self-made' individual on IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2021.

Azhar Iqubal

Azhar Iqubal is the Co-Founder and CEO at Inshorts

Azhar Iqubal is Co-founder & CEO of India’s highest-rated and leading English news app with more than 10 million active users, Inshorts. Hailing from Bihar, Azhar went to IIT-Delhi to study Mathematics and Computer Science but he dropout in 2013 along with his classmate Anunay Arunav and Deepit Purkayastha to execute their bright idea and fantastic platform that provides fresh news within 60 words to get updated on the go. Azhar is a proud recipient of several prestigious industry awards including, World Young Entrepreneur Award, Leaders of Asia Award and recognition as Business World 40 under 40, Fortune India 40 under 40, Forbes India 30 under 30, and Forbes Asia 30 under 30.

Peyush Bansal

Peyush Bansal, a former Microsoft employee, founded Lenskart in 2010

Peyush Bansal is a Co-founder & CEO of India's leading e-commerce portal for eyewear, Lenskart with a net worth of Rs 600 crores and recently appeared on the Indian TV reality show, Shark Tank India as one of the sharks. Peyush was born and raised in Delhi and did his schooling at Don Bosco School after his schooling he prepared for IIT but didn’t get through it and went to McGill University, Canada to complete his Bachelors of Engineering Honours in Electrical- IT, Control and Automation and MPEFB- Management) from IIM, Bangalore.  After completing his bachelor’s degree he joined popular Tech Giant- Microsoft as a Program Manager in USA in 2007 where he worked for around 12 months only and came back to India. And rest is history - he founded Lenskart along with Amit Chaudhary (from BITS, Mesra) and Sumeet Kapahi in 2010 and entered the unicorn club in 2019.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan is a Indian-born physicist and molecular biologist who was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, in a household of scholars, Dr Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, is an Indian-born scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for his many scientific contributions and Padma Vibhushan a second-highest civilian honour in India, in 2010. He failed to clear the entrance tests for the IITs and Christian Medical College in Vellore and did BSc in Physics at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda but settled for physics at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore before going to America for his masters. He completed his undergraduate studies at a very young age. He was a high performing Science Talent Scholar who could have been accepted into a Master's programme anywhere in India. he was offered a fellowship by Ohio University in the United States for his graduate studies.

“My parents were scientists. They didn’t particularly care about this, and in fact did not pay for me to go to any ‘coaching classes’ for the entrance exams, which were typical even then,” says Dr Ramakrishnan, in an email interview with The Better India .

“I don’t remember being particularly disappointed about not getting into the IITs or CMC. Around the same time, I was one of four people from my state (I believe I was the top-ranking in my state) for the National Science Talent Scholarship, which required you to do basic science, i.e. not for medicine or engineering. In some ways, I took this as a sign that it was where my talents were,” recalls Dr Ramakrishnan.

Dr Ramakrishnan wasn’t even 19 when he finished his undergraduate studies, but as a high performing Science Talent Scholar, he could have been accepted into a Master’s programme anywhere in India.

Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft

Born in Hyderabad, Satya Nadella is Executive Chairman & CEO of tech giant Microsoft. He did his schooling at Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet and after his schooling, he attempted to clear the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) exam but couldn't succeed but he was always good at finding alternatives. He got into the Birla Institute of Technology (BITS) in Mesra and Manipal Institute of Technology and chose Manipal over BITS and completed a bachelor's in electrical engineering in 1988 from there. Later he went to the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee to study MS in computer science and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Satya joined Microsoft as a young engineer in 1992 and since then, there has been no looking back for him. In 2014 Satya Nadella took over the reins of Microsoft as CEO.

Vinod Rai is a former comptroller and auditor general of India and a former chair of the United Nations Panel of External Auditors

Vinod Rai is a former IAS officer who served as the 11th Comptroller and Auditor General of India, recently appointed as the independent chairman of the Unity Small Finance Bank (USFB) by The Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Vinod was responsible for breaking 2G scam, Coalgate, Commonwealth Games games corruption cases. Vinod Rai cleared the IIT entrance exam but didn’t join it instead he did his Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.

Dr. M Damodaran

Dr. Meleveetil Damodaran is an Indian corporate advisor and mentor and a former senior government official

Dr. M Damodaran is a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) from 2005 to 2008, Unit Trust of India (UTI) and Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) who won several awards for his scholastic achievements at both the school and university level. Dr. M Damodaran dropped out of IIT Madras in his second year to pursue a degree in economics. He later joined Delhi University to study law.

Rahul Yadav

Rahul Yadav is an Indian entrepreneur and co-founder and former CEO of real estate search portal Housing.com

Belonging to a middle-class family, Rahul Yadav is the founder of Housing.com. Rahul Yadav speaks the same. Like most of the youngsters who belong to a middle-class family, Yadav too had a target to settle down with a decent college and then a good job. But life had different plans for Yadav and this is why even after joining IIT Bombay in the year 2007 he could not fit in there and dropped out of college in his final year.

Bhupinder Singh is a Principal Executive in Content Management. He writes about historic events, art and culture for SEO. His interests include Artificial intelligence tools like Chatgpt, midjourney, and generative AI, along with an avid passion for cricket. In his free time, you will find him discussing MS Dhoni-Sachin Tendulkar and IPL.


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  • Famous Personalities /

What Can We Learn From The Great Personalities?

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  • Updated on  
  • Nov 19, 2022

Great Personalities

When you ask young kids about what they want to become when they grow up, you are sure to come across answers like “I want to become a scientist like Albert Einstein ” or “I want to become a cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar.” It is exciting how great personalities influence not only adults but also children. Reading stories of successful people can leave an indelible impression on the people and their lives. From their struggles to their passion and achieving great reputations, there is an endless number of things that you can learn from such personalities. Keeping that in mind, we have formulated a list of great personalities who not only excelled in their careers but also gave the power to dream to millions of others. 

This Blog Includes:

20 great personalities of india, 20 great personalities of the world, great personalities in science, great personalities in social welfare, great political leaders, great personalities in innovation & technology, greatest personalities in arts & literature, famous indian female personalities, nelson mandela, abraham lincoln, dr apj abdul kalam, coco chanel, albert einstein, walt disney, sachin tendulkar, michael jackson, marilyn monroe, thomas alva edison, kalpana chawla , leo tolstoy, satyajit ray, other great personalities, famous personalities of india, great personalities quotes.

Here are the greatest Inspiring Personalities in India:

  • Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) : the Father of India
  • Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) : Indian Social Reformer
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) : the First Prime Minister of India, an Indian Independence activist
  • Indira Gandhi (1917–1984) : the First and only Female Prime Minister of India to date
  • Mother Teresa  (1910–1997) : Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary
  • Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) : Indian Philosopher, Poet and Nationalist
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966) : Indian Politician, Second Prime Minister of India
  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (1931–2015) : Indian Aerospace Scientist and 11th President of India
  • Homi J. Bhabha (1909-1966): Indian Nuclear Physicist
  • Valabhbhai Patel (1875-1950) : Indian Politician, First Deputy Prime Minister of India
  • Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) : Indian Poet, Writer, Philosopher, Composer and Painter
  • Kalpana Chawla ( 1961-2003) : The first woman of Indian origin to go to space
  • Ratan Tata : Indian Industrialist, Philanthropist and Former Chairman of the Tata Group
  • Mary Kom : Indian Boxer, the Only female boxer with a medal in each one of the first seven World Championships, Padma Vibhushan
  • Kapil Dev : Indian Cricketer
  • Sachin Tendulkar : Indian Cricketer
  • Azim Premji : Indian Businessman, Investor and Engineer
  • Mukesh Ambani : Indian Businessman
  • Smriti Irani : Indian Politician, Former TV Actress
  • Aamir Khan : Indian Actor

Before we dive deep into the great personalities of the world and their inspiring endeavours, let’s take a look at the top 20 world-famous people.

  • Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) : The 16th President of the US; Leader of the American Civil War
  • Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) : English Scientist and Naturalist; Known for his contributions to the Science of Evolution
  • Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) : American inventor and businessman, known as America’s greatest inventor
  • Walt Disney (1901-1966 ): American motion picture and television producer and showman, Created characters like Mickey Mouse, Founder of Disneyland and Disneyworld
  • Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) : Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary
  • John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) : 35th President of the US; the youngest person to be elected to the Office
  • Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013): South African Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary
  • Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962): American Actress, Singer and Model
  • Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968): American Activist who led the Civil Rights Movement
  • Anne Frank (1929-1945): German-Dutch Diarist, Known for the Diary of a Young Girl
  • Albert Einstein (1879-1955): German Theoretical Physicist, Renowned for developing the Theory of Relativity
  • Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910): Renowned Russian Writer, Known for his phenomenal works like Anna Karenina and War and Peace
  • Rosa Parks (1913-2005) : American Activist, Best known for her role in Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Coco Chanel (1883-1971) : French Fashion Designer and Businesswoman, Founder of the world-famous brand Chanel 
  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (1931-2015) : Indian Aerospace Scientist and 11th President of India
  • Michael Jackson (1958-2009) : American Singer, Songwriter and Dancer, Renowned as the King of Pop
  • Kalpana Chawla (1961-2003) : Indian-American Astronaut and Engineer, the First woman of Indian origin to go to space
  • Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) : Oscar-award Winning Indian Filmmaker, writer and illustrator; Known for films like Apu Trilogy and Jalsaghar
  • Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016) : American Boxer, Activist and Philanthropist

25 Great Personalities Inspiring Children

There are many well-known personalities in Science, Literature, Politics, Technology, Business and Arts that are truly inspiring children to give their best and learn the complexities of life! Here are the greatest personalities who are truly an inspiration to children.

  • Albert Einstein : German Theoretical Physicist, Renowned for developing the Theory of Relativity
  • Isaac Newton : English Mathematician, Physicist, and Astronomer who gave the Laws of Motion and Gravitation
  • Thomas Alva Edison : American inventor and businessman, known as America’s greatest inventor
  • Nikola Tesla : Serbian-American Engineer and Physicist, designed the Alternating-Current (AC) electric system
  • Dr APJ Abdul Kalam : Indian Aerospace Scientist and 11th President of India
  • Nelson Mandela : South African Anti-Apartheid Revolutionary
  • Abraham Lincoln : 16th President of the US; Leader of the American Civil War
  • Mahatma Gandhi : the Father of India, an anti-colonial Nationalist, Led the Non-violence movements against British colonisers for India’s independence
  • Mother Teresa : Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary
  • Kailash Satyarthi : Indian social reformer working towards the elimination of child labour in India; Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2014
  • Martin J. Luther King : American Activist who led the Civil Rights Movement
  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru : the First Prime Minister of India, an Indian Independence activist
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad : Indian Independence activist, lawyer, and the First President of India
  • Barack Obama : American Politician and Attorney, the first African-American President of India
  • Subhash Chandra Bose : Indian National, Founder of the Indian National Army
  • Steve Jobs : American inventor, the Co-founder of Apple Computers
  • Mark Zuckerberg : American Entrepreneur, the Co-founder of Facebook
  • Jeff Bezos : American Entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of Amazon
  • Jack Ma : Chinese Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Alibaba Group
  • Elon Musk : American businessman, Engineer, CEO, CTO & Chief Designer of SpaceX
  • William Shakespeare : English Playwright, Poet and Actor, and one of the greatest playwrights in English Literature
  • Rabindranath Tagore : Indian writer, poet and composer, Nobel Laureate in Literature, Best known for his literary works in Bengali literature including Gitanjali, The Home and The World and Gora
  • Jane Austen : English Novelist, best known for Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility
  • Anne Frank : German-Dutch Diarist, known for the Diary of a Young Girl
  • Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) : Renowned Russian Writer, known for his phenomenal works like Anna Karenina and War and Peace
  • Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi
  • Roshini Sharma
  • Shila Dawre
  • Arunima Sinha
  • Reita Faria Powel
  • Mithali Raj
  • Mother Teresa
  • Indira Gandhi
  • Pratibha Patil

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. “ – Nelson Mandela

Born in a small village named Mvezo in South Africa, Nelson Mandela was originally named Rolihlahla Mandela. He grew up listening to the stories of the valour of his ancestors during the wars of resistance.

In the early 1940s, he chose to study law at the University of Witwatersrand where he got to know people from all races and backgrounds. During these years, he went on to join the African National Congress (ANC) in which a group of young Africans aimed to start a mass grassroots movement to voice the concerns of rural peasants and working people. ANC accepted his effective ways of petitioning like boycotts, strikes, non-cooperation and civil disobedience. What ensued ahead is a long journey of defiance against the oppressive South African regime and its apartheid policies. Mandela spent almost 27 years in prison. He was arrested and detained continuously and emerged as a potent symbol of black resistance. He was released in 1990, and in 1993, Mandela received a Nobel Peace Prize for dismantling apartheid in South Africa. In 1994, he was elected as the first black President of South Africa in the country’s first-ever democratic elections.

“My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” – Abraham Lincoln

Renowned for the liberation of slaves in the United States, Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1849. He was raised in Kentucky where he pursued a meagre education as he had to consistently juggle between jobs to provide for his family.

He was a self-taught lawyer and legislator, who went on to become one of the American heroes and great personalities of the American Civil War. He was appointed as the 16th US President shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. Lincoln adopted an unconventional approach as a war leader in which he preferred to react to arising problems and circumstances rather than originating new policies and laying out designs.

Taking an experimental approach, he blended statecraft with the direction of armies. He utilised his practical insight and common sense to bring triumph to the country as a brilliant military strategist and savvy leader. It was not just his military genius that set him apart, but his gradual plan to bring freedom to the slaves through his tactical Emancipation Proclamation which paved the way for the abolishment of slavery in America.

“Dream, dream, dream. Dreams transform into thoughts and thoughts result in action.” – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

People’s favourite leader, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, also known as APJ Abdul Kalam , was a millennial Aerospace scientist. Named the Missile Man of India, he brought astounding technological reform to the country. From introducing the launch vehicle facility and ballistic missile to supporting the second round of nuclear tests at Pokhran, he did everything necessary for the nation’s civilian space programme and military missile development.

Dr Kalam spent close to 4 decades in ISRO and DRDO as a scientist and administrator. He served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. After retiring, he became a visiting professor at IIMs, IITs, and other universities where he motivated students to innovate and compete with the world.

From the Prithvi missile in 1988 to the Agni missile in 1989, his contribution and achievements have acquired him Bharat Ratna, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, King Charles II Medal, Hoover Medal, and many others. He is a hero to millions of people making him one of the great personalities of all time. 

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel, was a French fashion designer and businesswoman who established the prolific fashion brand Chanel. From little black dresses, tweed jackets, bell-bottomed pants, gold-chained handbags, menswear and womenswear to their signature scent, Coco Chanel has contributed to the sphere of fashion and design making her one of the great personalities.

Coco’s intense belief that fashion cannot be restricted to couture clothing brought accessories and fragrances as an essential part of fashion. She worked as a seamstress and stage performer to save money to put up her first store. In 1913, Coco managed to open her first shop in Paris followed by another in Deauville.

Her affection and passion for every item produced by the brand made her a fashion icon in no time. Who knew a young girl who learned sewing at an orphanage would someday not just design the famous Chanel logo herself but also inspire millions of people looking out for opportunities to make a  career in Fashion Designing ? 

“When I write, I can shake off all my cares.” – Anne Frank

The world-renowned German-born diarist, Anne Frank, jotted down her experiences as her family went into hiding from Nazis during the Holocaust. She spent two years in a “Secret Annex” somewhere in Amsterdam before being discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne got her diary as a gift for her thirteenth birthday and wrote down the different events during the two years of hiding with her family.

She expressed her feelings and thoughts, began a novel as well as wrote a bunch of short stories because according to her, writing helped in passing time during those years. Her diary was later discovered by two helpers and then her writings were published as “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Anne’s father Otto survived the Holocaust and got to know about her diary from his friend and realised that it was an entirely different girl that he knew and said, “I had no idea of her depth of thoughts and feelings”.

The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into 57 languages and tells an incredible perspective of the holocaust through the point of view of a thirteen-year-old girl in hiding and shows her extraordinaire storytelling as well as unfaltering spirit even amidst the horrible circumstances.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

You must be aware of the world’s most famous equation E=mc^2, the theory of relativity, which helped to complete theories that had been put forth by Newton and the discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect which is an important step in the development of quantum theory. A German-born theoretical physicist , Albert Einstein is the man behind these innumerable findings.

As a fact, do you know that Einstein took a diploma from Federal Polytechnic School and was later awarded a PhD by the University of Zurich ? He started his career working in a patent office but later shifted to the research & development domain completely. The famous scientist greatly contributed his knowledge to students in various educational institutes like the University of Bern , Humboldt University of Berlin , Caltech , University of Oxford , etc.

Awarded a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, Albert Einstein is generally considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. With his great personality and contribution, many leading scientists and physicists are trying to complete Einstein’s ultimate dream of a “theory of everything.”

“All dreams can come true if we dare to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

The legendary pioneer of Disney cartoons, Walt Disney created the beloved animated character of Mickey Mouse and was the mastermind behind mesmerizing animations as well as scintillating theme parks! Growing up in a poor family, his artistic talent was sparked by a doctor in his neighbourhood who asked him to draw a horse. Young Walt fell in love with drawing and painting and worked on improving his art by drawing cartoons from his father’s newspaper.

He joined the Mckinsey High School as his family moved to Chicago but dropped out at the age of 16 determined to join the army. With his relentless efforts, he somehow entered the Red Cross and then travelled to France with the army. Amidst the grim injuries and bloodshed that he witnessed daily, Walt found comfort in imagining new cartoon characters to fulfil his dream as an artist. Then, he came back to the city and took up a job as a cartoonist though soon fired with a decline in revenue given the reason that “he lacked imagination”.

He wrote “Alice in Wonderland” while struggling with the fall of his two businesses and then shifted to Hollywood to sell his story. But destiny had something else for him as he went on to produce Alice in Wonderland under the Banner of Disney Bros. Studios and then there was no looking back as the studio reached new heights and established itself among the top film studios in the country as well as the world!

“People throw stones at you and you convert them into milestones.” – Sachin Tendulkar

Famed all across the world and carrying the nation’s pride on his No. 10 jersey, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is prominent in the list of great personalities. Popularly known as a ‘ master blaster ’, he is a true inspiration for all cricket lovers. This finest right-handed batsman in the history of international cricket started his cricket journey at the age of 11 and made his first-class debut when he was 15 and his first test debut against Pakistan at the age of 16. We know, that in India cricket is a religion and Tendulkar is a modern legend and India’s very own God of Cricket. After his retirement in 2013, he was awarded the Bharat Ratna – the youngest person to receive this award. With a career of 22 years 91 days, he has recorded as the only player to score over 30,000 runs in international cricket, the only one to secure 100 international hundreds and the first player to score a double hundred in limited-overs cricket, 62 Man of the Match, 15 Man of the Series, and the list is endless.

He was among the first Indian players to become a part of the Yorkshire club. Not just this, being an active member of Rajya Sabha, he has donated his entire Rajya Sabha money to the Government of India for the country’s welfare.

Tendulkar carried the hopes of millions every time he walked up to bat and continues to be the biggest reason students across the world aspire to make a career in Sports and Sport Management . Watching his memorable knocks and winning many games single-handedly, people started watching cricket just to see him bat.

Here’s How to Become a Cricketer!

“If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, then make that change.” – Michael Jackson

Popularly known as the “King of Pop”, the best-selling American singer, songwriter and dancer, Michael Joseph Jackson was a multi-talented musical entertainer who enjoyed a topping career both as a solo artist and with the Jackson 5.

Encouraged by his father, Joseph Walter Jackson, MJ started his musical journey at the early age of 5 and later came to be recognised as the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. With his popular moonwalk dance move and fashion specialism like his crystal gloves, and immortalised solitary, trophy jacket trend in the 80s, he was in the limelight for more than 4 decades.

Jackson’s most famous work was exhibited in Thriller which was the second best-selling album in history and he later released a series of hit records like Bad, Dangerous, Off the Wall, HIStory and Invincible.

Some of his greatest achievements include 31 Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, 26 American Music Awards, Billboard 100 top ten singles in five different decades, etc. People across the world consider him among the great personalities for the kind of excellence he had towards his work while others sign up for Music Production courses to be a legend like him. 

“I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.” – Marilyn Monroe

Popularly known as the Blonde Bombshell by her millions of admirers, Marilyn Monroe was one of a kind. Famous for her bold acting roles, she was a complete star with great modelling and singing skills. Monroe was born in 1926 in Los Angeles and was named Norma Jeane Mortenson.

After a rough childhood where she was constantly moving parts from foster homes to orphanages, she met her first love and decided to get married at the age of 16. 1946 was the golden year of her life, as she established a great career as a Model and also signed her first movie.

As she had no pre-knowledge or background in acting, her performance was judged by the people to a great extent. But, in no time she became one of the great personalities of all time. Her best work includes The Seven Year Itch, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like It Hot, The Misfits and Bus Stop. Due to the struggle, anxiety, depression and family issues, she died at the early age of 36.

“Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” – Thomas Alva Edison

Known as the most creative inventor of all time, Thomas Alva Edison spent most of his life bringing new inventions to people’s lives by feeding his ideas with a correct approach. Edison was born in 1847 in Milan, Ohio and spent his early childhood days in Michigan. His family was canal owners and with time, the business declined.

To support his family, he started selling candies and vegetables on trains. Later he became a telegraph operator and spent a handful of years in this profession. At 19 he moved to Kentucky to work at the Associate Press Beuro and requested the night shift, this would give him plenty of time to read and experiment.

Due to an incident that occurred at the press house, because of his experiment, he was fired. This is when he decided to open his research laboratory. His most famous inventions were Photograph, Motion Picture Camera and the life-changing – Light Bulb. Edison is also regarded as the very first inventor who promoted teamwork while processing an invention with researchers and employees.

“You are just your intelligence.” – Kalpana Chawla 

A girl born to change the vision of a country towards women, born to bring change in the world with her starry imagination, Kalpana Chawla is a true name that stands to be on the list of great personalities of all times. She was born in 1962 in Haryana and since the beginning of her school life, the universe fascinated her the most.

She was an ordinary girl with towering dreams and indomitable courage that made her the first Indian woman and the second Indian person to fly in space in 1997. As she recalls in an interview before the Columbia mission, how she and her brother used to hop on their bicycles to see where the aeroplanes were headed to.

From choosing her name ‘Kalpana’ which means ‘imagination’ to drawing colourful aeroplanes, her creativity led her to embark on an explorative journey which gave a reason for many young minds to pursue their dreams.

Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia accident on February 1, 2003, when the ship exploded upon re-entering the atmosphere. Chawla received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously, and various streets, colleges, and other organisations carry her name. In India, she is remembered as a national hero.

“ I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. “ – Rosa Parks

Known as the woman who refused to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist whose single act of defiance led to nationwide efforts to abolish racial segregation in America.

She spent her school education in segregated schools, Parks witnessed racial segregation throughout her life and when she refused to stand from her seat on the bus and was arrested. During her trial, around 500 supporters were present for her in the court and later in her support, a city-wide boycott of buses happened when African-American commuters chose to walk to work rather than take the buses. Parks is among the foremost activists to take a stand against racial segregation carried out in the buses during that time and emerged among the great personalities who led the largest and most successful mass movements in American history. She was later honoured with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy

With notable work in the realm of Literature, Leo Tolstoy, a Russian novelist and moral philosopher are regarded as one of the great personalities of bibliophiles. Ranked as one of the world’s leading writers, Tolstoy has worked intensely on philosophical essays, short stories and numerous plays that turned out to be best sellers.

Some of his renowned work includes The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Anna Karenina, Resurrection, War and Peace, Hadji Murad, and The Kingdom of God Is Within You , to name a few. Tolstoy did his schooling at home with the help of German and French tutors and later went for a course in oriental languages. Although writing was something which always fascinated him, Tolstoy later joined the army as a junker for a short period and was a part of the Crimean War in 1855.

Leo is often acknowledged as having possessed a skill for describing characters’ unconscious motives. With a belief that novels are not just a source of entertainment, but tools for psychological education and reform, Tolstoy’s finest achievements have continued to inspire young writers and students planning to pursue a BA in English Literature , an MA in English and a PhD in English.

“The director is the only person who knows what the film is about.” – Satyajit Ray

“Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.” The personality of Satyajit Ray cannot be better explained than the words about him by Akira Kurosawa, one of the most influential filmmakers . Revered among the best storytellers of the 20th century, Satyajit Ray has left an indelible legacy in film direction which continues to inspire the modern industry.

Born in Bengal in 1921, Satyajit is counted among the very few filmmakers having mastery over several fields. A Screenwriter, Music Composer, Graphic Artist, Lyricist, and Author, Ray has an unmatched reputation as a polymath in modern cinema. Regarded as among the greatest film directors of all time, he has several awards to his credit including the prestigious National Film Award, BAFTA , and Ramon Magsaysay award.

Having produced several films, the critically lauded ones include Pathar Panchali, Charulata, Music Room, and The Big City. The cynosure of Indian cinema, Satyajit’s genius is incontestable making among great personalities. His dedication motivates many to pursue Film Studies , Film Editing , and Acting Courses . 

Here are the motivational and inspiring quotes by great personalities in the world:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something good you can succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking

“All our dreams can come true if we dare to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. “ – Nelson Mandela

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door.” – Coco Chanel

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

Mahatma Gandhi. What is this? Mahatma Gandhi is considered the father of India as he led the nationalist movement against British rule in India

Most Popular People in the World 2022.  Elon Musk : Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla Inc and SpaceX. He is the world’s richest man, with a net worth of $239.6 billion as of 2022

American veteran actor Swayne Johnson is the most popular actor in the world in 2022.

These were some of the leading great personalities that must have inspired you to follow your dream and fly high. Let us know about which personality you admire in the comment section below. If you are someone who wants to move forward in accomplishing your dreams by pursuing a course of your interest from universities abroad, contact Leverage Edu and book a free counselling session for 30 minutes.

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10 Must-Read Biographies On Inspirational People From India

M.F. Husain was a prolific painter on whom the biography Husain: Portrait Of An Artist is based

Biographies always end up becoming a source of inspiration and many authors have compiled accounts on impactful Indians whose lives are worth sharing. We’ve shortlisted the 10 best biographies you should read.

Outlaw: india’s bandit queen and me by roy moxham.

Roy Moxham’s biography of spine-chilling events that occurred in Phoolan Mallah’s life was a result of his journey and friendship with her in the later years of her life. Known as ‘bandit queen’ in India, Phoolan hailed from a poor rural family in Uttar Pradesh. She was gang-raped and abused many times before she became a gang leader and then a Member of the Parliament in India. Roy’s biography is a gripping story of the incredible woman who was gunned down in 2001.

Phoolan Mallah’s life was anything but ordinary

Akhada: The Authorized Biography of Mahavir Singh Phogat by Saurabh Duggal

Mahavir Singh Phogat broke cultural norms and trained his daughters in wrestling

Sir C V Raman by A. Krishna Bhatt

This biography by A. Krishna Bhatt gives an intimate account of Nobel Prize winner C. V. Raman’s life . Bhatt’s research reveals how Raman was a jovial person, always curious and a great teacher. The book makes C. V. Raman more human, going beyond the image of a worshipped physicist. Raman’s humble beginnings and great achievements are a source of inspiration.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of The Genius Ramanujan by Robert Kanigel

Robert Kanigel paints a picture of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life since childhood in Tamil Nadu, India. His family couldn’t send him to school after a point but that didn’t stop Ramanujan from studying pure mathematics and working under the British mathematician G. H. Hardy. In his biography , Robert delves into Ramanujan’s struggle to be taken seriously and eventually being recognised for his contributions in mathematics.

Srinivasa Ramanujan was a brilliant mathematician from India

Beyond the Last Blue Mountain by R. M. Lala

Beyond The Last Blue Mountain is one of the best biographies written about an Indian. The book is divided into four parts, taking the readers through the details of Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata’s childhood and milestones. J.R.D Tata’s interest in aviation that led to the beginning of the aviation industry in India and his contributions as an industrialist, are discussed comprehensively. The last part of the book talks about his friendships, personal life and how he kept it away from the public eye.

Beyond The Last Blue Mountain is one of the best Indian biographies ever written

Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan by Shrabani Basu

Shrabani Basu’s detailed chronicle of Noor Inayat Khan makes the biography a riveting read. Noor was an Indian-origin Briton from an affluent family. As a shy, sensitive girl, she chose the most unlikely work for herself, in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War. She lived a life of danger and adventure before being killed in a concentration camp in Dachau. Basu’s book is heartwarming and inspirational.

Noor Inayat Khan was an Indian-origin British who died in a concentration camp in Dachau

Husain: Portrait of an Artist by Ila Pal

The late Maqbool Fida Husain, better known as M.F. Husain , was a peculiar but charming figure of the 20th-century. No one knows much about the man, except that he was an internationally acclaimed modern painter who always walked barefoot with a paintbrush in his hand. The image almost became his brand statement. Ila Pal goes deep into M.F. Husain’s life and reveals his wit and thought process. Ila met the painter in 1961 and made him her case study for 50 years and the biography is a beautiful culmination of that association.

Ila Pal’s book reveals who M.F. Husain really was

Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha

Gandhi Before India is a deviation from what is usually written about M.K. Gandhi who is revered as ‘father of the nation’ for his mammoth contributions to India’s independence movement. Ramachandra Guha’s detailed research spans across four continents. He writes about Gandhi’s formative years in South Africa and personal details of his life as a father and husband. Ramachandra’s beautifully written biography paints Gandhi in a different light and tells us why M. K. Gandhi was an inspirational figure.

Gandhi Before India describes Gandhi’s formative years

Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb by Jerry Pinto

Jerry Pinto is probably one of the best Indian authors of the 21st-century and his biography on Helen tells everything we ever wanted to know about the French-Burmese actress. An icon in Bollywood , Helen came to the country as a refugee from Burma. To support her widowed mother and two brothers she worked as a chorus dancer in Hindi films. At her career’s peak she was called the ‘H-Bomb’.

Jerry Pinto’s biography on Helen is riveting

Lilavati’s Daughters by Indian Academy of Sciences

The collection of biographical essays on women scientists of the 19th and 20th-century is nothing but inspirational. The book tells us about botanist E. K. Janaki Ammal, chemist Asmita Chatterjee, physician Anandibai Joshi, anthropologist Iravati Karve, biochemist Kamala Sohonie, medical researcher Kamal Ranadive and a few others who pioneered women’s education in India at a time when women were hardly allowed to finish high school.

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15 Famous Indian Personalities and their Autobiographies

Famous indian personalities and their autobiographies: biographies of famous personalities are always a source of inspiration. the biographies will tell you about the controversies, the dark sides of a person that you may have never heard of..

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1- The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

In 1940, Father of Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wrote his autobiography 'The Story of My Experiments with Truth' where he covered his life from childhood days to 1921. In 1998, a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities designated it as one of the "100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century". 

2- An Autobiography by Jawaharlal Nehru

3- autobiography of a yogi by paramahansa yogananda, 4- atmakatha (malayalam) by anna chandy, 5- waiting for a visa by b. r. ambedkar , 6- all from memory by b. v. acharya , 7- a grain of sand in the hourglass of time by arjun singh and ashok chopra.

In 2011, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh started writing his autobiography 'A Grain of Sand in the Hourglass of Time' but died on March 4, 2011, before completing it. The autobiographical book was then completed by Ashok Chopra. Ashok is a publisher, author, editor, and literary columnist by profession. 

8- Baburnama by Babur

9- courage and conviction by general vijay kumar singh, 10- ente katha (my story) by kamala surayya, 11- en sarithiram by u. v. swaminathan iyer, 12- how i became a hindu by sita ram goel , 13- jakhan choto chilam by satyajit ray, 14- living shadows by aribam syam sharma, 15- a shot at history by abhinav bindra .

In 2011, Indian Shooter and Gold medalist Abhinav Bindra published an autobiographical book 'A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold'. 

Rishi Kapoor Biography: Early Life, Illness, Death, Family, Film Career, Famous Dialogues and Awards

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Biography Online


Famous Indians

A list of the greatest and most famous Indians. These famous Indians are grouped by political leaders, spiritual figures, movie personalities, literature and culture, sport and

Famous Indian political leaders


Famous Indian spiritual and religious figures


Famous Indian Movie personalities

biography of successful person in india

Famous Indian literature figures


Famous Indian Scientists


Famous Indian sport stars/adventurers


Indian Independence activists


Foreigners who came to India


Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan . “Famous Indians”, Oxford, UK www.biographyonline.net 8th February 2015. Last updated 1 March 2019.

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10 Indian Influential Personalities Making Their Mark in 2024

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Top 10 most influential business leaders in India

As Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla has been the architect of more than 40 successful acquisitions

These ten legendary leaders are renowned not just for their contribution to business in India, but to Indian society too.

As well as growing and leading some of India’s (and the world's) most successful companies – leading industry change, inspiring future generations, and building the country’s economic wealth – these billionaire businessmen and women are all renowned philanthropists. 

In celebration of the India’s 77th Independence Day, we have chosen ten top business leaders who have not only made the biggest impact on the country and its people, but continue to do so with their business guidance and charitable contributions. 

Former and Chairman

Tata sons ​​​​​​​.

biography of successful person in india

Widely regarded as India’s best brand ambassador, Ratan Tata served as Chairman of Tata Sons , the holding company of Tata Group , for two decades until his retirement in 2012. Under his leadership, the group’s revenues grew manifold.

Now, India’s largest multinational conglomerate with interests in everything from tea to steel, carmaking to chemicals, retail to hospitality, Tata has a combined market value of US$311 billion, employs 935,000 workers and boasts 29 publicly-listed enterprises.

Ratan first joined Tata in 1962 becoming head of Tata Industries in 1991, where he transformed the holding company into a group strategy think tank and promoter of new ventures in high-tech businesses.

He has also shared his expertise widely, serving on a large number of international advisory boards, from Mitsubishi Corporation to JP Morgan Chase.

While not among the wealthiest in India, no longer ranking on Forbes’ richest list, Ratan is known for being rich at heart – giving generously through the group’s charity arm, Tata Trusts, which contributes a staggering 66% of the earnings made by Tata firms under the hold company Tata Sons towards charitable causes – with a focus on the arts, health, livelihood and education.

For his business and social efforts, he has landed numerous accolades including securing the country’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008.

He is also the most followed Indian industrialist on social media, with more than 10 million followers on Twitter, testament to how much he is loved and respected. 

Notable quote: "I don't believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right."

Azim Premji

Founder and chairman.

biography of successful person in india

Widely known as the IT tsar, former Wipro chairman Azim Premji led the IT major for more than 55 years – transforming it from a vegetable oil production firm into India’s third-largest IT company after TCS and Infosys with operations in 50 countries.  

The Stanford graduate took the helm of Wipro in 1966, aged just 21, following the death of his father, Wipro founder Mohamed Premji.

After more than five decades of leadership, Azim retired in 2019, handing over the company reins to his son Rishad Premji. Aged 78, he is now a non-executive member of the board and founder chairman.

As well as being super successful, Azim is influential in philanthropy circles, and has donated a large part of his wealth to the Azim Premji Foundation – which is valued at a whopping US$21 billion. He was the most charitable person in India in 2021 and 2022, according to the India Philanthropy Report 2023, with annual donations of RS 7,904 and 9,713, respectively.

Notable quote: “Success is achieved twice. Once in the mind and the second time in the real world.”

Mukesh Ambani

Reliance industries.

biography of successful person in india

As the richest person in India, and the thirteenth richest in the world, with US$91.8 billion net worth per Forbes, Mukesh Ambani is the brains and brawn behind India’s most valuable company – Reliance Industries.

The son of businessman Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded oil and gas goliath exactly 50 years ago, Mukesh took the helm of Reliance (RIL) in 2002 and has since grown and diversified the company to become a market leader in retail and owner of India’s largest mobile network, Jio.

Under his leadership, RIL has doubled in value over the last five years, as the company looks toward renewable energy with a pledge to achieve net zero by 2035 and plans to build a 25GW solar plant by 2025 and 100GW plant by 2030.

The company’s Reliance New Energy Limited business covers hydrogen, wind, solar, fuel cells, and batteries.

A keen sports fan, the 66-year-old is also the richest sports team owner in the world, as the man behind Mumbai Indians cricket team.

The billionaire industrialist is also generous, as India’s third leading philanthropist donating RS 411 crore in 2022, most of which went to educational causes. During the second wave of the pandemic, Reliance produced 1,000 tonnes of oxygen daily and distributed 8 crore free meals to frontline workers.

Notable quote: “Dance to your own music and take some risks in life, because it is often the risk taker who changes the course of history… and contribute to the wellbeing of millions of lives.”

Founder and Chairman Emeritus

Hcl technologies.

biography of successful person in india

Shiv Nader is credited with being one of the pioneers of the computing and IT industry in India – founding HCL Technologies in a garage in 1976 as a company making calculators and microprocessors.

Under his guidance as chairman for more than four decades, HCL has continued to ride the waves of the ever-changing IT landscape – transforming from its original hardware roots, manufacturing the country’s first indigenous computers, into a more comprehensive software services organisation.

In fact, HCL is one of the few global IT companies founded in the 1970s that is still alive and kicking today.

Nearly 50 years later, and HCL is valued at US$11.8 billion and is among India’s largest software services provider employing more than 222,000 people in 60 countries worldwide.

The 78-year-old stepped down as chairman in 2020 and handed the reins to his daughter Roshi Nadar Malhotra, though he continues as chairman emeritus and strategic advisor.

Attributing his own success to the education and scholarships he received during his early years, Shiv has made it his life mission to give back to education in India; and HCL is committed to hiring high school graduates and training them on job.

With a net worth of US$26.4 billion, according to Forbes, the billionaire industrialist is also one of India’s biggest philanthropists, giving back via his Foundation since 1994 – with a focus on education.

Notable quote: “If you have excellent people, then you have to give them the power."

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

Executive chairperson.

biography of successful person in india

One of two woman on our list, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is a first-generation entrepreneur and global business leader who has transformed India’s biotech industry with her company Biocon.

Fuelled by a passion, Kiran founded Biocon in 1978 from her garage in India with just US$500 and an ambition to create a business that would “leverage science for the benefit of society”.

She has since grown the firm over four decades to become the largest listed biopharma firm by revenue in India, with a market value of US$3.72 billion, and an 11,000 strong workforce – making Biocon one of the largest employers in the region.

As well as becoming one of Asia’s leading biotech firms, owning Asia’s largest insulin factory in Malaysia, Bangalore-headquartered Biocon has successfully expanded into the US market.

With Biocon, which has multiple subsidiaries including Biocon Biologics, Kiran is changing lives for the better across the globe, delivering on making medicines accessible and affordable to millions of patients.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Kiran revamped Biocon labs for testing and repurposing drugs to benefit patients, and through the Biocon Foundation, she helps to address some of the economic needs of those impacted.

Her efforts have garnered her many awards, from the prestigious Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour, to being named among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and cited as ‘The Compassionate Capitalist’ in CEO Magazine’s top 16 most influential women in leadership.

With 45 years of experience in biotechnology and a degree in Zoology, Kiran is one of India’s richest self-made women, with a net worth of US$3.7 billion, per Forbes.

Notable quote: “All entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the world around them and the communities in which they operate."

Anand Mahindra

Former chairman, mahindra & mahindra.

biography of successful person in india

As the third generation of the Mahindra clan, grandson of original co-founder Jagdish Chandra Mahindra, Anand Mahindra is the former chair of the US$19 billion Mahindra & Mahindra conglomerate.

While probably best known for owning India’s top car manufacturing company, Mahindra group’s operations span more than 20 industries, from automotive to agribusiness, real estate to IT (Tech Mahindra).

Anand kicked off his career at Mahindra in 1981 becoming President of Mahindra Ugine Steel Company eight years later before taking on the Deputy MD role at the tractor and automaking arm.

Passionate about cars, Anand spearheaded the US$2.3 billion buy-back of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in 2008, bringing the car brand back to life, and oversaw many other acquisitions including London-based Tetley Tea and the truck-manufacturing operations of South Korea’s Daewoo Motors.

Following his appointment as executive chairman in 2016, Anand grew the company to global heights, and the Group now operates in more than 100 countries and with over 200,000 employees. 

Anand, who has been labelled the face of Indian capitalism by The Economist,  stepped down as executive chairman following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 but continues on as non-executive chairman.

The 67-year-old Harvard-educated businessman has been honoured with numerous leadership accolades, including being named among Asia’s 25 most powerful business people, Forbes India's Entrepreneur of the Year, 50 greatest leaders by Fortune, and receiving the highest Civilian Award of India, the Padma Bhushan.

An advocate of the study of humanities, he has donated US$10 million to support the Harvard humanities Centre. He is also passionate about education and has founded and runs a project providing primary education to thousands of underprivileged girls in India.

Notable quote: "As you taste more success, your appetite for risk will reduce. So the best time to take calculated chances is early in your career. The one who risks nothing achieves nothing."

Gautam Adani

Founder, chairman, adani group.

biography of successful person in india

As founder and chairman of the Adani Group, one of India’s top three industrial conglomerates, Gautam Adani is a first-generation entrepreneur.

Since founding the Group in 1988, Adani has grown the business over 35 years to become a US$243 billion multinational with businesses spanning energy, ports, logistics, mining, gas, defence and airports.

Armed with a nation-building vision, Adani Group has focused on constructing world-class infrastructure capabilities to help accelerate the growth of India – from building a strong of ports and logistics’ hubs, to strengthening the country’s energy security and boosting food security by building a modern agriculture supply chain.

The 60-year-old’s latest aim is to make India one of the most significant players in sustainable energy, and he has put his money where his mouth is, making heavy investments in renewables.

With a net worth of US$5.3 billion, the billionaire businessman is generous too and his Foundation’s pan-India initiatives span education, healthcare, sustainable livelihoods, and community infrastructure with donations touching more than 3.4 million lives annually across 18 Indian states. In 2022, he donated RS 190 crore, according to Hurun’s list, and also contributed Rs 122 crore to Covid-19 relief efforts via his Foundation.

Notable quote: "My investment strategy, which is to focus on sectors that are a national priority for India, hasn't changed."

Kumar Mangalam Birla

Aditya birla group.

biography of successful person in india

As Chairman of Aditya Birla Group, Kumar Mangalam Birla is the fourth-generation head of the Indian multinational which operates in 36 countries and six continents.

Kumar, who inherited the family empire at age 28, also chairs the Boards of all the major Birla Group companies in India and overseas.

The group, which spans sectors including cement, chemicals, metals, textiles, telecoms and financial services, is valued at $60 billion and has a global workforce of 140,000. It derives 50% of its revenue from its global operations.

In his nearly three decades at the helm, Kumar has accelerated growth, enhanced stakeholder value, diversified into new sectors, expanded the global footprint and raised the Group’s turnover by well over 30x to US$60 billion. He has also been the architect of more than 40 successful acquisitions by the Group in India and overseas, the highest by any Indian multinational.

Kumar has been instrumental in guiding corporate governance in the country holding key positions on various regulatory and professional boards including on The Prime Minister of India’s Advisory Council on Trade and Industry and authoring the First Report on Governance that crafted the foundational principles of corporate governance.

Passionate about education, he chairs various institutions in India, and funds a £15 million scholarship programme at the London Business School – the largest-ever endowed scholarship gift to a European business school.

Caring and giving takes centre stage at Birla Group, which runs welfare-driven actions to impact poorer areas of society, and whose Foundation gives generally to educational initiatives.

His accolades are too many to mention, but he has secured business leadership awards from Frost & Sullivan, EY, Forbes, CNN, The Economic Times, and was selected by the WEF as a young global leder in 2004.

He is one of India’s richest, with US$15.5 billion net worth, per Forbes.

Notable quote: “The one important factor that keeps me going is the kind of people I work with.”

Dilip Shanghvi

Founder, md, sun pharmaceutical industries.

biography of successful person in india

The son of a pharmaceuticals distributor, Dilip Shanghvi is a first-generation entrepreneur founding Sun Pharmaceutical Industries in 1982 with just US$200.

Initially manufacturing psychiatric medications, the pharma soon expanded its reach to various therapeutic sectors.

Over the last four decades, Dilip has grown the company into India’s most valuable listed pharma with a market cap of US$32.92 billion and US$5.1 billion annual revenues, of which 65% derives from international markets. Today, the pharma has more than 37,000 employees and a presence in over 100 countries.

Among his many recognitions, Dilip has been named entrepreneur of the year by Forbes, EY, CNBC and Economic Times.

Beyond business, Dilip devotes time to philanthropy giving generously via the Sun Foundation, which supports various causes, including healthare, eccucation and disaster relief. He is also Chairman of the Shantilal Shanghvi Foundation and his contributions to society have earned him the prestigious Padma Shri Medial from India’s Government.

Dilip, 67, is India’s seventh richest man, his net worth is US$17.8 billion, according to Forbes.

Notable quote:  "Money is the outcome of my work and is incidental."

Falguni Nayar

Founder and ceo.

biography of successful person in india

Falguni Nayar is not only inspirational to women in India, but especially to older women. Having kicked off her entrepreneurial success story age 50, Falguni proves it is never too late.

An investment banker for 20 years, the former MD of Kotak Mahindra Capital took the entrepreneurial leap of faith at 50 – setting up e-commerce platform Nykaa in 2012 selling beauty products and has built the business into India’s largest beauty etailer.

In just a decade, she has built a beauty and fashion empire that today employs nearly 3,000 people, sells more than 4,000 brands, and commands around 40% of the online beauty market in India. In 2020, she became the first Indian woman to take a unicorn public and secured a blockbuster IPO the following year.

Her success has turned her into India’s richest self-made female entrepreneur, with an estimated net worth of US$2.7 billion, and landed her many awards, including the prestigious EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2019 and named among Forbes Asia’s power businesswomen.

Well-known for advocating for women in leadership roles, she uses her platform for female empowerment, providing employment to as many women as possible. She is a passionate philanthropist, raising funds for an Indian NGO that provides primary education for underprivileged girls in India.

Falguni, 60, also sits on the board of Tata Technologies.

Notable quote:  "Curiosity will always give you an edge because learning is integral to growth."

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The Global Indian

Indian Success Stories

This category entails Indian success stories of entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, politicians and startups that have risen to glory. It's not every day that you get to read the inspiring journeys of Indians who started with nothing and ended up reaching the top positions purely on talent and skills. Global Indian brings you to such Indian success stories who are a source of motivation to many.

In a country like ours, there is no dearth of Indian success stories that are keeping the up-and-coming entrepreneurs motivated. This category entails success stories of Indian entrepreneurs , social entrepreneurs, politicians and startups that have risen to glory.

Indian Success Stories FAQs

What are some indian success stories.

There are many well-known celebrities, businessmen and sportspersons who have created a memorable rag to riches story. This includes Rajinikanth, Dhirubhai Ambani, MS Dhoni, APJ Abdul Kalam and Narayana Murthy.

Which Indian entrepreneur has a success story?

Dhirubhai Ambani was one of the most enterprising Indian entrepreneurs who started Reliance Industries. His journey is a reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a global corporate group.

Who are the top 10 successful people in India?

Many Indians have started their journey from nothing, and later reach the zenith of success. Such Indisn success stories include the names of Dhirubhai Ambani, Amitabh Bachchan, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Gautam Adani, Narayana Murthy, Amitabh Bachchan, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, MS Dhoni and Rajinikanth.

Who is the youngest successful person in India?

Byju Raveendran, who is the founder of Byju's, and his family's wealth stood at ₹24,300 crore, according to the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2021. This makes them the 67th richest Indians.

Who is India's most successful person?

BR Ambedkar's reputation as a scholar led to his appointment as free India's first law minister, and chairman of the committee for drafting the constitution. He passionately believed in individual freedom and criticised caste society.


10 Inspiring Indians Who Struggled Hard To Succeed

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Do you often feel demotivated or bogged down by your doubts? If Yes? Then don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. But the key is to get up after facing failures. If you’re serious about your dreams and ready to work hard, success couldn’t be far. To get inspirited, have a look at these inspiring Indians who struggled hard to succeed, learned from their tough times and later rose up to rule the world.

1. Narayan Murthy If you dream it, you can do it

biography of successful person in india

2. APJ Abdul Kalam Whatever you are, be a good one

biography of successful person in india

3. Dhirubhai Ambani Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent

biography of successful person in india

4. Rajnikanth Don’t regret the past, just learn from it

biography of successful person in india

5. Narendra Modi Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

biography of successful person in india

6. Indra Nooyi In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity

biography of successful person in india

7. Sushil Kumar Have faith in yourself and in the future

biography of successful person in india

8. Dilip Kumar Begin anywhere

biography of successful person in india

9. Milkha Singh If there’s no struggle, there’s no progress

10. A.R.Rahman Want it? Work it, take it

biography of successful person in india

It’s rightly said that one should not give up if one plans to make it big. It takes a lot of hard work, persistence, and courage to realise your dreams.

So, don’t stop now! Get inspired and inspire others.

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Top 44 Entrepreneurs of India (2024 List of Best Entrepreneurs)

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India is full of some of the most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs in the world, ranging from tech startups to retail businesses and lots more. You will find Indians breaking records and making big moves in the business world.

This article will discuss a list of Indian entrepreneurs, including women and young entrepreneurs, their businesses, how they started, and where they are.

Let’s get started.

Most Successful Entrepreneurs in India

Here is a list of the most successful Indian entrepreneurs that have made it to the top and are still making waves and inspiring budding entrepreneurs in the business world.

1. Ritesh Agarwal

Company: oyo rooms.

Ritesh Agarwal

Ritesh Agarwal founded OYO Rooms in 2015. He is the company’s founder and CEO. At 17, Ritesh Agarwal's journey as an entrepreneur began when he dropped out of college to launch his first startup, making him the world’s youngest entrepreneur.

He likes traveling and has lived in various hotels. As a result of these travels, Ritesh discovered that most of these hotels charged more than the services they offered, and the exorbitant prices of these hotels were not proportional to the services and facilities they had to offer.

Ritesh believed that the hotels in India could not satisfy the needs of travelers on a budget; this opinion prompted him to start Oravel Stays, his first business venture, in 2012. He later made some adjustments and a relaunch, where Oravel became OYO (On Your Own).

The company turned out to be very successful, with a 68% Market Share and a market capitalization of around $46.363 billion.

Today OYO Rooms is not just in India but in other parts of the world like China, where it is recognized as the third largest hotel, with over 12,000 properties in 800 cities across India.

2. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal

Company: flipkart.

Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal

Flipkart is one of the leading ecommerce platforms in India . The Bansal brothers, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, as young entrepreneurs, co-founded Flipkart in a small apartment in Bangalore in 2007.

Today the e-commerce business is worth over US$15 billion and has over 35000 employees on its payroll.

The co-founders have proven that it is possible to build a business with a net worth of over US$15 billion from scratch. This action has made them known as inspiring entrepreneurs in India.

3. Anand Mahindra

Company: mahindra group.

Anand Mahindra

Anand Mahindra is the Chairman and MD of the Mahindra Group, one of India’s leading conglomerates.

He became the Chairman and Managing Director of the Mahindra Group in 2012 and has played vital roles in ensuring the company’s growth strategy is well implemented to get the desired results.

Under Anand’s leadership and guidance, the Mahindra Group diversified into new frontiers like renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Anand Mahindra’s story is inspiring. He showed that if you think big about anything you want to achieve, it is possible to achieve your big dreams. Mahindra is indeed a true visionary that was able to achieve a lot.

4. Uday Kotak

Company: kotak mahindra bank.

Uday Kotak

Uday Kotak is the CEO and Founder of Kotak Mahindra Bank, which is one of the leading banks in the private sector.

He launched Kotak Mahindra Bank in 1985 with little capital investment. Kotak Mahindra Bank has been recorded to have 2,609 ATMs, 1,647 branches, and other branches in DIFC (Middle East; Dubai) and GIFT City on 31st December 2021.

Uday Kotak’s story is truly inspiring. He is a self-made man who has built a successful business from scratch.

5. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Company: biocon limited.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Biocon Limited is one of the leading biotechnology companies based in Bangalore, founded in 1978. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw founded Biocon Limited at 23, and today, the company has a net worth of over US$11 billion.

He started the business with just US$250 in 1978, but today, Biocon Limited is a publicly treated company with a market capitalization of over US$13 billion.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a trailblazer for women entrepreneurs in India. She is an inspiration to young Indian entrepreneurs, displaying that through focus, hard work, and determination, they can achieve anything.

6. Shradha Sharma

Company: yourstory.

Shradha Sharma

YourStory was founded by Shradha Sharma, one of India’s top media platforms for old or young entrepreneurs and startups.

This platform was launched in 2008 when Shradha Sharma was just 23 years old and has become one of India's most respected and recognized media brands. With YourStory, you can access detailed information on entrepreneurship, startups, and business news.

Shradha Sharma's story has displayed that anyone can launch successful startups through hard work and determination that will grow to established businesses worth a lot in value and impact on society. Her story is proof of the power of dedication and innovation.

7. Bhavish Aggarwal

Company: ola cabs.

Bhavish Aggarwal is the Owner and CEO of one of India’s top ride-sharing platforms, Ola Cabs. Ola Cabs was launched in 2010 with an initial investment of US$250 and has grown to be one of India's most popular and commonly used ride-sharing platforms.

With his outstanding idea, he revolutionized the idea of cab-hailing in India. People can now use their smartphones to call cabs for easy transport; this makes Ola cabs unique from other taxi services.

After leaving a well-paying job at Microsoft, he focused on scaling the idea of Ola Cabs. Most people thought it was a bad idea, but he did not give up till he emerged successful.

Bhavish Aggarwal is among the most successful Indian entrepreneurs, with a very inspiring backstory.

8. Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Company: paytm.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Vijay Shekhar Sharma founded Paytm in August 2010. He is a native of Aligarh in India and graduated from Delhi College of Engineering.

Sharma worked on various projects and startups before finally following his passion for being an entrepreneur and establishing his business career.

One97 is the parent company of Paytm, and the sum of $2 million was invested to kick start it. Paytm as a payment platform, offered Indians access to their mobile wallet with the ability to make payments seamlessly using QR codes and simplified bill payments.

Due to the features available on the payment platform, Paytm became widely known and commonly used in India.

Paytm is popular for its mobile wallet app, enabling users to store money and make payments for goods and services. The company offers other services like debit cards, a payment gateway, and a point-of-sale merchant system.

Vijay inspired budding entrepreneurs worldwide and helped them see that anything is possible if you are ready to take risks and do the necessary work.

9. Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah

Company: zomato.

Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah

Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah co-founded Zomato, a restaurant discovery platform. The company started in 2008. They had big dreams of excelling in the restaurant industry.

Pankaj Chaddah and Deepinder Goya worked on other projects before they developed a platform where people can get relevant information about restaurants, like discovering the nearest restaurants to their locations and reading reviews about them.

The project started in Goyal’s apartment in Delhi, and it didn't take long before the platform soon got traction from users and great reviews. Zomato is now one of the world's biggest restaurant discovery platforms, with over 50 million users and over 1 million listed restaurants.

Goyal and Chaddah claimed that the company's success was due to their willingness to experiment with new features and their undivided focus and utilization of user feedback.

Furthermore, with the company's relatively large number of talents, it was natural for them to scale quickly.

Zomato is available in 22 countries, hoping to expand to other countries. Goyal and Chaddah are bent on making Zomato the leading restaurant discovery platform around the globe.

Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah have proven that with the right work attitude, focus and determination, anyone can build a business from scratch and make it a global platform, focus and determination.

Since 2008 when the company started, there has been great accomplishment regarding the influence and effectiveness of this restaurant discovery platform.

10. Kunal Shah

Company: cred.

Kunal Shah

Kunal Shah graduated from Wilson College in Mumbai with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. He pursued an MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, which he did not complete before dropping out.

Shah’s startup company CRED is a platform that offers cash-back promotions for organized retailers.

He originally co-founded a project named Freecharge with Sandeep Tandonwhich was regarded as one of India’s most innovative business models.

Freecharge was sold to Snapdeal in 2015 for $400 million. Kunal Shah is regarded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in India.

11. Naveen Tewari

Company: inmobi.

Naveen Tewari

Naveen Tewari is the founder of InMobi. InMobi is one of the leading mobile advertising platforms in India. Since its launch in 2007, this platform has grown to become one of the world's most widespread mobile advertising platforms.

Naveen is an inspiring entrepreneur, and many young entrepreneurs have considered him a role model because he has shown that anyone can make it big as an entrepreneur with hard work, sheer will, and determination.

12. Sudhir Sethi

Company: idg ventures india.

Sudhir Sethi

Sudhir Sethi is the chairman of IDG Ventures India, rebranded as Chiratae Ventures, one of the leading venture capital firms. He founded IDG Ventures India in 2006 and is considered one of the most successful venture capital firms.

Flipkart, Ola, and Swiggy are some successful startups IDG Ventures invested in. Sudhir has been actively involved in startups since the early 1990s and is a veteran of the Indian startup scene.

He has not been quiet about the importance and need of promoting innovation and supporting Indian startups. Sudhir has proven to be a major supporter and promoter of the startup culture and has invested in the most successful startups in India.

Sethi has shown young entrepreneurs who want to venture into the business world that it is possible to come out on top and the importance of startups to the Indian economy.

13. Radhika Aggarwal

Company: shopclues.

Radhika Aggarwal

Radhika Aggarwal is the co-founder of ShopClues, recognized as one of India’s leading e-commerce platforms. ShopClues was originally launched in 2011 and has significantly grown to be one of the largest e-commerce players in India.

She graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology and has extensive experience in the ecommerce sector. Radhika Aggarwal is recognized as one of the most powerful and influential women in Indian business.

Aggarwal's story has been a source of encouragement to both male and female entrepreneurs in India, and beyond that, they can achieve anything as entrepreneurs with determination and hard work.

14. Anil Agarwal

Company: vedanta resources.

Anil Agarwal

Anil Agarwal is the chairman and founder of Vedanta Resources, one of the world’s leading natural resources companies.

He launched the company in 1986, and has grown to be recognized as one of the world's most successful natural resources organizations.

15. Ratan Tata

Company: tata group.

Ratan Tata

Ratan is the Chairman Emeritus of Tata Group. Tata Group is one of India's largest conglomerates with various business ventures such as Tata Motors, Tata Airlines, Tata Steel, and many more.

He is an Indian businessman and former chairman of Tata Group, where he served from 1991 to 2012. Ratan studied at the Cornell University of Architecture and completed his Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business school in 1975.

Tata is a popular Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and one of the few business tycoons synonymous with success. He was born in Bombay, Maharashtra, on the 28th of December, 1937. Ratan’s father was a pioneer of the Indian steel industry.

After he completed his education in the United States, he got employed in his father’s company; he was promoted quickly and eventually became the Chairman of Tata Group in 1991.

Ratan Tata acquired numerous companies and businesses for the Group, including Jaguar Land, Tetley, Rover, and many others.

He is currently featured among the top entrepreneurs in India and remains a major source of inspiration for building entrepreneurs within India and beyond.

16. Sanjiv Bajaj

Company: bajaj group.

Sanjiv Bajaj

Sanjiv Bajaj is popularly known as the Chairman and MD of Bajaj Finserv. He was born into a family of Bajajs, a business house founded by Jamnalal Bajaj. His father was Rahul Bajaj, and he was also the great-grandson of Jamnalal Bajaj.

Bajaj has the passion and zeal to move the family business to great heights. His business career started with Bajaj Auto in 1994. He introduced the American-style supply chain management to Bajaj Auto, which helped to make the organization more effective.

Sanjiv is serving as a non-executive director of Bajaj Auto. He contributed to the advancement of other companies under the Bajaj Group, such as Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Finance, and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Bajaj was appointed as the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Bajaj Finance.

He won various awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2017, Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015-16 from Bombay Management Association, and Economic Times Awards for Business Leader of the Year 2018.

Sanjiv Bajaj has done much as an entrepreneur and is a beacon of inspiration to various entrepreneurs worldwide.

17. K.M. Birla

Company: aditya birla group.

K.M. Birla

Aditya Birla Group is one of India's largest and most successful conglomerates, and K.M. Birla is its Chairman. K.M. Birla founded the group in 2007, and has grown to be one of the largest in India.

The business under the group includes UltraTech Cement, Grasim Industries, Applus Entertainment, Hindalco Industries, and many others.

18. Sudhir Mehta

Company: torrent group.

Sudhir Mehta

Sudhir Mehta serves as the Chairman of Torrent Group. Torrent Group was founded in 1959 by Uttambhai Nathalal Mehta and had its headquarters in Ahmedabad. The business under the group includes gas, pharmaceuticals, and power.

19. Adi Godrej

Company: godrej group.

Adi Godrej

Adi Godrej founded and served as the Chairman of Godrej Group. He started the Godrej Group in 1967, known as one of India's largest and most successful conglomerates.

Apart from being the chairman of the Godrej Group, he is the chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Indian largest and oldest business organization.

20. Dhirubhai Ambani

Company: reliance industries.

Dhirubhai Ambani

Dhirubhai Ambani is a successful entrepreneur and Indian business tycoon who took the Reliance industry public in 1977.

As a global leader in the steel industry, he accomplished great feats and received various awards, like the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honor, after he died in 2002.

Ambani studied in Bahadur Khanji school. After he completed his studies, he went to work for A. Besse and Co. in Port of Aden, Yemen, and later got involved in selling shell and Burmah oil products.

He left Aden and returned to his hometown to start his company, Reliance Commercial Corporation, in 1966, which later became Reliance Industries in May 1973.

Dhirubhai Ambani expanded and diversified into power generation, telecommunications, information technology, logistics, and consumer goods. He achieved so much in his day and has since been a major source of inspiration to various people in India and beyond.

21. Lakshmi Niwas Mittal

Company: arcelormittal.

Lakshmi Niwas Mittal

Lakshmi Niwas Mitta is the Executive Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the largest steelmaking industry in the world, and an Indian steel magnate in the UK.

Mitta has received various awards, titles, and honors, such as the “Business Person of 2006” by Sunday Times, “Person of the Year” by Financial Times, and “the third-richest person in the world,” as announced by Forbes in 2005 and more.

He studied in Shri Daulatram Nopany Vidyalaya in Calcutta and is also a graduate of the University of Calcutta and came out with a first class.

Mittal initially founded the PT Ispat Indo steel factory before purchasing numerous companies abroad, such as the Irish steel plant, state-owned steelworks in Trinidad and Tobago, and many more. His net worth is $9.70 bn, according to Forbes (2020).

22. Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Company: info edge.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Sanjeev Bikhchandani serves as the Executive Vice Chairman of Info Edge, which he founded in 1995 and is presently one of India's major online platforms. He co-founded Naukri.com, which is India’s largest online recruitment portal.

Bikhchandani graduated from the Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been awarded for his accomplishments, such as “Global Leaders of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum.

Sanjeev Bikhchandani is a prolific investor and has invested in companies like Zomato, InMobi, and Ola Cabs.

23. Nandan Nilekani

Company: infosys.

Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani is the co-founder of Infosys. Infosys is a software company and one of India's leading IT companies. Nilekani served as the Chief Executive Officer of Infosys from 2002 to 2007 and was re-appointed and served again from 2009 to 2011.

He served as the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority (UIDAI), responsible for creating the largest biometric identification system in the world. Nilekani served as the non-executive chairman of the board of directors of Infosys.

Born in Bangalore, India, Nilekani was a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, where he studied electrical engineering and acquired his master’s degree in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nandan Nilekani and his wife Rohini are popular philanthropies. They run separate philanthropic arms, signed the Giving Pledge, and are concerned about helping people and improving their lives.

24. Rajesh Sawhney

Company: gsf accelerator.

Rajesh Sawhney

Rajesh Sawhney founded GSF Accelerator, and he is the CEO. GSF Accelerator was launched in 2012 and has become one of India's prominent and most successful startup accelerators.

He is an inspiration to many; he has achieved too much as an entrepreneur and has also proven that with the right mindset, attitude, and determination, startups can become successful.

25. Sanjay Shah

Company: autism rocks.

Autism Rocks is an entertainment and music company that Sanjay Shah founded primarily focused on helping people with autism. This company's inspiration was diagnosing Sanjay’s son, who was pronounced autistic.

Sanjay Shah was passionate about using the power of music to help people diagnosed with autism embrace their differences and have a better self-image than society shows them.

Autism Rocks is a social enterprise that plans to raise awareness and funds for autism research in India and beyond.

To promote its agenda, Autism Rocks has collaborated with various autism organizations, such as the National Autistic Society and the Autism Research Institute, to promote its message.

Autism Rocks have organized several music concerts intending to raise funds for Autism research. These concerts feature performances from notable artists in India and other countries, such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stevie Wonder.

Beyond holding music concerts, Autism Rocks have partnered with renowned organizations like the United Nations to create a global autism awareness campaign.

Sanjay Shah has restored hope to many people who have autism and has also been a major encouragement and support to Autism Research.

Top Women Entrepreneurs in India

Women have proven to handle business successfully as much as men. Here is a detailed list of the top women entrepreneurs in India.

26. Aditi Gupta

Company: menstrupedia.

Aditi Gupta

Aditi Gupta was the Co-founder of Menstrupedia in 2012. Her name is always mentioned at the top of famous social entrepreneurs lists.

She authored and co-founded the comic Menstrupedia In 2012 with her husband. The Menstrupedia Comic is a guide to educate people in India and around the world about menstruation.

27. Basudha Shrivastav

Company: expressearth digital services.

Basudha Shrivastav

ExpresEarth Digital Services is a travel agency composed by Basudha Shrivastav in 2015. This company is primarily concerned with handling various emergency travel needs of people that require their services.

She founded this company with her schoolmate Himanshu Narula. ExpresEarth Digital Services handles several travel needs such as hotel accommodations, cars, flight insurance, and lots more.

28. Chitra Gurnani Daga

Company: thrillophilia.

Chitra Gurnani Daga

Chitra Gurnani Daga co-founded Thrillophilia, which was started in 2009. She started the company with her husband, Abhishek Daga, and they worked together to make the business as successful as it is today.

Thrillophilia is a travel agency that aims to give its clients the best experiences during their travels and vacations. They offer various services such as flight booking, tours, activities, luxury, and cultural stays.

29. Falguni Nayar

Company: nykaa.

Falguni Nayar

Falguni Nayar is the founder of Nykaa.com. Falguni has gained so much financial experience. she has worked in the financial sector. She later quit her job, ventured into the entrepreneurial world to start her own business, and founded Nykaa in 2008.

A major part of her success story is time management. She claimed that she could achieve so much in a short time frame regarding her business due to her ability to manage time effectively .

30. Isha Choudhry

Company: zolostays.

Isha Choudhry

Isha Choudhry is the co-founder of ZoloStays in Bangalore, which was launched in 2015. ZoloStays is a software that helps students in schools seamlessly find accommodation and food.

Using this software eliminates the stress of searching for the perfect accommodation and making the right choice. This stress could be a major distraction and slow down the settling process in school.

Zolostays has been very helpful to students and has gotten many positive reviews since it was founded in 2015.

31. Ritu Kumar

Company: ritu kumar.

Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar is counted among the most famous entrepreneurs in India. As a fashion designer, she had come a long way from starting her career in 1969 with a bridal collections business primarily focused on traditional printing, natural fabrics, and weaving.

Her fashion brand has delivered excellent and beautiful clothes through the years and has experienced more than four decades of growth.

Ritu Kumar launched a fashion sub-brand of the company in 2002, which has grown to be one of the biggest in India.

32. Vandana Luthra

Company: vlcc.

Vandana Luthra

Vandana Luthra is one of the first female entrepreneurs in India. She founded VLCC, a beauty and skincare company, in 1989.

Starting was tough for her because she was a woman entrepreneur among many men, but she did not let that deter her from the dream. Ultimately, she emerged successful with a strong brand name and well-sought-after products.

33. Upasana Taku

Company: mobikwik.

Upasana Taku

Upasana Taku is the founder of Mobikwik. Mobikwik is a digital wallet and an Indian payment application that serves as a replacement for your regular wallet.

With Mobikwik, you have the option to access digital credit and deliver stable financial security and other financial services by accessing this platform.

Taku's dream was to help simplify payment acceptance for retailers in India. She is working on bringing a million retailers into the MobiKwik payments network.

Upasana Taku is in charge of business operations, bank partnerships, business, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.

34. Malini Agarwal

Company: miss malini.

Malini Agarwal

Malini Agarwal founded Miss Malini and performed the role of the creative director. Miss Malini was founded in 2011. Because of her company's activities, Malini Agarwal is now recognized as India's most influential young woman.

She is a successful digital influencer that has used her influence to educate the people of India and is a best-selling author.

35. Naiyya Saggi

Company: babychakra.

Naiyya Saggi

Naiyya Saggi was the founder of Babychakra in 2015. Her company, Babychakra, is one of India's most commonly used parenting applications.

Saggi is also the co-founder of Good Glamor Group, a tech enthusiast who was formally a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Co.

Youngest Entrepreneurs in India

These young entrepreneurs cannot be sidelined when listing the best Indian entrepreneurs making an impact in the Indian market. Their ideas, innovations, and actions have achieved many great feats.

Ranging from the IT industry, delivery services, cab services, and food to the agro-industry, these Indian entrepreneurs have made tremendous impacts.

36. Tilak Mehta

Company: papers n parcels.

Tilak Mehta

Tilak Mehta is 16 years old and has proven no age limit for invention and entrepreneurship. He founded an app-based courier service in Mumbai called ‘Papers n Parcels.’

Papers n Parcels is a digital courier company that offers one-day parcel services collaborating with the Mumbai Dabbawalas.

Tilak Mehta built the company to ensure the same-day delivery of goods at a lower cost to thousands of people within the region of Mumbai.

Papers N Parcels offers door-to-door delivery and pickup services for different items starting from an item as small as a pen to other important paperwork. The company has a track record of delivering at least 12000 parcels to their destinations on the same day.

37. Trishneet Arora

Company: tac security solutions.

Trishneet Arora

Trishneet Arora is a 27 years old ethical hacker and founder of TAC Security Solutions. The company is involved in the prevention and investigation of cyber cybercrimes.

Arora acquired ethical hacking skills in his teenage years after he dropped out of school. He wrote a book titled ‘The Hacking Era.’

Trishneet worked with the Indian police on cybercrime cases and was approached by the Punjab police to deliver a training session on investigations, forensics, and cybercrime.

He did not start big; Trishneet Arora started by handling small projects like fixing computers and clearing up software.

Trishneet has displayed passion, courage, the ability to take calculated risks, and standing up to life's numerous challenges without fearing the consequences. These attributes are inspiring and show the secret of his success.

His company provides services for various global companies such as Bharti Airtel, National Payments Corporation of India, DHFL Pramerica, HDFC, and Reliance Industries.

38. Sreelakshmi Suresh

Company: tinylogo.

Sreelakshmi Suresh

Sreelakshmi Suresh is the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of eDesign and TinyLogo. She is 23 years old and has been exposed to the tech world since she was three.

At age three, Sreelakshmi started operating a computer and designed her first website at six. She also designed her school’s website. At eleven, she decided to direct her skills and talents to start her first company, eDesign, which she founded in 2009.

Sreelakshmi Suresh is often regarded as the Youngest Web Designer and Youngest CEO in the world. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her skills and talents.

eDesign was not the only company she founded; she is also the founder of TinyLogo. She is gifted when it comes to web design.

Sreelakshmi Suresh’s company offers services to various popular brands, such as web design, SEO, and other IT-related services. Her firm belief in the importance of quality work rather than being subject to sentiments and friendships in business is a major influence on her success.

Suresh is one of the most inspiring young Indian female entrepreneurs. She started early and has accomplished so much with pure talent, hard work, and determination.

39. Akhilendra Sahu

Company: astnt technologies pvt. ltd..

Akhilendra Sahu

Akhilendra Sahu started his venture at 17 with little knowledge of the corporate world and how it works. However, this did not stop him from making daring moves; he was eager to learn and dreamed of scaling his business quickly.

His entrepreneurial journey started as a freelancer, which he did to gain deep insight into how the market works.

Sahu did not make it so easily as he encountered numerous personal challenges and people who did not believe in his dream. They felt he was too young and insane to have such lofty ambitions.

Nevertheless, these challenges did not move Sahu. He was ambitious and determined to be swayed by people’s opinions and discouragement.

His hard work, patience, and determination opened doors of opportunities for him to succeed in life. Akhilendra Sahu is 20 years old and known as the “World’s Youngest Serial Entrepreneur.”

40. Farrhad Acidwalla

Company: rockstah media and cybernetic digital.

Farrhad Acidwalla

Farrhad Acidwalla is 27 years old and one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the world who founded his own company, a Web Developing Media Firm called Rockstah Media and CYBERNETIC DIGITAL.

Farrhad company helps with web development, marketing, and advertising. Farrhad’s innovative excursion began at age 13 when he executed the structure of an online network for only $1,200 and later bought an online area for $500.

At age 17, he made big moves like attending meetings and syndicated programs on CNN. He is the most youthful visitor instructor at IIT Kharagpur’s ‘Yearly Entrepreneurial Summit.

Furthermore, Farrhad is one of the world-class speakers of TEDx, where he got the opportunity to voice his story, his way of thinking, and his motivations to other entrepreneurs.

41. Divya Gandotra Tandon

Company: scoop beats pvt. ltd.

Divya Gandotra Tandon

Divya Gandotra Tandon is 18 years old and the founder and Director of Scoop Beats. As a YouTuber, Divya Gandotra Tandon entered the business world and wanted to acquire knowledge regarding the most recent (up-to-date) and popular technology on the market.

Tandon chose not to keep this wealth of information to herself but to share it with others. She started unpacking, uploading, and reviewing videos to her YouTube account to enlighten people about the various gadgets they purchase.

Tandon is a multi-talented young female entrepreneur in India with experience in social media management, celebrity management, and online influence.

Divya founded TheScoopBeats as a news and media organization after discovering that she could do more to give accurate information to her fans.

Her social media page has more than 90,000 followers of different age groups. As an Instagram influencer, she has an audience of over 20,000.

Divya has worked with several organizations, such as Infinix, Coolpad, and many other companies and individual brands, including Lazy Gardener, Aquaconnect, and ASCENT Technologies.

42. Kavita Shukla

Company: the fresh glow co. and the inventor of freshpaper.

Kavita Shukla

Kavita Shukla is 30 years old, the founder & CEO of The FRESH GLOW Co., and the inventor of FreshPaper.

She is one of the prominent young female entrepreneurs in India who has been able to impress people worldwide because of her story and how humble her background is.

Kavita Shukla is the world’s youngest woman awarded the INDEX Design to Improve Life Award, the world’s most prestigious design accolade. She has also received four patents.

Families and farmers worldwide take advantage of the benefits of FreshPaper. The FRESH GLOW Co. has worked with several stores, such as Whole Foods and Walmart.

Kavita spent years perfecting her idea of infusing spices into sheets of paper and creating her paper blend from a craft shop's $25 worth of materials.

Fenugreek, located in Columbia, Maryland, now produces a simple and revolutionary product that is spice-infused FreshPaper. This product helps keep food fresh and prevents bacteria and fungal growth.

Various media platforms like The New York Times, Glamour, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, CNN, and The Today Show have all featured her work.

43. Ranveer Arora Allahbadia

Company: beerbiceps and monk-e.

Ranveer Arora Allahbadia

Ranveer Arora Allahbadia is a young Indian entrepreneur from Mumbai. He is 28 years old, a YouTuber, fitness trainer, social media influencer, and internet personality.

Allahbadia is popular and recognized for his YouTube inspirational and motivational videos; his stages name is BeerBiceps.

Furthermore, Ranveer Arora Allahbadia is the co-founder of Monk-E, a platform that offers vital tips on Cooking, Grooming, Yoga, Fashion, and other relevant activities. It is not surprising that Ranveer has established a niche for himself in the digital world.

The major attraction that got most people’s attention is his simplicity, the way he chats away, spilling secrets, and discussing his life, passion, and company, Monk Entertainment.

44. Suumit Shah

Company: dukaan app.

Suumit Shah

Suumit Shah is one of Indan’s young entrepreneurs who founded the Dukaan App, a DIY (Do It Yourself) platform that enables merchants with little or no programming experience to set up their own ecommerce business with ther smartphone.

Two days after Suumit launched the platform, millions of merchants subscribed to it and have taken advantage of its feature to sell their products online and move their business forward.

Suumit pursued his engineering degree after he stopped working in his uncle’s store. While in college, he learned web design and programming from his roommate.

He also took online courses in digital marketing to learn how best to market products online with maximum conversion rates.

Summit Shah dropped out of college, and because of the IT knowledge he had acquired while in school, he emerged as a hardcore techie in 2014.

He launched a particular business with his CTO, Subhash Chaudhary. Suumit Shah is one of India's most successful young entrepreneurs in India. Organizations like OYO, Cred, Sony, McDonald’s, and many other digital entrepreneurs are supporting companies in the country.

His story is inspiring, he did not have all the resources handed to him, but he made the best out of what was available.

Top Entrepreneurs of India FAQ

The youngest entrepreneur in India is Shravan Kumaran and Sanjay Kumaran. These two young entrepreneurs co-founded their first company named ‘GoDimensions' at the age of 10 at their home.

As of March 2022, Mukesh Ambani was pronounced the richest Indian with a $103 billion wealth.

Become a Successful Entrepreneur in India

Success in business as an entrepreneur is possible with the right attitude and resources in your grasp. Judging from the long list of entrepreneurs, it is clear that not everyone has the same success story and opportunities, but they all end up being successful entrepreneurs.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur in India is not as difficult as most people think. You must be disciplined, focused, courageous and determined to put in all it takes to scale your business. Having the right entrepreneurial mindset is essential for running a successful business. All the successful entrepreneurs in India share essential entrepreneurial characteristics and skills in common.

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This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

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IE100: The list of most powerful Indians in 2021

Ie100 - the list of india's most powerful people: it is the absence of another kind that tells part of the story of the year gone by. as the government expands its ambit to that last remaining frontier of digital space, there are barely any voices outside ‘the establishment’ seeking to be heard..

biography of successful person in india

In a year when a virus locked down the nation and touched all aspects of its daily life, it was the process of recovery and fightback that tested how the levers of power moved. So The Indian Express Power List 2021 reflects this new old world: health experts, bureaucrats and pharmaceutical firms at the forefront of the Covid-19 battle; even as the BJP’s unstoppable election machine continued to sweep Opposition leaders out of its way.

Those among the Opposition’s ranks holding on saw their fortunes surge, especially Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra; Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh ; Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi , Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala, Hemant Soren in Jharkhand, and a new crop of farm leaders. For precisely the same reason, the Gandhi family, the reluctant leaders of a dwindling Congress, are out of the top 20, ranking after their own chief ministers.

biography of successful person in india

The change in the power balance is most acute in J&K, where, dealt with a body blow by the Centre, Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah must fight to regain ground all over again.

If the growing Adani empire from airports to ports is reflected in his rise up the list, the most remarkable ascent, not surprisingly, is of Sanjay Kumar Mishra and Y C Modi — the heads respectively of the Enforcement Directorate and NIA, the two Central agencies now synonymous with the knock on the door, often bypassing state governments and reinforcing a message of who is in power.

VHP’s vice president Champat Rai and architect Bimal Patel enter the list courtesy the Ram temple project and the new Central Vista Patel is constructing, while Nitish Kumar has a great fall (despite a poll victory) as the JD(U) he built is reduced to an adjunct of the BJP .

Festive offer

However, it is absence of another kind that tells part of the story of the year gone by. As the government expands its ambit to that last remaining frontier of digital space, there are now barely any voices outside ‘The Establishment’ seeking to be heard. More than half of the 100 are linked to the ruling establishment at the Centre or the states, a testament to the fact that power continues to be concentrated in the political.

1. Narendra Modi, 70

Prime Minister of India (2019 Rank: 1)

biography of successful person in india

From getting a nation of 1.3 billion to follow harsh lockdown rules to setting India on the path to developing and distributing indigenous Covid-19 vaccines, Narendra Modi dominates India’s political landscape more than ever since he took charge seven years ago.

Power Punch

Amid the border stand-off, he pulled off a diplomatic coup over China by committing to send vaccines made in India to other countries — over 70 countries and counting. On February 10, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who had spoken out on the farmers’ protest, called up the PM seeking support for his country’s vaccination efforts, and was assured help.

With farm protests still on, Modi will need to tap into his formidable political capital as he unveils his reform agenda and pushes privatisation.

In his youth, Modi had a fascination for scooters. In a talk to school students on exam stress, he described how people “shake” a scooter when it runs out of fuel.

2. Amit Shah, 56 

Union Home Minister (2019 Rank: 2)

biography of successful person in india

Despite stepping down as party president in 2019, Shah is the de facto chief of the BJP and plays a significant role in the organisation. Under him, the BJP’s ideological pot has been on a steady boil—from scrapping Article 370 in August 2019 to pushing ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act despite protests to now leading the party’s Ram Mandir drive.

He managed to get former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia , along with almost two dozen MLAs, to walk out of the Congress, a move that toppled the Kamal Nath government and placed Shivraj Singh Chouhan back in the saddle.

As the face of the BJP’s campaign on CAA?and NRC , Shah has to ensure that the party retains power in Assam. But the big question is: will he be able to cause an upset in the most high-profile fight of them all —? West Bengal?

Shah loves to unwind by listening to old Hindi film songs.

3. Mohan Bhagwat, 70

RSS chief (2019 Rank: 4)

biography of successful person in india

Bolstered by the Supreme Court’s Ram Temple judgment, the RSS, under Bhagwat, is pushing ideological projects with greater vigour. Several BJP states passing love jihad laws is said to be a result of a push from the RSS. Even as the Sangh has helped the BJP grow in strength in successive elections, it has also becom assertive in pushing the BJP on key national issues such as the ongoing farmers’ protests.

Despite no official position, Bhagwat was part of the Ram temple foundation laying ceremony in August 2020, imprinting the RSS mark on the project. Plus, despite the Ram Janm­a­bhoomi judgment, Bhagwat has restrained the Sangh’s longstanding demands of a similar nature in Kashi and Mathura.

Balancing Sangh’s ideological aspirations against an all-powerful BJP’s electoral compulsions will remain a challenge.

Bhagwat is a keen follower of Marathi music.

4. J P Nadda, 60

President, Bharatiya Janata Party (2019 Rank: 10)

biography of successful person in india

In the BJP, where Narendra Modi and Amit Shah loom large, Nadda has effortlessly slipped into his role as party chief. Since he took charge in January 2020, Nadda has presided over an extensive outreach programme for the party during the lockdown. He also kicked off an awareness campaign on the new farm laws in poll-bound Bengal.

It was Nadda who took the lead in BJP’s campaign in Bihar, where the party not only managed to win the election for the coalition but also reduced its powerful ally, JD(U), to a junior partner.

With the BJP facing tough polls in four states and one Union Territory that vote in March-April, and with the party in power only in Assam, the scale of the party’s electoral gains will buttress his position.

Having studied in Patna, Nadda, who originally hails from Himachal, is fluent in different dialects of Bhojpuri.

5. Mukesh Ambani, 63

Chairman and MD, Reliance Industries (2019 Rank: 5)

biography of successful person in india

Mukesh Ambani is Chairman, MD and majority stakeholder of Reliance Industries, India’s largest company in terms of market capitalisation, and a leader in retail business and telecom. With assets worth around $80 billion, Ambani is also the richest person in Asia and the seventh richest in the world (in 2020).

Since April 2020, RIL led by Mukesh Ambani has raised around Rs 2.5 lakh crore ($34 billion) through a combination of stake sales in its retail and digital services segments and a rights issue offering.

All eyes are on Reliance’s planned acquisition of Future Group’s retail, logistics and warehousing businesses. Amazon had opposed the Future-RIL deal soon after it was announced last year, and the matter is now in courts.

Kruger National Park in South Africa is his favourite holiday destination.

6. Rajnath Singh, 69

Minister of Defence (2019 Rank: 6)

Considered the softer face of the NDA government in Parliament, Singh, a former agriculture minister in the Vajpayee Cabinet, is expected to emerge as the key pointsperson for the government in defusing the protracted farmers’ protests.

In one of the worst military standoffs with China, which began in May 2020, it was Singh’s decision to cross the LAC and capture strategic heights in the Kailash Range that gave India the leverage to negotiate and get Finger 4 on Pangong Tso ’s north bank vacated.

Despite the renewed commitment to ceasefire by India and Pakistan, and with the eventual de-escalation with China, a trust deficit with both neighbours remains. Military diplomacy will play an important role and Rajnath will need to tap into his political instincts.

Singh owns two weapons — a Webley Scott pistol and a double-barrel rifle.

7. Ajit Doval, 76

National Security Advisor (2019 Rank: 7)

biography of successful person in india

Almost seven years into the NSA role, Doval is still one of the most influential officials in the government. He enjoys the PM’s complete trust, and is considered one of the most influential NSAs since the office was created with Brajesh Mishra as its first occupant.

Power punch

His conversations with his Pakistan counterpart, Moeed Yusuf, in a third country, and communication with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in the last three months, led to the pact between the two militaries to adhere to the ceasefire agreement. Working closely with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, he helped navigate the crisis along the Line of Actual Control .

Apart from ensuring that Pakistan adheres to the new pact, his approach to strengthening India’s peripheral security — land and maritime — will be key to meeting the Chinese challenge.

He loves to cook.

8. Nitin Gadkari, 63

Minister of Road Transport and Highways and MSME (2019 Rank: 9)

biography of successful person in india

Gadkari, who carries the image of being a doer, has won praise from both within his party and outside. He publicly attacks bureaucratic inertia, doesn’t shy away from taking on powerful lobbies if they come in the way of his reform agenda and is candid about shortcomings in his ministries. Being a former BJP party president close to the RSS, Gadkari continues to be a significant power centre within the ruling establishment.

Despite the pandemic, he got the highways sector back on track, ending the financial year with a record level of road construction. He has also galvanised the MSME sector to ride on the Atmanirbhar push.

The vehicle-scrapping policy, his pet project, got a green light in the Budget . In the MSME sector, he is expected to create a momentum for manufacturing and exports while reducing import dependency.

He loves Mumbai ’s street food and knows the best places for food.

9. Nirmala Sitharaman, 61

Union Finance Minister (2019 Rank: 8)

biography of successful person in india

A key communicator, Sitharaman skilfully steered the economy during the pandemic, from a total shutdown and economic contraction to a subsequent exit from recession in October-December ’20.

Apart from targeted support to needy citizens and businesses last year, Sitharaman has been lauded for producing a Budget that puts the economy on a reset mode, with a clear roadmap of the government exiting various businesses through privatisation, focus on spending to put the economy on a steady growth path and transparent budget accounting.

Sitharaman will now need to bring all the stakeholders together to ensure seamless implementation of these crucial proposals, many of which may face political resistance.

She listens to Carnatic music, especially by MS Subbulakshmi.

10. Gautam Adani, 58

Chairman, Adani Group (2019 Rank: 28)

biography of successful person in india

Considered close to the current dispensation, Adani has built the fastest growing conglomerate. While Adani Power is the largest private power company, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone handles India’s largest commercial port.

The Adani group has acquired a controlling stake in the Mumbai International Airport, besides six others, making it the largest airport operator in the country. It also has a strategic partnership with global oil and gas major Total in the natural gas and renewables space.

Adani Total may soon enter the fuel retailing business in India. Adani green energy is also aiming to boost investments in renewable energy, taking installed capacity from 14.8 GW to 25 GW by 2025.

When he joined his father’s plastic film business after dropping out of college, one of his biggest clients was Dhirubhai Ambani.

11. Ravi Shankar Prasad, 66

Union Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister (2019 Rank: 20)

biography of successful person in india

As the head of three very important ministries, Ravi Shankar Prasad’s daily to-do list is heavier than that of most of his colleagues. In the last year, these ministries have put out more policy and executive changes than most other ministries combined.

Soon after taking charge in the second term, Prasad made ‘Make in India’ one of his focus areas. Even before the PM called for Big Tech, the Ministry of Electronics and IT had been working on schemes and incentives to attract and expand the presence of top global mobile manufacturers in India.

A major challenge for Prasad will be the negotiation with Big Tech over new rules for social-media intermediaries. The Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 is also likely to come to Parliament soon.

Prasad flies down from Delhi to Patna almost every weekend to meet people in his constituency.

12. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, 66

Union External Affairs Minister (2019 Rank: 22)

biography of successful person in india

He has spearheaded the government’s foreign policy agenda, which has increasingly intertwined with the domestic agenda. Be it in the aftermath of the Art. 370 abrogation or protests against CAA-NRC, or posturing towards China , or vaccine diplomacy, he is New Delhi’s voice at the global high table.

With a border standoff with China since May last year, he has been one of the key interlocutors with Beijing, due to his long experience as ambassador to China, and, later, as Foreign Secretary. In September in Moscow, he built on the conversations between Indian and Chinese defence ministers for moving towards a resolution of the border crisis, that led to the first round of disengagement.

While negotiations with Beijing will be protracted, he is likely to lead India’s moves towards the new Biden administration balancing both diplomatic and political imperatives.

He is fond of playing squash.

13. Yogi Adityanath, 48

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 11)

biography of successful person in india

Why Ever since he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 2017, Yogi Adityanath has emerged as one of the BJP’s star campaigners, with candidates seeking his presence at public meetings across the country during elections.

Celebratory events around Ayodhya organised by him have enabled him to stake claim to the political capital being built around the Ram Temple construction.

His biggest challenge is next year’s Assembly polls. In 2017,  he had not been declared as the CM?candidate but this time it will be his performance that will determine the party’s fate in the state.

He celebrates Diwali with children of the Vantangiya community in Gorakhpur, who refer to him as “Toffeewale Baba” because of the gifts he gets for them.

14. Uddhav Thackeray, 60

Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief (2019 Rank: 24)

biography of successful person in india

Despite the initial uncertainty over its stability, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government with Congress and NCP has completed one year under Thackeray’s leadership.

Thackeray has won praise for his government’s efficient response to the pandemic despite the high rate of infection in the state. He has also emerged as a strong opposition to the BJP, taking them on frequently on issues ranging from Hindutva to the economy to Centre-state relations. The MVA government also defeated the BJP in the state legislative council polls, in which the BJP lost the Nagpur seat, home to the RSS, after 55 years.

The revival of the state economy after the pandemic will be his top priority. The party has also begun work for the civic polls. How he handles the current Mumbai Police crisis may strain the coalition and test his leadership.

He loves listening to old Hindi film songs and ghazals.

15. Amarinder Singh, 79

Punjab Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 15)

biography of successful person in india

He steered the state deftly through the pandemic and the farmers’ agitation. With the three new farm laws driving a wedge between Akali Dal and the BJP, and AAP putting up a desultory performance, he has emerged as the undisputed leader of the state.

Once known for his inaccessibility to even his party legislators, the CM made full use of technology to connect with the people of Punjab throughout the pandemic, calling up frontline warriors every day. He threw his weight behind the protesting farmers, but drew a line at any hint of lawlessness.

With state elections in 2022, Singh will have to retain goodwill among the masses, without letting the agitation become fodder for the Opposition to attack his government. Rising unemployment may come back to bite the CM who sailed to victory on the promise of ghar ghar rozgaar.

A military historian, he is writing a book on the 1971 war.

16. B L Santhosh, 55

National General Secretary (Organisation), BJP (2019 Rank: 16)

biography of successful person in india

His elevation to the second most powerful post in the BJP surprised many, but he has emerged as a strong and vocal leader.

He was able to persuade the BJP’s central leadership to reject Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s nominees for the Rajya Sabha elections in June last year.

As he helms the party’s southern mission, he will have to prove that the leaders he has picked are delivering results in expanding the party’s reach in South India.

His colleagues swear by his ability to “read” faces. This skill leaves many amused and wary, too.

17. Piyush Goyal, 56

Union Minister for Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (2019 Rank: 13)

biography of successful person in india

Besides handling the ministries of Commerce and Industry, and Railways, he was given the additional charge of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, following the demise of former Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan — a sign of the PM’s faith in his ability to step up despite his existing responsibilities.

Goyal has been at the helm of India’s tough stance on large trade pacts. Trade with China, too, has seen a potentially positive development as exports to the country have seen an uptick, while imports have continued to reduce in the last year. Under his leadership, India has also introduced modern semi-high speed trains with premium services.

He aims to restart negotiations with the Joe Biden administration in the US for a limited trade pact. His progress on trade talks with the EU and UK will also be closely watched.

Goyal took up yoga last year upon the advice of a senior political leader.

18. Sharad Pawar, 80

President, Nationalist Congress Party (2019 Rank: 77)

biography of successful person in india

Pawar is the architect-in-chief of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, consisting of the unlikely triumvirate of the Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Inspite of large-scale defections from his Nationalist Congress Party in the run up to the State Assembly elections and failed revolt by his nephew Ajit Pawar, the 80-year-old founder of the NCP scripted the electoral revival of his party in the 2019 elections. As troubleshooter-in-chief, he holds the MVA together and is the driving force behind the Thackeray-led government.

He is the only one among Opposition leaders with the ability to act as a bridge between different anti-BJP parties.

A patron of classical music, Pawar spent the initial days of the lockdown listening to renditions of bhajans by Pt Bhimsen Joshi.

19. General MM Naravane, 61

Indian Army Chief (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

Naravane leads the 15 lakh-strong Indian Army that saw action on both northern and western frontiers last year. While the border with Pakistan has remained volatile for long, it was the Line of Actual Control with China that has remained in focus. In a standoff at Galwan Valley that turned violent in June 2020, the Army, under Naravane’s leadership, gained tactical ground to dominate China’s Moldo Garrison and the strategically sensitive Spanggur Gap.

Unlike previous standoffs with China, this was the first time that senior military officers were involved in direct discussions. There is a feeling in the security establishment that the military leadership stood its ground, possibly setting a template for future talks.

The disengagement with China is still restricted to just the Pangong Tso region. Other friction points continue to be under discussion.

His sharp wit often comes in handy to dispel tensions during many a meeting.

20. PK Mishra, 72

Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister (2019 Rank: 19)

biography of successful person in india

Considered one of the most powerful bureaucrats in the country, he wields influence from his proximity to PM Modi. He has been with him since his Gujarat days. In the second term of the Modi-led government, he was elevated to the position of Principal Secretary.

He is known to play a key role in placing bureaucrats in important positions in the government. He has been overseeing the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He chairs high-level review meetings that are attended by the Cabinet Secretary and all empowered committee members.

A quintessential backroom player, he will continue to work to ke­e­p the administrative machinery of the government humming.

When he was Agriculture Secretary, he worked all Sundays, but did not expect his juniors to be present. A Delhi School of Economics graduate, he keeps in touch with his classmates.

21. NV Ramana, 63

Judge, Supreme Court of India (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

Coming from a humble beginning in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, he is set to become the 48th Chief Justice of India.

As the second senior-most judge, he presides over a number of politically sensitive cases — from the disqualification of MLAs in Karnataka to fast-tracking cases against legislators. He also led the bench that heard the challenge to the abrogation of J&K’s special status, suspension of Internet in the UT and the case questioning the legality of political detentions in the Valley.

He was in the eye of a political storm in his home state when Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy made allegations of impropriety against him. He has, however, managed to remain unscathed. How he navigates the apex court in the face of a strong Executive will shape his legacy.

As a young advocate, he was an ardent follower of NT Rama Rao, founder of the Telugu Desam Party.

22. Mamata Banerjee, 66

West Bengal Chief Minister Chairperson, TMC (2019 Rank: 21)

biography of successful person in india

A two-time CM, she has previo­u­s­ly ser­ved as minister in both Cong­r­ess and BJP governments at the Centre. She ro­se to power opposing the land acquis­i­tion policies of the Left Front governm­e­nt in West Bengal, ending its 34-year rule.

A fighter and a mass leader, she was instrumental in stitching together an alliance of opposition parties against the BJP prior to the 2019 elections. She was among the first chief ministers in the country to criticise the Centre’s moves — from demonetisation to the nationwide Covid lockdown. Ahead of the Assembly polls, she is making the mighty electoral machinery of the BJP sweat.

Should she prevail against the BJP? in the polls, it will establish her as one of the tallest national Opposition figures. Given her control over the party, a defeat could dent it irreversibly.

Author of over 100 books, she has written on political and social issues.

23. Prakash Javadekar, 70

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Information and Broadcasting (2019 Rank: 23)

biography of successful person in india

Apart from being the party’s most recognised spokesperson, as Environment Minister, he spearheads India’s climate change programme. Representing developing nations on international platforms, he was instrumental in getting developed countries to commit to providing financial and technical support to poorer countries.

As I&B minister, he has introduced the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, the largest shake-up in the technology regulation space in nearly a decade.

Under Javadekar, India is the chair of the BRICS platform on climate change and environmental issues. Under him, the environment ministry has launched several ambitious wildlife conservation projects.

He listens to light classical music at the end of the day. Hariharan is one of his favourite artists.

24. Pinarayi Vijayan, 75

Kerala Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 75)

biography of successful person in india

Vijayan is heading the only Left government in India. He is the loudest voice of the state government as well as the party.

Despite several controversies involving his office, Vijayan’s supremacy in the party and the government remains unchallenged. He also survived the Sabarimala storm to win local body polls for the LDF.

In the upcoming Assembly polls in Kerala, the onus is on Vijayan to ensure a victory for the CPI(M)-led LDF.

He loves to read, especially Malayalam fiction. He enjoys rice and fish curry.

25. Manoj Sinha, 61

Lt-Governor, J&K (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

Running Jammu and Kashmir has never been easy, and more so after the revocation of its special status and its downgrade to two Union territories. In the absence of an elected government, it is up to Sinha to give J&K an administration.

For decades, the Centre’s choice for Jammu and Kashmir Governor has been a retired bureaucrat or a former Army or intelligence officer. The Modi government trusted Sinha, a senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh, to deal with the situation in the Valley at this crucial juncture. He oversaw the smooth conduct of the District Development Council elections, the first political exercise in J&K after the abrogation of article 370.

While J&K has been relatively calm despite the special status upheaval, things remain tense, especially due to fears of a demographic change. Sinha’s biggest challenge is to gain the trust of the people.

Of late, Sinha has gone on a weight control drive, losing over 10 kg in six months.

26. Bhupesh Baghel, 59

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 54)

biography of successful person in india

He is among the few remaining Congress Chief Ministers in the country, a leader with a support base of his own who led the party to a comfortable majority in Chhattisgarh.

The Congress is increasingly relying on Baghel to bolster the party in other states, and Baghel’s footprint is all over its Assam campaign. As CM, he has successfully focussed on rural economy with schemes such as Godhan Nyay Yojana and pushed for procuring produce from local tribes.

There was talk about a rotation CM in the state. Baghel will complete two-and-a-half years in June. Will there be a power shift in Chhattisgarh or will he emerge stronger?

Baghel has a sweet tooth. He is particularly fond of rasgullas and suggests adding a few drops of lemon to it.

27. Arvind Kejriwal, 52

Delhi Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 51)

biography of successful person in india

The one-time anti-corruption activist, who railed against the political class, is now into his third term as the Chief Minister of Delhi. In 2020, the AAP nearly repeated its 2015 Assembly polls feat, winning 62 out of 70 seats in the Capital. Kejriwal’s mass appeal propelled the party to power, blunting BJP’s hyper-nationalistic onslaught.

Its success in Delhi has given the AAP’s plan to expand nationally an aggressive push. In local body polls in Gujarat, it finished second in Surat , reducing the Congress’s tally to zero. His “deshbhakti” curriculum blends his twin planks of education and politics. In Delhi, he aims to wrest power in the civic bodies, which will go to polls in 2022.

Apart from Punjab, the party will contest polls in five BJP-ruled states in 2022, eager to fill the vacuum created by the Congress .

He likes to unwind by watching shows on Netflix with his family.

28. M K Stalin, 68

Chief of DMK; Tamil Nadu Opposition leader (2019 Rank: 30)

biography of successful person in india

He is the Chief Minister candidate of the DMK, which believes it is well within reach of returning to power in Tamil Nadu. He carries over the image of an efficient administrator from his time as the mayor of Chennai Corporation and as deputy CM, and has firmly put behind all challenges from within the family to emerge as the true inheritor of M Karunanidhi ’s legacy.

After losing the last Assembly elections by a narrow margin, the DMK has been gaining ground in the state. A slew of cases filed by his party against the ruling AIADMK’s senior members has kept them on their toes.

The upcoming elections are a crucial test for his party and his place in it.

Stalin is a familiar face for joggers on the campus of IIT-Madras. He is also a movie buff.

29. Shaktikanta Das, 64

Governor, Reserve Bank of India (2019 Rank: 29)

biography of successful person in india

As RBI governor, Das leads from the front in formulating and implementing the monetary policy of the country. He has deftly walked the tightrope as the regulator of the banking sector and the government’s money manager.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, Das announced several measures to maintain stability on the financial front. Led by him, the RBI has adopted an accommodative stance and brought down interest rate and inflation to boost growth, pumping more liquidity in the system and announcing measures such as moratorium on loan for borrowers hit by the pandemic.

Das will have to ensure that inflation targeting is on track, besides maintaining stability in the financial sector.

He’s the first non-economist to become the RBI Governor after S Venkitaramanan in 1990.

30. Narendra Singh Tomar, 63

Union Cabinet Minister for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (2019 Rank: 31)

biography of successful person in india

Leading the government side in talks with representatives of the farmer unions protesting the three farm laws, Tomar has emerged as the negotiator-in-chief for the ruling dispensation. While talks have failed to break the deadlock, Tomar has ensured that the space is kept open for the next round. He also played a key role in the BJP’s return to power in Madhya Pradesh.

Among Union ministers, Tomar holds the highest number of portfolios. NREGA and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, which come under his ministries, have been instrumental in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tomar has been made in-charge of the Assam Assembly polls by his party. He is manoeuvering his party through the anti-incumbency headwinds.

A vegetarian, mirchi pakoras are one of his favourite snacks.

31. Ashok Gehlot, 69

Rajasthan Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 35)

biography of successful person in india

Chief Minister of one of the few remaining Congress-ruled states, despite attempts by party rebels and the BJP, he has a firm grip on the government. While the Congress continues to shrink elsewhere, Gehlot exudes confidence, repeatedly pushing back at detractors.

Fought off a rebellion led by his former deputy Sachin Pilot and outmanoeuvred his opponents. The state’s ‘Bhilwara model’ of Covid-19 management was replicated in many towns across the country.

After a close contest in panchayat polls late last year and a decent showing in urban local body polls, Gehlot has his task cut out in bypolls to four Assembly seats. He will also have to implement his promise of Right to Health with shortage of funds being a challenge.

Listens to songs from the ’60s and ’70s on his mobile phone to unwind and relax.

32. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, 48

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister; President, YSRCP (2019 Rank: 26)

biography of successful person in india

From spending 16 months in prison in a disproportionate assets case, and undertaking a 3,648-km-long padayatra, Reddy led his party, the YSRCP, to victory in the 2019 elections, winning 151 of the 175 Assembly seats. The state is launching dozens of welfare schemes aimed at all sections of society, and Reddy’s popularity is very high.

In recent panchayat elections, Reddy’s party defeated the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party; the TDP even lost in Kuppam, the constituency of party chief N Chandrababu Naidu .

Jagan is working towards decentralising governance through a controversial move to set up multiple capitals:?legislative capital in Amaravati, an executive capital at Visakhapatnam and the judicial capital at Kurnool .

After becoming CM, Reddy adopted a dress code: he only wears white full-sleeve shirts and cream-coloured trousers.

33. Sushil Chandra, 63

Election Commissioner (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

In a couple of months, Chandra will succeed Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner. As CEC, he will oversee Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur next year, and Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat early in 2023. As member of the Delimitation Commission, Chandra will also play an important role in deciding the new or redrawn boundaries of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in Jammu & Kashmir.

He is a strong votary of proper election affidavits, and had played an important role in the Commission?deciding to act on complaints about candidates filing false affidavits.

As CEC, Chandra’s first task would be to push the Commission’s proposal to give postal voting rights to NRI voters.

A tea enthusiast, he has a vast collection of teas from across the world.

34. Sonia Gandhi, 74

President, Indian National Congress (2019 Rank: 17)

biography of successful person in india

Interim president of the Congress, Gandhi is still the last word in India’s grand old party. She may have cut down her public appearances, but she remains the unchallenged leader of her party.

She weathered the crisis in the party after 23 dissidents wrote a letter asking for reforms. At the Congress Working Committee meeting where it was decided that she will remain interim president, she asked the dissidents — G23 — to move on.

In June this year, Gandhi is expected to make way for a new party president, which many believe will be her son Rahul again, and partially withdraw from active politics.

She is writing a book on events that shaped Indian politics and her own political career.

35. Rajesh Bhushan, 57

Health Secretary (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

As Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Bhushan is the chief coordinator of the Union government’s administrative response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

From ramping up testing and increasing dedicated beds for Covid-19 patients to the procurement of 50,000 ventilators under PM CARES, Bhushan and his team were tasked with augmenting public health infrastructure during the pandemic. Bhushan also chairs important meetings with state governments to communicate the Union government’s strategy on key issues related to containment, surveillance and surge in cases.

Bhushan is co-chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Admin­istration (NEGVAC) and his team is closely monitoring the surge in cases and the progress of vaccination.

Bhushan writes poetry in Hindi and enjoys cooking as a stress buster.

36. Dr Randeep Guleria, 61

Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

The renowned pulmonologist and director of the country’s premier medical institution, AIIMS, is one of the architects of India’s strategies for prevention, containment and management of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

Dr Guleria heads the clinical research group of the National Task Force for Covid-19. The team led by him also runs the National Teleconsultation Centre at AIIMS, connecting doctors across the country in real time for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

As the country grapples with rising Covid numbers, virus mutants, and as it rolls out an ambitious vaccination programme, Dr Guleria will play a key role as the government’s chief communicator on the pandemic.

He loves reading mysteries and can stay awake all night to finish a book.

37. Dr Harsh Vardhan, 66

Union Minister for Health, Science and Technology (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

During the pandemic, the focus has been on the Health Ministry; however, the Department of Biotechnology headed by him has played a crucial role in vaccine development.

The Health Minister has been holding ‘Sunday Samvad’ on social media platforms, answering queries on the current situation of the pandemic and the government’s approach.

His ministry has provided seed funding to promising vaccine developers, including Gennova, which is clinically testing India’s first mRNA vaccine.

Despite a hectic schedule, he never misses his walk at night.

38. Dattatreya Hosabale, 65

RSS General Secretary (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

Since 2009 onwards, both the sarsanghchalak (Mohan Bhagwat) and sarkaryawah (Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi) of the RSS have been from Maharashtra. The recent appointment of Hosabale, a Kannadiga, as No. 2 in the organisation is significant. Unlike his predecessors, Dattaji, as he is popularly called, has spent nearly half of his pracharak life with the ABVP. With several of his former colleagues occupying top positions in the BJP, he has the Prime Minister’s ear on policy issues.

He has a strong network among bureaucrats and played a key role in formulating the New Education Policy (NEP), a pet project of the RSS.

To strike a balance between his political interventions and the RSS’s claims of being “non-political” will be his next big challenge.

A voracious reader, he is well-versed in Shakespeare and Kannada literature.

39. Rahul Gandhi, 50 

Congress leader (2019 Rank: 25)

biography of successful person in india

Although he does not hold any post in the Congress, the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad is for all practical purposes the de facto head of his party. The pre-eminence of the Gandhis in the Congress is undeniable, and for the vast majority in the party, Rahul is the future; for many, however, he is the reason behind the Congress’s declining fortunes.

He is one leader in the down-and-out Opposition who still manages to rattle the ruling establishment. With party chief Sonia Gandhi confined to her home, Gandhi is leading the Congress campaign in the Assembly elections.

The big question is whether he will take over as the party chief in June. Going by available indications, he may.

From kurta-pyjamas to trendy half-sleeve shirts, the change in his dressing style follows suggestions from young party workers.

40. Sanjay Mishra, 60

Director, Enforcement Directorate (2019 Rank: 72)

biography of successful person in india

Under Sanjay Mishra, an officer with a long career in the Income Tax Department, the Enforcement Directorate has earned the moniker of “the new CBI” due to its aggressive pursuit of high-profile cases against Opposition leaders. Apart from top politicians such as P Chidambaram, D K Shivakumar, Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri and Uttar Pradesh leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, the ED has gone after organisations such as the Popular Front of India .

The government recently gave him an extension of one year on the eve of his retirement, throwing its weight behind him.

For a small agency, the ED has taken up far too many cases. His challenge wi­ll be to take them to logical conclusions and avoid the charge of being its master’s voice.

Mishra avoids social media and is sceptical of those who don’t.

41. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 49

General Secretary, Indian National Congress (2019 Rank: 34)

biography of successful person in india

Priyanka is steadily emerging as the Congress’s face in Uttar Pradesh, and is now coming out of the shadow of her mother. As AICC general secretary and member of the Congress Working Committee, she wields enormous influence in the organisation.

To project herself as the face of the Congress in UP, Priyanka has been touring the state extensively, addressing kisan mahapanchayats. Her very visible presence on the campaign trail in Assam sends a message that she is looking beyond UP too.

With the UP Assembly polls next year, Priyanka has her task cut out. Her focus will be on regaining lost ground while battling regional forces like the SP and the BSP and the ruling BJP.

She volunteered in a home for differently abled children for many years and also at a shelter for the infirm.

42. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, 62

Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh (2019 Rank: 41)

biography of successful person in india

After 22 Congress MLAs defected to the BJP last year, toppling the Kamal Nath-led Congress government, Chouhan became the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for a record fourth time.

He has managed to strike a balance between the defected MLAs aspiring for larger roles in the government and those from his own party who felt sidelined after their induction. He has ensured that the farmers’ protests have not spread to the state, despite it being an agricultural hub.

Getting the state’s fractured economy back on track will be a major challenge for Chouhan. The state has also committed to becoming atmanirbhar through effective fulfillment of various government schemes that give a boost to local production.

Every year on January 1 he pays a visit to Shirdi Saibaba temple. He also regularly visits Baad Wale Ganesh Ji temple in MP.

43. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, 53

Jal Shakti Minister (2019 Rank: 32)

biography of successful person in india

He has the responsibility of implementing the Centre’s three most ambitious schemes — Jal Jeevan Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), and Namami Gange. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, his Ministry has ensured tap water supply to 3.53 crore households.

The first meeting of the National Ganga Council was held under his tenure. He also wrote a strongly-worded letter to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani over “inordinate delay” in river cleaning work.

He has the tough task of providing tap water connections to all rural households by 2024.

Along with his daughter Suhasini Shekhawat, he has participated in river rafting and kayaking expeditions in the Ganga and Brahmaputra.

44. Uday Kotak, 62

Managing director and CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank (2019 Rank: 27)

biography of successful person in india

He has been the force behind the lender with market capitalisation of more than $50 billion. He has built his banking institution into a financial powerhouse following prudent lending practices and astute risk management.

At a time when the pandemic was expected to hit the banking industry hard, Kotak Mahindra Bank raised more than Rs 7,400 crore of equity capital to strengthen its balance sheet and negotiate the challenging times with minimum disruption. Most private and state-owned lenders followed suit and beefed up their capital buffers.

As growth returns, the market will keenly watch the lender’s move as it tries to capitalise on emerging opportunities in sunrise sectors. With the central government planning to privatise a couple of banks and an insurance company, any interest from Kotak Mahindra Bank will fire up the privatisation process.

An avid cricket fan, he’s a stickler for corporate governance norms.

45. Naveen Patnaik, 74

Odisha Chief Minister; Biju Janata Dal chief (2019 Rank: 39)

biography of successful person in india

Naveen Patnaik took over as Chief Minister of Odisha in March 2000. Since then, he has silenced his critics to become the longest-serving CM of the state. His programmes, combined with effective governance, have solidified his appeal. In polarised times, his and the BJD’s stand on key issues brings nuance to any political debate.

Patnaik oversaw the return of over 10 lakh migrants to the state during the lockdown. He launched schemes for creating jobs in rural areas as well as for the urban poor. He also received praise from several quarters for his efficient management of the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan .

With tourism reviving, Patnaik now aims to make Odisha a tourism hub with a focus on Puri and other temples across the state.

Patnaik believes in the mantra ‘early to bed, early to rise’. He goes to bed by 9.30 pm.

46. Mallikarjun Kharge, 78

Leader of opposition, Rajya Sabha (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

Having been appointed Leader of Opp­o­­sition in Rajya Sabha, the veteran lea­d­er from Karnataka is back in the top de­c­­ision-making apparatus of the Co­­­ngress. Kharge will be the face of the Op­po­s­ition in the Upper House, and its voice when dealing with the governm­e­­nt. He is expected to play a key role in u­n­i­ting Opposition parties against the government.

That the Gandhis have immense faith in him became clear when he was nominated Leader of the Opposition overlooking other senior leaders.

Kharge’s challenge will be to keep the Opposition united in the Upper House, where the ruling BJP is no longer short of numbers. His task will be to amplify the voice of the depleted Congress, which has 36 members in the House.

Fond of home-cooked food, his staff carries jowar rotis for him while travelling from Bengaluru to Delhi.

47. B S Yediyurappa, 78

Karnataka Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 42)

biography of successful person in india

Despite an unofficial cut-off age of 75 for BJP leaders to hold key posts, Yediyurappa has been CM since 2019, when he was 76. The veteran Lingayat leader has stayed in power amid constant rumours of the BJP central leadership considering a change of guard in Karnataka in the wake of reports of unhappiness in the state unit.

Despite resistance from the BJP leadership and party MLAs in Karnataka, he managed to accommodate as many as 12 of 17 Congress and JDS defectors who helped the BJP come to power in 2019, into his 34-member Cabinet.

He is keen on leading the party to a clear majority in 2022 if the BJP allows him to continue as Chief Minister.

The Mahabharat series is one of his favourite television shows.

48. Manohar Lal Khattar, 66

Haryana Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 47)

biography of successful person in india

In a state mostly ruled by Jat leaders, Khattar, a non-Jat, has successfully managed a second term as Chief Minister. Despite several attacks by the Opp­o­sition, his clean image has ensured he has stayed popular.

Despite the initial hiccups in the 2019 Assembly polls, where the BJP fell short of the majority mark and had to forge an alliance with Dushyant Chautala -led JJP, Khattar has managed to keep the government stable — even amid the ongoing farmers’ agitation and widespread protests by Opposition parties.

Although the Assembly polls in Haryana are due only in 2024, it is going to be an uphill task for Khattar to retain the BJP’s popularity, considering the simmering anger against his party.

He has keen interest in information technology and loves cooking.

49. Ajay Kumar Bhalla, 60

Home Secretary (2019 Rank: New)

biography of successful person in india

As the Secretary of the ministry headed by the No.2 in the government, Amit Shah, Bhalla is among the key officials formulating and implementing policies of the government on the security front. His tenure has been challenging, beginning from the passage of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act and Delhi riots, to the Covid-19 lockdown and the violence in New Delhi on January 26 this year. A notable achievement of his tenure has been the significant gains made by security forces in Left Wing Extremism areas.

The MHA under him has successfully managed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of August 5, 2019, decisions.

Framing of CAA rules, hanging fire for over a year now, will be a challenge. So will be the enumeration of the National Population Register.

Spends his free time reading fiction.

50. Yogesh Chander Modi, 59

Director General, National Investigation Agency (2019 Rank: 79)

biography of successful person in india

The NIA under Yogesh Chander Modi has been the key agency implementing the government’s security agenda in Kashmir. It has not only cracked down on the Hurriyat and other separatists, but has also gone after Kashmiri NGOs seen to be “anti-India” by the establishment. A majority of those arrested by NIA have not been able to secure bail.

Modi has expanded the NIA’s ambit by probing several cases of gold smuggling. The NIA recently also summoned some people associated with the ongoing farmers’ protests in a case of terror funding.

Due to retire in May this year, Modi is said to be among the top contenders for the post of Central Bureau of Investigation Director.

Modi is known to fast on days of religious significance.

51. Rajiv Gauba, 61

Cabinet Secretary (2019 Rank: 38)

From being a joint secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the UPA government to becoming Home Secretary and then Cabinet Secretary in the Modi government, the 1982-batch IAS officer has come a long way. PM Modi’s top man in central bureaucracy, Gauba has steered the government’s response to the pandemic and coordinated the efforts of various Union Ministries and state governments to deal with the crisis.

After the exit of Nripendra Misra from the PMO, Gauba has emerged as an influential pole in the government. He is a go-getter and juniors describe him as a tough taskmaster.

Having kept a low profile despite top positions, he may well be in line for an extension beyond August this year, when his two-year term comes to an end.

A tennis regular many years ago, Gauba manages time for long walks these days.

52. Amit Khare, 59

Higher Education & I&B Secretary (2019 Rank: New)

He is among the bureaucrats the PMO relies on for deciding the government’s communication strategy. His popularity among the political leadership can be gauged by the fact that he was called back to the I&B Ministry last year at a time when the government was concentrating on its communication strategy during the pandemic, and has maintained its additional charge since.

The Ministry of Education, un­­der Khare, launched the NDA government’s most ambitious policy document that will shape education in India in the coming years.

Although he retires soon, he will be responsible for implementation of the new NEP.

He is fascinated with trains and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian and foreign railways.

53. Azim Premji, 75

Founder chairman, Wipro (2019 Rank: 65)

Known as the ‘czar’ of the Indian IT industry, he is equally well known for his philanthropy. In the 2019-2020 financial year, he donated around $3 million every day towards education, surpassing donations by any other Indian billionaire.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, he committed $132 million through his foundation towards the Prime Minister’s emergency fund.

He plans to set up four more universities in the next 10 years through the Azim Premji Foundation. His foundation also supports the scaling up of other organisations that work for the uplift of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised.

His outlook towards philanthropy was shaped largely by his mother, Gulbanoo MH Hasham Premji, who spent her life helping at a children’s orthopaedic hospital.

54. Edappadi K Palaniswami, 66

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 43)

Following the death of AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa and a mutiny in the party, Palaniswami was VK Sasikala’s choice to take the reins in 2017 before she left for Bengaluru to serve her prison term. But since then, Palaniswami has joined hands with the rival camp in the party and grown to be a seasoned politician, flaunting his “son of the soil” image.

His conviction to keep Sasikala away from the party even after multiple proposals from the RSS and BJP leaderships shows his determination. He is no more a loyalist of anyone.

The biggest challenge for Palaniswami is not only a poll victory but also cementing his position within the party.

One of Palaniswami’s favourite destinations is the temple of his family deity in Perundurai. He frequently visits the Tirupati Sri Venkateswara temple.

55. Farooq Abdullah, 83

Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Chairman (2019 Rank: 45)

He unilaterally took an initiative — when Mehbooba Mufti was in jail — to cobble an alliance for the restoration of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status. The region’s mainstream parties, including the NC, the PDP and the People’s Conference, fought the District Development Council polls together under the banner of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

At an age when most people opt to retire from public life, Abdullah is not only active but has taken a lead after the revocation of Jammu Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019. He is president of the PAGD.

The biggest challenge before Abdullah is to fulfill his promise of getting statehood back to J&K. With the People’s Conference breaking away from the PAGD, he has the unenviable task of keeping the other parties together.

He plays golf every day.

56. Mehbooba Mufti, 61

President, Peoples Democratic Party (2019 Rank: 80)

Unlike most other mainstream leaders in J&K, Mehbooba Mufti is among the few who have spoken out against the Centre and its policies in Kashmir. Her appointment as the vice president of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has helped increase her stature.

At a politically fraught time, she has openly called for talks with Pakistan. Her stand has been vindicated by the recent talks between the armies of the two countries that culminated in a ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC).

With PDP witnessing a vertical split last year and the space for mainstream political parties shrinking in J&K, it would be a challenge for Mufti to revive her party as a potent political force in the new UT.

The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby are her favourite films in the horror genre.

57. Ajay Tyagi, 62

SEBI Chairman (2019 Rank: 46)

SEBI under Tyagi has taken on the powerful, cleared up pending cases and ensured markets worked smoothly during the pandemic lockdowns. It pushed through reforms in the Indian capital markets and mutual fund industry.

SEBI came down on the National Stock Exchange and also imposed penalties on Reliance Industries Ltd for alleged manipulative trading in the shares of erstwhile Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL). It barred auditor Price­wa­t­e­r­houseCoopers from accessing the markets for six months in the Satyam case and issued a notice to former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kocchar for alleged violations.

SEBI has to follow up on the forensic audit report in the Franklin Templeton case and work on a mechanism to compensate investors for market glitches.

An enthusiastic walker, he is often seen strolling on Marine Drive.

58. Tushar Mehta, 57 

Solicitor General of India (2019 Rank: 50)

A trusted legal aide of the PM and Amit Shah, Mehta is the troubleshooter in virtually every high-stakes legal battle for the government. As the second senior-most law officer, he manages the government’s turf in courts.

From being the outsider in the government’s legal team in 2014, when he was appointed Additional Solicitor General, to being indispensable as a law officer, Mehta executed the legal manoeuvres involved in the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K.

With age on his side and his proven track record, Mehta is seen as a contender for the post of Attorney General when the veteran KK Venugopal hangs his boots this year.

An Urdu poetry and ghazal enthusiast, Mehta’s library is full of collections of Mir Taqi Mir, Wali Dakni and Ghalib. He ends his day by sending a couplet to a few friends.

59. Jay Shah, 32

BCCI Secretary (2019 Rank: New) 

The most powerful administrator of the world’s richest cricket board, Shah is also head of the Asian Cricket Council. While Kolkata -based Sourav Ganguly is the BCCI president and the Board’s headquarters has a Mumbai address, Shah, who is the secretary — technically second in the hierarchy — has ensured that Indian cricket’s power centre has moved to his home base in Ahmedabad . After the pink ball Test, the world’s biggest stadium is in line to host the IPL and World T20 final.

Being the son of Home Minister Amit Shah gives Jay political backup to fight Indian cricket’s boardroom battles. It also helps open doors for the Board in New Delhi.

With IPL looking to add two more teams and franchise cricket getting more powerful, it remains to be seen how BCCI under Shah negotiates cricket’s corporatisation.

An action-movie buff, his favourite film is Uri: The Surgical Strike.

60. Himanta Biswa Sarma, 52

Assam Cabinet minister; BJP leader (2019 Rank: 56)

Sarma is BJP’s chief troubleshooter in the Northeast, where in six of the seven states the party is in government or a part of the ruling alliance. He is the convenor of NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance), a BJP-led alliance of regional parties in the Northeast.

The face of the Assam government and of the BJP in the region, he has helped the party regain lost ground over opposition in the state following the implementation of the CAA in 2019. In the 2019 general election, Sarma played a crucial role in the BJP’s win in 17 of the 24 Lok Sabha seats in the seven northeastern states.

With the state going to polls, Sarma has his task cut out — ensuring the BJP’s win. Whether he is made Assam’s next chief minister or is given a Central berth remains to be seen.

Often referred to as ‘mama’, he has become the subject of viral memes and jingles in Assam.

61. K Chandrashekar Rao, 67

Telangana Chief Minister; Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief (2019 Rank: 62)

In his second term, K Chandrashekar Rao continues to remain a leader without any opponent in Telangana. Under his leadership, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), has become a strong regional party. His populist schemes, including cash transfers to farmers, make him the most popular leader in the state.

Be it the new farm laws or cooperative federalism, KCR does not shy away from asking tough questions to the Centre.

The Telangana CM has plans to set up an alliance of regional and like-minded parties. The alliance will include non-Congress, non-BJP parties and KCR hopes to head it at the national level.

His plan to construct a grand, vastu-compliant secretariat is finally taking shape. Currently, he conducts official business from his newly constructed office-cum-residence, Pragathi Bhavan.

62. Devendra Fadnavis, 50

Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly (2019 Rank: 12)

He remains powerful organisationally in the BJP and as Leader of the Opposition in the state. He has led campaigns against old ally-turned-foe Shiv Sena, keeping the political pot boiling in the state.

By claiming that he was in possession of the Call Detail Record (CDR) pertaining to the Ambani threat case, Fadnavis created a stir in the state and put the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA), on the backfoot.

As Opposition leader, his biggest challenge is to retain and consolidate the party’s organisational base in Maharashtra, especially at a time when the BJP has to fight the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena coalition government in the state. There has been speculation about the BJP shifting him to the Centre.

From online official meetings to movies, the smartphone is his best friend.

63. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, 64

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha (2019 Rank: 53)

As leader of the main Opposition party, he is the Opposition’s representative on key government panels which pick the CBI Director, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Central Information Commissioner, Chairman and members of the NHRC and the Lokpal. He is also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

He strongly put across his opposition to the appointment of former Indian Foreign Service officer and Information Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as the new Chief Information Commissioner. He gave a dissent note.

He also wears the hat of president of West Bengal Congress. With the Assembly elections turning into a high-octane battle between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP, his immediate task is to make the election a three-cornered contest and improve the Congress’s tally.

He does meditation and yoga.

64. Smriti Irani, 44

Union Minister for Women and Child Development; Textiles (2019 Rank: 55)

After defeating Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Irani has emerged as one of BJP’s main campaigners. Fluent in several languages — Hindi, English, Gujarati, Bengali and Marathi — she is counted among the BJP’s most powerful orators, both inside and outside of Parliament.

Under her leadership, the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has amended the Juvenile Justice Act and brought in critical changes.

The WCD Ministry has integrated various nutritional and maternal schemes under Poshan Abhiyaan 2.0, which will streamline disbursement of funds and ensure a more robust nutritional prog­r­a­m­me in the country to fight rising malnutrition in children.

In her packed schedule, Irani occasionally finds time to paint.

65. Champat Rai, 74

VHP vice president and General Secretary of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi TeerthKshetra (2019 Rank: New)

As a member of the RSS and the VHP, Rai has been associated with the Ram Temple movement since the 1980s. With the Supreme Court allotting the disputed land in Ayodhya to the Hindus, the VHP’s, and in turn Rai’s role, has gained significance again.

Rai has been a key player in raising funds for the construction of the Ram Temple, addressing gatherings and campaigning across the country. Through its 45-day campaign, the group has managed to collect over Rs 2,000 crore.

Ensuring the completion of the Ram Temple within the promised three years.

Used to doing his own work, he even washes his clothes himself.

66. RS Sharma, 65

CEO, national health authority (2019 Rank: New)

The retired bureaucrat has been appointed by the government as CEO of the National Health Authority, the agency responsible for implementing Ayushman Bharat, the country’s flagship public health insurance scheme. Sharma was the director general of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), and then chairman of the Telecom Authority of India (TRAI).

As India began rolling out its vaccination drive, the Central government appointed Sharma as head of the Empo­wered Panel on vaccine delivery. A team of experts working with him has developed the Co-win IT platform, the backb­one of the vaccine delivery programme.

The NHA under Sharma will roll out the National Digital Health Mission, under which every citizen will be provided with a Health ID.

Committed to organic farming, he often spends week­ends in his village working in his amla orchard.

67. Anand Mahindra, 65

Chairman of Mahindra Group (2019 Rank: New)

His company makes nearly $20 billion in annual revenues. What started out as a mission to bring the iconic Jeep to India is now a multi-industry conglomerate spanning sectors such as automobiles, software and financial services.

Mahindra was one of the first groups to pursue aggressive mergers and acquis­i­tions, and partnerships strategy, whe­­ther it be acquiring local firms or the Korean Ssang Yong Motor Co. It was possibly the first Indian group to set up its own PE/VC fund. During the pand­e­mic, it quickly reconfigured its manu­f­acturing facilities to make personal pro­tective equipment and hand sanitisers.

The group is looking to reinvent itself and has identified a set of unlisted businesses that show huge promise and could become value creators in the next few years.

Is known to tweet out to innovators, asking them to work with him.

68. Baba Ramdev, 55

Co-Founder, Patanjali Ayurved (2019 Rank: 67)

Once a prominent BJP supporter, Baba Ramdev has since withdrawn himself from the political limelight, instead promoting his business. However, he still remains influential in politics due to his mass following and close ties to the ruling establishment.

Patanjali Ayurved, which contributes a sizeable amount to the Patanjali Group’s revenues, reported Rs 423 crore in net profits for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

Following the acquisition of edible oil firm Ruchi Soya, the Patanjali group aims to overtake Hindustan Unilever as the largest FMCG company in India and is targeting a turnover of Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore in the next five years. Baba Ramdev has also been planning a foray into education.

According to Patanjali co-founder Acharya Balkrishna, he and Ramdev would travel to rural India in the ’90s to distribute ayurvedic medicines.

69. Fali S Nariman, 92

Senior Jurist (2019 Rank: 64)

One of the country’s most respected jurists and distinguished constitutional lawyers, Nariman continues to inspire generations of lawyers and judges with his nuanced views on the most intricate legal issues.

He contested the majority decision of a five-judge Supreme Court bench to refer certain questions of law in the Sabarimala case to a nine-judge bench while the review petitions against its 2018 judgement were pending, contending that there was limited scope in law for doing this.

Nariman is representing the Jharkhand government in its case against the Centre over auction of commercial mining in the state.

Nariman grew up in Burma — a point he often brings up in conversations.

70. Akhilesh Yadav, 47

Samajwadi Party President (2019 Rank: 74)

The former CM is a strong opposition voice in UP. Though his party’s performance in 2019 Lok Sabha polls wasn’t up to the mark, he managed to keep the BJP on its toes in the state.

He has vehemently opposed the new farm laws and backed the farmers’ protests. He has been critical of the Prime Minister and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He says the SP won’t ally with any major party for the elections in 2022.

With Assembly elections less than a year away, Akhilesh is the only leader in the state who can challenge the ruling BJP.

Likes to listen to American musician Billy Joel.

71. Mayawati, 65

National President, Bahujan Samaj Party (2019 Rank: 73)

While the BSP managed to win just 19 of the 403 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections in UP and 10 of the 80 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati remains the biggest force in the state to mobilise the Bahujan Samaj. That is why even after being spurned a number of times, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad continues to make overtures to her.

By getting the BJP to pave a safe passage for her candidate, Mayawati got a member of her party elected to the Rajya Sabha last year.

The 2022 election may be her last chance to remain relevant in politics. She will not only have to fight the BJP but also her former ally Samajwadi Party.

Her favourite colour is pink. Her house is made of pink marble and she wears pink on important days.

72. Asaduddin Owaisi, 51

President, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (2019 Rank: 76)

He remains unchallenged in the Hyderabad constituency. Under him, the AIMIM has grown in Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, and recently Gujarat.

The AIMIM has team­ed with Inde­pe­n­dents to form Godhra’s municipal board.

He needs to expand his party’s base across the country and contest more seats in the coming state elections.

He is often seen driving his motorcycle in Hyderabad.

73. Sunil Bharti Mittal, 63

Founder and chairman, Bharti Enterprises (2019 Rank: 66)

For Sunil Bharti Mittal, son of Congress politician Sat Paul Mittal, the last few years as the chairperson of Bharti Enterprises have been tough because of the arrival of a rival telecom company backed by deep pockets. While many other players capitulated, Mittal and his companies have remained unfazed. With a diverse business that ranges from telecom, insurance, real estate to food and renewable energy, Mittal’s companies have established their presence around the world.

Despite initial losses, Bharti Airtel has now steadily gained more subscribers than rival businesses.

For Mittal and his biggest company Bharti Airtel, the next challenge would be a successful expansion of 4G services and an early launch of commercial 5G services across India.

Mittal loves flying and even took lessons when he was young.

74. Vijay Rupani, 65

Gujarat Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 70)

After taking over the reins of the government from his predecessor Anandiben Patel in 2016, Vijay Rupani has consolidated the BJP’s position in Gujarat. He now seems poised to be the party’s CM face in the 2022 Assembly elections in the state.

In the recent elections to six municipal corporations, 31 district panchayats, 81 municipalities and 231 taluka panchayats, Rupani — along with new state party president CR Patil — led the BJP to an unprecedented landslide victory.

The next challenge for Rupani will be the Gujarat Assembly elections in December next year.

Rupani learned Russian while in prison during the Emergency and reads books in the language. His favourite food is puran poli.

75. S N Shrivastava, 59

Delhi Police Commissioner (2019 Rank: New)

Shrivastava took charge as Special CP (law and order) in mid-February last year, when parts of northeast Delhi were witnessing riots. Under him, the Delhi Police began a probe into an alleged larger conspiracy behind the riots, which saw arrests of several student leaders and activists.

The pandemic-induced lockdown, ongoing farmers’ agitation and explosion near the Israel Embassy has kept the focus on Delhi Police and its chief. Most recently, his force invoked sedition charges against climate activist Disha Ravi over a toolkit document tweeted by Greta Thunberg. Ravi was eventually granted bail by a court which called the evidence against her “scant and sketchy”.

It was his image as a crisis manager that led to his sudden shift from the CRPF to Delhi Police during the February 2020 riots.

Set to retire in a few months, it remains to be seen if Shrivastava gets an extension or is given a new role.

A workaholic, he is known to work 12 hours a day. He often calls meetings on weekends, catching his team by surprise.

76. Tejashwi Yadav, 31

Leader of Opposition, Bihar Legislative Assembly (2019 Rank: 83)

Why During the 2020 Assembly elections, with his easy rapport with the masses and his slogans of aspirational politics, Yadav emerged out of his father Lalu Prasad’s shadow to come into his own and gave the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government a close fight.

An impressive orator like his father, Yadav’s speeches in the Assembly have made a great impression. RJD having emerged as the single largest party, with 75 seats, speaks volumes of his growing influence in state politics.

Yadav has to build on the momentum and keep playing up the issue of jobs and migration. He also needs to build himself as the sole alternative to Nitish Kumar since, by 2025, it is likely to be a battle between the BJP and the RJD.

Yadav likes to spend time with family and friends outside the state.

77. Tarun Bajaj, 58

Economic Affairs and Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance (2019 Rank: New)

After working in the Prime Minister’s Office for five years, Bajaj was at the helm of decision making in the Finance Ministry last year, especially while formulating the Atmanirbhar Bharat package in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bajaj, who is serving his third stint in the Finance Ministry, has been behind pushing the idea of a Development Finance Institution for infrastructure financing and development.

Reviving investment and growth would be the key focus areas for him in the coming year, while encouraging scope for private investment and keeping a close track of inflation targeting and the glide path for fiscal deficit.

Bajaj is fond of travelling and is a voracious reader.

78. TV Somanathan, 55

Expenditure Secretary, Ministry of Finance (2019 Rank: New)

Having served in the Prime Minister’s Office earlier, Somanathan is one of the most influential bureaucrats in the Finance Ministry, who has been behind the expenditure push in the government’s post-pandemic Budget.

A doctorate in economics from Calcutta University and a qualified chartered accountant, he was in charge of controlling undue expenditure and ensuring transfers of benefits to intended beneficiaries as the government’s revenues faltered in the aftermath of the pandemic.

As the government pushes for economic recovery, Somanathan would be in charge of welfare schemes that may require additional spending in the coming year.

Before being allocated his official residence in Delhi, he stayed in Tamil Nadu Bhawan for some time. But being a strict vegetarian, he relied on Gujarat Bhawan across the road for his meals.

79. DK Shivakumar, 58

President, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (2019 Rank: New)

Despite being incarcerated in an alleged money laundering case by the Directorate of Enforcement and investigated by the CBI for alleged corruption, he was rewarded for his loyalty to the Congress party leadership in Delhi with the post of KPCC chief.

He has managed to rally the old Congress guard in the state, that seemed to have slipped into lethargy while former CM Siddaramaiah controlled the KPCC.

If the Congress wins state polls in 2022, he will be in a position to stake claim to being the CM of Karnataka .

His daughter is married to the grandson of his political mentor, former Karnataka CM and union minister SM Krishna (who is now with the BJP).

80. Nitish Kumar, 70

Bihar Chief Minister (2019 Rank: 18)

Despite the BJP having emerged as the senior partner in the NDA with 74 Assembly seats, much ahead of JD(U)’s 43, he continues to be the indispensable leadership choice for the alliance in Bihar. With the RJD-led Grand Alliance securing 110 seats, just 12 short of a simple majority, the BJP would not attempt anything that would throw it out of power in the state.

Nitish continues to be the development face of the NDA in the state. With the BJP’s tallest leader, Sushil Kumar Modi , having been sent to Rajya Sabha, Bihar BJP is yet to put up a leader who can match Nitish’s popularity. The BJP is also wary of Nitish switching sides again if forced to the wall.

Nitish is trying his best to prolong the longevity of his party despite knowing he can no longer be the CM face in the 2025 election. His next possible destination could be a position at the Centre if he agrees to settle to the idea of a peaceful retirement. He can also switch sides to show resistance to the BJP, but that seems to be the less likely option with RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav gaining popularity.

He is currently reading books on Gandhi and contemporary Indian and world politics.

81. Kumar Mangalam Birla, 53

Chairman, Aditya Birla Group (2019 Rank: 85)

The fourth-generation scion of one of India’s oldest business empires, Kumar Mangalam Birla oversees a group that generates $46.3 billion revenue across 36 countries. With a personal net worth of $8.5 billion, Birla was ranked 14th in Forbes magazine’s India Rich List 2020.

The Aditya Birla group is the world’s largest recycler of aluminium and biggest producer of carbon black and viscose staple fibre. Its cement output is the third largest in the world, excluding China. It has integrated the cement assets of Jaypee Associates, Binani Cement and Century to become three times the size of its nearest Indian rival.

The Aditya Birla group is going big on the fashion retail segment. It has partnered with fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani and acquired 51 per cent stake in designer brand Sabyasachi.

Birla has taken up pistol shooting as a hobby and loves Bollywood films.

82. Prashant Bhushan, 64

Lawyer-Activist (2019 Rank: 86)

He has continued to make his voice heard in court corridors. Last year saw him take up a range of issues, from migrant labour woes to the conduct of judges.

The contempt case against him in connection with tweets concerning Chief Justice of India SA Bobde set off a huge public debate. Despite conviction, he was let off with a token Rs 1 fine.

His NGO Common Cause has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking appointment of a full-time Director for the CBI. The outcome will be significant for the central probe agency.

He is an art aficionado and has a vast personal collection, including 18th-century paintings.

83. Virat Kohli, 32

Indian cricket captain (2019 Rank: 52)

The most influential player in the game, Kohli is also the best all-format batsman in the world. He enjoys a pan-India cult following and has more than 40 million Twitter followers, higher than any political party in India.

Averaging over 50 in all three formats of the game, his intense drive and commitment to fitness make him one of the most consistent modern-day cricketers. He is the captain of a talented young team that has an intimidating bench strength and potential to dominate world cricket. Married to actor Anuskha Sharma, he is one-half of a power couple with lasting brand value.

As a batsman he is expected to race past most milestones but his captaincy record remains sketchy. Under him, India hasn’t won a World Cup nor has Royal Challengers Bangalore , his franchise team, ever lifted the IPL Trophy.

Among his 11 tattoos, one on his left bicep — the Samurai with a raised sword — is his favourite.

84. Byju Raveendran, 40

Founder & CEO, BYJU’s (2019 Rank: New)

He runs the world’s second largest ed-tech platform. The company has revolutionalised India’s private education system by tackling product challenges. In the year that ended on March 31, 2020, the company reported revenues of Rs 2,800 crore — more than double from the previous year.

Byju’s acquired online coding platform WhiteHat Jr for $300 million in 2020, making it the biggest acquisition deal in the ed-tech sector.

Byju’s is shifting its focus to an all-inclusive ed-tech ecosystem and is now targeting the offline segment as well. The company is close to completing a $800 million deal with exam preparation firm Aakash Educational Services, which has a pan-India network of tutoring centres and records an annual turnover of Rs 1,200 crore.

Son of teachers, Byju has represented Kerala at school and university level in various sports, including cricket, football, badminton and tennis.

85. Salil Parekh, 56

CEO and Managing Director, Infosys (2019 Rank: New)

In 2018, when Parekh took over as the CEO of Infosys, he had more to do than just manage the day-to-day affairs of one of India’s oldest software companies. The IT major had recently landed in a controversy regarding corporate governance and its first non-founder CEO had resigned after a public spat with its co-founder NR Narayana Murthy.

Former member of the Group Executive Board at French firm Capgemini, Parekh made it clear he had no tolerance for “divisiveness”. He has managed to bring the focus back on the company’s core competencies of making software and providing services. Infosys recently won a $500 million deal from Google .

With the economy still recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, Parekh will need to clinch major deals for the company at a time when there may not be many readily coming.

Parekh loves cycling. He tries to cycle at least once a week.

86. Adar Poonawalla, 40

CEO, Serum Institute of India (2019 Rank: New)

He has emerged as one of the most crucial figures in the effort to protect people against Covid-19, not just in India but globally. His vaccine manufacturing company, Serum Institute of India (SII), has the capacity to produce more than 100 million vaccine doses a month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and diplomats from several countries visited his vaccine manufacturing facilities in Pune .

SII has more Covid-19 vaccines coming up, other than the one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University that it is currently producing and marketing. It is also developing its own Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with others.

He owns a fleet of luxury cars, including a Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Hummer. He customised a Mercedes Benz to look like a Batmobile for his son.

87. Krishna Ella, 52

Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Biotech (2019 Rank: New)

He showed the world that India not only has the capacity to manufacture vaccines, but is equally good at developing them. His Hyderabad-based company, Bharat Biotech, has produced the first ‘Indian’ vaccine for Covid-19. The test results, released recently, show that it is as effective as any other Covid-19 vaccine currently in use. Bharat Biotech had already made a mark with its hugely successful rotavirus and one-of-a-kind typhoid vaccines. With Covaxin , Ella and his company signify the rise of India as a science and technology powerhouse.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi preferred to opt for Covaxin when he got himself immunised against Covid-19.

New manufacturing facilities are coming up in Mumbai and Bhubaneshwar to ramp up production.

He had to sell his house in the US and his ancestral property to raise capital for his company in the ’90s.

88. Joginder Singh Ugrahan, 76

President, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) (2019 Rank: New)

A former soldier, Ugrahan is now fighting a determined battle with an army of marginal farmers and labourers from Malwa and Majha belts of Punjab to ensure that the three farm laws enacted by the Centre are repealed. Not part of the 31-union Samyukta Kisan Morcha, he has set up a separate stage on Delhi’s Tikri border and was among the farmer union leaders whom Union Home Minister Amit Shah chose to dial in November.

The changing dynamics of the protest after the Red Fort violence on January 26 have left him unscathed. His recent rally at Barnala attracted over one lakh participants.

With no immediate offer of talks with the government in sight, Ugrahan will have to keep the movement strong.

He is inspired by Bhagat Singh, which explains the basanti colour of his union’s flag and yellow dupattas of the women members.

89. Rakesh Tikait, 51

Farmer and spokesperson of Bharatiya Kisan Union (2019 Rank: New)

Rakesh Tikait , a former Delhi Police sub-inspector, has become the face of the ongoing farmers’ protest, presenting resilient opposition to the present regime. Moving beyond the confines of Western UP, Tikait’s name now resonates across the country.

Tikait’s Bhartiya Kisan Union became an important pillar of farmer representation during talks between the Centre and protesters at Singhu over the farm laws. His emotional appeal at the Ghazipur border protest site, a day after the Republic Day violence, triggered a mass revival of protests.

Having announced that the agitation against the farm legislation will continue, Tikait will be a crucial factor in determining the central government’s course of action. The politics in Western UP, following BKU’s rise, will also be impacted, given that the gram panchayat elections are coming up.

He enjoys driving, especially tractors.

90. Ratan Tata, 83

Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons (2019 Rank: 58)

Though he retired as the Chairman of the Tata group in 2012, he is still the guiding force behind the Tata group of companies, which command aggregate annual revenue of over US $110 billion and a market capitalisation of over $165 billion.

As the chairman of Tata Trusts, which control around 66 per cent stake in Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata group, he wields considerable influence in the group and all major decisions are reportedly taken in consultation with him. The current Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran is backed by him.

His legal battle with Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted as Tata Sons Chairman, is being closely observed as Mistry has offered to sell his 18 per cent stake in Tata Sons.

Tata loves flying planes and driving sports cars.

91. General Bipin Rawat, 63

Chief of Defence Staff (2019 Rank: 36)

As the first Chief of Defence Staff of the country, he is first among equals among the chiefs of the three forces. He is the chief military advisor to the government and has a say in all important strategies.

As the Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, he is also mandated with prioritisation of capital acquisition among the forces. With the Army, Navy and the Air Force in dire need of modernisation, and with the capital acquisition budget falling short annually, the CDS will help prioritise needs.

The first of the joint commands should be rolled out this year. Under him the future of the forces is being designed. While studies for what the air defence and maritime commands will look like are at an advanced stage, theatre commands are still being studied.

Awarded the coveted Sword of Honour, he was adjudged best cadet during training at the Indian Military Academy in 1978.

92. Harish Salve, 65

Senior Advocate (2019 Rank: New)

One of India’s busiest lawyers and leading international arbitration counsel, the former Solicitor General has contributed immensely to shaping the country’s legal landscape.

He successfully defended Future Group Limited in its ‘battle’ against e-commerce giant Amazon in the Delhi High Court over the Future-Reliance deal.

He is representing Facebook India head Ajit Mohan, summoned by the Peace and Harmony Committee of the Delhi Assembly to answer charges in connection with the northeast Delhi riots. He is also fighting the case of the wife of a deceased Delhi businessman who wants the 1975 Emergency to be declared “wholly unconstitutional”.

Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries raised a toast online for Salve when he married English artist Caroline Brossard at a ceremony in London recently.

93. Kailash Vijayvargiya, 64

BJP general secretary and West Bengal in-charge (2019 Rank: New)

He has managed to retain his position in the party organisation following the recent reshuffle, despite being at the receiving end of the PM’s criticism of his son at a BJP parliamentary party meeting. One of Home Minister Amit Shah’s closest confidants, Vijayvargiya has been given the charge of ensuring the party’s success in the coming Assembly elections in West Bengal.

After ensuring the defection of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s most trusted lieutenant, Mukul Roy, Vijayvargiya has played a key role in roping in several prominent leaders, including Trinamool’s Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, into the BJP.

Nursing the dream of returning to Madhya Pradesh politics, he has to ensure BJP win in West Bengal.

He gave up cereals and grains for 16 years in a vow to build a temple in his hometown with an eight-metal Hanuman statue. It was completed in January 2021.

94. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, 39

Chairperson, HCL Technologies (2019 Rank: New)

She was appointed Chairperson of India’s third largest IT firm $10 billion HCL Technologies, last year. She is also arguably India’s richest woman, with a net worth of over Rs 36,800 crore.

With her appointment as Chairperson of HCL Technologies, she became the first woman in the country to hold that position for a listed IT services company.

As Chairperson of HCL Group’s flagship company, Nadar Malhotra will look to revive the slowing growth the company has been facing. This is expected with a deeper focus on the country’s digitalisation strategy.

Prior to doing her MBA, after which she joined HCL, she worked as a news producer with Sky News UK and CNN America.

95. Dharmendra Pradhan, 51

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister (2019 Rank: 14)

The BJP’s face in Odisha, Pradhan continues to hold the powerful Petroleum and Natural Gas portfolio, which is a crucial part of the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat push.

He is central to the government’s push to increase share of natural gas in the country’s primary energy mix as well as the Petroleum Ministry’s efforts to boost domestic oil and gas production. He is also leading the government’s flagship PM Ujjwala Yojana.

He is set to lead efforts by his ministry to bring further reforms to boost private investment in the oil and gas sector.

An avid reader, Pradhan encouraged everyone to take up reading to beat isolation blues during the Covid-19 lockdown.

96. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, 42

Founder and CEO, Paytm (2019 Rank: 78)

Sharma has transformed Paytm from a fin-tech startup into a full-stack financial services conglomerate with banking services, mutual fund and stock investment platforms, in addition to e-commerce and gaming offerings. At $16 billion, Paytm is India’s most valuable unicorn, and reportedly the ninth most valuable one in the world.

After Google removed Paytm from its Play Store and Sharma lashed out at the company, Paytm was back.

In February 2021, Paytm said it achieved 1.2 billion monthly transactions on its platform, which has around 150 million users. However, WhatsApp offering payment services will prove to be a moment of truth for Paytm.

Sharma is a fan of Elon Musk’s Tesla vehicles and hopes to own one.

97. Hemant Soren, 45

Jharkhand Chief Minister (2019 Rank: New)

Soren had turned the tide on the BJP government, led by Raghubar Das, in the 2019 Assembly elections in Jharkhand. Un­like his contemporaries, he has ref­used to take the soft Hindutva approach.

Even though he inherited a legacy of dilapidated health infrastructure in the state, his government has handled the pandemic, including the migrant crisis, with efficiency. He is among the few Opp­osition chief ministers who takes on the Central government on policy issues.

Soren’s government passed an important legislation that will allow members of tribal communities in the state to identify themselves as Sarnas, a distinct religious category. He has also announced various measures to tackle poverty and malnutrition in the state.

He makes time to catch up with sch­o­ol friends and prefers ho­me-cooked food even during elections.

98. Prashant Kishor, 44

Political Strategist (2019 Rank: New)

He has redefined political campaigning in India and helped steer to power many leaders across the political spectrum, from Narendra Modi in 2014 to Nitish Kumar in 2015, Amarinder Singh in 2016, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in 2019 and Arvind Kejriwal in 2020. His success has encouraged many paid professionals to manage campaigns and add terms like political spin, craft and strategy to the political lexicon.

Leaders across the political spectrum are on his speed dial. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh recently appointed him as his principal advisor.

He is managing the campaigns of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu. His future as a political strategist depends heavily on the West Bengal outcome.

He relishes South Indian and Italian food.

99. Bimal Patel, 59

Managing Director, HCP Design, Planning and Management (2019 Rank: New)

With India’s most coveted public projects in his satchel, he is all set to leave his stamp on the Central Vista in New Delhi, which includes the new Parliament building, Central Secretariat offices, museums, and the overall landscape of the stretch from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Although three petitions in the Supreme Court challenged the Central Vista redevelopment last year, the ruling favoured the project.

He has several prominent projects, including the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, Varanasi; Mumbai Port Complex Masterplan; and Pune Riverfront Development project.

Besides an intense reading and exercise regime, Patel keeps to his life-long habit of a 20-minute afternoon nap.

100. Sachin Pilot, 43

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan (2019 Rank: 82)

Tasked with reviving the Congress in Rajasthan after the party was reduced to 21 following the 2013 Assembly elections, as state Congress president, Pilot led the party to several by-election victories before the Congress was voted to power in the 2018 state elections. Though he lost to Ashok Gehlot in the CM race, Pilot, who belongs to the Gujjar community, attracts supporters across different demographics, despite the fact that caste plays a large factor in Rajasthan politics.

During the month-long political crisis following his fallout with Gehlot, Pilot chose to maintain silence and let his loyalists do the talking, a move which paid off when he met with the Congress high command to strike a truce. Pilot has established himself as a separate power centre within the state Congress, despite not being part of the government.

It is crucial for Pilot to stay relevant in the state’s politics.

A Union minister during UPA II, he was also commissioned as an officer in the Territorial Army.

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10 Best Biographies in India 2021 (The Man Who Knew Infinity, Elon Musk, and more) 1

  • 10 Best Biographies in India 2021 (The Man Who Knew Infinity, Elon Musk, and more)

Why do people write biographies? What is it about reading about other people's lives that intrigues us so much? Inspiration comes in many ways, and looking at a fellow human being's life to see the hardships he or she faced before becoming successful is a great way to get inspired. There are so many people in the world who went the extra mile and suffered emotional pain but still made it big in life.

We all love to read an inspiring story because it gives us hope that we might have one of our own someday. It makes it easier for us to imagine success in whichever field we want. Be it a sportsperson, businessman, yogi, survivor, they all can push us to make that extra effort that we seem to be lacking at times. This article covers the best biographies in India to help you reach the goals you have set for yourself and also is reviewed by book blogger Suraj Kumar.

Suraj Kumar

A reader by passion and profession, Suraj is currently pursuing PhD from the Department of English & Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He has been book blogging for more than 7 years. Suraj is associated with a few reputed publishing houses- Bloomsbury, Aleph Book Company, and Rupa Publications.

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Table of Contents

A New Perception From Every Book

Make reading a habit, in association with book blogger suraj kumar.

Suraj is a reader by passion and profession, and currently pursuing PhD from the Department of English & Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He has been book blogging for more than 7 years . Suraj says, "All my life, I have drawn inspiration from others while trying my best to be inspiring for others, for I believe that is the only way to be a better version of ourselves." Check out Suraj's work on his Instagram account and website .

How to Choose a Biography in India - Buying Guide

Read our buying guide to know the things to look out for in a biography book. These little details will make you a smart buyer. The factors that account for in buying the right book for your life situation, mindset, and interest are all discussed in this buying guide.

Know the Difference Between a Biography and an Autobiography

A biography is a collection of stories and incidents from a person's life, in which the main aim is to share the person's experience with the world. People want to read the life story of successful people so as to learn from them. A biography is written about a successful person by some other person because he or she may feel their life story worth sharing.

On the other hand, an autobiography is a book written by the person himself as he or she has attained unimaginable success in their career or life. For example, Playing it My Way is an autobiography by the Master Blaster batsman of India, Sachin Tendulkar. This book has received rave reviews as everyone wanted to know Sachin's story of life.

Autobiographies may be preferred over biographies, on the grounds of authenticity, as they are always a product of first-hand experience. But all autobiographies suffer from a congenital disability , that is, an autobiography can never be a complete account of a person's life. 

On the other hand, biographies can capture the entire life of its subject, from birth till death. Thus, a biography can provide a larger and more comprehensive picture of a person than an autobiography.

Recognise the Hero of the Story Beforehand

Many people read biographies of men and women whom they know about or follow. It is very rare that you read a book about a person you have no clue about. But, in today's time of reviews and trending topics, you may easily come across books about people you are not aware of .

 If you are an avid reader , you might even wish to read the book. However, we advise you to do a background check of the hero of the book. This little research will help you in knowing whether that person's story will interest you or not. 

It is easy to read a brief description of the books on websites like Goodreads and Whichbook . The ten best books mentioned by us also contain the necessary details of the biographee and his or her story. This will help you immensely in making your purchase decision.

The primary reason behind reading someone's biography is that we admire that person's achievements and success and seek inspiration from them. As a rule, a biography has only one hero . 

But in every person's life, there are supporting characters , who are often the driving force behind that person's success. As a reader, it is important that we identify such supporting characters in our hero's life and then in our own lives, for success is never a solo journey.

Consider Your Area of Interest

We all must have heard the story of a king who got inspired to fight by observing the relentlessness of a spider . He saw that the spider tried to throw her web on the opposite wall but kept on failing. Despite so many failed attempts, she did not give up. This inspired the king to charge up his discouraged army and fight. 

The point over here is that no matter what profession you are from or what challenges you are facing, any tenacious person can motivate you. However, in today's time, the professions are very specific, and it is accessible to read about people from the area you are interested in. 

If you are interested in business and want to learn what the best people do, you should read The Snowball , Warren Buffet's biography. This will not just motivate you but also give you the necessary knowledge of the right things to do in life in order to be like that person.

Sometimes it happens that despite your interest in the subject of the biography, you lose interest in reading the biography midway. Remember that it is the writer's task to keep the reader engaged and not the reader's duty to remain forcefully involved in a book. It is alright not to finish a book .

Many regular readers maintain a list of text that they DNF (did not complete). If you wish, you may return to the unfinished book sometime later.

Read According to What You are Going Through

You must have experienced that talking to a person who has faced similar challenges that you face right now relieves you more than anything else. It instills hope in you to overcome that obstacle in life. Empathy is much bigger than sympathy, and a book about a person who has had a similar life like yours but still made through can be the blessing you were hoping for.

You may read a little about the book's description online to find some details about the person. This would give you an effective idea about a person's life and hardships. It won't be hard to know whether you would relate to this person or not.

Biography, as a genre, caters to the basic human tendency of taking an interest in other people's lives. In this sense, every biography has two primary purposes. The first is to highlight the individuality of a person through their achievements. 

The second, equally important, purpose is to emphasise the link between that individual and the larger humanity . In doing so, a biography showcases that the individual has risen from the masses only. Therefore each one of us can be successful and achieve what the other person has already achieved.

Take the Length of the Book Into Account

Your schedule might not allow you to read lengthy books. This is the reason you must consider the length of the book before reading it. If you buy a really long book and are usually struggling with time to read it , most likely you will get discouraged after a few days to finish reading it. If you usually remain busy, we recommend you to read a few pages of the book every night before going to bed.

If you have time on your hand and wish to delve into some comprehensive reading , you may go for lengthy books as well. In our list of the best biographies, we have mentioned the number of pages of every book in the specifications table. While making your purchase, keep your schedule as an important factor.

The length of the book is indeed a decisive factor while buying a book. One important thing to remember is to go for hardbacks whenever buying any text longer than 350-400 pages. Paperbacks are not very sturdy, and it is also difficult to hold a thick paperback while reading. E-books also may be discouraged because the longer the book, the greater the screen time and the greater the strain on the eyes.

Gain Some Knowledge About the Author

Biographies are written about successful people by other authors. This makes it essential for you to read about the background and other works of the biography writer . Along with basing his writings on facts, the writer must also be articulate. The intention behind writing most biographies is to motivate and inspire the reader.

A book should be able to establish a connection between the story and the reader. You can gain knowledge on the author's previous work by reading about them on Goodreads , LibraryThing , Reedsy Discovery , etc. These portals also allow you to become part of a community where you can find fellow readers and their reviews.

Attempting to encapsulate someone's life in a book is a rather difficult task. Thus, a biographer has to be not just a writer but a social historian, a psychologist, and a philosopher, all at the same time. 

A writer who is or has been closely associated with their subject is undoubtedly in a better position to write a biography. But the close association with the issue can also lead to a bias in the biographer's account. Thus, the biographer must maintain a detached attitude towards the subject.

Learn the Basic Characteristics of a Good Biography

A good biography should discuss and describe the life of a real person. It should narrate the story in a way that captivates you. Biography, as a genre, is non-fiction , so the information provided in the book must be backed by facts from reliable sources. The incidents and dialogues must be taken from first-person accounts as much as possible.

It is also important to know the time the person lived in. Many behaviour and incidents can be understood only by knowing the era the person belonged to. So, the writer must also tell you exactly the life situations around the inspiring personality were. Finally, the author must not try and carve the inspirer's image as a mythological or superhero figure as you would have a hard time relating to the person then.

"Character and exploits are for the biographical purposes inseparable," says Sir Sidney Lee, the famous 20th century English biographer. It is important to remember that a biography is not merely a collection of events in a person's life but also a work of art. 

Thus, good biography is the study of a person's achievements (and failures) and personality. It can leave a lasting impression on the reader's mind only when a perfect synthesis between the two has been achieved.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan 1

Know How The Gifted Indian Mathematician Solves the Toughest of Problems

Srinivasa Ramanujan is arguably one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Hailing from a small southern Indian village, Ramanujan was largely self-taught when it came to Mathematics. Yet, he could pen down mathematical theorems like a magician.

This book tells a tale of Ramanujan and G.H. Hardy, who saw Ramanujan's talents and brought him to Cambridge University. He made significant contributions to the field of Mathematics. He was eventually inducted into the Royal Society of London. This book is inspiring not only because it talks about the struggles of Ramanujan but also because it gives valuable insight into Hardy's ability to see the talent of the Indian mathematician.

If not for Hardy, Ramanujan would have been unknown to the world. Most interestingly, Ramanujan attributed all his mathematical knowledge to his devi , Mahalakshmi of Namakkal. He said that his pen bleeds the devi's ideas and that is how he solves all the complex math problems . This book is not just for Math lovers as Srinivasa's story is inspiring for all.

Ashlee Vance Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future 1

The Entrepreneurial Genius - Learn From the Person Who Does the Unthinkable

The founder of PayPal and the innovator behind Tesla , SpaceX , and SolarCity is known for his wits on Twitter as much as he is known for his entrepreneurial genius . This book by Ashlee Vance covers Musk's early life, along with his later entrepreneurial pursuits.

Elon Musk's crazy yet possible idea to take humans to Mars has been one of the cornerstones of innovation in the past few years. Additionally, his SpaceX rockets have successfully privatized space exploration, which was unthinkable even a decade ago. Other than that, his electric cars , built under the brand name Tesla, are the hottest cars in the world right now.

Musk gives a feeling of a traditional man with modern ideas. Vance, in his book, describes him as a combination of inventors and industrialists like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Howard Hughes, and Steve Jobs . This book is set to take you into a different realm of innovation and show you the power of tenacity.

M.S. Ashokan Karmayogi: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

Karmayogi: A Biography of E. Sreedharan 1

The Inspiring Story of The Metro Man - Learn the Management Skills

M.S. Ashokan has done a tremendous job in bringing us the life of the brain behind New Delhi's metro rail project. E. Sreedharan was able to complete the project within budget and on time, despite hundreds of obstacles and constraints. The Metro Man , as he is popularly known, has interestingly never worked more than the regular 8 hours per day.

His life is even more interesting to Indians as every common, middle-class Indian can relate to this man's early life. Prior to winning accolades and gaining worldwide popularity for his Delhi project, Sreedharan built the Kolkata Metro and the Konkan Railway . Recently, the 88-year old has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and might become the face of the party's Kerala cadre.

Ethical would be the best word to describe this gentleman, and this book does complete justice to his life's works. Karmayogi, meaning the one for whom the right action is kind of an ode to the almighty, is an appropriate title of the book.

Aseem Chhabra Irrfan Khan: The Man, The Dreamer, The Star

Irrfan Khan: The Man, The Dreamer, The Star 1

The Actor With the Most Impressive Eyes Who's Known for His Intensity

2020 saw a lot of strange things, mainly due to the pandemic. However, it also saw some great Bollywood stars leaving for the heavenly abode. Sushant Singh Rajput, Rishi Kapoor, and Irrfan Khan are probably the biggest stars who left us during this year. Irrfan Khan was an extraordinary actor , whose eyes alone could do the acting.

He is known for his spectacular roles in movies like Haider, The Lunchbox, Paan Singh Tomar, and Hindi Medium . He has also been a part of some Hollywood films - The Amazing Spiderman, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Jurassic World, Inferno, among others. It's not just his profound cinematic experience but his unique style of acting that makes him a legend.

Aseem Chhabra, in this book, brings forward an intimate account of Irrfan's life, telling us the story of this unorthodox Indian icon. From his humble beginnings in Rajasthan to having his face on Hollywood posters , Irrfan came a long way through hard work and principles. This book reflects on the man behind the silver screen and is a great ode to Irrfan Khan's career.

Abhish B BYJU's Miracle: From 8 Students to $8 Billion

BYJU's Miracle: From 8 Students to $8 Billion 1

A Life of a Passionate Teacher

This book on Byju Raveendran is a story of a young mechanical engineer who started teaching part-time to fuel his passion . The part-time stint quickly made Byju a highly popular teacher. He used his skills to reach a wider range of students, and his company is now worth $8 billion.

This is a small book talking about Byju's life as a teacher, a father, a boss, and a husband. It details the small things that made him a huge success. His success can be measured by the fact that what he started as a part-time thing has now led his company to become the official shirt sponsor of the Indian cricket team .

Devendra Prabhudsai A Biography of Rahul Gandhi

A Biography of Rahul Gandhi 1

Not Just Another Brick in the Wall

India's most dependable batsman and probably the nicest boy on the team, Rahul Dravid has had a spectacular cricketing career. This biography by Devendra Prabhudesai has highlighted Dravid's dedication, discipline, and determination throughout his career. 

He talks about the incidents that contributed to making him one of the best batsmen of all time. This book narrates Dravid's achievements along with his trials and tribulations. He was named The Wall for his amazing ability to stay long on the pitch when the team required it the most. 

His slow playing style also brought him a lot of criticism, which he handled well and kept on delivering on the big platform. Often called a test cricket batsman, he proved his critics wrong by scoring over 10,000 runs in ODI cricket . He also played a few good seasons of T20 cricket in the IPL. All in all, he is an achiever who breaks the stereotype of nice guys finishing last.

Shakti Sinha Vajpayee: The Years that Changed India

Vajpayee: The Years that Changed India 1

The Poet Prime Minister With an Uncommon Approach

This book on former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by Shakti Sinha, his close associate, presents the paradoxes he faced in his political career. Vajpayee's role as the prime minister was a refreshing change for the nation. 

Testing nuclear tests at Pokhran , strengthening ties with America, and initiating the Golden Quadrilateral highway are some of his works that set off the era of a new India. He was a poet at heart, and this book brings us close to how he thought and worked daily. 

You will read about his early, humble days and how he elevated himself through the ranks . From not being able to make the government due to one seat to having a majority in both lower and upper houses currently, the BJP has a lot to owe to Vajpayee's tenacity.

Carine McCandless The Wild Truth

The Wild Truth 1

Society is a Crazy Breed - All About Taking Brave Decisions

The Wild Truth is written by Christopher McCandless's sister. Chris, also known as Alexander Supertramp, left his comfortable life to live in the wild. His story also inspired the Oscar-nominated film , Into the Wild. Chris did not understand the norms of the society, giving his savings away to live in the wilderness of Alaska and starving to death in 1992.

Although his life ended tragically, many people take inspiration from the life of Chris, who romanticized life in his own way. His sister has given valuable insights into Chris's early life, giving us reasons behind his brave decisions in life. He shared a special bond with his sister, who has penned down a deeply personal memoir of his life.

Swami Nikhilananda Vivekananda: A Biography

Vivekananda: A Biography 1

India's Cultural Ambassador to the West

Swami Vivekananda's life was filled with deep spiritual insight, vast knowledge of western and eastern cultures, brilliant oratory, and broad human sympathy. He took India's culture to the highest stage of the world and won appreciation from one and all. This book by Swami Nikhilananda presents the details of Vivekananda's life, including 28 photographs of his.

Vivekananda's message of Vedanta - the non-duality of the Godhead - was acknowledged internationally. He had a very humble beginning, but he still managed to reach Chicago to represent India's culture and making the West aware of the magnanimity of our Samskriti .

Bishweshwar Nandi, Digivijay Singh, and Vimal Mohan Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder

Dipa Karmakar: The Small Wonder 1

Pride of the Nation - The First Woman Gymnast to Compete in an Olympics

Dipa Karmakar's fourth-place finish at Rio Olympics 2016 gave hope to so many young athletes in India. She became the first woman gymnast from India to compete in an Olympics. Gymnastics, as a sport, is largely overlooked in India, but a feat like Dipa's has made people talk about it.

Her inspiring story, the hard work that went behind qualifying for the Olympics, and giving hope of an Olympics medal in the next Olympics to a nation of 1.3 billion people have been wonderfully assimilated in this book. She is a Khel Ratna Award winner as well, which is the highest sporting honour in India.

Many talk about the benefits of reading but not many talks about the 'scientific benefits of reading.' Here, check out the information on:

  • When to read
  • How to read
  • The scientific benefits behind reading

Reading opens up your mind to so many new possibilities. It also gives you unmatched perspective on various things. If you are not a regular reader but want to start reading avidly, make sure you pick a genre first. We have a few articles from various genres here that can be a good start for you. Take help of our deep research into picking the best books for you, and make it a habit to read a little everyday.

10 Best Books on Indian Mythology in India 2021 (Amish Tripathi, Chitra Banerjee, and more)

10 Best Books on Indian Mythology in India 2021 (Amish Tripathi, Chitra Banerjee, and more)

10 Best Philosophy Books in India 2021 (Aristotle, Boethius, and more)

10 Best Philosophy Books in India 2021 (Aristotle, Boethius, and more)

10 Best Meditation Books in India 2021(Sadhguru, Swami Vivekananda and More)

10 Best Meditation Books in India 2021(Sadhguru, Swami Vivekananda and More)

10 Best Spiritual Books in India 2021

10 Best Spiritual Books in India 2021

Books have the power to uplift, inspire, and push you to break the shackles in your life. Every successful person emphasizes on the power of reading. Reading biographies, especially, make you feel like you are in control of your own destiny. There are people out there who have used chaos to become the best versions of themselves, so you can do it too.

Author: Rudraveer

Top 5 Biography

No. 1: Robert Kanigel | The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan

No. 2: Ashlee Vance | Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future

No. 3: M.S. Ashokan | Karmayogi: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

No. 4: Aseem Chhabra | Irrfan Khan: The Man, The Dreamer, The Star

No. 5: Abhish B | BYJU's Miracle: From 8 Students to $8 Billion

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  • W-Power 2024

Meet India's Top Self-Made Women in 2024

Meet India's Top Self-Made Women in 2022

An IAS officer, a global banker, a real estate top executive, a cricketer, a chess grandmaster, an actor, a model, activists, social workers, a food entrepreneur, a bar-trepreneur, and that’s just half of it. The 2024 Forbes India W-Power list is a cohort of 23 women carefully picked by us to shed light on the Indian women setting new rules with their milestones and impact across borders Read more...

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Ananya Tripathi,

Managing director, Brookfield Real Estate Group

Anshula Kant

Anshula Kant,

MD and CFO, World Bank

Anu Aiyengar

Anu Aiyengar,

Managing director and global head of M&A, JP Morgan

Ashwini Bhide

Ashwini Bhide,

Managing director, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, and additional commissioner, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma,

Jahnavi Phalkey

Jahnavi Phalkey,

Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru

Jahnavi Phalkey

Janice Pariat,

Jayanti Buruda

Jayanti Buruda,

Journalist, Founder member, Jungle Rani and Bada Didi Union

Kriti Sanon

Kriti Sanon,

Actor, co-founder of Hyphen, The Tribe and Blue Butterfly Films

Maleesha Kharwa

Maleesha Kharwa,

Model and content creator

Meghana Narayan

Meghana Narayan,

Swimming champion and co-founder, Wholsum Foods

Minakshi Singh

Minakshi Singh,

Co-founder, SideCar, Delhi; Cocktails & Dreams Speakeasy, Gurugram

Nandita Sinha

Nandita Sinha,

CEO, Myntra

Praveena Rai

Praveena Rai

Roop Rekha Verma

Roop Rekha Verma,

Activist, former acting vice chancellor, University of Lucknow

R Vaishali

R Vaishali,

Chess Grandmaster

Rajshri Deshpande

Rajshri Deshpande,

Actor and social worker

Ranima Das

Ranima Das,

Anganwadi Worker

Ritu Arora

Ruchira Gupta,

Anti-trafficking activist; UN advisor, visiting professor, NYU; co-founder, Apne Aap, author

Safeena Husain

Safeena Husain,

Founder and board member, Educate Girls

Simrun Mehta

Simrun Mehta,

Director, KKR

Shriti Malhotra

Shriti Malhotra,

Group CEO, Quest Retail

Sowmya Suryanarayanan

Sowmya Suryanarayanan,

Director – Impact & ESG, Aavishkaar Capital

Forbes India Lists

biography of successful person in india

Ananya Tripathi

biography of successful person in india

Brought in a new focus to the markets regulator. Decisions taken within prescribed timelines. Enhanced surveillance of insider trading.

Anshula Kant

From managing finances of the State Bank of India to now tackling major global challenges such as climate change and inequality as the first woman managing director and chief financial officer of the World Bank, Anshula Kant is one of the most respected bankers. She has successfully led teams through several crises over nearly four decades. At the World Bank, she oversees risk management and the mobilisation of financial resources to meet the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, boosting overall prosperity, while addressing climate change. Kant’s team seeks to undertake projects that are scalable and replicable to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Anu Aiyengar

Anu Aiyengar

She is the first woman to lead the global M&A business of one of the world’s largest banks. The managing director and global head of M&A at JP Morgan has advised deal transactions to the tune of $1 trillion over the last 25 years. Her long list of big-ticket mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and leveraged buyouts includes French luxury giant LVMH’s acquisition of the iconic American jeweller Tiffany & Co for $16 billion in December 2020; Allergan’s $63 billion sale to AbbVie in May 2020; Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart for $16 billion in August 2018, to name a few. Aiyengar is a guest lecturer at Chicago Booth and Harvard Business School.

Ashwini Bhide

Ashwini Deshpande

A decorated IAS officer—she stood first among women candidates in UPSC and ninth overall. Ashwini Bhide is the managing director of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation and additional commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. She’s been the driving force of Mumbai Metro-3 [Cuffe Parade to Seepz], a complex project involving multiple hurdles, that is touted to be the city’s new lifeline. She previously helmed big-ticket projects such as the Eastern Freeway, Sahar Elevated Road, Monorail-Phase I, and various flyovers. Bhide says there are both challenges and advantages of being a woman IAS officer.

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma

Deepti Sharma is the only Indian cricketer to feature among the Top 5 in ICC’s T20 and ODI world rankings. She is also the only Indian to have been selected for ICC’s T20I team of the year. In January, during the T20I series against Australia, she completed 1,000 runs and picked 100 wickets in the format, becoming the only Indian woman to achieve the twin milestones. Last December, the all-rounder single-handedly defeated England in a Test match in Mumbai, taking nine wickets across two innings and scoring a half-century in the first. Sharma was named BCCI’s international cricketer of the year for 2022-23 for the second time in four years.

Jahnavi Phalkey

Jahnavi Phalkey is a respected historian of science and technology, and is currently the founding director of the Science Gallery Bengaluru. Phalkey earned her PhD in the history of science and technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2007. Her previous notable positions include senior lecturer in history of science and technology at King's College London and a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Her major work is the highly regarded book ‘Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth Century India Science, History, and Modern India (2013)’. She is also the co-editor of ‘Key Concepts in Modern Indian Studies (2015)’ and the director of the documentary film Cyclotron (2020).

Janice Pariat

Janice Pariat

She has spearheaded multiple campaigns, including Dove #StopTheBeautyTest, Cadbury Good Luck Girls, Bournvita #ForcedPacks, Bournvita film—The Boy Who Failed, MTV Memory Karaoke and Nanhi Kali Film, to name a few. She was also on international jury panels of the Cannes Advertising Awards, Clio, One Show, D&AD, and the Indian industry jury panel of Kyoorius.

Jayanti Buruda

Jayanti Buruda is the first tribal from Malkangiri district, Odisha, to receive the NWMI Fellowship for Women Journalists. Her stories offer a firsthand account of what it means to be in the hinterland of Odisha and explores the depth of the digital and infrastructure divide there. Six years ago, she started Bada Didi Union, a young female volunteer-led movement to increase awareness about menstrual hygiene and reproductive health in the community. To empower her community, she started the Jungle Rani initiative in 2023, a social media platform run by women to publish adivasi stories that do not make it to mainstream media.

Kriti Sanon

Kriti Sanon

An engineering graduate, Kriti Sanon, has successfully established herself in the competitive film industry through years of struggle and hard work. After her National Award-winning performance for Mimi (2021) , Sanon has been expanding her horizons, outside acting as well. Last year, she launched a skincare brand, Hyphen with the founding team of mCaffeine. This year, her release— Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya —with Shahid Kapoor has worked well at the box office. She has two more films lined up: Crew , co-starring Tabu and Kareena Kapoor Khan, and the thriller Do Patti —which she has co-produced for Netflix—co-starring Kajol.

Maleesha Kharwa

Maleesha Kharwa

Maleesha Kharwa, also known as the princess of slums, is the youngest member on Forbes India’s W-Power list this year. Her life changed after she crossed paths with Hollywood actor Robert Hoffman. The Step Up 2: The Streets actor saw what others had overlooked for years. Hoffman decided to support Kharwa, who used to live in a shanty near Mumbai's Bandstand. He extended help in pursuing her dream of becoming a model and dancer. Today, Kharwa has 450,000 followers and 88,700 subscribers on Instagram and YouTube. The teenager was featured on the cover of The Peacock magazine and became a brand ambassador for luxury Indian cosmetics brand Forest Essentials.

Meghana Narayan

Meghana Narayan is an international swimming champion and the co-founder of millet-powered Wholsum Foods, which has attracted big-ticket investments, doubled its growth for the past three years, and is eyeing profitability by 2025. After winning more than 400 gold medals at the national level, she hung up her swimsuit at 22, when she received the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship from the University of Oxford, UK. Inspired from her parenting challenges, Narayan and co-founder Shauravi Malik set up Slurrp Farm, a brand for easy and healthy meals for children, and in 2023, launched an adult-focussed brand called Millé. They champion the use of Indian millets such as ragi and jowar, fashioned into instant pancakes, dosa, and noodles, among others.

Minakshi Singh

Minakshi Singh

Minakshi Singh is the co-founder of Cocktails & Dreams Speakeasy (Gurugram) and SideCar (Delhi)—two of India’s best bars. Singh started her career as a bartender, then became a marketer for big alcohol brands, before starting her own bar in 2012. Her second bar SideCar, established in 2018, ranked 91 on the list of the world’s best bars in 2020 – India’s only entry in the top 100 and only the second bar in India ever to be selected—all before turning two. It climbed to rank 47 in 2021, and further to rank 26 in 2022. Along with her co-founder Yangdup Lama, Singh is planning to open bars across India, and is opening her third in Gurugram soon.

Nandita Sinha

Nandita Sinha

Nandita Sinha has been instrumental in establishing and scaling ‘beauty & personal care’ as an additional pillar at Myntra, alongside fashion and lifestyle. Last year, Myntra Beauty grew 3X, and Myntra hit the highest monthly active users mark at 60 million during the festive season. An engineering grad from IIT-BHU, she started her career at Hindustan Unilever Limited, and later moved to Britannia Industries. Armed with a Master's degree in business administration in marketing and strategy from FMS, Delhi, Nandita cofounded MyBabyCart.com, an e-commerce platform for baby products, in 2012, and joined Flipkart in 2013.

Praveena Rai

Praveena Rai has significantly contributed to shaping India’s digital payments landscape. In her current role as NPCI’s chief operating officer, she is responsible for promoting the growth of its products and introducing new use cases for its flagship products such as UPI and RuPay. The veteran banker, with over three decades of experience, joined NPCI in 2019 after professional stints at Citi Bank, HSBC Bank, and Kotak Mahindra Bank. Rai, an engineering graduate from College of Engineering, Guindy, and an MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad, has built expertise across banking verticals, technology, and marketing and this diverse background has helped her steer NPCI to drive rapid digitalisation in some of the remotest villages of India.

Roop Rekha Verma

Roop Rekha Verma

Roop Rekha Verma has fearlessly raised her voice, oftentimes at great personal cost, to fight discrimination on grounds of gender, caste, and religion. In 2023, she was part of a PIL to the Supreme Court against remission orders for the 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case in 2002. She also stood surety for journalist Siddque Kappan when the latter was being tried under sedition and UAPA, after being arrested while on his way to report the gang rape of a teenage Dalit girl by four upper caste men in Hathras. “There is a fight inside of me as well. I resurrect myself every time I feel there’s no hope,” she says.

Rameshbabu Vaishali overcame financial constraints to become one of the three women Grandmasters from India and was bestowed with the Arjuna Award in January 2024. She has a slew of achievements in her short career: The Girls’ World Youth Chess Championship for Under-12 in 2012 and Under-14 in 2015, the International Master title after scoring her final norm at the Biel Masters Open 2021 and the Women’s Grand Swiss 2023 where she qualified to compete at the prestigious Candidates Tournament. In December 2023, at the IV El Llobregat Open Tournament 2023 in Spain, she crossed the 2500 mark, earning her the title of a Grandmaster.

Rajshri Deshpande

Rashi Narang

Rajshri Deshpande has received acclaim and awards for her powerful performance as Neelam Krishnamoorthy in Netflix’s Trial By Fire in 2023. The former advertising professional is also a social worker, who, through her non-profit Nabhangan Foundation, takes up causes related to rural rejuvenation and community building. The impact of her foundation’s work now reaches 30 villages in Marathwada, Maharashtra. In these villages, she helps rejuvenate groundwater, build schools and toilets, and conduct gender sensitisation.

Ranima Das

Ranima Das has been chosen to represent 23 lakh Anganwadi workers and helpers in the country. The All India Anganwadi Workers Federation nominated her to feature on the Forbes India W-Power list 2024. Hailing from Parakhowa village in Assam, her experience and expertise in advising villagers, particularly women, on health, have received accolades. She has let her work dedication and commitment speak for herself, and it has earned her special recognition as a didi (sister) to everyone. For the last seventeen years, Das has been helping children join school, and providing early care for pregnant women, among other jobs, for a meagre salary.

Ruchira Gupta

Ruchira Gupta

Emmy-winning journalist turned anti-trafficking activist Ruchira Gupta founded the anti-sex trafficking NGO Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which enables women and girls to escape prostitution and realise their full potential. She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the French Ordre National du Mérite, the Clinton Global Citizen Award, and the UN NGO CSW Woman of Distinction, for her contribution to the establishment of the UN Trafficking Fund for Survivors, the passage of the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and her grassroots activism with Apne Aap. She has worked for the UN in Nepal, Thailand, Kosovo, Iran, and the US. ‘I Kick and I Fly’ is her debut fiction novel.

Safeena Husain

Safeena Husain

Safeena Husain founded Educate Girls in 2007, an NGO dedicated to empowering communities by promoting girls' education. In partnership with the government, Educate Girls operates in villages of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar. Volunteers help enroll and retain out-of-school girls, mobilising more than 1.4 million girls for enrolment to date in more than 24,000 villages. She is the first Indian woman to win the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award 2023—a global recognition for any individual or a team for outstanding contribution to education.

Simrun Mehta

A Maths graduate, Mehta ventured into the world of finance by working with Lehman Brothers before it collapsed in 2008. It was followed by Nomura, where she worked with the fixed-income sales team. In 2012, she was approached by KKR and now leads KKR's investments in consumer, retail, and healthcare segments since 2017. She is also on the boards of companies such as Vini Cosmetics (Fogg brand), Lighthouse Learning, Avendus Capital, and RE Sustainability.

Shriti Malhotra

Shriti Malhotra

For three decades, Malhotra has been a driving force in the Indian fashion, sports, and beauty space. She has spearheaded the launch and expansion of several global brands, set up vast, robust multi-channel businesses, and scaled them for profitable growth. An alumnus of Miranda House and NIFT Delhi, she started her career in the early 1990s at Benetton India. She then worked with multiple global sports brands like Nike, Puma, Converse, Speedo and Planet Sports in diverse roles across sport licensing, branding, retail, distribution channel network, and general management. In 2006, she launched The Body Shop in India through Quest Retail.

Sowmya Suryanarayanan

Sowmya Suryanarayanan

While her family was full of engineers, Sowmya Suryanarayanan was always interested in economics and social science and inclined towards the development sector. She has earlier headed CSR, and developed impact and ESG management systems for companies. Today she heads Impact and ESG at Aavishkaar Capital and helps fund sustainable businesses that can create value for both investors and the society.

Narendra Modi is asking India to extend his term as one of the most powerful people in the world. This is his secret past

Narendra Modi looks directly into camera while wearing rimless glasses and a beige stole

Narendra Modi is one of the most powerful people in the world, but much of his life is shrouded in mystery. These hidden chapters tell the true story. 

The Modi family gathered on the lawn of the fanciest hotel in their hometown in the Indian state of Gujarat for their nephew's engagement.

It was October 2023. The trees were lit up with multi-coloured lights, buffet tables were spread out across the garden while men in kurtas and women in saris chatted and ate.

But there was a key person missing from this family event: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Being the leader of the world's most populous country is a busy job, but Indian weddings are a major family affair — even the most elite members of society usually make time to attend a relative's nuptials. So, Modi's absence was remarkable.

It wasn't that Modi avoids weddings altogether. A few years earlier, he attended the wedding of Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas.

"Wishing you a happy married life," he wrote in the caption of a snap with the couple shared with millions of Instagram followers.

Typically, the weddings of India's elite are lavish on a level unheard of in the West.

Beyonce and Rihanna performed at the pre-wedding celebrations for the children of Mukesh Ambani — India's richest man and a personal friend of Modi's.

But as his own family was celebrating his nephew's engagement at an understated party with a modest guest list, Modi was prepping for a major media moment: his appearance at the Cricket World Cup final in a stadium named after him.

With hundreds of millions of Indians watching, many analysts believed Modi was banking on an Indian win to catapult his election campaign. This may partially explain his absence from the significant family event.

Since Modi unexpectedly left home as a teenager, he's had a patchy relationship with everyone in his family except his mother, who died in 2022.

Despite his relative family estrangement, Modi constantly talks about his humble beginnings.

He has a tight leash on his image, and is cautious not to derail every carefully crafted story that's brought him to the top.

"There's this almost mystical aspect to Modi and the folklore can extend to his childhood," Indian journalist Manisha Pande says.

Narendra Modi is one of the most powerful people in the world, but besides what he chooses to share about his background, the public knows little about him.

Narendra Modi, seen through a car window, brings his hands together in prayer

Under his leadership, India has undergone massive change.

Modi has made his country a powerful geopolitical player lauded by the West, and brought India closer to Australia than ever before.

He's instilled a sense of empowerment in ordinary Indians, giving tens of millions of people homes and toilets — welfare policies that have boosted his approval rating to become one of the most popular leaders in the world.

His nationalist stance has led to policies which favour India's Hindu majority, while democratic pillars such as press freedom and free speech have been threatened, undermined and eroded.

He's become so popular, it's likely he'll win a national election this year, giving him a rare third term and a total of 15 years in power at its conclusion.

There are many myths and legends about Modi's life that have built his appeal. He says he worked for his dad as a chai seller and walked across the country trying to become a monk.

And there are parts of his life he's tried to keep a secret, like the arranged marriage he abandoned as a teenager.

The stories Modi has told about his life have led to his extraordinary rise in the world, but deciphering what's fact from fiction is essential to understanding where he's taking India.

The chai wallah's son

Everyone in the town of Vadnagar seems to have the same last name: Modi.

Most are not related to the prime minister even though they live in his hometown. But Syamaldas Madhavas Modi sees India's leader as a brother.

An older man with red marking on his forehead looks directly into camera

When Syamaldas's mother died when he was young, he moved in with Narendra Modi, his parents and five siblings.

"We used to fly kites and play games in the village. Narendra Modi was very smart," he says fondly.

"We did not have any facilities at home. We used to go outside to go to the toilet … It was hard to get water, so we'd go to the lake to take a bath."

Modi's childhood home is nestled along a narrow concrete lane, where the houses painted in pastel colours are built in a tight terrace formation.

The single-storey, long, narrow house has a large wooden door and is on the edge of Vadnagar, a quaint town built around a lake.

Modi's father, Damordas, was what's known as a chai wallah, or a tea seller, at the local train station.

Chai is a part of the daily hustle for many Indians, and the country has the largest train network in the world.

The Vadnagar station hasn't changed much. Families walk past the pink pillars at its entrance and gather on the station's wide platforms to set off for their big journeys.

Modi consistently references working with his dad at the railway stall.

"I was born in a very poor family. I used to sell tea in a railway coach as a child. My mother used to wash utensils and do lowly household work in the houses of others to earn a livelihood," he said in a 2015 interview with Time Magazine.

"I have seen poverty very closely. I have lived in poverty. As a child, my entire childhood was steeped in poverty."

A train parked by an almost empty platform, with three people talking

To understand why Modi's story of being a chai wallah's son has resonated with India's 1.4 billion voters, it's important to understand the country's political history.

Since independence, India had been largely ruled by one family — the first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his descendants. He and his daughter Indira Gandhi, who went on to follow in his footsteps, were rich, English-speaking, university graduates.

Narendra Modi stands apart, connecting on a more relatable level with the everyday Indian, according to Modi biographer and veteran political observer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.

"The fact that he came from a very poor family, all that has been actually dwelled upon at great length. It's also been publicised greatly by Mr Modi because it conveys the sense that he was an outsider, not part of the Indian elite," he says.

"But his father had enough money to ensure that Mr Modi and his brothers went to school. Going to school [meant] he was not working anywhere else."

Mukhopadhyay says that these stories and images of Modi carrying tea to train passengers have been "grossly exaggerated, primarily because it was a nice idea to sell" to the Indian public.

Some locals in Vadnagar dispute how often Modi worked for his father growing up.

In a video that went viral in 2021, Modi's brother Prahlad said Narendra Modi had been hyping up his upbringing as a lone tea seller.

"Narendra did not sell tea alone — we are five brothers and we all sold the tea. So, Narendra should be called a son of a tea vendor, not a tea vendor. This is the mistake of journalists," he said.

While the chai wallah story is questioned, everyone seems to agree on Modi's willpower, ambition, and even stubbornness — all qualities that pushed him to the top.

A black and white portrait shows a class of cadets, from young boys to teenagers and some men.

Syamaldas remembers how Modi would stand up and "dominate" their teachers in front of the class.

"He has always been the same kind of person. If he wants to do something, then he'll definitely do it. He wouldn't be influenced by anyone once he's made up his mind," he says.

"Even today, he can't be influenced."

The child politician

One day after school in the 1960s, Modi and his friend Chandubhai Chimanlal Rami were playing a game called vetra charm, fighting with sticks.

"I remember that game with Modi even today … the game could rip your skin, even make your hands bleed," Chandubhai says.

They were playing at their local branch of a Hindu right-wing organisation known as the RSS, whose volunteers recruited Modi when he was eight years old.

Chandubhai recalls a moment in the game when he made a mistake and it hurt Modi.

"So, he also started making attacks in the incorrect way and it was hurting me too," he says.

Chandubhai saw it as a painful but necessary lesson.

"He did it so I realised I was making a mistake. It also helped me better prepare and boosted my willpower, encouraged me a lot."

An older man in pale pink shirt with pen in pocket looks just beyond camera while a woman sits behinid

With an estimated 6 million members across 68,000 branches known as shakhas, the RSS is believed to be the largest far-right organisation in the world.

Like many ideological organisations, the RSS recruits children to expand its supporter base, says Christophe Jaffrelot, a prominent academic from French university Sciences Po, who is studying the Hindu right.

"You can build or reshape their psyche," he says.

"In the branches of the RSS, young boys are attracted by games … they don't realise and the families don't realise — in the beginning at least — that the content of the ideology is infused via these games and via the atmosphere in the shakha. It's a good way to become a mass movement, without saying it."

A man handles a pole with an orange flag, it has a split in the middle

After months of requests, the ABC gained rare access to an RSS branch that runs similarly to how Modi experienced one as a child decades ago.

In the harsh winter, as the sun rises, around a dozen young men hoist a saffron flag, the colour associated with the Hindu religion.

For many RSS volunteers, the focus on Hinduism is a drawcard.

"I joined the RSS because I have an interest in Hinduism ideology," one RSS member, Ambika, says. "So that keeps me satisfied that I'm doing something for my society and for the nation."

At this shakha, members practise group exercises, many of which involve martial arts. They chant Hindu nationalist slogans that encourage patriotism such as "long live Mother India" and "worship your motherland".

Five men stand with arms by their sides in two rows

Despite the fervent exercises, there's a jovial atmosphere.

"We are Hindu, we are part of this land, we are living here for thousands of years, so, the knowledge [and] tradition which our ancestors developed, it all belongs to us," senior RSS member Rajneesh says.

When asked about people of other religions he says: "We welcome all religions that came to India."

Rajneesh disputes the suggestion the RSS uses games as a way to indoctrinate its young followers, saying the exercises encourage discipline and unity.

"If you have to work for society, you have to be physically fit. If you're physically ill, how can you work for society?" he says.

The focus on physical strength has led many researchers to argue the RSS is a paramilitary organisation, something its members deny.

But in 2018, RSS chief Mohan Bhawat said the organisation could prepare an army to fight for India "within three days".

The RSS has been central to Modi's political rise. He describes it as a "socio-cultural organisation working towards the social and cultural regeneration of India".

It's a description that skirts around the clear and direct goals of the RSS put in place by its founders almost 100 years ago: to make India an emphatically Hindu society.

India is secular in its constitution and, while the vast majority of the country is Hindu, more than 200 million people are Muslim and tens of millions follow other faiths including Sikhism and Christianity.

While the members at the meeting were careful in their language, the RSS founders have been more direct.

"The non-Hindu people of [India] must adopt Hindu culture and languages and respect. They must entertain no idea but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture," RSS founder M S Golwalkar said.

Hindu right researcher Mr Jaffrelot says that "in terms of ideology, there are affinities between the RSS and the Nazi Germany brand of nationalism, the Mussolinian brand of fascism".

RSS members have been known to resort to violence in the name of their ideology.

One of its members assassinated Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. Decades later, a government-appointed commission found the RSS was responsible for creating a climate conducive to a riot in Jamshedpur that killed 79 Muslims and 25 Hindus. As recently as 2018, RSS members were involved in violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims in Bihar. 

But the RSS consistently rejects that it sparks religious riots and directs attention to the organisation's efforts to coordinate relief after several natural disasters.

The organisation was praised for delivering oxygen cylinders and medicine to thousands of Indians in hospitals during the country’s debilitating COVID-19 crisis, while helping families cremate their loved ones.

Narendra Modi as a young man stands at a microphone, extending a hand out while speaking to a crowd

Through the 1970s and 80s, Modi rose through the RSS ranks, becoming one of its key organisers.

As prime minister, Modi hasn't actively condoned or condemned violence attributed to RSS members, but his government has enacted laws that critics say have persecuted religious minorities.

Those include revoking the autonomy of India's only majority-Muslim area, Kashmir; passing a law that only permits non-Muslim migrants from nearby countries to be granted citizenship; and opening a Hindu temple where an ancient mosque was torn down , saying it was the birthplace of an important god.

"Modi's politics is based on the RSS agenda, the ideology is the same," Mr Jaffrelot says.

"Muslims have been pushed as second-class citizens by the Modi government with the help of vigilante groups. That's something that the RSS wouldn't have achieved without a leader like him."

While Modi has faced criticism for some of these policies, he's still enormously popular, and research shows he consistently appeals to voters.

The prime minister has defended his government's record, arguing it has brought normalcy to restive Kashmir, for example. 

"If there is a smell of discrimination in anything I have done, then put me in front of the country," Modi said in 2019, while defending the citizenship law.

The RSS maintains it is solely a cultural organisation and doesn't back politicians.

A man wearing black sports jacket sits on a step, smiling in the sun

But like Modi, senior RSS members often transition to the prime minister's political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

In 1951, RSS members created a political arm which eventually merged with other parties to create the BJP.

"RSS is not a political organisation, we believe only in making men. But Narendra Modi is doing a good job," Rajneesh says at the shakha.

"As a citizen, I think those who wish that India should lead, they should support Narendra Modi. So as a citizen, it's my right to vote so I will vote for him."

The secret wife

In the late 1960s, everyone in Narendra Modi's friendship group was being married off by their families.

"So his family got him married, worried that later it would be hard to find a bride," Syamaldas, the man who grew up with the Modi family, says.

Modi, about 18 at the time, sat with his bride Jashodaben and their families in the house for a traditional, religious wedding ceremony.

India's caste system is a complex hierarchy of different groups stemming from their social and economic past.

Jashodaben and Narendra Modi's families came from the same caste, the Gujarati Ghanchis, traditionally vegetable oil producers described as lower-middle class.

As per the Ghanchi caste's traditions, the couple had gone through a ceremony called Shaadi when they were about 12 years old, which meant they were engaged, to be married when they came of age.

But they were initially promised to each other by their parents when they were toddlers, something Modi wasn't told about until later.

While marriage is becoming less conservative in India, at that time most people in Gujarat strictly married within the same caste.

After the marriage, the woman was usually sent to the husband's family home.

The facade of a two-storey concrete home with wooden door, a stair case leading to

In recent years, surveys of Indian households have found the majority of Indians are in arranged marriages, most of them happy.

But Narendra Modi had different feelings about the institution in the 1960s.

"He was completely opposed to marriage," Syamaldas says.

So before the couple could move in together, Modi decided to leave home.

"The family was in a state of mourning, but his mother stood behind him and wanted him to progress. The rest of his family felt really bad," Syamaldas says.

"During that time, he told his wife that this is her house as well and … she is free to live in the house and then he left home."

Until the early 2000s, few people knew about Modi's wife.

As Modi rose through the RSS ranks, he proved his dedication to the association and its cause by showing he had no family ties.

When he started running for elections, first in his home state of Gujarat, he would leave the spouse section blank on forms year after year.

In campaign speeches, he would say he was single.

"Why would I indulge in corruption? For whom? There is no one behind me or in front of me," he said at a 2014 political rally, using a Hindi phrase meaning he has no family.

Narendra Modi, wearing a blue checked waistcoat, smiles while holding a baby on his lap at a desk

While Modi has staked his reputation on putting the public before a family, he takes every opportunity to portray his connection with children.

For some Indian leaders, being single is a selling point. It means they can show their only commitment is to their country.

Mahatma Gandhi took a vow of celibacy, and the current leader of the main opposition, Rahul Gandhi, is also proudly single.

"I'm dedicated to the people of this nation … every moment of my time is for the people of India," Modi said in a speech last year.

It's a popular trope in a society that emphasises devotion, service and duty.

Eventually, journalists started searching for a schoolteacher they heard was secretly married to Modi.

When one reporter eventually found her, she was shocked by how humble Jashodaben's life was.

A woman wearing a red and orange sari holds a tray of food and feeds a cow by hand. She stands infront of a brick wall.

"With her hair tied up in a bun, you could pass her by because she's just like any other woman in any village," says the journalist, who does not want to be named.

"Her house had a tin roof and mud walls, and it was a house that would get very hot in the summers, and she did not have a bathroom."

When news reports about Modi's arranged marriage emerged, he directed focus away from them.

But during his run for prime minister in 2014, he was legally forced to go public about his marriage for the first time in almost 50 years.

In the spouse section of his election nomination, he had to write his wife's name: Jashodaben Modi.

"So it was kind of a victory for us and for her that her name had to be written in that column," the journalist says.

A scanned document shows two pages, including stamps and a photograph of Narendra Modi and a table including his wife's name

It turned into a national scandal. Narendra Modi's brother Sombhai (whose son's engagement the prime minister would go on to miss a decade later) defended him.

He said the marriage was a formality and the couple never consummated it, something Jashodaben Modi also confirmed.

"Narendra's whole life is a life of sacrifice, and we have to accept it. The whole country knows his sacrifice, and the people of the nation know it," he said.

"This event of 40 or 50 years back of a poor family in those circumstances should be seen in that context."

Despite some backlash from opposition parties over his secret marriage and estranged wife, Modi won the 2014 election in a landslide.

Soon after, Jashodaben Modi told Reuters she was surrounded by armed bodyguards every day and she had to cook for them. She has not spoken publicly since.

Now 72, Jashodaben Modi has retired from her job as a schoolteacher.

A woman wearing a yellow sari decoratid with flowers sits on a bench in a small room filled with items.

The Gujarat village where she grew up is made up of a few small streets clustered around a brown, stone, Hindu temple in the middle.

Usually, in small Indian villages, locals are open to giving directions to someone's house, but here they're reluctant.

Some say she's moved to the nearby town. Several people refuse to offer any information on her whereabouts, but one woman finally acknowledges having met her: "She was a nice woman and was helping out at the local hospital."

Jashodaben now lives with her brother. After eventually tracking down his phone number, we give him a call.

He answers but wants to know what we would ask his sister in an interview. She seems to be in the background, listening in on our conversation, but tells him she doesn't want to meet or speak with any journalists.

After her identity was confirmed by Modi, Jashodaben tried to start speaking at public events. She even told a journalist that if the prime minister called to check in, she'd be interested in starting a new life with him.

When it was announced that she would be speaking at an event run by a Modi fan club, the conference was shut down.

When she tried to get a passport, her application was rejected because she couldn't produce a marriage certificate.

"Modi has chosen to cut off that part of his life from public consumption, from public view and he has never, ever acknowledged her other than in that election affidavit," the anonymous journalist says.

"I feel that there's an abandoned woman, and she needs her justice."

Modi's monkhood

In his public life, with no family ties and a sole commitment to his country, Modi has presented himself as God's representative on Earth.

"God has made me an instrument to represent all the people of India. This is a huge responsibility," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter, ahead of a Hindu temple opening in the town of Ayodhya in January.

That narrative harks back to a relatively opaque part of his life story — the years after he left his arranged marriage as a teenager.

Modi says he left for the Himalayas and pursued a monk-like life of renunciation. He had no material possessions and ate only food given to him by strangers.

A young Narendra Modi sits on a door step, smiling while extending a hand out

"There was no comfort in my life. I had a small bag and my whole life was in that bag," he told biographer Andy Marino.

He says he studied the teachings of one of India's most iconic Hindu spiritual leaders, Swami Vivekananda, and went to his ashrams seeking to become a monk.

The story goes that after being turned away twice, at the third ashram a monk told Modi that his destiny lay elsewhere. That's what set him on his path of politics.

"He was advised by the great monk who was there at the time he could reach out to larger masses, so his reach is huge," Swami Shantatmananda, a current monk at one of the Vivekananda ashrams, says.

"He has brought in immeasurable changes, a revolution awakening in the country."

But not everyone is convinced.

"There's just not a lot of contemporary evidence that would suggest that we know exactly what was going on," says Griffith University professor Ian Hall, one of Australia's leading experts on India.

"I don't expect the monastery kept records of that kind of interaction either, so what we're left with is a story that is presented later on by the sympathetic biographers."

Swami Vivekananda introduced Hinduism and yoga to the West in the 1800s.

A monk wearing red robes and orange head covering folds his arms across his chest

He attained enormous influence in India and around the world, in part because of his teachings that anyone of any religion can find God using Hindu philosophy.

The swami, his influence and his teachings have informed Narendra Modi's curated public image since those teenage years. In 2012, he tweeted a quote from the monk every day for a year.

Professor Hall says an affinity with Swami Vivekananda helps Modi attract moderate Indian voters who may be concerned by his connections with the far-right RSS.

"He's setting up an alternative … softer, friendlier, broader kind of figure [with Swami Vivekananda] as his guru and his intellectual inspiration," he says.

"Modi here is reaching for a figure that allows him to then reassure those who are concerned that he's going to be a real hardliner."

The Modi image

Part of the genius of the Modi narrative has been his ability to be many things to many people.

"I've gone backwards and forwards from thinking that Modi was a very hardline Hindu nationalist to thinking that he was somebody who was more of a moderniser," Professor Hall says.

"The reality is that Modi is able to present himself in all of those different avatars at once or to different audiences."

Narendra Modi pictured against a pale blue sky, squinting through his glasses

Modi has been described as a mastermind of image management.

He has managed to escape reputational stain despite the various accusations against him, from targeting religious minorities to democratic backsliding.

He's also widely promoted his successes in developing India and bringing the country to the world stage.

Before the digital age, Modi would personally fax press releases to lists of journalists to ensure his words and deeds attracted fast distribution and positive coverage.

He now runs a slick social media operation in which he controls his own story — he has the largest following of any leader in the world.

But his critics say measures introduced under Modi's leadership have severely undermined press freedoms.

Last year, the Modi government banned a BBC documentary that was critical of the prime minister's role in deadly religious riots that broke out in 2002. Tax authorities searched the broadcaster's bureaus in India the week after the program went to air.

Reporters Without Borders has warned "press freedom is in crisis" in India , noting in its most recent report that an average of three or four journalists are killed in connection with their work in the country every year.

Modi's office has not responded to numerous requests for an interview with the ABC.

"[We've] had a prime minister who's refused to engage with the press," Indian journalist Manisha Pande says.

"You have almost North Korean levels of obedience in major prime-time anchors, major prime-time news."

The prime minister has consistently denied he is threatening democracy. 

"I am not undemocratic. I have met 250 people in Delhi for three hours each of freewheeling discussions," he told newspaper Indian Express in 2019.

"I believe that the thinking of the government as well as the thinking of the people in media should be transparent … whether news gets published is not the only thing in a democracy."

Modi's entire life has centred around being India's leader and many, like Professor Hall, say he'll do anything to hold onto that.

“He's the ultimate power politician — he just wants to stay in power."

Modi will be 73 during the upcoming election.

If he wins, as everyone predicts, it will likely be his final term because of an age limit of 75 years for BJP electoral candidates.

The rest of Modi's story remains undetermined. But rules can change.

"He will not leave the post of prime minister while he's alive," his childhood friend Syamaldas says.

"He is such a powerful person."

The ABC's seven-part podcast series, Looking For Modi , is out today. Listen to the first episode on ABC Listen.

  • Reporting: Avani Dias
  • Photography and video: Som Patidar and Meghna Bali, with additional photography courtesy of AFP, AP, Reuters, Election Commission of India, Thomas Harrison (public domain), and Narendra Modi.
  • Digital production: Lucy Sweeney
  • Podcast production and research:  Madeleine Genner and Yasmin Parry
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Bobby Deol on Dharmendra's reaction after 'Animal' success: 'People are going crazy'

Bobby deol shared his father dharmendra's reaction to 'animal's' success. directed by sandeep reddy vanga, the film also featured ranbir kapoor and rashmika mandanna in key roles..

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Bobby Deol and Dharmendra

  • Bobby Deol shared Dharmendra's reaction to the success of 'Animal'
  • He spoke about it in a recent interview
  • Bobby Deol will soon be seen in 'Kanguva'

Bobby Deol recently shared how his father reacted to the success of 'Animal'. Speaking in an interview, the actor revealed that Dharmendra had the sweetest reaction. He said that his father was impressed with the kind of response his role was receiving post the film's release .

In an interview with Zoom TV at an event, Bobby Deol revealed, "When Animal released, and I came home, my dad said to me – because he loves social media – ‘ Sab log tere deewane ho rahe hai ' (People are going crazy for you) I said ‘ Papa, main aapka beta hun, deewane nahi honge to kya hoge ‘. (Papa I am your son, of course they would go crazy.) It was a very special moment for me."

Additionally, Bobby also spoke about the camaraderie among actors in the film industry and said that even if not everyone didn't call him to congratulate, he was thankful for their admiration. He continued, "There are so many nice people in this industry. When 'Animal' released, the kind of love I got from this industry was so beautiful, so special. Everyone didn't need to call me. I feel our industry is so amazing. It's just that sometimes social media makes it sound different."

Meanwhile, work-wise, the actor will soon make his South debut with the Tamil film 'Kanguva' . He will feature alongside Suriya, essaying the role of Udhiran , who is the antagonist.

During an interview with ANI, Bobby spoke about working with Suriya. He praised him and said, "Working with Suriya has always been a dream. He is awesome. He is an amazing actor."


How a cheap, generic drug became a darling of longevity enthusiasts

Rapamycin, a drug for transplant patients, has extended the lives of animals but is unproven in people.

biography of successful person in india

To keep himself healthy into his eighth decade, David Sandler recently decided to go beyond his regular workouts and try something experimental: taking rapamycin, an unproven but increasingly popular drug to promote longevity.

The medication has gained a large following thanks to longevity researchers and celebrity doctors who, citing animal studies, contend that rapamycin could be a game changer in the quest to fend off age-related diseases. The drug is going mainstream as an anti-aging treatment, even though rapamycin’s regulatory approval is for treating transplant patients. There is no evidence that it can extend human life.

Sandler initially dismissed the idea of rapamycin as a longevity drug, but as he read up online, he decided there might be something to it and ordered a year’s supply for about $200 from a supplier in India.

“If I was younger, I would hold off,” said Sandler, a 77-year-old retired accountant who lives in Bergen County, N.J. “But at this age, I’m making myself part of the experiment,” he said.

Researchers have found that rapamycin can modify a kind of cellular communications system that gives cells certain directions — to grow when the body has plenty of food and to slow down when nutrients are scarce. The drug can dial down the signal to grow, causing cells to clear out accumulated junk and allowing them to run more efficiently.

Despite the buzz surrounding the drug, it is unlikely that the Food and Drug Administration will ever approve it for longevity. The agency doesn’t consider aging to be a disease, and rapamycin’s generic status means there’s little financial incentive to run expensive clinical trials to test it on age-related afflictions. So doctors and entrepreneurs are increasingly marketing rapamycin beyond the scope of its regulatory label, believing a potentially life-extending drug is effectively hiding in plain sight.

More than two dozen medical practices prescribe rapamycin as an anti-aging treatment, according to a Washington Post review, and telehealth companies are bringing it to thousands of patients nationally. Prices vary widely, but some online purveyors offer a typical dose for about $10 a week or less. Alan Green, a physician in Little Neck, N.Y., says he has personally treated nearly 1,500 patients with rapamycin since 2017 and has called it “the most important drug in the history of medicine.”

Rapamycin’s promise as a longevity drug, however, remains divisive among scientists and longevity influencers.

The enthusiasm for the drug’s anti-aging properties comes from studies that repeatedly have shown benefits in animals across multiple species , including yeast, worms and mice. Some physicians and researchers believe that if taken intermittently and in low doses, rapamycin can increase human life span the way it has in animal trials. But doctors also caution that no one knows what the optimal dose might be for humans, and taking certain quantities of rapamycin can lead to reproductive harm and insulin resistance as well as making the body more susceptible to infection .

“Mice may be a little different from humans when it comes to drug tolerance, diseases and reactions,” said Elena Volpi, a professor and longevity expert at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

“It is a drug that I think can be taken safely under certain conditions but has enough of a side effect profile that I’m not interested in taking it for sake of increasing life span at this time,” Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist with a large social media following, said on a podcast in October.

Brad Rosen, a doctor in Los Angeles, says he believes rapamycin’s potential is compelling enough for him to try.

“At 60, I don’t have the luxury of expecting studies to be completed that can validate the benefits of a longevity drug prior to my own steeper decline,” said Rosen, who also has prescribed the drug to about 250 patients. The promising animal studies, combined with rapamycin’s long history as an immune-suppressing drug, he said, makes it “one of few agents where taking a calculated risk can absolutely make sense.”

A drug from the ends of the earth

Rapamycin’s growing popularity mirrors the rise of longevity medicine. Altos Labs, which raised $3 billion , is aiming to reverse diseases of aging by rejuvenating cells — inspired by research that won the 2012 Nobel Prize . The Saudi-based Hevolution Foundation is pledging to spend up to $1 billion a year to accelerate research on aging. Longevity medicine practitioners like Peter Attia have amassed large followings on social media — and kindled excitement about rapamycin.

Rapamycin was collected by a scientific expedition in the 1960s from the soil of Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, one of the most remote inhabited places on earth. The FDA approved it in 1999 to help transplant patients tolerate their new organs. But scientists kept exploring how the drug worked and ultimately set the field of longevity medicine abuzz.

“It was uncanny,” Attia writes in his best-selling book, “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity.” “This exotic molecule, found only on an isolated scrap of land in the middle of the ocean, acts almost like a switch that inhibits a very specific cellular mechanism that exists in nearly everything that lives.” He added that “this fact still blows my mind every time I think about it.”

A bombshell study in 2009 found that rapamycin extended the lives of elderly mice by as much as 14 percent, the first time a drug had been shown to help a mammal live longer. Then in 2014, researchers had a revelation : Older adults who took a rapamycin-like drug had a more robust response to the flu vaccine, upending the widely held notion that rapamycin weakened the immune system.

A decade later, a low, intermittent dose used in the 2014 study — 5 milligrams a week — has remained popular for people taking rapamycin for longevity.

In a recent survey of 333 people who used rapamycin off-label, researchers found that they generally reported better quality of life since starting the drug. Compared with a cohort that didn’t take the drug, the only side effect among rapamycin users that was statistically different was mouth sores.

“I would say that rapamycin is the current best-in-class for a longevity drug that we have,” said Matt Kaeberlein, a professor the University of Washington who has researched rapamycin for two decades and is studying its anti-aging effects in dogs . In his own experience, he credited rapamycin’s anti-inflammatory properties with healing his persistent shoulder pain.

Taking rapamycin mainstream

Joan Mannick is aware of what she calls “a gold rush” in longevity medicine. As the researcher who led the 2014 study, she doesn’t exactly embrace how her work has become the basis for rapamycin dosing in people.

“I don’t know yet what’s the right dose, what’s the right duration, what are the risks, what are the benefits,” said Mannick. Now chief executive of Tornado Therapeutics, she is aiming to develop a rapamycin-like compound that could be even more effective — and patentable. “I think we’ll be able to get there, but we aren’t there yet.”

Others are not inclined to wait. “Get Rapamycin online,” AgelessRx, a longevity-focused telehealth firm, advertises on Google.

Healthspan, a telehealth service whose main offering is rapamycin, markets it predominantly for longevity but also cosmetic use, touting “the only skin cream scientifically proven to reverse skin aging at the molecular level.” On Tuesday, the company announced a new rapamycin product to stimulate hair growth.

Daniel Tawfik launched Healthspan — a term that refers to the portion of life when people are healthy — in 2022 after trying to help his wife battle cancer and observing a “chasm between what’s happening in the research community and the clinical world.” Tawfik said more than 2,000 patients have subscribed to its rapamycin service, which includes the drug and regular testing (Healthspan doesn’t prescribe the drug to between 15 and 20 percent of prospective patients, he said).

For longevity dosing, Healthspan relies on studies led by Mannick as well as research on dogs . For its skin cream, Tawfik cited a small study by Drexel University researchers and a rapamycin-like gel approved by the FDA in 2022 to treat benign facial tumors . For the hair treatment, the company highlighted a 2019 study on mice .

“The potential is enormous for patients to be able to extend their health span and quality of life as they age,” Tawfik said, adding that his firm’s experience “shows that rapamycin can be prescribed safely” with few side effects.

Attia, who has a medical practice focused on helping people live longer and healthier, dedicates a chapter of his 2023 book to rapamycin and has said he takes the drug himself. With more than 600,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel , Attia has become one of the most influential voices in longevity medicine, and many doctors say patients learn about rapamycin from him.

Bryan Johnson, who founded and sold mobile-payments firm Braintree, has also emerged as a high-profile user of rapamycin in his current project: developing a protocol to reverse the aging process.

After his team surveyed scientific literature on what can improve longevity and ranked various strategies, Johnson said rapamycin — in combination with diabetes drug metformin — “is the 10th best-performing of all time.” Johnson — whose videos of his extensive regimen have been viewed millions of times — sees his exploration of longevity on a grand historical scale, like Magellan circumnavigating the globe. He’s actively adjusting his dose of rapamycin.

“I don’t think we have any conclusive observations yet,” he said.

Eric Verdin, chief executive of the Buck Institute on Aging, says there’s a strong case to be made for rapamycin as an anti-aging drug but hastens to add: “We should not as a field recommend use on people.” He and many other doctors say rapamycin is no substitute for exercise and a healthy diet.

“People going on it, using it as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, it’s a bridge too far for me,” Verdin said. Then he offered a disclosure: He takes rapamycin.

“I’m doing everything I can to try to maximize my longevity,” said Verdin, who is 66. Of rapamycin, he said, “I haven’t felt any difference one way or the other.”

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Success requires 'ample doses of pain,' billionaire Nvidia CEO tells Stanford students: 'I hope suffering happens to you'

Jensen Huang has a simple message for young people who want to achieve "greatness": No pain, no gain.

That was essentially the Nvidia CEO's message for students at his alma mater, Stanford University, where he spoke last week at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research .

"Greatness is not intelligence. Greatness comes from character. And character isn't formed out of smart people, it's formed out of people who suffered," Huang said at the event, in response to a question about how students can maximize their shot at being successful.

When it comes to achieving success, Huang knows more than most. In 1993, he co-founded computer chip company Nvidia, where he's served as CEO for more than three decades. The company's success turned Huang into a billionaire. Now, with Nvidia's chips in high demand for building AI software, it's become one of the world's most valuable companies with a valuation north of $2 trillion .

Huang himself is one of the world's wealthiest individuals, with an estimated net worth of $77.6 billion , according to Bloomberg.

For Huang, there is one particular trait that can make anyone more likely to become successful: Resilience. At last week's event, he told Stanford students how he personally developed the resilience necessary to build and run one of the world's most valuable companies.

'People with very high expectations have very low resilience'

"One of my great advantages is that I have very low expectations," Huang said, noting that most Stanford graduates "have very high expectations" as a result of having an elite education .

Often "people with very high expectations have very low resilience," he went on, because they are not accustomed to, or prepared for, failure.

"Unfortunately, resilience matters in success," he said. "I don't know how to teach it to you except for I hope suffering happens to you."

Building resilience is a key factor in determining future success, psychologists tend to agree. Research has shown that resilient people are more likely to have the strength and confidence to handle challenges and bounce back from failure. 

Huang certainly had to struggle in his company's early days. In 1996, Nvidia nearly went out of business as it struggled to compete with other chipmakers. That forced Huang to lay off more than half of his staff.

The experience taught Huang to "become better versed in reading markets and reading consumer demands," he told Fortune in 2001 , which meant scrapping the company's previous technology and betting on a new model of chip that eventually became a major success. 

"To this day I use the phrase 'pain and suffering' inside our company with great glee," Huang told the Stanford students. "I mean that in a happy way, because you want to refine the character of your company. You want greatness out of them."

Build a 'tolerance for failure' so you can innovate and succeed

Having low expectations can help prepare you for the inevitable challenges ahead, according to Huang, because it's easy to be caught off guard by an obstacle when you're only expecting smooth sailing. That's why Huang says he still worries Nvidia could ultimately fail, despite the company's massive success.

He believes that any good leader has to think continually about how close a company is to falling apart: "If you don't internalize that sensibility, you will go out of business," he said in October .

Similarly, being mindful of your potential for failure can help build up a "tolerance for failure" that ultimately allows you to let go of the fear of failure that could hold you back from success, Huang said in an earlier speech to Stanford students , in 2011.

"Unless you have a tolerance for failure, you will never experiment, and if you don't ever experiment, you will never innovate," he said at the time. "If you don't innovate, you don't succeed."

With that in mind, Huang told a newer batch of undergrads last week that he hopes they experience their own character-building struggles: "For all of you Stanford students, I wish upon you ample doses of pain and suffering."

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University Exemplary Department or Program Awards honor excellence in transfer student support, success

21 Mar 2024

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Student support and success departments in the College of Natural Resources and Environment  and Undergraduate Academic Affairs are being recognized by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost , in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning , with the 2023 University Exemplary Department or Program Award .

The Advising Center in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and the Hokie Transfer Community in Undergraduate Academic Affairs’ Academic Advising Initiatives unit earned the award for developing and implementing creative solutions to supporting transfer students, both those transferring into Virginia Tech and into new majors. 

In 2015, the Advising Center started as a team of five individuals who were committed to support all students interested or enrolled in the college. Over the last nine years, the center has grown to include an associate dean, two advising administrators, two recruiters, four advisors, and two support staff, all dedicated to the success of students through an intentional effort to collaborate across areas to provide students with a remarkable transition. The center offers invaluable support and resources to students who express interest in transferring from another institution.

The Advising Center has created exemplary teaching and learning environments for students and is steadfastly committed to excellence in recruitment and advising practices. The center’s proactive approach, personalized guidance, and collaborative efforts contribute significantly to student success.

Virginia Tech’s Hokie Transfer Community consists of programs that provide transfer students with holistic support, helping them develop connections with other Hokie transfers, opportunities to get involved with the university community, and acclimation to the campus. Since 2018, the community's multifaceted collaborative support has been established from almost every corner of the campus to include Undergraduate Admissions, academic colleges, New Student and Family Programs, Registrar’s Office, Career and Professional Development, Housing Services, and Living-Learning Programs.

The Hokie Transfer Community provides ongoing support for transfer students by reducing barriers in the transition process. A dedicated staff has positively impacted the campus community’s perspective of transfer students, which has resulted in tremendous growth in the campuswide support and resources provided to Virginia Tech’s transfer student population.

Presented annually since 1994, the University Exemplary Department or Program Award was developed as a part of Virginia Tech's Faculty Rewards Project, which sought to clarify the expectations of faculty and define appropriate rewards for their accomplishments. To be eligible, the nominated department or program must have teaching and learning as a primary purpose and identify as a “department” or “program.”

The honorees will be officially recognized during a reception on April 17. The university expects to open the event to the campus community, but registration may be required to attend. Further details will be provided at a later date.

For more information on the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning or the University Exemplary Department or Program Awards, visit the center's website or contact [email protected] .

Dave Guerin


  • Campus Experience
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment
  • Executive Vice President and Provost
  • Student Engagement and Campus Life
  • Student Wellness
  • Transfer students
  • Undergraduate Education
  • University Academic Advising Center
  • University Awards

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