Popularly known as "Tagore", Rabindra Da was & is the only Indian until today to have won Nobel prize for literature. He won it in 1913 for his great literary work of "Geetanjali". During his life he played several roles including that of a poet, novelist, musician, painter & play-writer who reshaped Bengali literature & music in the late 19th & 20th centuries. Tagore was a great admirer of Gandhi, one who in fact named him "Mahatma". Tagore vehemently denounced British Raj. He founded "Viswa-Bharti University".
Born in 1915, Ismat Chugtai is one of the best known progressive writers in Urdu. She is also the first Muslim woman from India who earned degrees in Arts & Education. Her writings mainly portrayed the social issues, culture, societal fabric besides other feminist topics. Probably her liberal thoughts also reflect in the very fact that her family has members from Muslim, Hindu & Christian communities. She had very good knowledge of not just Quran but Gita & Bible too. Many of her writings were banned at the time including "Lihaaf" - meaning Quilt, because of which she even had a case slapped against her. She also wrote the story for famous movie "Garam Hawa" for which she was awarded Filmfare.
One of the most noted political cartoonists of India. Shankar, as popularly known, was born in Kerala. His "Shankar's weekly" was released by none other than the then Prime minister Nehru himself. It's publication was closed since emergency. One of the most famous cartoons was that of Ambedkar where he is shown trying to write down the constitution at snails pace while whipping it alongside Nehru. He was awarded with all 3 civilian awards including Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan & Padma Vibhushan besides many other awards. His love for children led him to found Children's Book trust & international Dolls museum. He worked mostly for Hindustan times.
A man who gave identity to the "Common man" of India. Born in Karnataka, RK Laxman did his Graduation in Arts from University of Mysore. One of the most famous images that RK Laxman illustrated was that of "Mulgudi days" written by his elder brother RK Narayan. He & Bal Thackrey were colleagues at Free Press Journal. RK was awarded Magsaysay Award & Padma Vibhushan in 1984 & 2005 respectively. His autobiography is "The tunnel of Time". He worked through most of his career for Times of India.
MS Subbulakshmi is the first Singer / Musician of India to be awarded the Bharat Ratna. She also distinguishes to be the only classical singer to be awarded Magsaysay Award. One of the most renowned Carnatic style classical singers, Nehru had once said, "Who am I, a mere Prime minister before a Queen, Queen of music". Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali called her the "Suswaralakshmi" - the goddess of the perfect note, while Kishori amonkar called her the eighth note or Athuvan Sur, which is above the seven notes of music & Lata Mangeshkar identifies her as the Tapaswini (the renunciate). There are many names of MS but eventually the one that describes her the best is being the "Nightingale of India" - an honour bestowed by great national leader Sarojini Naidu.
A renowned Hindustani style classical vocalist, Pt Joshi was awarded Bharat Ratna in 2008 besides other 3 highest civilian awards including Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan & Padma Vibhushan hence putting him in the category of the select few who had such distinction. Known for his famous "Khayal" form of singing, he was disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan who had founded the Kirana Gharana of the Hindustani music. besides being a great vocalist, Pt Joshi has also rendered his voice to some of the few but great playback songs in Indian Cinema. Pt Joshi was born in a Kannadiga family.
A member of the Progressive artists group, Maqbool Fida Hussain or as popularly known as MF Hussain, was one of the greatest painters India has ever produced. He started his career as a small painter in Indian Cinema to becoming the highest paid Indian painter in a career that spans many accolades & controversies alike. He was nominated to Rajyasabha (Upper house of the parliament) in 1986. He was awarded with Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan & Padma Vibhushan. A great fan of Madhuri Dixit Nene, he produced her in the movie "Gaja Gamini". He died in London while living in self exile due to death threats from fundamentalists.
One of the most renowned Carnatic style classical vocalist, a multi-instrumentalist, playback dinger & composer, Dr Krishna is one of the few who collaborated with a lot of Hindustani style vocalists including Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shri Kishori Amonkar to provide a real platform for classical "Jugalbandi". Disciple of Sri Pantulu, Dr Krishna has been one of the key figures in Unity Concerts in India. Unlike a lot of other vocalists, Dr Krishna is multi language vocalist. He is awarded with Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan & Padma Vibhushan besides being conferred as "Chavalier of the Ordre des Arts et de Lettres" by the French government. Dr Krishna has also been conferred National Award for best music direction & playback singing in Madhavacharya & Hamsageethe respectively.
A graduate of Banares Hindu University & having completed his Phd from US in 1954, Dr Hazarika is one of the most noted singers from India's North eastern region. He has played many roles including that of a poet, lyricist, singer, musician & film maker. A native of Assam, Dr Hazarika has also been one of the key sponsors of audio-visual mode of education. His heart rending songs of Hindi movie "Rudaali" touched the entire nation alike. He had been awarded with Padma Sri, Padma Bhushan besides Padma Vibhushan that was conferred upon him posthumously. Dr Hazarika is also the recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
It was she who got tears in the eyes of the then Prime Minister Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru when she sung "Ae mere watan ke logon", a patriotic song that she recited during the Indo-Sino 1962 war. Lata Mangeshkar was born at Indore to Pt. Deenanath Mangeshkar who himself was an accomplished classical singer of his times. She has recorded songs in more than 20 Indian languages & is the unchallenged melody queen of Indian cinema. For over two decades, she held the Guinness World record for maximum number of recordings. Lata Mangeshkar was awarded Bharat Ratna in 2001.