Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866 – 1915)
- Political guru of MAHATMA GANDHI.
- He was the leader of moderate group in the Congress Party.
- He played a commendable role in the imperial Legislative Council of which he was a member in 1902.
- He founded ‘The Servants of India Society‘ and served as President of the Indian National Con-gress in 1907.
- Until Mahatma Gandhi appeared, Gopalakrishna Gokhale was the national leader of the freedom struggle.
Dadabhai Naoroji (1825-1917)
- Known as the Grand Old Man of India.
- He was a prominent Congress leader and worked for Swaraj in England which was the centre of his political activities. He was associated with Bhikaji Camma.
- He was the first Indian to be elected to the House of Commons from a London constituency (1862).
- He was an MP in the Parliament of the UK be-tween 1892 and 1895 and the first Asian to be a British MP.
- In the 1906 Calcutta session he declared Swaraj for India follow-ing the partition of Bengal.
- He was the author of the monu-mental work Poverty and Un-British Rule in India. In thisbook he describes the ‘drain theory’, i.e. the exploitation of Indian wealth by the British.
- He organised the Indian Society in England.
- He was President of the Indian National Congress three times.
- He is also known as the Father of Indian Politics and Economics.
- He suggested the name ‘Congress’ for the Indian National Congress. The word ‘Congress’, which means an assembly of people, was taken from North American history.
Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950)
- He was a freedom fighter, poet, scholar, yogi and philosopher.
- Worked towards the cause of India’s freedom, and for further evolution of life on earth.
- The famous Alipore Bomb Case proved to be a turning point in Sri Aurobindo Ghosh’s life. For a year Aurobindo was an undertrial prisoner in soli-tary confinement in the Alipore Central Jail.
- He utilized this period of incarceration for an in-tense study and practice of the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
Lala Lajpat Rai (1865-1928)
- Dedicated social worker and educationist who joined the In-dian National Congress in 1888.
- He supported the extremist lead-ers in the 1907 Congress split along with Tilak.
- He started and edited a newspaper Young India, presided over the 1920 Congress session and became member of the Indian Legis-lative Assembly in 1923.
- In 1920 he led the non-cooperation movement in Punjab and was sent to jail. When he visited La-hore on October 30, 1928 he suffered severe lathi blows in a police attack and later died of his inju-ries.
- He is also called Sher-e-Punjab (Punjab Kesari).
Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856-1920)
- Aggressive freedom fighter popularly known as Father of Indian Unrest. He is alsocalled Lokmanya (Loknayak is Jayaprakash Narayan).
- His political career began in 1896 during the famine in the Deccan.
- He was the first Indian leader to give the slogan ‘Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it’.
- He is the author of Gita Rahasya through which he taught the people to fight against oppression and unrighteousness.
- He started two well-known newspapers Kesari (Marathi) and Maratta (English) to arouse na-tional sentiments.
- He was the founder leader of the Home Rule League in 1916 along with ANNIE BESANT.
- Bal Gangadhar Tilak belonged to the extremist wing of Congress along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal. The conflict between moder-ates and extremists led to a split of Congress at the Surat session of Congress in 1907.
- Congress was later united at Lucknow session in 1917 due to the efforts of Annie Besant and Sudhakar Rao.
- The three leaders, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal are known in the his-tory of the Indian freedom movement as Lal, Bal and Pal.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Rabindranath Tagore, also known as Gurudev, is one of our country’s most distinguished and respected men of letters.
- He was the first Indian and the first Asian to have won the Nobel
Prize for Literature for his lyric Gitanjali (on No-vember 13, 1913).
- He was a great author and educationist who founded the Shantinikethan (1901) at Bolepur, West Bengal, which later became the Vishwabharati University.
- The British Government knighted him with the ti-tle ‘Sir’ which he returned in 1919 in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh Tragedy.
- His important books are Bisarjan, Chitra, The Gardener, Gitanjali, Gora, Hungry Stones, The Wreck, Lipika and Post Office.
- His famous quotation is: “I am restless, I thirst for the distant, the far away.”
- Our national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, and the national anthem of Bangladesh ‘Amar Sona Bangla….” were composed by Tagore.
Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988)
- Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a staunch Congress man and a soldier of the Indian freedom struggle.
- His admirers called him Badshah Khan, or the King Khan.
- He was also called Frontier Gan-dhi because he organised the people of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of undivided India (now merged with Pakistan) on Gandhian principles. These people were called Red Shirts for the colour of the uni-forms they wore. After the partition of India in 1947, NWFP was merged into Pakistan but the struggle of Frontier Gandhi did not end with it and he continued to fight for the independence of his people, the Pakhtuns or Pathans (Pakhtoonistan).
- He was the first foreigner to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (1987), the second being NELSON MANDELA. He formed the movement known as Khudai Khidniatgan (Servant of God).
Ambedkar, B.R. (1891-1956)
- Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was an eminent jurist, social reformer and scheduled castes leader.
- He was born on April 14, 1891 at Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, into the Mahar community, which was an untouchable backward caste.
- He was the Chairman of Constitution Drafting Committee and is considered the Architect of the Indian Constitution.
- He was Minister of Law (1946-51) in the Nehru Cabinet.
- He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1990.
- He was the main inspiration behind the inclusion of special provisions in the Constitution of India for the development of scheduled castes people.
- He attended all the three Round Table Confer-ences in London as a representative of the de-pressed classes of India.
- He was affectionately called Baba Saheb.
- He became a staunch Buddhist and converted to Buddhism in the last stage of his life.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958)
Nationalist Muslim scholar, President of the Indian National Congress.
- He founded Al Hilal and Al Balagh Urdu weeklies.
- He was free India’s first Union Education Minister.
- He established UGC IIT (Kharoaghuo) and many other institutions.
- He was posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna (1992).
- He wrote India Wins Freedom.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94)
- Celebrated Bengali novelist and author of Vande Mataram, the National Song of India is from his work Anand Math.
- He also wrote Kapal Kundla, Durgesh Nandini, Chandra Sekhar, Vish Vriksha.
- His famous book Kamala Kanter Daftar highlights the social evils that prevailed in society of that time.
- Vande Mataram was first sung at the 1896 ses-sion of the Indian National Congress. The Eng-lish translation of Vande Mataram was made by SRI AUROBINDO GOSH.