1. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad He set up India’s first IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and founded ⁠Sahitya Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy and Lalita Kala Academy to provide a common platform for the cultural heritage of India.⁠

2. Surendranath Banerjee In 1876, Surendranath launched the ‘The Bengal’ newspaper and used this platform to address the topic of racial discrimination. In the same year, he also founded the Indian National Association.

3. Dhondo Keshav Karve When his wife Radhabai passed away at the age of 14, Karve established the Widow Remarriage Association in 1893. In 1896, he set up India’s first school for widows and then a residential school for girls.

4. Sukhdev Maharaj Since society did not see it fit for girls to learn Kathak, Sukhdev taught his daughters the dance form himself. Sitara Devi, one of his daughters, went on to excel in the art and is known today as the ‘Empress of Dance’.

5. Bhupen Hazarika The legendary musician began his career at the age of 10. He sang two famous songs in the film Indramalati –  Kaxote Kolosi Loi and Biswo Bijoyi Naujawan – at the age of 12.

6. Jaipal Singh Munda Under Munda’s leadership, the Indian hockey team performed stupendously in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, where they won the gold medal. He also helped to frame the Indian Constitution.⁠

7. ⁠Lata Mangeshkar and SD Burman Lata ji has often written about Burman ji as a ‘father figure’. She once said, “He would coach me and sing in his typical folksy style with the regular voice breaks, and reiterate the parts that I felt uncomfortable rendering.”

8. Prithviraj Kapoor Prithviraj Kapoor attempted to throw light on communal harmony through his play ‘Deewar’ in 1945. In spite of opposition, Kapoor managed to get clearance from the Muslim League by submitting only the application, without the last rejection page!

9. Homi Bhabha The founder of the Indian nuclear programme, Bhabha developed the expression for the probability of scattering of positrons by electrons. In the iconic picture, clicked during an International Colloquium on Function Theory in 1960, he is seen with JRD Tata and Niels Bohr.

10. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Known as the ‘Culture Queen of India’, she worked to revive the languishing arts and crafts of the people by encouraging people to use local materials. And even today, nearly 30 million people are still getting employment due to the cottage industry.