13 Indians Who Won Nobel Prize and Made The Country Proud

Strong suits of India to the humankind!

Kavya Dharshini

Nov 23, 2020|8 min read


Mankind is the only race the earth has and is the universal fact. There cannot be any other community inferior or superior than this unless we create such circumstances. As of now, the world has come a very long way through enormous geographical changes, innumerable inventions and discoveries, bloodshed wars and harmonies, history to be cherished and future to be foreseen. 

In that way, humankind has been contributing to itself selflessly with their knowledge and deeds, in both good and bad ways. When such things get noticed, good deeds are honored and bad deeds are mended again with such contributions.

 The Nobel Prize is an initiative to honor such people with great intention to contribute to the world. This annual award ceremony finds people from all over the world with great achievements in the field of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Economic Sciences, Literature and Peace, gathered together. The awardee is rewarded with approximately US $986,000, a diploma and a medal. 

There are Indians who won Nobel Prizes in different categories and have made us proud. Here is the list of Indians who have won Nobel Prize since the british rule till the last year. 

The following are the list of Indians to win the Nobel Prize during the British rule.

1. Rabindranath Tagore for Literature in 1913

Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 to 7 August 1941) is the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for his incredible Literature contributions. He is well known as a Bengali poet but is a polymath with wider skills as a writer, a composer, a philosopher and a painter. 

The Gitanjali, the collection of his fresh poems, is an asset of his poetry skill in English which got him the Nobel Prize in Literature category. He is the first non - European and the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in literature.

He redefined music and Indian art with contextual modernism that took our culture to a level ahead. 

“When I go from hence, let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.” 

This is a glimpse of thoughtful words from Gitanjali.

2. C. V. Raman for Physics in 1930

Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (7 November 1888 to 21 November 1970) from Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India, excelled in light scattering phenomenon. In appreciation of his work on scattering of light, the light effect was named after him, called the “Raman effect”. He discovered that when traversing light passes through a transparent material, there is some change in the light’s direction with different wavelength and amplitude. For this work, he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1913. He was the first Asian and Indian to win a Nobel Prize in any Science field. 

He started his independent research on acoustics and optics in Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS). Later,  he established Raman Research Institute in 1948. He was honored with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna in 1954.

The upcoming Laureates of Nobel Prize were the citizens of India when they received the award. 

3. Mother Teresa for Peace in 1979

Mother Teresa or Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu (26 August 1910 to 5 September 1997) is an Albanian - Indian Roman Catholic nun designated as Saint Teresa in the Catholic church of Calcutta.  

She founded missionaries and Roman Catholic religious congregations providing homes to the people suffering from HIV, leprosy and tuberculosis. It had over 4500 nuns serving the congregations spread over 133 countries. 

She is well known for her limitless charity works. This is the reason why she was honored with highest peace awards including the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize in 1962 and the Nobel Prize for Peace. 

She is the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize in Peace category.

4. Amartya Sen for Economics in 1998

Amartya Kumar Sen (3 November 1933) is an economist of Indian origin and is the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize in the Economics field. His fields of work are welfare economics, social choice theory, development economics and so on. His contribution to economics is huge which include Human development theories - famine and public health.  

He has worked in the US and UK and is professor in esteemed Harvard University teaching Economy and Philosophy. 

For his contribution to Welfare Economics, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics as well as the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna in 1999.

5. Kailash Satyarthi for Peace in 2014

Kailash Satyarthi (born 11 January 1954) is an Indian to win the Nobel Prize in Peace field along with Malala Yousafzai. He is a social reformer whose works objected child labour in India and demanded education for all children.

He founded many activist organisations that includes Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Global March Against Child Labour, Global Campaign for Education and Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, which mainly focused on the reforms and development of children and society. 

He was featured as one of the “world’s Greatest Leaders” by Fortune magazine in 2015 and collaborated with international organisations such as the Centre of Victims of Torture (the US), International Labour Rights Fund (USA), etc. 

He has also received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1995 in recognition of his contribution to social reforms.

6. Rajendra K. Pachauri for Peace in 2007

Ranjedra K. Pachauri (20 August 1940 to 13 February 2020) was one of the Indian Nobel Peace award winners who contributed to solve the issues of man made climatic changes. He held the post of  chairperson of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), from 2002 to 2015. 

He was also the Former Chairman and Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

Rajendra K. Pachauri won the Nobel Prize award on behalf of IPCC during his reign as the chairperson. After this in 2008, he received the second-highest civilian award of India, the Padma Vibhushan.

The following are the Nobel Prize winners as Indian origin but as citizens of other countries.

7. Har Gobind Khorana for Physiology/Medicine in 1968

Har Gobind Khorana ( 9 January 1922 to 9 November 2011) was born as Indian during British rule which is Punjab, Pakistan in present day. He gained United States citizenship and worked in the University of Wisconsin-Madison from where he carried out the research on nucleotides in nucleic acids, along with his partners Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley. 

They together found the order of nucleotides in nucleic acids that carried genetic code and controlled the synthesis of proteins in the cell. 

He is an Indian-American to have won the Nobel Prize for Medicine along with the team members in 1968. Also, in 1987, he received the National Medal of Science awarded by the US President. 

8. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar for Physics in 1983

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (19 October 1910 to 21 August 1995) was, by origin, an Indian to win the Nobel Prize for Physics but later became a citizen of America. 

He is an astrophysicist and contributed to the study of astrology, especially in the physical processes in the structure and evolution of the stars. He laid the base by his mathematical treatment of stellar evolution that paved the way for further research on evolutionary stars and black holes. This deserved the Nobel Prize in the field of Physics for him, which was also shared with William A. Fowler. 

Apart from the study on stars, he also contributed to the white dwarfs, stellar dynamics, stochastic process, radiative transfer, the quantum theory on hydrogen anion, hydrodynamics and many more. 

He was the editor of The Astrophysical Journal during the period of 1952 - 1971. 

9. Venki Ramakrishnan for Chemistry in 2009

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (born 1952) from Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, whose parents are scientists, is an Indian to win the Nobel Prize in the Chemistry field for his contribution to the study of structure and functions of the ribosome. 

He is an Indian by origin and British - American citizen and holds the post of President of The Royal Society since 2015. He is a structural biologist and has worked as the group leader at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus as he has expertise in macromolecular crystallography. 

In 2009, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and in 2010, he received Padma Vibhushan.

10. Abhijit Banerjee for Economics in 2019

Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee (born 21 February 1961) is an Indian American to win the Nobel Prize in the field of Economics. He received this award for his contribution in the experimental approach to alleviate global poverty, shared with his wife Esther Duflo Michael Kremer. 

He is an economist and the co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and has held the presidency of the Bureau for the Research in the Economics Analysis of Development. He has served as a research affiliate and fellow mate in great international research institutes of Economics. 

At present, he is the Ford Foundation international professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The following list of people from other countries but were born or resided in India, when honored with the Nobel Prize.

11. Ronald Ross for Physiology/Medicine in 1902

Sir Ronald Ross (13 May 1857 to 16 September 1932) is a British by origin and an Indian born to win the Nobel Prize in the Medicine field. He contributed to the field of medicine having worked on the study of  how malaria transmitted from one to another, that is, it was found in the gastrointestinal tract of a mosquito. It laid the base for further research to nullify its spread and effects.

Ronald Ross was a medical doctor, amateur artist and natural mathematician. He served in the Indian Medical Service for about 25 years during which he discovered the malaria parasite. 

The Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases was established in recognition of his work and he held as the Director-in-Chief for the last days of his life.

12. Rudyard Kipling for Literature in 1907

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 to 18 January 1936) was born in India and is an inspiration that many of his works reflect. He is best known for his short stories and is endorsed by Henry James for his imaginative works, ideas of wonder and his style of narration of stories. 

Sir Rudyard is a English journalist, poet and novelist who has contributed fictions such as The Jungle Book, Kim and poems such as Mandalay, Gunga Din and so on. 

He won the Nobel Prize in the field of Literature in 1907 for his outstanding talent in arts and excellent creations in English Literature. He was the youngest, at 41, and the first English language writer to win the Nobel Prize.

13. Dalai Lama for Peace in 1989

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama (born 6 July 1935)  is the monk of  Tibetan Buddhism school. He is an Indian refugee to win the Nobel Prize for Peace for his contribution to solve the struggle of liberation of Tibet through peaceful resolution and also in part of tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi. 

He has shared a lot about welfare of Tibetans and social concerns such as environment, economics, women’s rights, interfaith dialogue, Physics and astronomy, Buddhism and Science and many more. 

He follows Mahatma’s footsteps influencing non-violence and was named as one of the Children of Mahatma Gandhi by Time magazine. 

All the above great icons of the world have made India proud through their enormous and intense contributions in various fields. Their passionate moves and rigid determination to lift the world up has succeeded and thus they deserve to be the Nobel Prize winners from India.

It's our duty to look up to them in carrying forward our passion looking forward to such recognitions and endorsements. 

Let us work hard to be the next generation Indians to win the Nobel Prize.

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Kavya Dharshini

I am an engineer and writer by passion. A writer finds no bounds and many reasons to ink a paper with words being powerful emotions. I am one among that kind to simply inspire all with my style of writing and ending up inspiring myself through every single work of mine.



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