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THE PATHBREAKERS • On our 75th Independence Day, we remember the titans who have helped us in the journey so far. In politics and in sports, in business and in literature, they have shown the way with their extraordinary deeds
MAHATMA TO THE WORLD M.K. GANDHI (1869–1948) • From crafting a unique idiom for India’s freedom struggle to striving for communal amity at any cost—including his life—the father of the Indian nation has left behind an enduring legacy for the world
NATION BUILDER JAWAHARLAL NEHRU (1889–1964) • As the country’s first prime minister, Nehru shaped India’s ‘tryst with destiny’, steeped in the socialist and secularist ideals of his time
The States Man SARDAR VALLABHBHAI PATEL (1875–1950) • His iron will the perfect foil for Nehru’s softer core, there was no one better than India’s Iron Man to forge an Indian Union out of fragmented princely states
SCRIPTING DEMOCRACY BHIMRAO RAMJI AMBEDKAR (1891–1956) • With doctorates in economics from both Columbia and LSE, Ambedkar set about providing a framework not just for Indian democracy but also for social reform. He remains a beacon for the Dalit movement
LADY COLOSSUS INDIRA GANDHI (1917–1984) • From being dubbed ‘goongi gudiya’ to being hailed as the ‘Iron Lady of India’, the country’s first and only woman prime minister displayed a rare decisiveness both on the national and international stage, even changing the geography of the subcontinent
LEADER OF PRINCIPLES MORARJI DESAI (1896–1995) • A Gandhian to the core, he was punctilious in his public life. He emerged as a symbol of opposition against autocratic impulses when he became prime minister of the country following the dark days of the Emergency
THE IDEOLOGUE DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA (1916–1968) • A lifelong RSS pracharak, editor of its mouthpiece Panchjanya and leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh for 15 years, Deendayal Upadhyaya’s ideals continue to inspire BJP ideology
THE FEDERALIST C.N. ANNADURAI (1909–1969) • An acclaimed writer and playwright, he founded a vibrant regional party in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on September 17, 1949, and used Tamil cinema for effective propaganda
Total Revolutionary JAYAPRAKASH NARAYAN (1902–1979) • The socialist icon who ensured that no leader, howsoever powerful, would ever dare to repeat a disastrous experiment like the Emergency
SOCIALIST BULWARK RAM MANOHAR LOHIA (1910–1967) • The Socialist Party that he founded in 1956 became the template for generations of Indian socialists
Eternal Lodestar MAULANA ABUL KALAM AZAD (1888–1958) • As India’s first education minister, he laid the pedagogic foundation of the country
THE EMPOWERER GOPINATH BORDOLOI (1890–1950) • The architect of Assam, and its first chief minister, Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi saved the northeast from going to East Pakistan
The Secularist SHEIKH ABDULLAH (1905–1982) • If Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India today, it is in a large measure due to him
Grassroots Champion JYOTI BASU (1914–2010) • The chief minister of West Bengal for 23 years and nearly prime minister, Left politics in India owes it...