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Ambedkar [formerly Ambavadekar], Bhimrao Ramji (1891–1956), politician, was born at Mhow in central India on 14 April 1891, the youngest of the fourteen children of Ramji Maloji Sakpal, a subahdar-major in the British Indian army and headmaster in a military school, and his wife, ...

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Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956) by unknown photographer © reserved; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Amir Chand [Omichund, Umichund] (d. 1758), merchant, was a major trading partner of the British in Bengal and deeply involved in the events that gave them political power there. Very little is known about his origins. He appears to have been a ...

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Angadi, Ayana Deva (1903–1993), journalist and arts promoter, was born on 12 March 1903 in the village of Jakanur, in the south Indian state of Mysore, the son of Veerayya Angadi and his wife, Kotawa. Mysore, ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, was a progressive princely state where education was highly valued. ...

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Bajpai, Sir Girja Shankar (1891–1954), administrator and politician in India, was born in Lucknow on 3 April 1891, the second of the three sons of Sir Seetla Prasad Bajpai, chief justice of Jaipur state, and his wife, Rukmini Shukla (d. 1945). Having won a science scholarship from ...

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Banerjea [Bandyopadhyay], Sir Surendranath (1848–1925), politician, the second child of Dr Durgacharan Banerjea, was born in Taltala, Calcutta, on 10 November 1848. Durgacharan, a disciple of David Hare, the philanthropist who helped him to get his medical education, was one of the most successful doctors in the city and a friend of the reformer ...

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Sir Surendranath Banerjea (1848–1925) by Johnston & Hoffmann © reserved

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Bhave, Vinoba (1895–1982), spiritual leader in India, was born Vinayak Narhari Bhave on 11 September 1895, the eldest of the five children (four brothers, one sister) of a Maharashtrian Brahman family in the village of Gagoda, Kolaba district, Bombay. His father, Narhari Shambhurao Bhave...

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Birla, Ghanshyamdas (1894–1983), businessman and politician in India, was born in the small village of Pilani in Rajputana, India, on 10 April 1894, the son of Raja Baldeodas Birla (c.1862–1957) and his wife, Yogeshwari Singhi (c.1863–1963). The Birlas were of the mercantile caste known as the ...

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Ghanshyamdas Birla (1894–1983) by unknown photographer courtesy The Harvill Press, London

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Bonnerjee, Woomes Chunder (1844–1906), lawyer and politician, was born on 29 December 1844 at his paternal grandfather's country house at Sonai, Kidderpore, Bengal, the second but eldest surviving son of Girish Chunder Bonnerjee (1823–1868), an attorney, and his wife, Saraswati Devi. The family were Hindu, Bengali Brahmans; they claimed descent from ...

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Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858–1937) by unknown photographer, 1930 © Classic Image / Alamy

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Bose, Sir Jagadish Chandra [Jagadis Chunder] (1858–1937), physicist and biologist, was born in the district of Vikrampur, close to Dacca, Bengal, India, on 30 November 1858, the son of Bhagaban Chandra Bose, deputy magistrate of neighbouring Faridpur, and his wife, Bamasundari. Though a Hindu, his father was one of the early members of the Western-influenced Hindu reform movement known as Brahmoism, along with his more traditionally Hindu wife....

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Bose, Subhas Chandra (1897–1945), Indian political leader, was born on 23 January 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa, the ninth child and sixth son of Janaki Nath Bose (1860–1934), a lawyer and government pleader, and his wife, Prabhabati, née Dey (1869–1944). They were high-caste Hindu Bengalis of the ...

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Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan (1910–1995), applied mathematician and astrophysicist, was born on 19 October 1910 in Lahore, India, the eldest of four sons and third of the ten children of C. Subrahmanyan Ayyar (1885–1960), assistant auditor to the Northwest Railways, and his wife, Sitalaksmi (1891–1931)...

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A. M. Clerke

revised by Anita McConnell

Chary, Chintamanny Ragoonatha (d. 1880), astronomer, was attached to the Madras observatory for nearly forty years, during seventeen of which he was first assistant. He took the majority of transit observations (some 38,000) for the star catalogue in progress from 1862, and was a prominent member of two expeditions fitted out to observe total eclipses of the sun from elsewhere in the region (18 August 1868, 11 December 1871)....

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Chaudhurani, Sarala Devi (1872–1945), political activist and campaigner for women's rights in India, was born on 9 September 1872 at Jorasanko, Calcutta, the younger daughter and youngest of the three children of Janakinath Ghosal (1840–1913), son of a local zamindar of Krishnanagar, and a supporter of the ...

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Niladri Ranjan Chatterjee

Chaudhuri, Nirad Chandra (1897–1999), writer, was born on 23 November 1897 in Kishoregunj, in the district of Mymensingh, East Bengal, India (now in Bangladesh), the second of eight children of Upendra Narayan Chaudhuri (1867–1934), a lawyer, and his wife, Sushila Sundarani Chaudhurani...

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Chauhan [née Singh], Subhadra Kumari (1904–1948), poet, short-story writer, and political activist in India, was born on 16 August 1904 in Nihalpur, near Allahabad, United Provinces, India, the third of four daughters and sixth of seven children of Ramnath Singh, building contractor, and his wife, ...

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Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish (1877–1947), art historian, was born on 22 August 1877 in Colombo, Ceylon, the only child of Sir Mutu Coomaraswamy (1834–1879), barrister, politician, and scholar of Buddhism and Hinduism, and his wife, Elizabeth Clay Beeby, the elder daughter of William John Beeby...