Indian Nobel Laureates

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Dec 10, 2014, 09:41 AM IST

Starting from 1913, when Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian to be honoured with a Nobel, eight Indians have been honoured with the prestigious prize, Kailash Satyarthi being the latest this year.

Out of 8 Nobel Prizes that Indians have been awarded, there are two peace prizes, two Physics Nobel Prizes, and one each in the field of Medicine, Literature and Chemistry.

1. Rabindranath Tagore

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian ever to get this award for his collection of his poems named “Geetanjali” that featured “profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”.

A marvellous Indian poet and writer, tagore in his acceptance speech, he said, "I beg to convey to the Swedish Academy my grateful appreciation of the breadth of understanding which has brought the distant near, and has made a stranger a brother."

2. Sir CV Raman

Chandra Shekar Venkata Raman was an Indian scientist, physicist who was awarded Nobel Prize of Physics in 1930 for his work on the scattering of light and discovery of an effect that was named after him - “Raman Effect”.

Sir CV Raman in his Nobel lecture, said he was fascinated and inspired by the "wonderful blue opalescence of the Mediterranean Sea", in 1921 during a trip to Europe.

3. Dr Hargobind Khorana

The only Indian Nobel Medicine Laureate, Dr. Hargobind Khorana was a Doctorate in Chemistry. He was awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1968 alongwith Marshall W Nirenberg and Robert W Holley for his study of the Human Genetic Code and its role in Protein Synthesis

4. Mother Teresa

Born as Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxiu in Yugoslavia, Mother Teresa became an Indian citizen later and was awarded Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 for her commendable service towards healing the poor and diseases. Her Charitable Mission “Nirmal Hriday” at Calcutta served poor and those suffering from Leprosy.

In her Nobel lecture, she said, "We must give each other until it hurts. It is not enough for us to say: I love God, but I do not love my neighbour."

5. Dr Subramanian Chandrashekar

Indian Astro-Physicist Dr. Subramanian Chandrashekar was awarded Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983 along with William A Fowler for their mathematical theory of black holes. Chandrasekhar was awarded for his theory on white dwarf stars’ limitation named after him as “Chandrasekhar limit”.

6. Dr Amartya Sen

Dr Amartya Sen, an Indian Professor in Economics was awarded Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 for his work in Economic Theory related to Poverty, Democracy, Development and Social Welfare.

Beginning his speech with a "silly thought", he said, "economists too can learn from the kind of open minded reasoning employed by Tagore and Chandrasekhar".

7. Dr Venkataraman Ramakrishnan

An Indo-American scientist, Dr Venkataraman Ramakrishnan shared Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the year 2009, along with Thomas Steitz (of US) and Ada Yonath of Israel for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

8. Kailash Satyarthi

An Indian children's rights activist, who has devoted more than two decades of his life towards emancipation of children mired in slavery and bonded labour, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this year 2014. He shares the award with Pakistani gir child education activist Malala Yousufzai.

Satyarthi's organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, has freed over thousands of children from various forms of labour and slavery.

9. VS Naipaul

Trinidadian-born Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was a British Writer of Indian origin who was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.

10. Mahatma Gandhi – “Greatest omission in Nobel history”

Apostle of peace and non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi who steered India towards independence from British colonial rule, is widely regarded as the greatest omission in the list of Nobel laureates. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize thrice (in 1937–39, 1947 and just a few days before his assassination in January 1948.), but Gandhi was never chosen for the award.

What best summarises Gandhi's conspicuous absence from the list of Nobel laureates is a speech by Geir Lundestad, Secretary of Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2006.

He said, "The greatest omission in our 106 year history is undoubtedly that Mahatma Gandhi never received the Nobel Peace prize. Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question".

-Compiled by Supriya Jha