Aryabhatta, Asvagosha, Asoka the Great, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Attlee, Clement Richard

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Aryabhatta

Aryabhatta is a celebrated Indian astronomer and mathematician who adorned the court of Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya. India’s first satellite was christened after him. He laid the foundation of Algebra and was responsible for pointing out the importance of “zero”.

Asvagosha

He was a great Buddhist scholar. He adorned the court of Kanishka. A great council was convened about 102 A.D. by Kanishka for codifying the new doctrines of Mahayanism. Asvagosha was the President of the Council. The commentary known as “Mahavibasha” was inscribed in copper plates and enclosed in stone boxes.

Asoka the Great

Asoka, the most famous king of the Maurya Dynasty, was one of the greatest kings of the world. He was generally known as “Devanampriya” which means Beloved of the Gods and “Priyadasi” which means of pleasing appearance. The most important event of his reign was the war with Kalinga. The horrors of Kalinga War moved him deeply. He gave up military conquests. Thereafter, he evolved a policy of Dharmavijaya, conquest by pity. Asoka was a Buddhist by faith and wanted to make Buddhism a world religion. He got the principles of Buddhism inscribed on rocks and pillars, these pillars; one at Sarnath was the most magnificent. The National Emblem of our Government is taken from this design. The late historian, H.G.Wells regards Asoka as the greatest Monarch in history.

Atal Behari Vajpayee

The first Indian Prime Minister to reach Wagah border by bus in a bold initiative of peace with Pakistan. The bus ride to Wagah and his historic visit to Lahore were hailed all over the world as a new chapter in the relations between India and Pakistan.

Attlee, Clement Richard

He was the Labour Prime Minister of England between 1945-51. His works include an autobiography. During his period, he deputed Lord Louis Mountbatten to India for the settlement of Indian Independence.

Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb was the last of the great Mughal emperors. He ascended the throne with the title of Alamgir, conqueror of the world. The French Physician Bernier visited the court of Aurangzeb. During his reign, the Marathas became strong in the Deccan. Shivaji the Maratha Chief defeated Shaista Khan sent by Aurangzeb. Jats proved a menace to the Mughal Empire. The Sikhs under the Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Guru protested against the anti- Hindu policy of Aurangzeb, so Guru Tegh Bahadur had to suffer martyrdom. Aurangzeb imposed Jaziya tax on Hindus. The Rajputs also became enemies to Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb’s private life was ideally simple. He thought it a sin to use a pie for his own use out of the Government Treasury and earned his living by making caps and copies of the Quaran. He simply hated music and banished it from his court. Aurangzeb could not crush the supremacy of the Marathas, Tarabai, a very intelligent and gallant lady took the leadership and continued the struggle successfully. Aurangzeb completely reversed the religious policy of Akbar and incurred the downfall of Mughal Rule.

Aurobindo Ghosh

He was a brilliant scholar and a revolutionary member of the Congress. He spread the spirit of Nationalism through his forceful writings and speeches. He was the editor of “Vande Mataram”. He took active part in the agitations held against the partition of Bengal in 1905 introduced by Lord Curzon. The British Government involved him in the famous Alipore Conspiracy Case. Later, he gave up Politics and came away to Pondicherry to lead a spiritual life. He established Ashram in Pondicherry. He wrote essays on Gita and Savitiri, Life Divine, etc.

Babar

He was the first of the great Mughal Emperors of Hindustan. His full name was Zahir-ud-din Muhammed Babar. Babar was descended from Timur on his father’s side and from Changhis Khan on his mother’s side. The first Battle of Panipat 1526 fought between Babar and Ibrahim Lodi made Babar the master of the Empire of Delhi. The Battle of Kanwaha (1527), the Battle of Gogra (1529) made the master of nearly the whole of North India. Babar wrote his own autobiography entitled “Tuzk-i- Babri”. He laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire.

Baba Amte

Indian social worker known for his work among leprosy patients. Established Anand Van, a colony for leprosy patients, near Nagpur. Founder of Knit India Movement. Recipient of first G.D. Birla International Award for outstanding contributions to humanity. Also, winner of Templeton, Ramon Magsaysay and UN Right Livelihood Awards. Awarded 1999 Gandhi Peace Prize for his exemplary work for treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients and his concept of the “Shramik Vidyapeeth”.

Bairam Khan

He was Akbar’s uncle, also served as his tutor and guardian. He also won the Delhi throne for Akbar.

Balasaraswathi T

The noted exponent of Bharatanatyam and Choreographer, she was the first recipient of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award for Bharatanatyam in 1955.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak called ‘Lokmanya’ was one of the great leaders of India’s struggle for freedom. He was born in Maharashtra. He founded the Deccan Education Society to spread education and national spirit among the people. He started the “Maratha” a Marathi daily. Through this news paper, he spread patriotism and nationalism. He strongly protested against the partition of Bengal in 1905. He was the leader of the extremists in the Indian National Congress. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment and kept at Mandalay. It was Tilak who uttered “Swarajya is my birth right; I and I will have it”.

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