Keshav Desiraju

N. Krishnan

Ajoy Bhagchi

Bilkees Latif

Bilkees Idrees Latif was an Indian social worker and writer from Telangana, known for her work in the slums of India. She is the author of several articles and five books, including Essential Andhra Cookbook, Fragrance of Forgotten Years and The Ladder of His Life : Biography of Air Chief Marshal Idris Latif. The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2009, for her contributions to society.

She is known to have worked for the upliftment of the poor in Dharavi, the largest slum in the world and her experiences there have been documented in one of her books, O Dharavi. Her first book, Essential Andhra Cookbook, is a study of the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh, which was followed by Fragrance of Forgotten Years, an autobiographical account of her early years, published in 2010. The same year, she published another book, Forgotten, which narrates the lives of a six notable women from Indian history. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2009 for her services in the Mumbai slums.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan

Kapila Vatsyayan (born 25 December 1928) is a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history. She was formerly a member of parliament and bureaucrat in India, and served as the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.

In 1970, Vatsyayan received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s national academy for music, dance and drama; this was followed by the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in the fine arts conferred by Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s national academy for fine arts in 1995. In 2011, the Government of India bestowed upon her the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour.

Vatsyayan is the author of many books, including The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts, Bharata: The Natya Sastra, and Matralaksanam.

In 1987, she became the founder trustee and member secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (Indira Kalakendra), India’s premier arts organisation, in Delhi. Thereafter, in 1993, she was made its academic director, a post she held until 2000, when she was retired by a BJP-led centre-right government. In 2005, when an Indian National Congress-led centre-left government returned to power, she was made the chairperson of the institution. She also served as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Education, where she was responsible for the establishment of a large number of national institutions of higher education. She is the chairperson of the Asia Project at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

She was nominated as a member of the Upper House of Parliament of India, the Rajya Sabha in 2006, though subsequently in March 2006, she resigned following an office of profit controversy. In April 2007, she was renominated to the Rajya Sabha, with a term expiring in February 2012.

Vatsyayan received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1970. In the same year she was awarded a fellowship from the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund to survey cultural institutions and contemporary art developments in the United States and Indonesia. She was awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1975. In 1992 the Asian Cultural Council honoured her with the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award for outstanding professional achievement and her significant contribution to the international understanding, practice, and study of dance and art history in India. In 1998, she received the “Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research” award, given by Congress on Research in Dance (CORD). In 2000, she was a recipient of Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award and in 2011, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India.

Courtesy: Wikipedia 


Malini Parthasarathy

Malini Parthasarathy is an Indian journalist, who was formerly editor of The Hindu and is currently the co-chairperson of The Hindu Group’s Publishing Company, THG Publishing Private Limited, formed from the de-merger of Kasturi & Sons Limited’s publishing business. [1]. Parthasarathy replaced N. Ravi for the position of editor. She resigned from the post on January 5, 2016.[2]

Parthasarathy completed a Ph.D. in 2008 from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has an M.S. in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. in history from Stella Maris College in Chennai. After graduating from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she took up various roles in reporting, editorial with The Hindu and served as executive editor of the newspaper until June 20, 2011. Parthasarathy became the editor of the paper on 21 October 2013.[3] She was also director of The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy.[4][5]

During her tenure as the editor of the newspaper, she launched the Mumbai edition of The Hindu on November 28, 2015.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

M.S. Swaminathan

Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan (born 7 August 1925) is an Indian geneticist and international administrator, renowned for his leading role in India’s Green Revolution a program under which high-yield varieties of wheat and rice seedlings were planted in the fields of poor farmers. Swaminathan is known as “Indian Father of Green Revolution” for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. He is the founder and chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. His stated vision is to rid the world of hunger and poverty. Swaminathan is an advocate of moving India to sustainable development, especially using environmentally sustainable agriculture, sustainable food security and the preservation of biodiversity, which he calls an “evergreen revolution.”

From 1972 to 1979 he was director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. He was Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture from 1979 to 1980. He served as Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (1982–88) and became president of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 1988.

In 1999, Time magazine placed him in the ‘Time 20’ list of most influential Asian people of the 20th century.

Swaminathan has worked worldwide in collaboration with colleagues and students on a wide range of problems in basic and applied plant breeding, agricultural research and development and the conservation of natural resources.

His professional career began in 1949:

  • 1949–55 – Research on potato (Solanum tuberosum), wheat (Triticum aestivum), rice (Oryza sativa), and jute genetics.
  • 1955–72 – Field research on Mexican dwarf wheat varieties. Teach Cytogenetics, Radiation Genetics, and Mutation Breeding and build up the wheat and rice germplasm collections at Indian Agricultural Research Institute IARI.
  • 1972–79 – Director-General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), established the National Bureau of Plant, Animal, and Fish Genetic Resources of India.
    Established the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (changed in 2006 to Bioversity International).
  • 1979–80 – Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, Transformed the Pre-investment Forest Survey Programme into the Forest Survey of India.
  • 1981–85 – Independent chairman, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council, Rome, played a significant role in establishing the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.
  • 1983 – Developed the concept of Farmers’ Rights and the text of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (IUPGR).President of the International Congress of Genetics.
  • 1982–88 – Director General, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), organised the International Rice Germplasm Centre, now named International Rice Genebank.
  • 1984–90 – President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources IUCN, develop the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD.
  • 1986–99 – Chairman of the editorial advisory board, World Resources Institute, Washington, D. C., conceived and produced the first “World Resources Report.”
  • 1988–91 – Chairman of the International Steering Committee of the Keystone International Dialogue on Plant Genetic Resources,[17] regarding the availability, use, exchange and protection of plant germplasm.
  • 1991–1995 – Member, Governing Board, Auroville Foundation
  • 1988–96 – President, World Wide Fund for Nature–India WWF, Organized the Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring Centre.Organize the Community Biodiversity Conservation Programme.
  • 1988–99 – Chairman/Trustee, Commonwealth Secretariat Expert Group, organised the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, for the sustainable and equitable management of tropical rainforests in Guyana. The President of Guyana wrote in 1994 “there would have been no Iwokrama without Swaminathan.
  • 1990–93 – Founder/President, International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME)
  • 1988–98 – Chaired various committees of the Government of India to prepare draft legislations relating to biodiversity (Biodiversity Act) and breeders’ and farmers’ rights (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act).
  • in 1993 Dr M. S. Swaminathan, headed an expert group to prepare a draft of a national population policy that would be discussed by the Cabinet and then by Parliament. In 1994 it submitted its report.
  • 1994 – Chairman of the Commission on Genetic Diversity of the World Humanity Action Trust. Established a Technical Resource Centre at MSSRF for the implementation of equity provisions of CBD and FAO’s Farmers’ Rights.
  • 1994 onwards – Chairman of the Genetic Resources Policy Committee (GRPC) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), development of policies for the management of the ex situ collections of International Agricultural Research Centers.
  • 1995–1999 chairman, Auroville Foundation
  • 1999 – Introduced the concept of trusteeship management of Biosphere reserves. Implemented the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust, with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • 2001 – Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee for the India – Bangladesh joint Project on Biodiversity Management in the Sundarbans World Heritage Site, funded by the UN Foundation and UNDP.
  • 2002 – President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs which work towards reducing the danger of armed conflict and to seek solutions to global security threats.
  • 2002 – 2005 – Co-chairman with Pedro Sanchezof the UN Millennium Task Force on Hunger, a comprehensive global action plan for fighting poverty, disease and environmental degradation in developing countries.
  • 2004 – 2014 – Chairman, National Commission on Farmers.
  • Over 68 students have done their PhD thesis work under his guidance.

On the occasion of the presentation of the First World Food Prize to Swaminathan in October 1987, Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary General of the United Nations, wrote: “Dr. Swaminathan is a living legend. His contributions to Agricultural Science have made an indelible mark on food production in India and elsewhere in the developing world. By any standards, he will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction.”

Swaminathan has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as “the Father of Economic Ecology.”

He was one of three from India included in Time magazine’s 1999 list of the “20 most influential Asian people of the 20th century,” the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

Swaminathan was the featured speaker at the 2006 Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on, 19 October 2006. He was sponsored by Humanities Iowa, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Swaminathan presented the “Third Annual Governor’s Lecture” and spoke on “THE GREEN REVOLUTION REDUX: Can we replicate the single greatest period of food production in all human history?” about the cultural and social foundations of the Green Revolution in India and the role of historic leaders in India, such as Mahatma Gandhi, in inspiring the Green Revolution there by calling for the alleviation of widespread hunger. He talked about the links between Gandhi and the great Iowa scientist George Washington Carver.

Swaminathan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Italian Academy of Sciences.

Courtesy : Wikipedia

Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb

Gajapati Maharaja Dibyasingha Deb is a King of Puri. Gajapati Maharaj is the “adhyasevak”(treated as the first and foremost Servitor) of Lord Jagannath. The “adhyasevak” of Lord Jagannath is also identified as the Thakur Raja of Puri. According to some customs he is also considered to be the living reflection of the Lord. He is the chairman of the Shri Jagannath Temple Managing Committee. Dibyasingha Deb ascended the throne in the year 1970 after the death of his father the then Maharaja of Puri, Gajapati Birakishore Deb at the age of 17. Gajapati Maharaja before taking the titular name of Dibyasingha Deb was named Jenamani Kamarnab Deb.

Amit Khare

Amit Khare (born 1961) is an Indian Administrative Service officer (1985 batch) from Bihar cadre. He is noted for his role in bringing to light the Fodder scam, in which Rs. 940 crores were embezzled in Bihar over many years, and successive chief ministers Jagannath Mishra and Lalu Yadav have been imprisoned.

In late 1995, Bihar was in a financial crunch. The then charismatic yet ‘native’ leader Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Chief Minister of undivided Bihar, where the then finance commissioner VS Dubey stumbled upon the financial irregularities of massive scale .In December 1995, Dubey was, as part of his job, reviewing the performance of various departments. He found that money was withdrawn in excess of the allocation by some of the department. Khare, who was then District Magistrate at Chaibasa, noted that the district animal husbandry department had withdrawn Rs 10 crore and Rs 9 crore twice without giving any details. Even when questioned, there was no response from the animal husbandry department. Finally, in January 1996,Khare visited the office to investigate, and found it looking as if “someone had tried to destroy files in a hurry”. Many bogus bills were for amounts just under Rs. 10 lakhs (when there are more stringent authorization norms). It seemed that such payments had been going on for years. The next day, simultaneous raids conducted at Ranchi and elsewhere found similar practices. This was the first evidence of the scam, which gathered momentum after regional CBI director U. N. Biswas defied political pressures to pursue the case up to the chief minister level. Those convicted include the preceding DM of Chaibasa, IAS officer Sajal Chakraborty.

Khare has interests in Education and has served the State Elementary education secretary for several terms, and has also worked at the Ministry of Human Resource Development at the center. He has also served as principal secretary to Jharkhand governor Ved Marwah, and as Collector and DM, Patna. He is now posted as Principal Secretary (Finance), Government of Jharkhand, Ranchi.

Yogendra Tripathi