Open main menu

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was voted the "Greatest Indian"

The Greatest Indian was a poll sponsored by Reliance Mobile and conducted by Outlook magazine, in partnership with CNN-IBN and The History Channel. The poll was conducted from June to August 2012, with the winner, Babasaheb B. R. Ambedkar, announced on 11 August. A program associated with the poll aired from 4 June until 15 August.[1]

Unlike other editions of Greatest Britons spin-offs, The Greatest Indian did not include people from all time periods of history. Two reasons were given for this choice. The first was that "the pre-independence history of India is dominated by Mahatma Gandhi and it is impossible for anyone to come close to the Father of the Nation when it comes to Leadership, Impact and Contribution. [...] The panel of experts felt that if Gandhiji were to be included in the list, there would be no competition for title of The Greatest Indian".[2] Secondly, The Greatest Indian chose to focus on India as a modern nation: "India today is unrecongnizable from the India that got independence in 1947. This nation has achieved this stature in the world thanks to contribution from millions of Indians. This is an effort to recognise one who has made the maximum contribution and impact in the surge of independent India".[2]


Nominations and voting processEdit

A list of 100 names was presented to and compiled by a 28-member jury composed of actors, writers, sportspersons, entrepreneurs, and men and women of distinction in their fields.[3] This jury included N. Ram (former Editor-In-Chief of The Hindu), Vinod Mehta (Editor-in-Chief of Outlook), Soli Sorabjee (Former Attorney General of India), Sharmila Tagore (Bollywood actress and former Chairperson of the Censor Board of India), Harsha Bhogle (sports), Chetan Bhagat (author),[4] Ramachandra Guha (historian),[3] Shashi Tharoor (politician and author), Nandan Nilekani, Rajkumar Hirani, Shabana Azmi and Arun Jaitley.[5] They finalized a list of the top 50 nominees, which was released to the public on 4 June 2012, by CNN-IBN Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai. A three-way process was then used to assess a top ten, in which equal weight was given to the votes of the jury, an online poll, and a market survey conducted by the Nielsen Company.[3] 7,129,050 people participated in this phase of the online poll.[6] Public voting was conducted from 4 June to 25 June,[1] with the final top ten were announced on 3 July.[7] A second round of voting followed, using the same method as the first, lasting from 1 July to 1 August.[1] Individuals were able to cast votes either by visiting or by calling a unique number given to each of the nominees.[7] Nearly 20,000,000 people voted in this round of the survey.[8] The announcement of the winner was made on 11 August,[9] with a special finale, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan and featuring other Indian celebrities, airing on 14 and 15 August (Independence Day (India)).[10]

Top ten nomineesEdit

List of original fifty nomineesEdit

Of 50 nominees, 15 have received the Bharat Ratna and 6 are women. The oldest living nominees at the time of the poll were Ravi Shankar (92), M. S. Swaminathan (87) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (88), while Sachin Tendulkar (39) was the youngest.[12]

  1. Babasaheb Ambedkar (1891-1956) Indian polymath, father of Indian Constitution
  2. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1931-2015) 11th President of India and Scientist
  3. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) 1st Prime Minister of India
  4. Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) social reformer
  5. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1924-2018) 10th Prime Minister of India
  6. Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950) First Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India
  7. Kanshi Ram (1934-2006) Founder and National president of the Bahujan Samaj Party
  8. Ram Manohar Lohia (1910-1967) Socialist leader
  9. C. Rajagopalachari (1878-1972) First Indian Governor-General of India
  10. Sam Manekshaw (1914-2008) Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army
  11. Baba Amte (1914-2008) social worker
  12. Mother Teresa (1910-1997) nun and missionary
  13. Ela Bhatt (1933-) founder Self-Employed Women's Association of India
  14. Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982) advocate of nonviolence
  15. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (1903-1988) freedom fighter
  16. Ravi Shankar (1920-2012) musician
  17. M. S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2004) Carnatic vocalist
  18. M. F. Husain (1915-2011) painter
  19. Bismillah Khan (1916-2006) musician
  20. R. K. Narayan (1906-2001) writer
  21. R K Laxman (1921-2015) cartoonist, illustrator, and humorist
  22. B. K. S. Iyengar (1918-2014) founder of Iyengar Yoga
  23. Amitabh Bachchan (1942-) film actor
  24. Raj Kapoor (1924-1988) director of Hindi cinema
  25. Kamal Hasan (1954-) actor, director
  26. Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) filmmaker
  27. Lata Mangeshkar (1929-) playback singer
  28. A. R. Rahman (1967-) composer and philanthropist
  29. Kishore Kumar (1929-1987) film playback singer
  30. Dilip Kumar (1922-) actor, producer and activist
  31. Dev Anand (1923-2011) producer and actor
  32. Mohammad Rafi (1924-1980) singer
  33. Homi Bhabha (1909-1966) nuclear physicist
  34. Dhirubhai Ambani (1932-2002) business tycoon, founder of Reliance Industries
  35. Verghese Kurien (1921-2012) social entrepreneur
  36. Ghanshyam Das Birla (1894-1983) businessman
  37. J. R. D. Tata (1904-1993) aviator
  38. N. R. Narayana Murthy (1946-) IT industrialist
  39. Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971) scientist
  40. M. S. Swaminathan (1925-) geneticist
  41. Ramnath Goenka (1904-1991) newspaper publisher
  42. Amartya Sen (1933-) philosopher and economist
  43. E. Sreedharan (1932-) civil engineer
  44. Sachin Tendulkar (1973-) cricketer
  45. Kapil Dev (1959-) cricketer
  46. Sunil Gavaskar (1949-) cricketer
  47. Dhyan Chand (1905-1979) hockey player
  48. Viswanathan Anand (1969-) chess Grandmaster
  49. Milkha Singh (1935-) field sprinter
  50. Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) 3rd Prime Minister of India


Babasaheb Ambedkar was generally approved of as the greatest Indian, with several prominent scholars writing articles congratulating him, including Ramachandra Guha[3] and S. Anand.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "The Greatest Indian: Terms of Use". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The Greatest Indian: FAQ". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Hindu, 21 July 2012: Indians great, greater, greatest?". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Indian Television, 18 May 2012: History TV18, CNN IBN name jury members for 'The Greatest Indian'". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  5. ^ ", 5 June 2012: Now vote for 'The Greatest Indian'". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  6. ^ "India Info Online, 3 July 2012: HISTORY TV18 & CNN IBN reveals names of 'The Greatest Indian'". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Outlook, 11 June 2012: The Greatest Indian After Gandhi". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  8. ^ "The Hindu Business Line, 14 August 2012: Ambedkar voted "Greatest Indian" in poll". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Asian Human Rights Commission, 16 August 2012: INDIA: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar -- the greatest Indian". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Indian Television, 13 August 2012: 'Dr. B R Ambedkar is 'The Greatest Indian after the Mahatma'". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  11. ^ "A Measure Of The Man". Outlook. 20 August 2012.
  12. ^ List of 50 Nominees for the Greatest Indian
  13. ^ "Outlook, 20 August 2012: A Case For Bhim Rajya". Retrieved 3 March 2013.

External linksEdit