The Nobel Prize is a set of annual, international awards bestowed for outstanding contributions for humanity in Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics and Philosophy or medicine. Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer and industrialist established the five awards in his will in 1895; however they were first awarded in 1901. The Nobel Prize is considered to be the most prestigious award in the respective fields.
Between 1901 and 2018, 590 prizes have been awarded to 935 laureates, each of who receive a medal, a diploma and a cash prize decided by the Nobel Foundation. Among the recipients are 12 Indians- 5 permanent residents, 3 of Indian origin and 4 foreigners who were born in India and were residents here when they became recipients.
Indian Nobel Laureates
In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian and Asian to receive the Nobel Prize for his contributions to Literature. His works in Literature were appreciated and cherished by people all over the world. He was able to establish his place in the world of Literature in the West. In an interesting turn of events, Tagore’s Nobel Prize was stolen from the safety vault of the Visva-Bharati University on March 25, 2004. The Swedish Academy decided to present two replicas of the award, one made of gold and the other made of bronze to the university.
Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman was an Indian Physicist who was honored with the Nobel Prize in the field of Physics for his work on Scattering of Light and for the discovery of the “Raman Effect” in 1930.
Mother Teresa, a name synonymous to humility and humanity, received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for Peace. Her work in Calcutta, struggling to overcome poverty and distress made her deserving of the grand award. She is the only Indian female to be a recipient of this prestigious title.
In 1998, Amartya Sen was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his exemplary contributions to welfare economics.
Kailash Satyarthi received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2014 for his struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. He is the founder of a number of well known welfare organizations for children.
Nobel Laureates of Indian Origin
Har Gobind Khorana, a resident of the United States was born in Raipur in British India. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Philosophy or Medicine for his contributions to the interpretation of genetic code and its function in protein synthesis in 1968.
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, born in Lahore in British India, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983. His theoretical study on the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars made him worthy of the award along with William A. Fowler.
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a UK/US resident was born in Chidambaram was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2009 for his work on the structure and function of Ribosome.
Nobel Laureates with Indian Linkages
Ronald Ross, born in Almora in British India was a resident of the United Kingdom. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Philosophy or Medicine for his work on the lifecycle of malaria parasites in birds in the year 1902.
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay in British India; however he was a resident of the United Kingdom. In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his power of observation, originality of imagination, his virility of ideas and his notable talent for narration. This gave him the title of a world-famous author.
The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989. His consistent resistance to the use of violence for liberation of his people made him worthy of the award. He was born in Tibet; however, he was a resident of India.
In 2001, Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Born in Trinidad, a resident of the United Kingdom, he was an exceptional novelist, travel writer and essayist. Through his works, he was able to highlight the suppressed histories and his principled scrutiny made it even more compelling.
The Nobel Prize holds a distinct place all by itself. The exemplary work that has been done by people in their respective fields fetches them this honorary title.
Abhijit Banerjee, a US resident, born in Kolkata, is being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his experimental approach to alleviate global poverty on 10th of December, 2019.
Indians should aspire to see their name in the list of Nobel Laureates one day!