Just The Facts

The Nobels of India

How many Indian Nobel Laureates have there been since 1901?

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  • The first Indian Nobel prize laureate was poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1913.
  • Mother Teresa won the Peace Prize for work undertaken to overcome poverty in the slums of Calcutta.
  • Economist Amartya Sen won the Economic Prize in 1998 for his contributions to welfare economics.

1. India has had five Nobel Laureates across all categories since 1901.

2. In addition to two Peace Prizes and the Literature Prize, Indians have brought home the Economics Prize and the Physics Prize.

3. The first Indian recipient was poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was awarded the Literature Prize just over a century ago, in 1913.

4. Tagore, a prominent anti-imperialist figure, received his Nobel after his poetry collection Gitanjali was translated.

5. Tagore was the first Nobel Laureate from outside Europe or North America for any category.

6. India’s most recent recipient was Kailash Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai (who had survived a Taliban assassination attempt as a teenaged local education advocate).

7. Kailash Satyarthi has been fighting for decades to keep India’s children in schools and out of the workforce. He has also helped develop international conventions on children’s rights.

8. India’s most famous laureate is Mother Teresa. An ethnic Albanian nun born in what is today Skopje, Macedonia, she became an Indian citizen in 1948.

9. Mother Teresa was awarded the Peace Prize in 1979 for her aid work on behalf of poor people in the slums of Calcutta.

10. Economist Amartya Sen won the Economic Prize in 1998 “for his contributions to welfare economics.”

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, Encyclopedia Britannica online and NobelPrize.org, the official website of the Nobel Prize.

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