The Most Famous

WRITERS from India

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This page contains a list of the greatest Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,755 Writers, 105 of which were born in India. This makes India the birth place of the 10th most number of Writers behind Turkey and Poland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Writers of all time. This list of famous Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Writers.

Photo of George Orwell

1. George Orwell (1903 - 1950)

With an HPI of 81.47, George Orwell is the most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 131 different languages on wikipedia.

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is characterised by lucid prose, social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and support of democratic socialism.Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working-class life in the industrial north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences soldiering for the Republican faction of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), are as critically respected as his essays on politics and literature, language and culture. Blair was born in India, and raised and educated in England. After school he became an Imperial policeman in Burma, before returning to Suffolk, England, where he began his writing career as George Orwell—a name inspired by a favourite location, the River Orwell. He lived from occasional pieces of journalism, and also worked as a teacher or bookseller whilst living in London. From the late 1920s to the early 1930s, his success as a writer grew and his first books were published. He was wounded fighting in the Spanish Civil War, leading to his first period of ill health on return to England. During the Second World War he worked as a journalist and for the BBC. The publication of Animal Farm led to fame during his life-time. During the final years of his life he worked on Nineteen Eighty-Four, and moved between Jura in Scotland and London. It was published in June 1949, less than a year before his death. Orwell's work remains influential in popular culture and in political culture, and the adjective "Orwellian"—describing totalitarian and authoritarian social practices—is part of the English language, like many of his neologisms, such as "Big Brother", "Thought Police", "Room 101", "Newspeak", "memory hole", "doublethink", and "thoughtcrime". In 2008, The Times ranked George Orwell second among "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

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2. Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)

With an HPI of 79.04, Rabindranath Tagore is the 2nd most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 152 different languages.

Rabindranath Tagore ( (listen); Bengali: রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর; 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) was a Bengali polymath who worked as a poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer and painter. He reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful" poetry of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European and the first lyricist to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He was a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Referred to as "the Bard of Bengal", Tagore was known by sobriquets: Gurudev, Kobiguru, Biswakobi.A Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta with ancestral gentry roots in Burdwan district and Jessore, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha ("Sun Lion"), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. By 1877 he graduated to his first short stories and dramas, published under his real name. As a humanist, universalist, internationalist, and ardent critic of nationalism, he denounced the British Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy also endures in his founding of Visva-Bharati University.Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced) and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India's "Jana Gana Mana" and Bangladesh's "Amar Shonar Bangla". The Sri Lankan national anthem was inspired by his work.

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3. Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)

With an HPI of 74.83, Rudyard Kipling is the 3rd most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 112 different languages.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( RUD-yərd; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist. He was born in British India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling's works of fiction include the Jungle Book dilogy (The Jungle Book, 1894; The Second Jungle Book, 1895), Kim (1901), the Just So Stories (1902) and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include "Mandalay" (1890), "Gunga Din" (1890), "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" (1919), "The White Man's Burden" (1899), and "If—" (1910). He is seen as an innovator in the art of the short story. His children's books are classics; one critic noted "a versatile and luminous narrative gift."Kipling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was among the United Kingdom's most popular writers. Henry James said "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius, as distinct from fine intelligence, that I have ever known." In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, as the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and at 41, its youngest recipient to date. He was also sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and several times for a knighthood, but declined both. Following his death in 1936, his ashes were interred at Poets' Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey. Kipling's subsequent reputation has changed with the political and social climate of the age. The contrasting views of him continued for much of the 20th century. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: "[Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with."

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4. Kālidāsa (400 - 420)

With an HPI of 74.42, Kālidāsa is the 4th most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 126 different languages.

Kālidāsa (fl. 4th–5th century CE) was a Classical Sanskrit author who is often considered ancient India's greatest poet and playwright. His plays and poetry are primarily based on the Vedas, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas. His surviving works consist of three plays, two epic poems and two shorter poems. Much about his life is unknown except what can be inferred from his poetry and plays. His works cannot be dated with precision, but they were most likely authored before the 5th century CE.

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5. Valmiki (-80 - -2)

With an HPI of 70.44, Valmiki is the 5th most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Valmiki (; Sanskrit: वाल्मीकि, Vālmīki [ʋɑːlmiːki]) is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature. The epic Ramayana, dated variously from the 5th century BCE to first century BCE, is attributed to him, based on the attribution in the text itself. He is revered as Ādi Kavi, the first poet, author of Ramayana, the first epic poem. The Ramayana, originally written by Valmiki, consists of 24,000 shlokas and seven cantos (kaṇḍas). The Ramayana is composed of about 480,002 words, being a quarter of the length of the full text of the Mahabharata or about four times the length of the Iliad. The Ramayana tells the story of a prince, Rama of the city of Ayodhya in the Kingdom of Kosala, whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the demon-king (Rakshasa) of Lanka. Valmiki's Ramayana is dated variously from 500 BCE to 100 BCE or about co-eval with early versions of the Mahabharata. As with many traditional epics, it has gone through a process of interpolations and redactions, making it impossible to date accurately. British satirist Aubrey Menen says that Valmiki was "recognized as a literary genius," and thus was considered, "an outlaw," presumably because of his "philosophic scepticism," as part of an "Indian Enlightenment" period. Valmiki is also quoted as being the contemporary of Rama. Menen claims Valmiki is "the first author in all history to bring himself into his own composition."

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6. Tulsidas (1532 - 1623)

With an HPI of 68.26, Tulsidas is the 6th most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Tulsidas (Hindi pronunciation: [tʊlsiːdaːs]; born Rambola Dubey; also known as Goswami Tulsidas; c.1511–1623) was a Ramanandi Vaishnava Hindu saint and poet, renowned for his devotion to the deity Rama. He wrote several popular works in Sanskrit and Awadhi, but is best known as the author of the Hanuman Chalisa and of the epic Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana based on Rama's life in the vernacular Awadhi. Tulsidas spent most of his life in the city of Varanasi and Ayodhya. The Tulsi Ghat on the Ganges River in Varanasi is named after him. He founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of the deity. Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaptation of the Ramayana.He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and world literature. The impact of Tulsidas and his works on the art, culture and society in India is widespread and is seen to date in vernacular language, Ramlila plays, Hindustani classical music, popular music, and television series.

Photo of Meera

7. Meera (1498 - 1546)

With an HPI of 67.74, Meera is the 7th most famous Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Meera, better known as Mirabai and venerated as Sant Meerabai was a 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Krishna. She is a celebrated Bhakti saint, particularly in the North Indian Hindu tradition.Mirabai was born into a Rathore Rajput royal family in Kudki (modern-day Pali district of Rajasthan) and spent her childhood in Merta. She is mentioned in Bhaktamal, confirming that she was widely known and a cherished figure in the Bhakti movement culture by about 1600 CE.Most legends about Mirabai mention her fearless disregard for social and family conventions, her devotion to Krishna, her treating Krishna as her husband and being persecuted by her in-laws for her religious devotion. She has been the subject of numerous folk tales and hagiographic legends, which are inconsistent or widely different in details.Millions of devotional hymns in passionate praise of Krishna are attributed to Meerabai in the Indian tradition, but just a few hundred are believed to be authentic by scholars, and the earliest written records suggest that except for two hymns, most were written down only in the 18th century. Many poems attributed to Meera were likely composed later by others who admired Meera. These hymns are a type of bhajan, and are very famous across India.Hindu temples, such as in Chittorgarh fort, are dedicated to Mirabai's memory. Legends about Mirabai's life, of contested authenticity, have been the subject of movies, films, comic strips and other popular literature in modern times.

Photo of Salman Rushdie

8. Salman Rushdie (1947 - )

With an HPI of 67.12, Salman Rushdie is the 8th most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 91 different languages.

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (; born 19 June 1947) is an Indian-born British-American novelist. His work often combines magic realism with historical fiction and primarily deals with connections, disruptions, and migrations between Eastern and Western civilizations, typically set on the Indian subcontinent. Rushdie's second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), won the Booker Prize in 1981 and was deemed to be "the best novel of all winners" on two occasions, marking the 25th and the 40th anniversary of the prize. After his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), Rushdie became the subject of several assassination attempts and death threats, including a fatwa calling for his death issued by Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran. Numerous killings and bombings have been carried out by extremists who cite the book as motivation, sparking a debate about censorship and religiously motivated violence. On 12 August 2022, a man stabbed Rushdie after rushing onto the stage where the novelist was scheduled to deliver a lecture at an event in Chautauqua, New York.In 1983, Rushdie was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was appointed a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in 1999. Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for his services to literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him 13th on its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Since 2000, Rushdie has lived in the United States. He was named Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University in 2015. Earlier, he taught at Emory University. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2012, he published Joseph Anton: A Memoir, an account of his life in the wake of the events following The Satanic Verses.

Photo of William Makepeace Thackeray

9. William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863)

With an HPI of 66.83, William Makepeace Thackeray is the 9th most famous Writer.  His biography has been translated into 66 different languages.

William Makepeace Thackeray (; 18 July 1811 – 24 December 1863) was a British novelist, author and illustrator. He is known for his satirical works, particularly his 1848 novel Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of British society, and the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, which was adapted for a 1975 film by Stanley Kubrick.

Photo of Savitribai Phule

10. Savitribai Phule (1831 - 1897)

With an HPI of 66.77, Savitribai Phule is the 10th most famous Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Savitribai Jyotirao Phule (3 January 1831 – 10 March 1897) was an Indian social reformer, educationalist, and poet from Maharashtra. Along with her husband, in Maharashtra, she played an important and vital role in improving women's rights in India. She is considered to be the pioneer of India's feminist movement. Savitribai and her husband founded one of the first modern Indian girls' school in Pune, at Bhide wada in 1848. She worked to abolish the discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender. She is regarded as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra.

Pantheon has 127 people classified as writers born between 1000 BC and 1992. Of these 127, 33 (25.98%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Salman Rushdie, Deepak Chopra, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. The most famous deceased writers include George Orwell, Rabindranath Tagore, and Rudyard Kipling. As of April 2022, 23 new writers have been added to Pantheon including Andal, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, and Shibli Nomani.

Living Writers

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Deceased Writers

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Newly Added Writers (2022)

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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.