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Important Personalities and Movements for IAS , SSC, PCS Exams

Important Personalities and Movements for IAS , SSC, PCS Exams



Keshab Chander Sen

  • He was an Indian Bengali Hindu philosopher and social reformer who attempted to incorporate Christian theology within the framework of Hindu thought.
  • He was born on 19th November 1838 in Kolkata.
  • He was a descendant of the medieval Sena kings of Bengal.
  • He was so influenced by the ideas of Brahmo Samaj that he joined the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj in 1857.
  • At the age of 19, Keshab Chandra Sen started social work by establishing an evening school for adults.
  • He used the medium of Press to spread social consciousness and development.
  • He started a fortnightly journal ‘Indian Mirror
  • Keshab Chandra Sen was associated with many revolutionary programs of social reform like liberation of women from the social bindings, education of women and the poor workers, eradication of social evils like untouchability and casteism, spread of vernacular and various charitable works for the oppressed people.
  • He took the initiative to introduce legislation to curb polygamy and child marriage and promoted inter-caste marriage.
  • He was given the title of ‘Acharya‘ of the ‘Brahmo Samaj’ by Devendranath Tagore. But due to the differences in the beliefs and philosophies of Devendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen, Brahmo Samaj split into two.
  • He founded his own breakaway “Brahmo Samaj of India” in 1866
  • He propagated the Navavidhan, the New Dispensation or the Religion of Harmony. He preached bhakti, which was inspired from both Chaitanya and Christ.

Theodore Beck:-

  • He was a British educationalist working for the British Raj in India, who was invited by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to serve as the first principal of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at the age 24. in Aligarh, which would later evolve into the Aligarh Muslim University.
  • He was also opposed to join the Congress

Ustad Bismillah Khan

  • He was an Indian shehnai maestro.
  • He was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001)
  • His ancestors were court musicians and used to play in Naqqar khana in the princely states of Bhojpur, now in Bihar.
  • Though a pious Shi’ite Muslim, he was also, like many Indian musicians, regardless of religion, a devotee of Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of wisdom and arts, and often played at Hindu temples, including the famous Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, on the banks of the river Ganges.He also performed for spiritual master Prem Rawat.
  • He was credited with having almost monopoly over the instrument as he and the shehnai are almost synonyms.
  • Khan had the rare honor of performing at Delhi’s Red Fort on the eve of India’s Independence in 1947.
  • He was awarded Talar Mausiquee award from Republic of Iran

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

  • An Afghan Pashtun political and spiritual leader known for his non-violent opposition to British Rule in India.
  • A lifelong pacifist, a devout Muslim,and a close friend of Mohandas Gandhi
  • he was also known as Fakhri Afghan (“The Afghan pride”), Badshah Khan and Sarhaddi Gandhi (Urdu, Hindi lit., “Frontier Gandhi”)
  • he decided social activism and reform would be more beneficial for Pashtuns. This ultimately led to the formation of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement (Servants of God). The movement’s success triggered a harsh crackdown against him and his supporters and he was sent into exile.
  • It was at this stage in the late 1920s that he formed an alliance with Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. This alliance was to last till the 1947 partition of India.
  • Ghaffar Khan strongly opposed the Muslim League’s demand for the partition of India.
  • In 1987 he became the first person without Indian citizenship to be awarded the Bharat Ratna

Sajjad Zaheer

  • He was a renowned Urdu writer, Marxist thinker
  • Famously known as Bannay Mian, Zaheer was born in Lucknow, the former state of Oudh
  • He was one of the founding members of the Communist Party of India and later in 1948, the Communist Party of Pakistan, along with Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
  • A collection of short stories, Angaray, which had stories by Sajjad Zaheer and was immediately banned in India by the British Government in 1933, “for hurting the religious susceptibilities of a section of the community.” This gave rise to the All-India Progressive Writers’ Movement & Association of which both Sajjad Zaheer and Ahmed Ali were co-founders.
  • The first official conference of the Association was held in Lucknow in 1936 which was presided over by Munshi Premchand.


  • London Ki Ek Raat- a novel.
  • Roshnai, a collection of essays on progressive writing and the progressive writers movement.
  • Zikre Hafiz, his research based book on Persian poet Hafez.
  • Pighla Nilam, his last book,a collection of his poetry.

Aligarh Movement

  • Aligarh Movement was the movement led by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, to educate the Muslims of the South Asia after the defeat of the rebels in the Indian rebellion of 1857.
  • It had enormous success and had a profound impact on the future of the subcontinent. Its most significant achievement was the establishment of Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, which later became Aligarh Muslim University,
  • Amu was a centre of Pakistan Movement and Indian Independence Movement.
  • After dislodging the Muslim Nawabs from the throne, the new rulers, the British, implemented a new educational policy which banned Arabic, Persian and religious education in schools and made English not only the medium of instruction but also the official language in 1835.
  • This spawned a negative attitude amongst the Muslims towards everything modern and western, and a disinclination to make use of the opportunities available under the new regime.
  • Aligarh movement was launched with two immediate objectives in mind: to remove the state of misunderstanding and tension between the Muslims and the new British government, and to induce them to go after the opportunities available under the new regime without deviating in any way from the fundamentals of their faith. Keeping education and social reform as the two planks of his program,

The Malabar Rebellion or Moplah Rebellion

  • The Malabar Rebellion or Moplah Rebellion was an armed uprising in 1921 against British authority and Hindus in the Malabar region of Southern India by Mappila Muslims and the culmination of a series of Mappila revolts that recurred throughout the 19th century and early 20th century.
  • The 1921 rebellion began as a reaction against a heavy handed crackdown on the Khilafat Movement by the British authorities in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks of Malabar.
  • The Mappilas attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.
  • The largely kudiyaan (tenant) Mappilas also attacked and killed jenmi (landlords) of the Hindu Nair and Brahmin Nambudiri castes.
  • Mappilas committed several atrocities against the Hindu community, who they accused of helping the police to suppress their rebellion.Annie Besant reported that Muslim Mappilas forcibly converted many Hindus.
  • The British administration raised a special quasi-military (or Armed Police) battalion, the Malabar Special Police (MSP), initially consisting of non-Muslims and trained by the British Indian Army. The MSP then attacked the rioters and eventually subdued them.

The Indigo revolt

  • The Indigo Revolt was a peasant movement and subsequent uprising of indigo farmers against the indigo planters that arose in Bengal in 1859.
  • After the courageous fight by the Sepoy for independence in 1857 in February–March 1859 the farmers refused to sow a single seedling of indigo plant. The strength of the farmers’ resolutions were dramatically stronger than anticipated from a community victimized by brutal treatment for about half a century. Most importantly it was a revolt of both the major religious groups of farmers in Bengal, it was totally a nonviolent resistance
  • The zamindars were also targets of the revolting peasants. Indigo planters were put into public trial and executed.
  • The revolt was ruthlessly suppressed. Large forces of police and military backed by the British Government and the zamindars mercilessly slaughtered a number of peasants.
  • Dinabandhu Mitra’s 1859 play Nil Darpan is based on the revolution.

Montagu reform or august declaration of 1917

  • After the Lucknow Pact, a British policy was announced which aimed at “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration for progressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral part of the British empire”. This came to be called the August Declaration.Because of Hindu – Muslim unity exhibited in Lucknow Pact.
  • The Provincial Legislative Councils were enlarged and the majority of ‘their members were to be elected. The provincial governments were given more powers under the system of Dyarachy.
  • Under this system some subjects, such as finance and law and order, were called ‘reserved’ subjects and remained under the direct control of the Governor; others such as education, public health, and local self-government, were called ‘transferred’ subjects and were to be controlled by ministers responsible to the legislature.
  • the Governor retained complete Control over the financiers. The Governor could, moreover, overrule the ministers on any grounds that he considered special.
  • The Indian National Congress met in a special session at Bombay in August 1918 under the President ship of Hasan Imam to consider the reform proposals.
  • The Indian National Congress met in a special session at Bombay in August 1918 and condemned it as ‘disappointed and unsatisfactory’ and demanded effective self- government instead.
  • Some of the veteran Congress leaders led by Surendranath Banerjee were in favour of accepting the government proposals. They left the Congress at this time and founded the Indian Liberal Federation. They came to be known as Liberals and played a minor role in Indian politics hereafter.
  • The Montague – Chelmsford reforms or the act of 1919 was based on this declaration.

The Ilbert Bill

  • The Ilbert Bill was a bill introduced in 1883 for British India by Viceroy Ripon that proposed an amendment for existing laws in the country at the time to allow Indian judges and magistrates the jurisdiction to try British offenders in criminal cases at the District level, something that was disallowed at the time.
  • However, the introduction of the bill led to intense opposition in Britain and from British settlers in India that ultimately played on racial tensions before it was enacted in 1884 in a severely compromised state.
  • As a result of popular disapproval of the Ilbert Bill by a majority of English women, Viceroy Ripon (who had introduced the Bill) passed an amendment, whereby a jury of 50% Europeans was required if an Indian judge was to face a European on the dock

The Rowlatt act

  • Rowlatt Act was passed by the British in colonial India in March 1919, indefinitely extending “emergency measures” (of the Defence of India Regulations Act) enacted during the First World War in order to control public unrest and root out conspiracy
  • This act effectively authorized the government to imprison for a maximum period of two years, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj.
  • The Rowlatt Act gave British imperial authorities power to deal with revolutionary activities.
  • Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, among other Indian leaders, was extremely critical of the Act and argued that not everyone should get punishment in response to isolated political crimes.
  • Accepting the report of the Repressive Laws Committee, the Government of India repealed the Rowlatt Act, the Press Act and twenty-two other laws in March 1922

The Swadeshi movement,

  • Swadeshi Movement  was an Indian independence movement and the show of developing Indian nationalism,
  • Swadeshi Movement was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India by following the principles of swadeshi (self-sufficiency), which had some success. Strategies of the Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes.
  • The Swadeshi Movement started with the partition of Bengal by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, 1905 and continued up to 1908
  • The western clothes were thrown in bonfires and it was an act of honour to wear the local Indian clothes.The British products were also boycotted in the markets and the sales of the British fell dramatically.
  • It was the most successful of the pre-Gandhian movements. Its chief architects were Aurobindo Ghosh, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai.
  • Swadeshi, as a strategy, was a key focus of Mahatma Gandhi, who described it as the soul of Swaraj (self rule). Gandhi, at the time of the actual movement, remained loyal to the British Crown.

Achyut Patwardhan

  • Achyut was an Indian independence activist and political leader and founder of the Socialist Party of India.
  • He was also a philosopher who believed fundamental change in society begins with man himself,
  • He studied Communist and Socialist literature, resigned his Professorship and plunged in 1932 into Gandhiji’s civil disobedience movement.
  • He was imprisoned several times.
  • In 1934 he and his associates in jail formed the Congress Socialistic Party with a view to working for socialistic objectives from within the Congress.
  • He took a prominent part in the Quit India movement. he went underground, and ably directed the movement of a parallel government mainly in the Satara district.
  • In 1947 they formed the Socialist Party of India, independently of the Congress. In 1950 Achyut retired from politics

James Wilson

  • James Wilson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence.
  • James was a major force in drafting the United States Constitution. A leading legal theorist


  • Indian revolutionary and scholar who was dedicated to the removal of British influence in India.
  • On a Government of India scholarship to St. John’s College at Oxford, he became a supporter of the Indian revolutionary movement. In 1907 Har Dayal resigned his scholarship
  • He returned to India in 1908 to further indigenous political institutions and to arouse his countrymen against British rule, but
  • the government thwarted his work, and he soon returned to Europe.
  • In 1913 he formed the Ghadr(Gadar) Party to organize a rebellion against the British government of India.


  • Aryabhatt was the first in the line of great mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy.
  • His most famous works are the Āryabhaṭīya ( a compendium of mathematics and astronomy) and the Arya-siddhanta (covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, and spherical trigonometry. It also contains continued fractions, quadratic equations, sums-of-power series, and a table of sines.)
  • Aryabhata’s system of astronomy was called the audAyaka system
  • His main works in Astronomy :-he seems to ascribe the apparent motions of the heavens to the Earth’s rotation. He may have believed that the planet’s orbits as elliptical rather than circularAryabhata calculated the sidereal rotation (the rotation of the earth referencing the fixed stars) Aryabhata advocated an astronomical model in which the Earth turns on its own axisIndia’s
  • first satellite Aryabhata and the lunar crater Aryabhata are named in his honour.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

  • Jidu Krishanamurthi was an Indian writer and speaker on philosophical and spiritual subjects. His subject matter included: psychological revolution, the nature of the mind, meditation, human relationships, and bringing about positive change in society
  • He constantly stressed the need for a revolution in the psyche of every human being and emphasized that such revolution cannot be brought about by any external entity, be it religious, political, or social.
  • He claimed allegiance to no nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the most of his life traveling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals
  • His supporters, working through non-profit foundations in India, Great Britain and the United States, oversee several independent schools based on his views on education.

Gopi Krishna

  • Gopi Krishana was a yogi, mystic, teacher, social reformer, and writer
  • His autobiography is known under the title Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man.,in it he has put this amazing aspect of our nature in a logical, consistent and scientific light, and presented us with a new understanding of the goal of evolution, both as individuals and as a species.
  • He himself has started to search the life of geniuses and enlightened persons in history for clues of kundalini awakening.
  • He proposed an organisation to be erected to conduct scientific research on the matter.
  • The research should, according to him, consist of research on biological processes in the body, psychological and sociological research of living persons.
  • According to Mr. Krishna the lives of historical persons should also be investigated.

Sir Muhammad Iqbal or Allama Iqbal

  • He was a philosopher,poet and politician in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement.
  • He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both the Urdu and Persian languages
  • His best known Urdu works are Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril, Zarb-i Kalim and a part of Armughan-e-Hijaz.
  • Iqbal became a member of the London branch of the All India Muslim League,in one of his most famous speeches, Iqbal pushed for the creation of a Muslim state in Northwest India.
  • Pakistan Government had recognised him as its “national poet”

Quit india movement or the August Movement (August Kranti)

  • It was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi’s call for immediate independence.
  • The All-India Congress Committee proclaimed a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called “an orderly British withdrawal” from India. The call for determined, but passive resistance appears in his call to Do or Die,
  • The British were prepared to act. Almost the entire Indian National Congress leadership, and not just at the national level, was imprisoned without trial within hours after Gandhi’s speech
  • The British had the support of the Viceroy’s Council (which had a majority of Indians), of the Muslims, the Communist Party, the princely states, the Imperial and state police, the Indian Army, and the Indian Civil Service.
  • In terms of immediate objectives Quit India failed because of heavy-handed suppression, weak coordination and the lack of a clear-cut programme of action.
  • However, the British government realized that India was ungovernable in the long run, and the question for postwar became how to exit gracefully while protecting Britain’s allies, the Muslims and the princes.

Prarthana Samaj

  • It was a movement for religious and social reform in Maharashtra based on earlier reform movements and traditions of Maharashtra formed in 1849 by Ram Balkrishna Jaykar and others in Mumbai.
  • It was secret in order to avoid the wrath of the powerful and orthodox elements of society.
  • Meetings were for discussion, the singing of hymns, and the sharing of a communal meal prepared by a low-caste cook. Members ate bread baked by Christians and drank water brought by Muslims
  • Prarthana Samaj critically examined the relations between contemporary social and cultural systems and religious beliefs and gave priority to social reform as compared with the political changes already initiated by the British government
  • It led many impressive projects of cultural change and social reform in Western India, such as the improvement of the lot of women and depressed classes, an end to the caste system, abolition of child marriages and infanticide, educational opportunites for women, and remarriage of widows..


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