Earlier in the week when Narendra Modi spoke at Madison Square Garden and was quoted saying, “Indians have gone and settled all over the world”, it triggered this week’s ‘list’ post. Which notable Indians have studied abroad? Here’s a list of just ten famous Indian personalities who travelled to the UK to complete their higher education.
10. Soha Ali Khan
Soha Ali Khan, sister of actor Saif Ali Khan, is an Indian actress famous for her role in the film Rang de Basanti (2006). She studied modern history at Balliol College, University of Oxford and earned a masters degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
9. Dorabji Tata
Dorabji Tata was the chairman of the Tata Group and a key figure in the history and development of the Tata Group. He studied at the Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Upon returning from the UK, Dorabji was involved in the fulfilment of his father’s ideas of a modern iron and steel industry, and agreed to the necessity for hydroelectric electricity to power the industry. He established the conglomerates Tata Steel and Tata Power, which are the core of the present-day Tata Group.
8. Ahmed Salman Rushdie
Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is a world-renowned novelist and essayist. His epic second novel, ‘Midnight’s Children’ won him the Booker Prize in 1981. After completing schooling in Mumbai, he travelled to the UK to study history at King’s College, University of Cambridge. His fourth book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was the centre of a major controversy and provoked protests from Muslims in many countries. However, he continues to write best-selling novels focused on the Indian sub-continent whilst inspiring others in India to write in English.
7. Cornelia Sorabji
Cornelia Sorabji was India’s first female lawyer. In 1889, she became the first woman to read law at Oxford University and also the first Indian national to study at any British university.
6. Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh is an Indian economist who served as the 14th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. The first Sikh in office, Singh was the first Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. He completed his economics tripos at University of Cambridge in 1957 and attended University of Oxford from 1960 where he obtained his doctorate in economics.
5. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani
Anil Dhirubhai Ambani is the second son of Indian business giant Dhirubhai Ambani and is the chairman of the Reliance Group — a diversified business conglomerate with interests in telecom, entertainment, power-generation, health and insurance. Anil is an alumnus of the Warwick Business School and a member of the Warwick Business School’s Board.
4. Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. She was also the only woman to hold the office. In 1937, she attended the University of Oxford where she studied history.
3. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
A respected economist and well-known for his fight on equality for all, Dr B.R. Ambedkar is credited to be the man who set the foundations of the Indian constitution. He studied at various western universities including, the London School of Economics and has multiple degrees in law, economics and political science.
2. Jawaharlal Nehru
A young Jawaharlal Nehru left India for Britain to study at the elite Harrow School. He went on to study natural science at Cambridge and then law at the Inner Temple in London. Upon returning to India, he had a short spell in legal practice before immersing himself in the struggle against the British Raj and subsequently becoming independent India’s first Prime Minister.
1. Mahatma Gandhi
Recognised as the “Father of the Indian Nation”, Ghandi-ji was the linchpin for independence of India from the British rule. He was remembered for his particular style in gaining freedom, which is known as ‘Satyagraha’ meaning a non-violent or civil resistance. Mahatma Gandhi studied law at University College London and returned to India to pursue a brief legal career before making his life his message.
Studying or even interning abroad doesn’t guarantee you riches and rewards like the aforementioned but it lays down a framework for success. The experience of living independently, demonstrating your motivation, being resilient when faced with challenges outside of your comfort zone, communicating with others from different backgrounds and adapting to a distinct international culture can only lead to your personal and professional growth. In turn, this will make you stand out from the crowd and who knows, maybe ending up on a short list like this one-day!