Top 20 Most Popular NRI s (Non-Resident of India) in the world
1. Narinder Singh Kapany
This Punjab-born genius is known for his contribution to the field of fibre optics. He was included in the list of seven ‘Unsung Heroes’ by Fortune magazine in their ‘Businessmen of the Century’ issue. He is considered as one of the founders of fibre optics and revolutionized the way information is transmitted today. Kapany has played many roles in his life including that of an entrepreneur, philanthropist and scholar, which won him major international acclaim.
4. Amartya Sen
Born in Santiniketan, West Bengal, this Indian economist and philosopher is best known for his amazing contributions to welfare economics, social choice theory, economic and social justice, economic theories of famines, and indices of the measure of well-being of citizens of developing countries. His extraordinary work in welfare economics won him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998. He is the chancellor at Nalanda University and also a Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. He is also internationally acclaimed for his writing. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity is one of his best works.
5. Vinod Khosla
Listed as a billionaire by Forbes Magazine, Khosla is one of the co-founders of Sun Micro systems, a company which created the Java programming language and Network File System. He later formed his own company, Khosla Ventures. He was born in Delhi and attended Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He was a keyplayer in the founding of Daisy Systems and TiE. He has also played an important role as an investor in environmental startups. Khosla has committed around $450 million of his personal wealth to various “green” initiatives like ethanol factories, solar-power parks, etc. His green investing has made him immensely popular in the media globally.
6. Har Gobind Khorana
This Indian American biochemist won a nobel prize in 1968 for Physiology or Medicine for cracking the genetic code along with Robert Holley and Marshall Nirenberg. Born in Raipur, Punjab, Khorana was the first scientist to chemically synthesize oligonucleotides. His contribution to science is tremendous and has won him immense international acclaim.
7. Rohinton Mistry
This internationally acclaimed writer was born in Mumbai and did his BA from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He later on shifted to Canada in 1975 with his wife. He published his first book, 11 connected short stories titled Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from the Firozsha Bag in 1987. His second book Such a Long Journey, was published in 1991 and achieved huge national and international acclaim. His other works received similar popularity. His third book A Fine Balance is considered to be one of his finest works and was a finalist for the Booker Prize.
8. Pan Nalin
This award winning film director, screenwriter and documentary maker was born in Gujarat and is best known for his amazing and award winning films like Samsara, Valley of Flowers and Ayurveda: Art of Being. He received international acclaim just after the release of his first film Samsara which made him win over 30 international awards. His other feature film Valley of Flowers was pre-sold in 35 countries and is considered a major underground hit. He was invited to be on the panel for the France-India Co-production forum at Salon du Cinema in Paris along with the delegation headed by Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Nalin says that Indians are “hungry for good documentaries”. And we think his amazing work is satiating that hunger.
9. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Born in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, this structural biologist won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath, “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”. He is an elite member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded with the Louis-Jeantet Prize for his contribution to Medicine in 2007. His great contribution to science also won him India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.
10. Mira Nair
This amazing film maker was born in Rourkela, Orissa and started her career as an independent short-film maker, going on to win the Best Documentary prize at the American Film Festival for India Cabaret, an investigative documentary of Bombay’s strippers. She runs a production company called Mirabai. Her debut feature film Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and was also a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her most popular works include The Namesake and Monsoon Wedding. She was also awarded India’s third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 2012. Her work is globally acclaimed and she even got an offer to direct Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, which she rejected.
11. Anita Desai and Kiran Desai
This mother-daughter duo is famous for exceptional writing skills. Kiran Desai’s novel The Inheritance of Loss won the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. The exceptional writing comes as an inheritance, as Kiran’s mother Anita Desai has also been short-listed for the Booker Prize thrice. Kiran has been winning accolades from various notable figures ever since she published her first book. Anita won the Sahitya Academy Award in 1978 for her novel Fire on the Mountain and has also won the British Guardian Prize for The Village by the Sea. Anita is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and also writes for the New York Review of Books. Her novel In Custody is one of her finest works.
12. Manu Prakash
Manu was born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and completed his BTech in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur before moving to the United States for his masters and PhD. Currently An assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, Manu is famous for his super cool inventions. The inventons include a foldable microsope, The Foldscope, that is easy to use and fold from a single sheet of A4 size paper! The cost of this microscope is 50 cents (or Rs. 30) only. He also recently invented a computer that runs on water. He used the unique Physics of moving water droplets to design a clock that is required in a computer.
13. Kalpana Chawla
This lady needs no introduction. Born in Karnal, India, she was the first Indian-American astronaut and also the first Indian woman in space. She began working at NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1988. In her career span and two space missions, she spent 30 days, 14 hours, and 54 minutes in space. She was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster along with six other crew members in 2003. India’s first weather satellite was renamed ‘Kalpana-1’ in her honor. She was a role model for many young women internationally and inspired many people to pursue a career in Aerospace Engineering.
14. Lakshmi Mittal
This business tycoon is the chairman and CEO of Arcelor Mittal, the world’s largest steel-making company. Born in Sadulpur, Rajathan, he completed his B.com from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. He was the richest man of Asian descent in the United Kingdom in 2007 and was ranked as the sixth richest person in the world by Forbes in 2011. He is also 47th “most powerful person” in the Forbes list of 2012 and one of the “100 most influential persons in the world” by TIME in 2007. He holds a 34 percent share in Queens Park Rangers F.C. He has set up the Mittal Champions Trust with $9 million to support 10 promising Indian athletes.
15. Pranav Mistry
16. Indra Nooyi
17. Lakshmi Pratury
18. Sabeer Bhatia
19. Zubin Mehta
Born in Mumbai, he is one of the world’s leading conductors. This amazing orchestral conductor and musical director is best known for his expressiveness on the stage. He is Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Main Conductor for Valencia’s opera house. His conducting is considered as flamboyant, vigorous and forceful. His name has been mentioned in the song “Billy the Mountain” on the 1972 album Just Another Band from L.A. by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. He also received a special prize in Israel for his extraordinary contribution to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He also received the 2,434th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, putting India on the international map.
20. Raghava KK
This Bangalore born contemporary artist was named by CNN as one of the 10 most fascinating people the world is yet to know of. The genres he dabbles in vary from painting, film, installation, multimedia, performance, and even his own wedding. He began as a cartoonist in Indian publications. He has lectured at New York University and several other art institutions across the globe. He was invited as a guest of the French city of Nîmes to exhibit his work at the Carre d’Art Musee d’Art Contemporain.