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Quotations by 60 Greatest Indians

"Opponents of globalisation may see it as a new folly, but it is neither particularly new, nor, in general, a folly."
-- Amartya Sen, Economist

"As soon as I put my foot on Indian soil, my painting underwent a change not only in subject and spirit but in technique."
-- Amrita Sher-Gill, Painter

" India is a continent and should be divided into separate nations. There is no need for a single government."
-- C.N. Annadurai, Politician

"I don't want to be a leader. I want to be one who goes around with a little oil can and offer help when I see a breakdown."
-- Baba Amte, Activist

"It may be providence's will that the cause I represent may prosper more by my suffering than by my remaining free."
-- Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Freedom Fighter

"If we exert ourselves with determination, no obstacle, however formidable, can stop our progress."
-- B.C. Roy, Physician & Politician

"People don't want to listen to an imitation. If they want to listen to my style, they will go and buy my records."
-- Begum Akhtar, Singer

"Bombs and pistols do not make a revolution. The sword of revolution is sharpened on the whetting-stone of ideas."
-- Bhagat Singh, Freedom fighter

"There is one thing against which a scientist will have to guard himself: narrow patriotism."
-- S.S. Bhatnagar, Scientist

"Had I not been a singer, I would have loved to spend my entire life in a garage fine-tuning a Fiat or a Maruti."
-- Bhimsen Joshi, Vocalist

"Cinema is the most important means to help man understand his responsibilities and potential."
-- Bimal Roy, Film Maker

"Music lets me forget bad experiences. You cannot keep ragas and regrets in your mind together."
-- Bismillah Khan, Shehnai Player

"The Hindu civilisation is a diabolical contrivance to enslave humanity. Its proper name would be infamy."
-- B.R. Ambedkar, Lawyer

"The true wealth of a nation consists not in the stored- up gold but in the intellectual and physical strength of its people."
-- C.V. Raman, Physicist

"Think big, think fast. Ideas are no one's monopoly."
-- Dhirubhai Ambani, Industrialist

"Hockey is an art which calls for intelligence, keen eyes, powerful wrists, physical fitness and speed."
-- Dhyan Chand, Hockey player

"When we own up our mistakes some people interpret it as if we are wrong. They too commit mistakes."
-- E.M.S. Namboodiripad, Communist leader

"My success will not depend on what A or B thinks of me. My success will be what I make of my work."
-- Homi Bhabha, Scientist

"A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others."
-- Indira Gandhi, Former Prime Minister

"The true laboratory is the mind, where behind illusions we uncover the laws of truth."
-- J.C. Bose, Physicist

"Mere protestations of Mera Bharat Mahan, without addressing the basic fissures, will not save India."
-- Jayaprakash Narayan, Political Activist

"If you want excellence, you must aim at perfection. It has its drawbacks but being finicky is essential."
-- J.R.D. Tata, Industrialist

"Thinking should become your capital asset, whatever ups and downs you may come across in your life."
-- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Former President, Scientist

"It was not really the external influences that made me a singer. Music was within me. I was full of it."
-- Lata Mangeshkar, Singer

"Satyagraha without constructive work is like a sentence without a verb."
-- Ram Manohar Lohia, Freedom Fighter

"My greatest fear is giving performances. I feel I am responsible for the audience but I am also scared of them."
-- M.S. Subbulakshmi, Singer

"If conservation of natural resources goes wrong, nothing else will go right."
-- M.S. Swaminathan, Scientist

"Freedom isn't worth having if it doesn't include the freedom to make mistakes."
-- Mahatma Gandhi, Freedom fighter

"There is no joy in competition if it is to be unfair."
-- Milkha Singh, Athlete

"If I ever become a saint, I will surely be one of 'darkness'. I will be absent from heaven for those in darkness on earth."
-- Mother Teresa, Missionary

"Our tragic age demands poetry of courage and not whimpers about the inevitable end of all maya."
-- Mulk Raj Anand, Writer

"To be successful in life what you need is education."
-- Munshi Premchand, Writer

"We can't encourage narrow mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought."
-- Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India

"In India, there's lack of appreciation of the need to cross-examine data, the responsibility of a statistician."
-- P.C. Mahalanobis, Statistician

"Like The Life of Christ, we shall make pictures on Ram, Krishna, their Ayodhya and Gokul."
-- Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, Filmmaker

"The magic happens only when the artist serves with love and the listener receives with the same spirit."
-- Ravi Shankar, Sitarist

"I don't resent the star status of cricketers, I feel the media could be more supportive of other sports."
-- Prakash Padukone, Badminton Player

"Society presses upon us all the time. The progress of the last half century is the progress of the frog out of his well."
-- R.K. Narayan, Writer

"I know there is one kind of cinema that exists in the world, that is good or bad cinema."
-- Raj Kapoor, Actor & Director

"Who knows if these very pictures, now painted for maharajas, will not find their way to the museums one day."
-- Raja Ravi Varma, Painter

"Innumerable revolutions have taken place in all parts of the globe where no freedom of the press existed."
-- Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Social Reformer

"Rajamma, my aunt, often told me stories from the Puranas. That was the best education I ever received."
-- Raja Ramanna, Nuclear scientist

"Democracies require the willingness to respect others' viewpoints and a capacity for compromise."
-- Rajendra Prasad, First President of India

"An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God."
-- S. Ramanujan, Mathematician

"I have committed every crime in the Indian Penal Code, except murder."
-- Ramnath Goenka, Media Baron

"Many people have said many things. I can only say I did not consciously go after dance. It found me."
-- Rukmini Devi Arundale, Dancer

"A country's greatness lies in its undying ideals of love and sacrifice that inspire the mothers of the race."
-- Sarojini Naidu, Stateswoman, poet

"My ambition is to unfold the sources of India in the profound plane of human nature."
-- S. Radhakrishnan, Visionary

"It's mental discipline that sets one apart, the ability to think differently and to generate energy in the right direction."
-- Sachin Tendulkar, Cricketer

"It's nonsense that people join the army to serve the country, like the politicians do it only for the sake of the country."
-- Sam Manekshaw, Field Marshal

"Independent India's leaders will neither use a foreign language nor rule from a remote place."
-- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Statesman

"If the theme is simple, you can include a hundred details that create the illusion of actuality better."
-- Satyajit Ray, Filmmaker

"One individual may die for an idea, but that idea will, after his death, incarnate itself in a thousand lives."
-- Subhas Chandra Bose, Freedom Fighter

"When man is struggling for freedom, why should poetry not be freed from the confines of metre?"
-- S. Tripathi Nirala, Poet

"The danger inherent in all force grows stronger when it is likely to gain success, for then it becomes temptation."
-- Rabindranath Tagore, Writer

"Being the undisputed world champion is a relief. We instituted a unified chess title, I am the absolute world champion."
-- Viswanathan Anand, Chess Grandmaster

"Gifts can be dangerous and make a nation dependent on foreign aid. They can scuttle dairy development here."
-- Verghese Kurien, Dairy Expert

"I have a vision of India-an India free of hunger and fear, an India free of illiteracy and want."
-- A. B. Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister

"We look down on our scientists if they engage in outside consultation. We implicitly promote the ivory tower."
-- Vikram Sarabhai, Scientist

"I feel very friendly towards your country, but make no mistake I will always be an Indian first."
-- Zubin Mehta, Music Conductor

Extracted from : India today: Special Issues, vol. 33, no. 16, pp. 17 - 178, April 2008


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