Categories: Scholarships

10 scholars who were pioneers in their fields

Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Most inspirational leaders had to struggle hard to reach their destination and create a niche for themselves in society. Whereas for some, scholarship played a pivotal role in shaping their life and career. With the help of scholarships, they scaled new heights in life and created a space in society for themselves. Here, we have prepared a list of 10 scholars, whose lives were shaped by courtesy of some scholarship. These are personalities, famous in Science, Law, Politics and many other fields; and there’s much that can be learned from them about being driven in the wake of impending financial limitations.

  1. Dr Rajendra Prasad (first President of India): Dr Rajendra Prasad (December 3, 1884 –February 28, 1963) was the first President of India in office from 1950 to 1962. A political leader and lawyer by training, Dr. Prasad joined the Indian National Congress during the Indian Independence Movement. He was imprisoned by British authorities during the Salt Satyagraha of 1931 and the Quit India movement of 1942. From a school teacher to a lawyer and then to a political leader, he went on to become the first President of India. After the completion of his traditional elementary education, he was sent to the Chapra District School, and from there he went on to study at TK Ghosh’s Academy in Patna for a period of two years. He secured first rank in the entrance examination to the University of Calcutta and was awarded INR 30 per month as a scholarship, which it turns out was enough for his career to take off in those times.
  2. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan (first Vice president, second President of India): One of India’s most distinguished twentieth-century scholars in the field of comparative religion and philosophy, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (5 September 1888 – 17 April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesman, who was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and the second President of India from 1962 to 1967. Radhakrishnan was awarded many scholarships throughout his academic life. He joined Voorhees College in Vellore and then switched to the Madras Christian College at the age of 17. He graduated from there in 1906 with a master’s degree in Philosophy. Many scholarships were instituted in his honour. Oxford University had in 1989 instituted Radhakrishnan Scholarships in his memory. The scholarships were later renamed the Radhakrishnan Chevening Scholarships.

  3. Dr B R Ambedkar (first Law Minister): Popularly known as Babasaheb, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956) was an Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer. He was the first law minister of Independent India, and also the principal architect of the Constitution of India. He was a prolific student, who’d secured doctorates in economics from both Columbia University and the London School of Economics. He gained acclamation as a scholar for his research in law, economics and political science. He was awarded a Baroda State Scholarship of £11.50 (Sterling) per month for three years under a scheme established by Sayajirao Gaekwad III (Gaekwad of Baroda) which was designed to provide opportunities for postgraduate education at Columbia University in New York City.

  4. Kiran Bedi (first Lady IPS): A retired Indian Police Service officer, Kiran Bedi (born 9 June 1949) is a social activist, former tennis player and also a politician, and current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. She is the first woman to have joined the Indian Police Service and remain in service for 35 years before taking voluntary retirement in 2007. Inspired by her father, Bedi started playing tennis at the age of nine, and secured academic and sports scholarships while studying at Punjab University, Chandigarh. In 1964, she played her first tournament outside Amritsar, participating in the national junior lawn tennis championship. As the national champion, she was eligible for entry to the Wimbledon junior championship.
  1. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (11th President of India, Missile Man of India): A career scientist turned statesman, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (15 October 1931 – 27 July 2015) was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Kalam studied physics and aerospace engineering with scholarship at Madras Institute of technology. He spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). He was also involved in the India’s civilian space programme and military missile development programs. He was known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology.
  1. Sarojini Nayudu (first Lady State Governor, Nightingale of India): A freedom fighter and poet of modern India, Sarojini Naidu (13 February 1879 – 2 March 1949) was educated in Chennai, London and Cambridge. She became the President of Indian National Congress and later appointed as the Governor of the United Provinces, now known as Uttar Pradesh. Known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, her poetry includes children’s poems, nature poems, patriotic poems and poems of love and death. Having passed her matriculation examination from the University of Madras, she took a four-year break from her studies. In 1895, the Nizam Scholarship Trust gave her the chance to study in England, first at King’s College London and later at Girton College, Cambridge.
  1. Har Govind Khorana (first Indian origin Scientist to win Nobel Prize in Medicine): An Indian American biochemist, Har Gobind Khorana (9 January 1922 – 9 November 2011) received Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1968 while working as a faculty at the University of Wisconsin. Born in British India, Khorana served on the faculties of three universities in North America. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1966, and received the National Medal of Science in 1987. He attended the D.A.V. High School in Multan in West Punjab (now in Pakistan), for his elementary to secondary studies. After school, he studied in Punjab University, Lahore with the help of various scholarships. He received a Bachelor’s degree in 1943 and a Master of Science degree in 1945.
  2. C V Raman (first Indian Scientist to win Nobel Prize in Physics): Groundbreaking work in the field of light scattering (Physics) earned Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) the 1930 Nobel Prize. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes its wavelength. This phenomenon, was later known as Raman scattering. He was honoured with highest civilian award the Bharat Ratna  in 1954. He passed his matriculation examination at the age of 11 and also passed his F.A. examination (+2) with a scholarship at the age of 13.

  3. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Nobel laureate in Chemistry): An American and British, structural biologist of Indian origin; Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (born 1952) is the current President of the Royal Society since November 2015. He received Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for his studies about the structure and function of the ribosome. Ramakrishnan did his school education in Gujarat. Following his pre-science education at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, he did his undergraduate studies at the same university backed by a National Science Talent Scholarship and he finally graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science (Physics) in 1971.

  4. Subramanyan Chandrasekhar (Indian-American Scientist to win Nobel Prize in Physics): An Indian-American astrophysicist, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995) was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics. His mathematical treatment of stellar evolution yielded many of the best current theoretical models regarding the later evolutionary stages of massive stars and black holes. The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him. Chandrasekhar was awarded a Government of India scholarship in July 1930 to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. During his visit to England, Chandrasekhar spent his time working out the statistical mechanics of the degenerate electron gas in white dwarf stars, providing relativistic corrections to Fowler’s previous work.

In India, over 75% students are dropping out of class for some or the other reason. One of the pressing reason is unaffordable education. If we do not provide them scholarships or encourage them, we may be losing a Medical researcher who could possibly find the cure to Cancer or HIV or maybe a Scientist who could discover new theories of Physics to explore space or a great politician who might solve the geo-political crisis.

Scholarship is a good tool to find and nurture such meritorious sparks. Today, many corporations, foundations are running their own scholarship programs. However, they face many challenges in process management. For ease, efficiency and transparency, Buddy4Study can be a good platform for them. It is managing more than 30 scholarships for organisations and corporates for providing end-to-end solutions in Scholarship Management which includes outreach, technology, talent and tracking.

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Manmath Nayak

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Manmath Nayak

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