1. Who was the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize?
In 1913, not only did Rabindranath Tagore become the first Indian to win a Nobel, but also the first non-European to ever have won a Nobel Prize in Literature. India’s next Nobel Prize winner was Sir C.V. Raman, who won the Nobel for Physics in 1930 and became the first Asian to receive the coveted honour in the field of Science.
2. In 1984, who became the first Indian to have travelled to space?
Then a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force, Rakesh Sharma travelled to space aboard the Soviet Union’s Soyuz T-11, launched in April 1984. Having been honoured with the Ashoka Chakra from India and the Hero of the Soviet Union award from the erstwhile Soviet Union, he possesses the unique distinction of having been the only Indian citizen to have travelled to space.
3. The first Oscar awardee from India was —
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1982, Bhanu Athaiya was the costume designer for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi. In 2012, afraid that her family would be unable to take care of the trophy after her death, she returned it to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
4. Who was the first winner of the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military honour?
Major Somnath Sharma was awarded the first-ever Param Vir Chakra in 1950 for his key contributions to the 1947 Indo-Pakistan War. Tasked with preventing a threat to Srinagar city as well as the airport, his company kept several hundred infiltrators at bay despite being heavily outnumbered. He is one of 21 recipients of the Param Vir Chakra.
5. Who was India’s first Field Marshal?
Sam Manekshaw attained the rank of Field Marshal, or “five-star general”, in 1973. The highest attainable rank in the Indian Army, this position has only been accorded to one more person besides Manekshaw — KM Cariappa, who became a Field Marshal in 1986. The only individual to hold the rank of Marshal of the Indian Air Force, the Indian Air Force’s equivalent to the five star, is Arjan Singh.
6. Identify the first Indian to have scaled Mount Everest.
Selected as part of India’s fourth expedition to Mount Everest in 1984, Bachendri Pal became one of the few members of this expedition to carry forth despite an avalanche hitting the group’s base camp near the summit. On 23 May 1984, upon reaching the peak, she attained the distinction of being the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest.
7. Who was India’s first Chief Election Commissioner?
The first Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sukumar Sen was an Indian civil servant. He served in this capacity from 1950 to 1958, administering independent India’s first two general elections (in 1951 and 1957). Sen was also notably one of the earliest recipients of Padma Bhushan.
8. Who won the first individual Olympic medal for free India?
Wrestler K D Jadhav won a bronze medal for India at the Helsinki Summer Olympics in 1952, in the men’s freestyle bantamweight category. The national hockey team also won a gold medal in the same Olympic Games.
9. Who is considered the father of the Indian space program?
Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, often known as the father of India’s space program, was the first chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1963 to 1971. He won a Padma Bhushan in 1966 and a posthumous Padma Vibhushan in 1972 for his work.
10. Which of these individuals was NOT one of the first winners of the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour?
The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna, in 1954, were politician C Rajagopalachari, scientist C V Raman, and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Jawaharlal Nehru received the honour alongside the second set of recipients, in 1955.