1908 – Eminent novelist and short-story writer Raja Rao was born. Rao’s works were greatly influenced from experiences in his life. His ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ winning novel ‘The Serpent and the Rope’ depicted the breakdown of his first marriage. He also penned ‘Kanthapura’ (1938), ‘The Cat and Shakespeare: A Tale of India'(1965), ‘Comrade Kirillov’ (1976) and ‘The Chessmaster and His Moves’ (1988). In 1988, he received the Neusatdt International Prize for Literature. In 1969, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution in the field of literature while in 2007 he was posthumously given the Padma Vibhushan.
1909 – Member of the Gold Medal winning Field Hockey team at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Shabban Shahab-ud-din was born.
1919 – Popular Marathi literateur, orator, stage actor and music composer, Padma Awardee Purushottam Laxman Deshpande better known as Pu.La.Deshpande was born. He is regarded as one of the most prolific writers in Marathi literature. His works are generally full of wit accompanied with detailed observation and are deeply rooted in Marathi language. He churned out a number of essays, novels, travelogues, plays which ranged from one-act stage shows to those for children etc. Pu La also wrote stories, screenplay, dialogues and lyrics for numerous films in Marathi. He was also an expert harmonium player and was proficient in Hindustani Classical music. Pu La was associated with ‘Doordarshan’ for a brief period of time and was the first to interview the then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru after it was founded. He was conferred with the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ and the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’. In 1966, he received the fourth highest civilian award, the ‘Padma Shri’ while in 1990 he received the Padma Bhushan.
1927 – Former deputy Prime Minister and senior Bhartiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani was born. Advani who started as a volunteer of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh held the post of Deputy Prime Minister during the NDA regime from 1998 to 2004. He was also Leader of the Opposition during the 10th and 14th Lok Sabha.
1937 – Noted Actor, Director and Producer Bharath Gopi was born. Gopi began his acting career as a stage actor at Prasadhana Little Theatres and first appeared in the play ‘Abhayarthikal’. He entered the world of cinema through Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s ‘Swayamvaram’ in 1972. His role of Sankarankutty in the 1977 release ‘Kodiyettam’ won him the National Award for Best Actor. He also delivered power-packed performances in other films like ‘Yavanika’, ‘Ormakkayi’, ‘Panchavadi Palam’, ‘Palangal’, ‘Chidambaram’ and ‘Adaminte Vaariyellu’. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1990 for his contribution.
1947 – Renowned playback singer also revered as the Pop Icon of India, Usha Uthup was born. As a child Usha loved listening to Radio Ceylon and had the opportunity to sing on a programmme called ‘The Ovaltine Music Hour’ that Radio Ceylon aired. She forayed into the film industry with ‘Hare Ram Hare Krishna’. She gave a number of hits through the late 60s, 70s and 80s including ‘Ek Do Cha Cha Cha’ (Shalimar-1978), ‘Shaan Se’ (Shann-1980), ‘Hari Om Hari’ (Pyaara Dushman-1980), ‘Ramba Ho'(Armaan-1981), ‘Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache’ (Disco Dancer-1982) etc. In 2011, she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for ‘Darling’ from Saat Khoon Maaf. The Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri for her contribution.
1949 – Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, was sentenced to death. Narayan Apte, who was found to be a co-conspirator, was also awarded death penalty.
1960 – Regarded as the ‘Father of the Indian Air Force’, country’s first Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee passed away. During the British Raj when the Government decided to induct Indians into the Royal Air Force, Subroto Mukerjee was one of the six Indian males chosen. The Indian Legislative Assembly passed the Indian Air Force Act on the same day when the six cadets were commissioned and the Indian Air Force was born.The six pilots made up the ‘A’ Flight of the No 1 Squadron, IAF. They successfully controlled a rebellion in North West Frontier in 1936 which was led by Pukhtoon tribes. Subroto Mukerjee was awarded the India General Service Medal for his service. He also operated during World War II. After India became independent, Subroto helped in reorganising the IAF. He became the first commander of the Indian Air Force in 1954. He was a football enthusiast and a follower of the Mohun Bagan Club. He conceived the idea of an all-india inter-school football championship which is now identified as the ‘Subroto Cup Football Tournament’.