Gopinath Munde: He died tragically in a car accident just days after becoming Minister of Rural Development in the Central Cabinet. He was a former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Deputy BJP leader in the Lok Sabha.
Pramod Mahajan. Balasaheb Thackeray. Vilasrao Deshmukh. Maharashtra has lost more than its fair share of leaders in the last few years.
Khushwant Singh: He died at the age of 99 still writing columns. A former editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India, Hindustan Times and National Herald, he wrote many books like The Train to Pakistan.
He also won the Padma Vibhushan and was a Rajya Sabha MP. Early in his career he was a practicing lawyer and was part of the Indian Foreign Service.
Sunanda Pushkar: A highly tragic death which is shrouded in mystery to this present day. She was found dead in suspicious circumstances immediately after a full-blown Twitter spat. Wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, she got a lot of bad press during the IPL scam involving Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
Russi Mody: A grand old man of the Tata group, he worked in Tata Steel for more than 5 decades (right before Independence). He came at the helm of Tata Steel in 1972 and ruled the roost till his retirement in 1993. After his retirement he headed Air India.
Zohra Sehgal: The grand old lady of Indian cinema died at the grand age of 102. The lovable actress had a long career that ran from the Cannes award winning Neecha Nagar of 1946 right to Bollywood’s Cheeni Kam in 2007. In between she appeared in the famous TV serial The Jewel in the Crown and British films like Bend It Like Beckham.
Pran Kumar Sharma: Very few people knew his surname and he was just known as “Pran”. His most famous creation is Chacha Chaudhury and his adventures have sold millions of comics.
He was the staple diet of kids growing up in India and in the 1980s, most probably heard the word computer for the first time because “Chacha ka dimaag computer se bhi tez chalta hai” (His brain works faster than a computer).
VK Murthy: Part of the legendary director Guru Dutt’s dream team, this cinematographer was involved with famous movies like Pyaasa, Kagaaz Ke Phool and C.I.D. He was also a freedom fighter, received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2008 and Filmfare Awards in 1959 and 1962.
K. Balachander: Known in Bollywood for his blockbuster Ek Duuje Ke Liye, he was associated with both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth in the Tamil film industry. A winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award he also won both National Awards and Filmfare Awards many times.
Nanda: This Bollywood actress was famous for starring in films like Jab Jab Phool Khile, Hum Dono, Gumnaam and Teen Devian in the 1960s. She also acted in a more senior role in movies like Prem Rog and Ahista Ahista in the 1980s.
Suchitra Sen: Bollywood fans know her for Devdas (for which she won the Filmfare Best Actress Award) and Aandhi, where she played a role inspired by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But she had a much longer Bengali film career where she starred opposite the legend Uttam Kumar in a whopping 30 films.
BKS Iyengar: One of India’s most famous exponents all over the world, his name has been synonymous with Yoga for decades. He wrote best-sellers and even made it to Time’s annual list of most influential people.
UR Ananthamurthy: This great Kannada writer won the Jnanpith Award and Padma Bhushan. He is famous for his literary work Samskara which was made into a film in 1970. He was also Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala.
Outside of Karnataka he was known more for his controversies and was a fierce critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sadashiv Amrapurkar: He was the quintessential Bollywood villain and won the inaugural Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role for his much-acclaimed “Maharani” performance in Sadak in 1991.
He shot to fame in 1983’s Ardha Satya for which he also got a Filmfare award.
Deven Verma: He won the Filmfare Best Comedian Award thrice, the most famous being for his double role in Angoor in 1983. He did many character roles and tried his hand at direction which included Amitabh Bachchan’s Besharam.
AR Antulay: He was Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1980-82 but he had to resign after the infamous cement scam. He was also Minister for Minority Affairs in UPA1.
Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy: He was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church from India. He died in Rome this year and hailed from Pondicherry.
More from the author:
A to Z of Janata Pariwar
7 global trends for India in 2014…
2015: Kashmir's year of hope
Bad Taliban. Worse Taliban. Worst Taliban
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.