Oxford University Indian Alumni: Famous Indian People who Graduated from Oxford

6 minute read

While there is a lot of writing about Indian students studying abroad these days, the practice is not particularly new. Not only did Jawaharlal Nehru travel across the ocean to pursue his education, but so did Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and numerous more Indians, both well-known and unknown, have also done this. This blog will discuss the most famous Oxford University Indian alumni 


In addition, did you know that in the 1890s, Cornelia Sorabji, the first female lawyer in India, was also the first woman to study law at Oxford? Global Nobel laureates, presidents, and prime ministers are among the distinguished alumni of Oxford University. Here is a list of some well-known Oxford University Indian Alumni. Let’s dig in to learn more.

Must Read: How to Get Admission to Oxford University From India?

About Oxford University

Oxford was ranked as the best institution in the world by the Times Higher Education (THE) World Institution Rankings for the academic years 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Students from all around the world can take advantage of its numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as research possibilities. Computer science, engineering, law, medicine, and mathematics are a few of the most popular courses here.

The university is renowned for its strict academic requirements and long tradition of academic distinction. It pushes students to follow their interests both within and outside of the classroom and to think critically. Oxford offers a wide range of student services in line with current demands, including financial aid guidance, career counselling, mental health support, and assistance for overseas students.

Oxford University Indian Alumni

Let’s take a look at the lives and accomplishments of well-known Oxford University Indian Graduates:

Indira Gandhi

Source: Mint

Indira Gandhi attended Somerville College from 1937 to 1940 and graduated from Oxford University. She was the longest-serving female head of state in history, holding the position from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984.

She made India a nuclear power and managed the nationalization of numerous important enterprises while serving as prime minister. She also made an effort to strengthen ties with China and Pakistan.

Gandhi was a divisive figure in India, and not everyone agreed with her ideals. She is regarded highly, nevertheless, for her leadership during a period of significant transition for India.

Must Read: Essay on Indira Gandhi: Sample for Students in 100, 200, 500 words

Dr Manmohan Singh

Source: Indian National Congress

From 2004 to 2014, Dr. Manmohan Singh, an economist and politician from India, led the country as prime minister. He is credited with invigorating India’s economy in 1991, contributing to the country’s economic expansion during a pivotal period.

Dr Singh was born in 1932 in Gah, Punjab. After completing his DPhil at the University of Oxford and studying economics at the University of Cambridge, he worked as an economist and lecturer at numerous Indian universities.

He started advising Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on economic matters in 1971, and in 1982 he was appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. The year 1991 marked his appointment as India’s Finance Minister by Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. 

Amitav Ghosh

Source: Britannica

Indian author Amitav Ghosh is well-recognized for his two books, The Shadow Lines (1988) and The Circle of Reason (1986). In addition, he is the author of nonfiction works including A Passage to India (1997) and In an Antique Land (1992). Ghosh attended Oxford University and Delhi University after being born in Kolkata, West Bengal. He has been a professor at several universities, such as Yale, Columbia, and the Sorbonne.

Ghosh has written a great deal about the consequences of colonialism. In his writings, including The Glass Palace (2000) and The Hungry Tide (2004), he has examined the nuanced interaction between the East and West. In 2007, he received the Padma Shri for his literary contributions. 

Additionally, for his novel The Shadow Lines, he was awarded India’s highest literary accolade, the Sahitya Akademi Award. One of Ghosh’s most recent works is the epic trilogy Flood of Fire (2015), which is set in colonial Southeast Asia and India.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi

Source: IndiaTimes

Former Indian national cricket team captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was a well-known cricket player. He completed his studies in history, economics, and politics at Oxford University.

On January 5, 1941, Pataudi was born in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He came from an affluent family because his father was Bhopal’s final Nawab. Due to his exceptional cricket skills as a young guy, Pataudi was chosen in 1961 for the Indian national squad. In forty Test matches, Pataudi captained India and guided them to nine victories. With a batting average of 34.91, he leads all Indian batsmen in scoring.

His son Saif Ali Khan is a renowned actor in Bollywood. On September 22, 2011, he passed away from respiratory failure.

Must Read: Oxford University Scholarships for Indian Students

Vikram Seth

Source: Charlie Rose

Indian poet and writer Vikram Seth is the author of various collections, including A Suitable Boy, which is nominated for the Booker Prize, and An Equal Music. In addition, he translated the Sanskrit epic The Mahabharata and works by Rabindranath Tagore into English.

1952 saw the birth of Seth in Kolkata. In England, he first attended The Doon School and subsequently Tonbridge School. He continued to Oxford’s Corpus Christi College to study philosophy.

Notable environmental activist Vikram Seth also supports several causes, including protecting tigers, aiding Indian farmers impacted by drought, helping during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake relief operations, and, more recently, speaking out against violence against women.

Sujata Vasant Manohar

Source: India Legal

Indian-American jurist Sujata Vasant Manohar presided over the Indian Supreme Court as a justice from 1994 to 1999.

She was born and raised in Bombay, India, and holds a bachelor’s degree. She studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford after graduating from Elphinstone College in Bombay, where she also earned a master’s degree.

Following graduation, she practised civil rights law in San Francisco. In addition, she worked as Justice Harry A. Blackmun’s law clerk at the US Supreme Court from 1978 to 1979.

Cornelia Sorabji

Source: The Times of India

Indian author, lawyer, and social reformer Cornelia Sorabji. She was also the first female student at Oxford’s Somerville College to study law. Following her graduation, she was appointed as India’s first female advocate in the Bombay High Court and as a barrister.

In India, Sorabji is revered as an icon of women’s liberation and her legacy endures today. In honour of her 151st birthday, she received a Google Doodle in 2017 as a posthumous tribute. In addition, she has been honoured with scholarships from several Indian colleges for her groundbreaking work as a feminist and lawyer.

Vir Sanghvi

Source: ThePrint

Journalist, novelist, and culinary critic Vir Sanghvi was chosen to the top position at Bombay magazine, making him the youngest editor in Indian media history. Thirty years old, he was Sunday’s Editor. In addition, he edited the Hindustan Times. Sanghvi studied Economics, Philosophy, and Politics at Brasenose College in Oxford. He has also hosted several TV series.

Girish Karnad

Source: Hindustan Times

In addition to winning multiple accolades for his plays and films—the majority of which he wrote in Kannada, his “adopted language”—Girish Karnad is a nationally recognized writer, actor, and film director. His mother tongue is Konkani. He also won the Jnanpith in 1998. As a Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Oxford University with an MA in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics.


Many Nobel Prize winners and some of the most powerful and prosperous people in the world call Oxford University home. The outstanding list of Oxford University’s graduates, which includes presidents and prime ministers as well as well-known actors, musicians, writers, and scientists, is proof of the university’s high caliber of instruction and dedication to academic achievement.


Q1. Which University is called the “Oxford of India”?

Ans: Known as the “Oxford of the East,” Pune, which was formerly thought to be the capital of the Maratha Empire, is now the centre of education and home to numerous famous academic institutions. One of Pune’s oldest and most prestigious universities, Savitribai Phule University is known around the world.

Q2. Which are the top Oxford University Indian Alumni?

Ans: Some of the notable Oxford University Indian Alumni include Indira Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Amitav Ghosh, and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.

Q3. What did Indira Gandhi study at the Oxford University?

Ans: Indira Gandhi performed well in economics, political science, and history at Oxford University, but she continued to receive bad ratings in Latin, a required subject. However, Indira did participate actively in university student life, as seen by her membership in the Oxford Majlis Asian Society.

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This was all about the Oxford University Indian Alumni. For more interesting reads like this, subscribe to Leverage Edu. Lastly, if you wish to study abroad, connect with our experts and book a 30-minute free counselling session at 1800 57 2000.

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