The Pulitzer Prize, and its Indian-origin winners

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulMay 09, 2023 | 15:20

The Pulitzer Prize, and its Indian-origin winners

The Pulitzer Prize is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious honour in the field of journalism. (Photo: AP)

2023 Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism have been awarded to the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, to name a few, for pieces ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, financial irregularities by federal and government officials to some human impact stories.

About the Pulitzer Prize

The Pulitzer Prize, established by the provisions of a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher and philanthropist Joseph Pulitzer's will, by Columbia University in 1917, recognizes excellence in newspaper journalism, photography, literature, and music composition.


Originally, the Pulitzer Prize recognized achievements in journalism, specifically in the fields of reporting, writing, and photography. Over the years, additional categories were added to encompass other forms of creative expression taking it to 22 including Investigative Reporting, Breaking News Reporting, Commentary, Breaking News Photography  Explanatory Reporting, Public Service, etc. 

The prize winners are selected through a rigorous process. Each category has a jury that evaluates the submissions and makes three nominations. The Pulitzer Prize Board consisting of distinguished individuals from journalism, literature, and arts fields takes the final decision. A majority vote is required to determine the winners.

The Pulitzer Prize is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious honours in the respective fields it recognizes. It serves as a benchmark for excellence and has contributed to the advancement of journalism, literature, and the arts. The award ceremony takes place annually in New York City, where the winners are presented with certificates, cash prizes, and in the case of the Public Service category, a gold medal.

The New York Times boasts an extraordinary record, as it has garnered the most Pulitzer Prizes accumulating a staggering total of 132 prizes in diverse categories since 1918.


Indians who have won the Pulitzer

Staff members from Reuters, Danish Siddiqui, Adnan Abidi, and others accepted the
2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. (Photo Credit: Eileen Barroso/Columbia University)
  • In 2022, Danish Siddiqui, along with Adnan Abidi, Sanna  Irshad   Mattoo, and Amit Dave from Reuters (after his death in Afghanistan in 2021), won a Pulitzer in the Feature Photography Category for covering the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
  • Earlier in 2018, Danish Siddiqui, along with Adnan Abidi and others from Reuters was awarded the Pulitzer in 2018 for the coverage of the Rohingya refugee crisis.
Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin accept the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
(Photo Credit: Jose Lopez/The Pulitzer Prizes)
  • The team of photographers Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin from Associated Press won the Pulitzer in 'Feature Photography category' in 2020 for their photographs captured during a communications blackout in Kashmir portraying everyday life and challenges faced by residents of the valley following the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A.
  • Sanghamitra Kalita, an Indian-American journalist led a Pulitzer Prize-winning team from The Los Angeles Times in 2016 for their exceptional coverage of the San Bernardino shooting in California in 2015. Their comprehensive reporting encompassed not only the tragic incident itself but also the subsequent terror investigation that unfolded.
  • Bengaluru-born Vijay Seshadri, an American poet, essayist and literary critic, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for his collection of poems titled "3 Sections". This exceptional work of poetry was recognized for its profound insights, lyrical craft skills, and exploration of themes such as identity, memory, and the human experience. 
Siddhartha Mukherjee with the 2011 General Nonfiction Prize. (Photo Credit: pulitzer.org)
  • Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer". The book delved into the history, science, and human impact of cancer, providing a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the disease. The Pulitzer Prize recognized Mukherjee's exceptional storytelling and his ability to make complex scientific concepts accessible to a wider audience. The book made significant contributions to the field of medical literature and played a crucial role in raising awareness about cancer research and treatment.

  • Mumbai-born  American Geeta Anand, in 2002 received Pulitzer Prize as part of The Wall Street Journal staff for Explanatory Reporting on corporate corruption. Her series of reports on healthcare as a lead reporter was a finalist in the 2003 Pulitzer Awards too.
Jhumpa Lahiri with The 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (Photo Credit: pulitzer.org).
  • American-Indian author  Jhumpa Lahiri, in 2000 was awarded the Pulitzer for her debut story collection, "Interpreter of Maladies." Through her compelling work, Lahiri delved into the complex themes of love and identity within the context of immigrant experiences and cultural adaptation. The Pulitzer recognition further solidified Lahiri's impact as a writer whose narratives resonate with readers worldwide. She was later appointed to join the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities by President Obama in February 2010. 
  • Gobind Behari Lal, an Indian-American journalist and independence activist, became the first recipient from India to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Lal, a research fellow at the University of California, along with four others received the prize for exceptional coverage in the field of science in the reporting category.
Last updated: May 09, 2023 | 15:38
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