Answer by Nagarajan Srinivas:
Wow! What a question? Where do we start, and who all do we mention? It is precisely this, much maligned, or misunderstood steel frame on which the very edifice of Modern India is being built. There are thousands upon thousands Civil Servants ( I prefer this word to Bureaucrat), oftentimes toiling in rural or remote places far away from their home or hearth, among the poor and the down trodden, under great stress or pressure, who are working hard for the continued development of this Nation and the upliftment of her people.
Since it is practically not possible to mention all of them, I just go for whom I would consider the Nine Brightest Gems (Navaratnas) in the diadem of Indian Civil Service. (As V.P.Menon has already been mentioned in an earlier answer, I do not want to repeat him here) Since the activities and achievements of this select group, both within and outside of their Government service, are so wide and varied, the answer will become very long, and to avoid that, I will be furnishing only appropriate links, so that one can explore and unearth many interesting information by oneself.
1.M.S.SWAMINATHAN : Eminent Agricultural Scientist and considered one of the Pioneers of Indian Green Revolution.
2.VERGHESE KURIEN: Architect of Operation Flood, and the Father of White Revolution.
3.RAJA RAMANNA : Eminent Nuclear Scientist, who was one of the architects of Operation Smiling Buddha I,which paved the way for Indian atomic research and put the Nation firmly on the International nuclear map.
4.SAM PITRODA : Father of Indian Telecom expansion and explosion. It is doubtful if I could still have managed to write and you to read this on electronic media, but for Pitroda's innovative efforts in Telecom sector.
5.T.N.SESHAN : This No-Nonsense civil servant was the architect of many innovative and bold electoral reforms during his tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner of India, so much so the Indian elections scenario was not the same any more and the EC has become one of the most respected as well as feared Constitutional bodies of India.
6.MAN MOHAN SINGH : Even though the question clearly says No Politicians, I still choose to include MMS here because, the posterity will in all probability remember him as an Economist,Governor of RBI, and an apolitical Finance Minister, who initiated crucial steps for opening up Indian economy,and set it on a trajectory of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization.In my opinion, MMS was never meant to be a politician, and it was precisely this inability or unwillingness on his part to turn a full time politician, which is at the back of his lack lustre performance as the Prime Minister. But as a Civil Servant whose contribution to the Nation's polity was invaluable, MMS certainly merits a place in this pantheon of great Civil Servants.
7.RAGHURAM RAJAN : Raghuram Rajan took over as the Governor of India's Central Bank, at a time when India's economy was under great stress, Rupee was going through the roof against dollar, and inflation was galloping like a riderless horse.But just his mere appointment to this Post, calmed the market,and inspired confidence among the investors, so much so, he was not only able to stem the rot,but also managed to instill a sense of stability in the economy. By consistently refusing to ponder to the dictates of politicians or the pressure from big business, just like his predecessor, Subba Rao,Rajan proved that he was more of a rock, than just a Rock Star.
8.K.R.NARAYANAN: Coming from a humble background, he rose through the ranks of Civil Servants and went on to first become the Vice President and eventually the President of India. He is respected by many for the independence and quiet dignity with which he discharged his Presidential duties.
9. A.P.J.ABDUL KALAM : The Missile Man and Poet, who went on to occupy the highest constitutional post of the country. Even after demitting office, Kalam still continues to inspire the youth of this Nation, and most people consider him the best President the country ever had.
I observe that there are many young Civil Service aspirants on this site, and we are fortunate to already have a Senior Civil Servant into guide and mentor them.I wish all of them will be inspired by these Nine Gems,and many more unsung but not insignificant Civil servants of India, and between them, take India to a great and glorious chapter in her history in near future.
Thanks for A2A,