8. The Nine Unknown Men
The Illuminati are to the Western world what the Nine Unknown Men are to India, but they are far more pervasive and mysterious. According to tradition, Emperor Asoka formed this strong secret organization in 273 BC after a terrible war that took the lives of 100,000 soldiers. The Nine Unknown Men were tasked with preserving and developing secret material that would be too harmful in the hands of the uninitiated.
Each of the Nine was given a specific book of knowledge, which included everything from propaganda to microbiology. Anti-gravity and time travel secrets are believed to be held by some of them. Some of this priceless information does occasionally slip out into the public; for example, Judo is supposed to be founded on “leaks” from the Book of Physiology.
The Unknown Men are always nine in number, and their unmasked interactions with the outside world are few and far between. There are many rumors regarding their present and former members, just as there are about the Illuminati. Surprisingly, not all of them are Indian—the Unknown Men are said to be found all over the world, with some claiming to hold high-ranking positions. The powerful 10th century Pope Sylvester II and Vikram Sarabhai, the physicist who founded India’s fledgling space program, are among the Nine Unknown’s alleged members.