Bharat Ratna:

Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award. It is awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as recognition of public service of the highest order. Unlike knights, holders of the Bharat Ratna carry no special title or any other honorifics, but they do have a place in the Indian order of precedence.

The award was established by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, on 2 January 1954. Along with other major national honours, such as the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, the awarding of the Bharat Ratna was suspended from July 13, 1977 to January 26, 1980.

Any person without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex is eligible for this award. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President. No formal recommendations for this are necessary.

The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.

The award does not carry any monetary grant. The decoration is in the form of a Peepal leaf, about 5.8 cm long, 4.7 cm wide and 3.1 mm thick. It is of toned bronze. On its obverse is embossed a replica of the Sun, 1.6 cm in diameter, below which the words Bharat Ratna are embossed in Devanagari script. On the reverse are State emblem and the motto, also in Devanagari. The emblem, the Sun and the rim are of platinum. The inscriptions are in burnished bronze.

In terms of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution, the award cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient’s name.

However, should an award winner consider it necessary, he or she may use the following expression in their bio-data or letterhead or visiting card, etc. to indicate that he or she is a recipient of the award: ‘Awarded Bharat Ratna by the President’ or ‘Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award’.

The latest award was given for the year 2015 to Late Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. While Malavya was the 44th recipient of the award, Vajpayee was the 45th.

Bharat Ratna Awardees

  1. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari: 1954
  2. Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: 1954
  3. Dr. Chandrasekhar Venkat Raman: 1954
  4. Dr. Bhagwan Das: 1955
  5. Dr. Mokshagundam Visveswaraya: 1955
  6. Jawaharlal Nehru: 1955
  7. Govind Ballabh Pant: 1957
  8. Dr. Dhondo Keshave Karve: 1958
  9. Dr. Bhidan Chandra Roy: 1961
  10. Purushottam Das Tandon: 1961
  11. Dr. Rajendra Prasad: 1962
  12. Dr. Zakir Husain: 1963
  13. Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane: 1963
  14. Lal Bahadur Shastri (Posthumous): 1966
  15. Indira Gandhi: 1971
  16. Varahagiri Venkatagiri: 1975
  17. Kumaraswami Kamraj (Posthmous): 1976
  18. Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa): 1980
  19. Acharya Vinobha Bhave (Posthumous): 1983
  20. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: 1987
  21. Marudu Gopalan Ramachandran (Posthumous): 1988
  22. Dr. Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar (Posthumous): 1990
  23. Dr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: 1990
  24. Rajiv Gandhi (Posthumous): 1991
  25. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Posthumous): 1991
  26. Morarji Ranchodji Desai: 1991
  27. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Posthumous): 1992
  28. Jehangir Ratanji Dada Bhai Tata: 1992
  29. Satyajit Ray: 1992
  30. Aruna Asaf Ali (Posthumous): 1997
  31. Gulzarilal Nanda (Posthumous): 1997
  32. Dr. Avul Pakir J. Abdul Kalam: 1997
  33. M. S. Subbalakshmi: 1998
  34. Chidambaram Subramaniam: 1998
  35. Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan (Posthumous): 1999
  36. Professor Amartya Sen: 1999
  37. Lokpriya Gopinath Bardoloi (Posthumous): 1999
  38. Pandit Ravi Shankar: 1999
  39. Lata Mangeshkar: 2001
  40. Bismillah Khan: 2001
  41. Pt. Bhimsen Joshi: 2009
  42. C.N.R. Rao: 2014
  43. Sachin R. Tendulkar: 2014
  44. Madan Mohan Malaviya: 2015
  45. Atal Bihari Vajpayee: 2015

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