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List of laureates awarded the Bharat Ratna

List of laureates awarded the Bharat Ratna

  • The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred "in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
  • The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but the government expanded the criteria to include "any field of human endeavour" in December 2011.
  • The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year.
  • Recipients receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award.
  • Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.




List of laureates awarded the Bharat Ratna
Year Laureates Notes
1954 C Rajagopalachari Feb 17 2011.JPG C. Rajagopalachari An Indian independence activist, statesman, and lawyer, Rajagopalachari was the only Indian and last Governor-General of independent India. He was Chief Minister of Madras Presidency (1937–39) and Madras State (1952–54); and founder of Indian political party Swatantra Party.
Photograph of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan presented to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962.jpg Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Philosopher Radhakrishnan served as India's first Vice-President (1952–62) and second President (1962–67). Since 1962, his birthday on 5 September is observed as "Teachers' Day" in India.
Sir CV Raman.JPG C. V. Raman Widely known for his work on the scattering of light and the discovery of the effect, better known as "Raman scattering", Raman mainly worked in the field of atomic physics and electromagnetism and was presented Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
1955  – Bhagwan Das Independence activist, philosopher, and educationist, Das is a co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith and worked with Madan Mohan Malaviya for the foundation of Banaras Hindu University.
Visvesvaraya Statue bust at JIT.jpg M. Visvesvaraya Civil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18), Visvesvaraya was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. His birthday, 15 September, is observed as "Engineer's Day" in India.
Jnehru.jpg Jawaharlal Nehru Independence activist and author, Nehru is the first and the longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).
1957 Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant.jpg Govind Ballabh Pant Independence activist Pant was premier of United Provinces (1937–39, 1946–50) and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54). He served as Union Home Minister from 1955–61.
1958 Dr Dhondo Keshav Karve Cropped.png Dhondo Keshav Karve Social reformer and educator, Karve is widely known for his works related to woman education and remarriage of Hindu widows. He established the Widow Marriage Association (1883), Hindu Widows Home (1896), and started Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University in 1916.
1961  – Bidhan Chandra Roy A physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker, Roy is often considered as "Maker of Modern West Bengal". He was second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62) and his birthday on 1 July is observed as National Doctors' Day in India.
 – Purushottam Das Tandon Often titled as "Rajarshi", Tandon was an independence activist and served as speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (1937–50). He was actively involved in a campaign to get official language status to Hindi.
1962 Food Minister Rajendra Prasad during a radio broadcast in Dec 1947 cropped.jpg Rajendra Prasad Independence activist, lawyer, statesman, and scholar, Prasad was closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement for Indian independence. He was later elected as the first President of India (1950–62).
1963  – Zakir Husain Independence activist and education philosopher, Husain served as a Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (1948–56) and the Governor of Bihar (1957–62). Later, he was elected as second Vice-President of India (1962–67) and went on to become the third President of India (1967–69).
PV Kane.jpg Pandurang Vaman Kane Indologist and Sanskrit scholar, Kane is best known for his five volume literary work, History of Dharmaśāstra: Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India; the "monumental" work that extends over nearly 6,500 pages and being published from 1930 to 1962.
1966 1736 Lal Bahadur Shastri cropped.jpg Lal Bahadur Shastri[i]# Known for his slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer"), Independence activist Shastri served as second Prime Minister of India (1964–66) and led the country during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
1971 Indira2.jpg Indira Gandhi Known as the "Iron Lady of India", Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India during 1966–77 and 1980–84. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, her government supported Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the formation of a new country, Bangladesh.
1975  – V. V. Giri While studying at the University College Dublin, Giri was involvement in the Irish Sinn Féin movement. Returning to India, he organized labour unions and brought them to take active participation in Indian freedom struggle. He was elected as the first President of All India Trade Union Congress in 1926. Post-independence, Giri held positions of Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore and various other cabinet ministries. He became the first acting President and was eventually elected as the fourth President of India (1969–74).[63][83][84]
1976 Kamarajar cropped.jpeg K. Kamaraj Independence activist and statesman Kamaraj was a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1954–57, 1957–62, and 1962–63.[85][86]
1980 MotherTeresa 090.jpg Mother Teresa + "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" was a catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work in 1979 and was beatified on 19 October 2003 by Pope John Paul II and canonised on 4 September 2016 by Pope Francis.
1983 Gandhi and Vinoba.jpg Vinoba Bhave Independence activist, social reformer, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave is best known for his Bhoodan movement, "Land-Gift Movement". He was given the honorific title "Acharya" ("teacher") and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1958) for his humanitarian work.[89]
1987 Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.jpg Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Widely known as "Frontier Gandhi", independence activist and Pashtun leader Khan was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined Khilafat Movement in 1920 and founded Khudai Khidmatgar ("Red Shirt movement") in 1929.[90]
1988
M. G. Ramachandran Actor turned politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, 1985–87.
1990 Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar.jpg B. R. Ambedkar[v]# Social reformer and leader of the Dalits ("Untouchables"),[92] Ambedkar was the Chief architect of the Indian Constitution and also served as the first Law Minister of India.[93] Ambedkar predominantly campaigned against the social discrimination with Dalits, the Hindu varna system.[94] He was associated with the Dalit Buddhist movement and accepted Buddhism as a religion along with his close to half a million followers on 14 October 1956.[95]
Nelson Mandela-2008 (edit).jpg Nelson Mandela* Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, Mandela was the President of South Africa (1994–99).[96] Often called as the "Gandhi of South Africa",[97] Mandela's African National Congress movement was influenced by Gandhian philosophy.[98] In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.[99]
1991 Rajiv Gandhi (cropped).jpg Rajiv Gandhi[vi]# Gandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.[49]
Sardar patel (cropped).jpg Vallabhbhai Patel[vii]# Widely known as the "Iron Man of India",[100] Patel was an independence activist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India (1947–50). Post independence, "Sardar" ("Leader") Patel worked with V. P. Menon towards dissolving 555 princely states into the Indian union.[101][102]
Morarji Desai (portrait).png Morarji Desai[e] Independence activist Desai was the sixth Prime Minister of India (1977–79).[49] He is the only Indian national to be awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan, highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan.[104]
1992 Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.jpg Abul Kalam Azad[viii][f]# Independence activist Azad was India's first Minister of Education and worked towards free primary education. He was widely known as "Maulana Azad" and his birthday on 11 November is observed as National Education Day in India.
J.R.D. Tata (1955).jpg J. R. D. Tata Industrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer, Tata founded India's first airline Air India. He is the founder of various institutes including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Motors, TCS, National Institute of Advanced Studies, and National Centre for the Performing Arts.[108]
SatyajitRay.jpg Satyajit Ray Having debuted as a director with Pather Panchali (1955),[109] film-maker Ray is credited with bringing world recognition to Indian cinema.[110] In 1984, Ray was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.[111]
1997  – Gulzarilal Nanda Independence activist Nanda was two times interim Prime Minister of India (1964, 1966) and two times deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.[49][112]
 – Aruna Asaf Ali[ix]# Independence activist Ali is better known for hoisting the Indian flag in Bombay during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Post Independence, Ali was elected as Delhi's first mayor in 1958.[113]
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in 2008.jpg A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Aerospace and defence scientist, Kalam was involved in the development of India's first satellite launch vehicle SLV III and was the architect of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. He worked for Indian National Committee for Space Research, Indian Space Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Laboratory and was appointed as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Secretary to Department of Defence Research and Development and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation.[114] Later, he served as the eleventh President of India from 2002 till 2007.[63]
1998 Ms subbulakshmi 140x190.jpg M. S. Subbulakshmi Carnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi, often hailed as "Queen of songs", is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.[115]
Chidambaram Subramaniam.jpg Chidambaram Subramaniam Independence activist and former Minister of Agriculture of India (1964–66), Subramaniam is known for his contribution towards Green Revolution in India. During the late 1970s, he worked for International Rice Research Institute, Manila, and the International Maize and Wheat Research Institute, Mexico.[116]
1999  – Jayaprakash Narayan[x]# Independence activist, social reformer, and commonly referred as "Lok Nayak" ("People's Hero"), Narayan is better known for "Total Revolution Movement" or "JP Movement" initiated during the mid-1970s to "overthrow the corrupt and exploitative Congress government".[117]
Amartya Sen NIH.jpg Amartya Sen Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998),[118] Sen has done research over several topics including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.[119]
Gopinath Bordoloi.jpg Gopinath Bordoloi[xi]# Independence activist Bordoloi is the first Chief Minister of Assam (1946–50).[120] His efforts and association with the then Minister of Home Affairs Vallabhbhai Patel were widely acknowledged while keeping Assam united with India when parts of it were to merge with East Pakistan.[121]
Ravi Shankar 2009 crop.jpg Ravi Shankar Winner of four Grammy Awards and often considered "the world's best-known exponent of Hindustani classical music", sitar player Shankar is known for his collaborative work with Western musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.[122]
2001 Lata Mangeshkar - still 29065 crop.jpg Lata Mangeshkar Widely credited as the "nightingale of India",[123] playback singer Mangeshkar started her career in the 1940s and has sung songs in over 36 languages.[124] In 1989, Mangeshkar was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.[111]
Bismillah at Concert1 (edited) 2.jpg Bismillah Khan Hindustani classical shehnai player, Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades and is credited to have brought the instrument to the centre stage of Indian music.[125]
2009 Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (cropped).jpg Bhimsen Joshi Hindustani classical vocalist, Joshi was a disciple of Kirana gharana, an Indian musical school. He is widely known for the Khyal genre of singing with a "mastery over rhythm and accurate notes".[126][127]
2014 CNRrao2.jpg C. N. R. Rao The recipient of Honorary Doctorates from 63 Universities including Purdue, IIT Bombay, Oxford, chemist and professor Rao has worked prominently in the fields of Solid State and Materials Chemistry, Spectroscopy and Molecular Structure. He has authored around 1600 research papers and 48 books.[128]
Sachin at Castrol Golden Spanner Awards (crop).jpg Sachin Tendulkar Having debuted in 1989, Tendulkar played 664 international cricket matches in a career spanned over two decades. He holds various cricket records including the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries, the first batsman to score a double century in a One Day International and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket.[129][130]
2015 Madan Mohan Malaviya1.jpg Madan Mohan Malaviya[xii]# Scholar and educational reformer Malaviya is a founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (1906) and Banaras Hindu University and served as the university's vice-chancellor from 1919 till 1938. He was the President of Indian National Congress for four terms and was the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.[131]
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (cropped).jpg Atal Bihari Vajpayee Parliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee was elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms; 1996, 1998, 1999–2004.[49] He was Minister of External Affairs during 1977–79 and was awarded as the "Best Parliamentarian" in 1994.[132]

Explanatory notes

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