Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of India. It is awarded to the deserving people irrespective of their the caste, creed, occupation, designation, and sex. It was started in 1954. A maximum of three persons can be given this award in a particular year. From 1954 till date, a number of people have received this from the Indian government. Here is a list of some of these great achievers-cum-contributors.
Bharat Ratna, 1954
C. Rajagopalachari first received the award. He was the founder of Swatantra Party and the last Governor-General of India.
In the same year, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan received it. His birthday is observed as the Teachers’ Day across the country.
C.V. Raman accompanied them in receiving this award for his revolutionary work named Raman Scattering Effect in atomic Physics. He received a Nobel Prize too.
Bharat Ratna, 1955
Among the others, Jawaharlal Nehru was the most prominent name in this year’s awardee list. He was the first Prime Minister of India and served for the longest tenure.
Bharat Ratna 1957
Independence activist and the first CM of Uttar Pradesh, Govind Ballabh Pant received the award in 1957. He was a Union Home Minister.
Bidhan Chandra Roy, popularly known as “Maker of Modern West Bengal” received the award in the same year. He has been a physician and a philanthropist. His birthday is observed as the National Doctors’ Day.
Bharat Ratna 1962
Dr Rajendra Prasad was the sole receiver of the award this year. He was the first President of India and was an eminent independence activist.
Bharat Ratna 1963
Zakir Hussain, the third President of independent India received the award in 1963. He was an eminent educationist and was chaired as the Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.
Bharat Ratna, 1966
The second Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri received the Bharat Ratna in 1966. He called the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”. He was also an eminent independence activist.
Bharat Ratna, 1971
Indira Gandhi, the first lady Prime Minister of India received the award. She became the PM of India two times. She was fondly referred to as the “Iron Lady of India”. In 1971, during the Indo-Pakistani war, her government extended support towards the Bangladesh Liberation War.
Bharat Ratna, 1975
V. V. Giri, the first acting President of India was bestowed with this award this year. He took active part in the freedom struggle and took in labour unions in it too. He had been the Governor of Kerala, Mysore, Uttar Pradesh and became the fourth President of India.
Bharat Ratna, 1976
K. Kamraj, famous for his statesman activities, received the award solely in 1976. He was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three consecutive terms from 1954 to 1963.
Bharat Ratna, 1980
Saint Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1979, received the award. She is a great humanitarian activist.
Bharat Ratna, 1983
This year Vinoba Bhave received the award. He was a famous social reformer widely known for the “Land-Gift Movement”.
Bharat Ratna, 1987
The receiver this year is Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi.
Bharat Ratna, 1990
Two eminent people, Dr B. R. Ambedkar and Nelson Madela received it. The former is the architect of the Indian Constitution while the latter is the leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Bharat Ratna, 1991
Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron Man of India and Morarji Desai, the sixth PM of India together received the award in 1991.
Bharat Ratna, 1992
Independence activist Abul Kalam Azad, widely known as Maulana Azad received this award together with J. R. D. Tata, the eminent industrialist and founder of Air India and Satyajit Ray, the Oscar Award winner filmmaker from West Bengal.
Bharat Ratna, 1997
Independence activists Gulzarilal Nanda and Aruna Asaf Ali received Bharat Ratna together with the Missile Man of India and ex-President Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
Bharat Ratna 1998
Carnatic classical vocalist M. S. Subbulakshmi and former Minister of Agriculture Chidambaram Subramaniam received the award.
Bharat Ratna, 1999
Nobel Prize awardee in Economic Sciences Amartya Sen received the award along with Jayaprakash Narayan and Gopinath Bordoloi, independence activists and Hindustani classical music expert and sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
Bharat Ratna, 2001
Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India and Bismillah Khan, classical Shehnai player were the receivers this year.
Bharat Ratna, 2009
Bhimsen Joshi, a Hindustani classical vocalist of Kirana Gharana received the award.
Bharat Ratna, 2014
Sachin Tendulkar, the cricket maestro with a record of one hundred international centuries was awarded the title.
Bharat Ratna, 2015
Madan Mohan Malaviya, founder of Banaras Hindu University and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India were awarded the title in 2015.
Bharat Ratna 2019
Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India, Nanaji Deshmukh, eminent social activist and Bhupen Hazarika, widely known singer, composer and lyricist from Assam received Bharat Ratna in 2019.
Over the years, India has produced innumerable gems in all sectors. The Bharat Ratna Award is just a recognition of their contribution to a particular field of art, culture, sports, teaching, administration and so on. The award has also been bestowed across the border. The Prime Minister makes the recommendations to the President of India.