Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour, given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, Sports and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954.
The original specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal, 35 mm in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend "Bharat Ratna" above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon. This design was altered after a year.
The first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many dignitaries, each a whiz in varied aspects of their career has received this coveted award.
List of recipients
Sachin Tendulkar 2014 Cricketer
C. N. R. Rao 2014 Scientist
Bhimsen Joshi 2009 Hindustani classical singer
Bismillah Khan 2001 Hindustani classical shehnai player
Lata Mangeshkar 2001 Playback singer
Gopinath Bordoloi 1999 Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Assam
Amartya Sen 1999 Economist from Kolkata and a Noble laureate
Ravi Shankar 1999 Sitar player from Calcutta
Jayaprakash Narayan 1998 Posthumous, independence activist and politician
Chidambaram Subramaniam 1998 Independence activist, Minister of Agriculture
M. S. Subbulakshmi 1998 Carnatic classical singer
Aruna Asaf Ali 1997 Posthumous, independence activist
Gulzarilal Nanda 1997 Independence activist, interim Prime Minister
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam 1997 Aeronautical Engineer,11th President of India
Satyajit Ray 1992 Bengali Filmmaker
J. R. D. Tata 1992 Industrialist and philanthropist
Abul Kalam Azad 1992 Posthumous, independence activist, first Minister of Education
Morarji Desai 1991 Independence activist, fourth Prime Minister
Vallabhbhai Patel 1991 Posthumous, independence activist, first Home Minister,Was responsible for unification of all Indian princely states.
Rajiv Gandhi 1991 Posthumous, Sixth Prime Minister.
Nelson Mandela 1990 Second non-citizen and non-Indian recipient, Leader of the Anti-Apartheid movement and Noble laureate
B. R. Ambedkar 1990 Posthumous, Chief architect of the Indian Constitution,Crusader against Untouchability, Dalit Icon, Social Reformer, Historian, politician, economist, and scholar
M. G. Ramachandran 1988 Posthumous, film actor, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan 1987 First non-citizen, independence activist
Vinoba Bhave 1983 Posthumous, social reformer, independence activist
Mother Teresa of Calcutta 1980 Catholic nun, founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata and Noble laureate
K. Kamaraj 1976 Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State
V. V. Giri 1975 Trade unionist and fourth President
Indira Gandhi 1971 Third Prime Minister,The First Woman Prime Minister of India(1966-1977,1980-1984)
Lal Bahadur Shastri 1966 Posthumous, independence activist, second Prime Minister
Pandurang Vaman Kane 1963 Indologist and Sanskrit scholar
Zakir Hussain 1963 Independence activist, Scholar, third President
Rajendra Prasad 1962 Independence activist, jurist, first President
Purushottam Das Tandon 1961 Independence activist, educator
Bidhan Chandra Roy 1961 Physician, Chief Minister of West Bengal
Dhondo Keshav Karve 1958 Educator, social reformer
Govind Ballabh Pant 1957 Independence activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister
Jawaharlal Nehru 1955 Independence activist, author, first Prime Minister
Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya 1955 Civil engineer, Diwan of Mysore
Bhagwan Das 1955 Independence activist, author, Founder of Kashi Vidya Peeth
Radhakrishnan 1954 Philosopher, India's First Vice President (1952-1962), and India's Second President(1962-1967)
C. V. Raman 1954 Physicist from Madras and a Nobel laureate
C Rajagopalachari 1954 Independence activist, last and the only Indian Governor-General of India
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