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Bharat Ratna Award


 Bharat Ratna (or 'Jewel of India') was instituted by the first President of India, Dr RajendraPrasad, on 2 January 1954. It is India's highest civilian award and is given each year by the President of India "for exceptional service towards the advancement of Art, Literature, Science and in recognition of public service of the highest order". It was scrapped by the Janata Party Government on 13th July 1977 but was revived on 26th January 1980 by the Congress-I government.

The Bharat Ratna Award (along with the three Padma Awards) was not given during 1993-1996, pending the Supreme Court judgement on the constitutional validity of the Civilian Awards. These awards were revived in 1997 after the Supreme Court gave a verdict on 15th December, 1995 upholding the constitutional validity of these awards.

The actual award is designed in the shape of a peepal leaf and carries with the words "Bharat Ratna", inscribed in Devanagari script. The reverse side of the medal carries the state emblem and motto. The award is attached to a two-inch wide ribbon, and was designed to be worn around the recipient's neck.

The holders of the Bharat Ratna do not carry any special titles but are placed 7th in the Order of Precedence i.e. immediately after Chief Ministers.

The following are the 41 recipients of the Bharat Ratna Award till date :

  • Dr Sarvepali Radhakrishnan (1954)
  • Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1954)
  • Dr Chandrasekhar Venkat Raman (1954)
  • Dr Bhagwan Das (1955)
  • Dr Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (1955)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1955)
  • Govind Ballabh Pant (1957)
  • Dr Dhondo Keshave Karve (1958)
  • Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961)
  • Purushottam Das Tandon (1961)
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad (1962)
  • Dr Zakir Husain (1963)
  • Dr Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963)
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (Posthumous) (1966)
  • Indira Gandhi (1971)
  • Varahagiri Venkatagiri (1975)
  • Kumaraswami Kamraj (Posthumous) (1976)
  • Mother Teresa (1980)
  • Acharya Vinobha Bhave (Posthumous) (1983)
  • Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
  • Marudu Gopalan Ramachandran (Posthumous) (1988)
  • Dr B.R. Ambedkar (Posthumous) (1990)
  • Dr Nelson R. Mandela (1990)
  • Rajiv Gandhi (Posthumous) (1991)
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Posthumous) (1991)
  • Morarji Desai (1991)
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1992)
  • J.R.D. Tata (1992)
  • Satyajit Ray (1992)
  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (1997)
  • Gulzarilal Nanda (1997)
  • Aruna Asaf Ali (Posthumous)1997
  • MS Subbulakshmi (1998)
  • Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998)
  • Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan (Posthumous) (1999)
  • Professor Amartya Sen (1999)
  • Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi (Posthumously) (1999)
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar (1999)
  • Lata Mangeshkar (2001)
  • Bhimshen Joshi (2008) 

There is no strict or formal provision that the recipients of the Bharat Ratna Award ought to be Indian citizens. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990) were the two foreign nationals to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna award. Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) was the only naturalized Indian to be conferred with this award. Bharat Ratna has not been awarded to anyone since 2008.

The only instance of the Bharat Ratna award being withdrawn was in 1992, when the award given posthumously to  freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was  withdrawn on the directives of the Supreme Court of India as the government could not give conclusive evidence of Netajiļæ½s death.


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