Bharat Ratna Award
The Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, was introduced on January 2, 1954. Anyone is eligible for these honours, regardless of race, position, occupation, or sex. It is awarded in recognition of very outstanding performance or achievement in any field of human endeavour. The Prime Minister personally recommends candidates for Bharat Ratna to the President. For this award, there are no official recommendations required. There can only be a maximum of three annual awards provided in any given year. The recipient of the award is given a medallion as well as a Sanad (certificate) that has been signed by the President of India. The Bharat Ratna Award carries no reward of money.
Read More: Gallantry Awards in India
Bharat Ratna Awardees
In 2020, 2021, and 2022, no Bharat Ratna Award was bestowed. In 1954, the politician C. Rajagopalachari, the philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and the scientist C.V. Raman received the Bharat Ratna Award first time. However, recipients of the Bharat Ratna are given a diplomatic passport that gives them access to a special immigration line, a VIP lounge in airports and many other benefits.
List of Bharat Ratna Award (1954-2022)
The Complete List of Bharat Ratna Award Winners since 1954 is available here:
|1954||C. Rajagopalachari (1878-1972)||Rajagopalachari was the only Indian and the last Governor-General of an independent India. He was also an activist, statesman and lawyer. He founded the Indian political organisation Swatantra Party and served as chief minister of the Madras Presidency (1937–39) and Madras State (1952–54).|
|Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975)||He was India’s second President (1962–1967) and the first Vice–President (1952–1962). Since 1962, India has celebrated his birthday on September 5 as “Teachers’ Day.”|
|C. V. Raman (1888-1970)||C. V. Raman, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, worked primarily in the fields of atomic physics and electromagnetism and is most known for his research on the scattering of light and the discovery of the effect, more often known as “Raman scattering.”|
|1955||Bhagwan Das (1869-1958)||He was activist, educationist, and philosopher. He was co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith and also worked with Madan Mohan Malaviya in the establishment of the Banaras Hindu University.|
|M. Visvesvaraya (1861-1962)||He was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire and a civil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18). In India, the day after his birthday, September 15, is recognised as “Engineer’s Day.”|
|Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 -1964)||He was activist during independence and author. He was India’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister (1947–64).|
|1957||Govind Ballabh Pant (1887-1961)||He was independent activist. He served as the first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54) and as premier of the United Provinces (1937–1939, 1946–1950). Pant was the Union Home Minister (1955 to 1961).|
|1958||Dhondo Keshav Karve (1858-1962)||Karve is a social reformer and educator who is well renowned for his contributions to women’s education and Hindu widow remarriage. He established the Widow Marriage Association in 1883, the Hindu Widows Home in 1896, and the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University in 1916.|
|1961||Bidhan Chandra Roy (1882-1962)||He was a doctor, politician, philanthropist, advocate for education, and social worker. He was also known as the “Maker of Modern West Bengal.” He served as West Bengal’s second chief minister from 1948 to 1962, and India celebrates National Doctors’ Day on July 1 in honour of him.|
|Purushottam Das Tandon (1882-1962)||Tandon, who was commonly referred to as “Rajarshi,” was an activist for independence and the speaker of the United Provinces Legislative Assembly (1937–50). In the campaign to make Hindi an official language, he took an active part.|
|1962||Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963)||In the non-cooperation movement for Indian independence, he worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi as an activist. He was also lawyer, statesman, and scholar. He later won the election to become India’s first President (1950–62).|
|1963||Dr. Zakir Husain (1897-1969)||Husain was the governor of Bihar (1948–1966), an activist for independence, an economist, and a philosopher of education. He also served as vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (1957–62). He later won election as India’s second vice president (1962–1967) and later rose to become the country’s third president (1967–69).|
|Pandurang Vaman Kane (1880-1972)||Kane was an indologist and Sanskrit scholar. Kane is most known for his five-volume literary masterpiece, History of Dharmasastra: Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India. This “monumental” work has nearly 6,500 pages and was published between 1930 and 1962.|
|1966||Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-1966) (Posthumous)||Independence activist Shastri ji, known for his slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer”), served as India’s second prime minister from 1966 to 1966 and presided over the nation during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War.|
|1971||Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)||The “Iron Lady of India,” Indira Gandhi, served as India’s prime minister from 1966 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1984. Her government supported the Bangladesh Liberation War, which resulted in the creation of a new nation, Bangladesh, during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.|
|1975||V. V. Giri (1894-1980)||In 1926, he was elected to serve as the All India Trade Union Congress’s first president. Following independence, Giri served in a number of cabinet ministries as well as the governorships of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, and Mysore. He was elected as India’s fourth president after serving as the country’s first acting president (1969–74).|
|1976||K. Kamaraj (1903-1975) (Posthumous)||He was an activist for independence and statesman. Kamaraj elected as chief minister of Tamil Nadu from 1954 to 1957, 1957 to 1962, and 1962 to 1963.|
|1980||Mother Teresa (1910-1997)||The Missionaries of Charity were started by the Catholic nun known as “Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.” In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.|
|1983||Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982) (Posthumous)||He was a proponent of independence, social reformer, and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. He is best known for the Bhoodan movement, also known as the “Land-Gift Movement.” For his humanitarian efforts, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1958 and was bestowed the honorific title “Acharya,” which means “teacher.”|
|1987||Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988)||Independence activist and Pashtun leader Khan was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and was well known as “Frontier Gandhi.” In 1920, he joined the Khilafat Movement, and in 1929, he started the Khudai Khidmatgar (“Red Shirt movement”).|
|1988||M. G. Ramachandran (1917-1987) (Posthumous)||Ramachandran, a former actor who later entered politics, presided as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister from 1977 to 1980, 1980 to 1984, and 1985 to 1987.|
|1990||B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956) (Posthumous)||Ambedkar, a social reformer and representative of the Dalits (also known as “Untouchables”), served as both India’s first law minister and the chief architect of the Indian Constitution. Ambedkar focused his anti-social discrimination campaigns on Dalits and the Hindu varna system. On October 14, 1956, he and his close to 500,000 followers embraced Buddhism as a religion. He was a member of the Dalit Buddhist movement.|
|Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)||He was the President of South Africa (1994–99) and the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s leader. Mandela’s African National Congress organisation was influenced by Gandhian philosophy and is frequently referred to as the “Gandhi of South Africa.” He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.|
|1991||Rajiv Gandhi (1944-1991) (Posthumous)||Rajiv Gandhi served as India’s 9th prime minister from 1984 to 1989.|
|Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875-1950) (Posthumous)||He was an activist for independence of India and the country’s first deputy prime minister, earning him the title “Iron Man of India” (1947–50). “Sardar” (“Leader”) Patel collaborated with V. P. Menon after India gained freedom to dissolve 555 princely states into the Indian union.|
|Morarji Desai (1896-1995)||He was a proponent of independence, served as India’s sixth prime minister (1977–79). He is the only person of Indian descent to receive the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian honour bestowed by the Pakistani Government.|
|1992||Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) (Posthumous)||Azad, a proponent for independence, promoted free elementary education while serving as India’s first Minister of Education. His birthday, November 11, is recognised as National Education Day in India. He was commonly known as “Maulana Azad.”|
|J. R. D. Tata (1904-1993)||J.R.D. Tata, an industrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer, launched Air India, the country’s first airline. He founded the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Motors, and TCS in addition to the National Institute of Advanced Studies and the National Centre for the Performing Arts.|
|Satyajit Ray (1922-1992)||Filmmaker Satyajit Ray is recognised with establishing Indian cinema on the global stage with Pather Panchali (1955), his first film as a filmmaker. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India’s highest honour in film, was given to Ray in 1984.|
|1997||Gulzarilal Nanda (1898-1998)||Nanda, a proponent of independence, served as India’s interim prime minister twice (1964 and 1966), as well as the Planning Commission’s deputy chairman twice.|
|Aruna Asaf Ali (1909-1996) (Posthumous)||Activist for independence Ali is well known for hoisting the Indian flag in 1942 during the Quit India Movement in Bombay. Ali was elected as Delhi’s first mayor post independence in 1958.|
|A.P.J Abdul Kalam (1931-2015)||He worked for the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Indian Space Research Organisation, and Indian National Committee for Space Research. Later, he presided over India as its eleventh president from 2002 to 2007.|
|1998||M. S. Subbulakshmi (1916-2005)||Subbulakshmi, a Carnatic classical vocalist popularly known as the “Queen of Songs,” was the first Indian artist to win the Ramon Magsaysay Award.|
|Chidambaram Subramaniam (1910-2000)||Subramaniam, an activist for Indian independence and a former minister of agriculture (1964–1966), is recognized for the establishing the Green Revolution in the country. He performed work for the International Maize and Wheat Research Institute in Mexico and the International Rice Research Institute in Manila during the latter half of the 1970s.|
|1999||Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) (Posthumous)||He was an independence activist and social reformer known as “Lok Nayak” (“People’s Hero”). Narayan is best known for the “Total Revolution Movement” or “JP Movement,” which was started in the middle of the 1970s with the goal of “overthrowing the corrupt and exploitative government.”|
|Amartya Sen (b-1933)||He was awarded with the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He has done research on a variety of subjects, including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.|
|Gopinath Bordoloi (1890-1950) (Posthumous)||Bordoloi, a proponent for independence, was Assam’s first chief minister (1946–50).|
|Ravi Shankar (1920-2012)||The sitar player Ravi Shankar, a four-time Grammy Award winner and commonly referred to as “the world’s best-known exponent of Hindustani classical music,” was renowned for his collaborations with Western artists like Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.|
|2001||Lata Mangeshkar (1929-2022)||Playback singer Lata Mangeshkar began her career in the 1940s and has sung songs in more than 36 languages, earned the title of “nightingale of India.” Mangeshkar received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989, which is India’s top honour for cinema.|
|Ustad Bismillah Khan (1916-2006)||He was a Hindustani classical shehnai performer. He is recognised for bringing the instrument to the mainstream of Indian music over his more than eight decades of playing.|
|2009||Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (1922-2011)||Joshi, a Hindustani classical vocalist, studied at the Indian musical institution Kirana Gharana. He is well known for his “mastery over rhythm and exact notes” in the Khyal genre of singing.|
|2014||C. N. R. Rao (b-1934)||Professor and scientist Rao has made significant contributions to the domains of Solid State and Materials Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Molecular Structure. He has received Honorary Doctorates from 63 Universities, including Purdue, IIT Bombay, and Oxford. Nearly 1600 research papers and 48 books have been written by him.|
|Sachin Tendulkar (b-1973)||He is renowned Cricketer. In a career spanning more than 20 years, he played in 664 international cricket matches. He is the first batsman to record a double century in an ODI, the first player to have scored more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket, and the only player in the annals of international cricket to have amassed 100 centuries and one to have scored more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket.|
|2015||Madan Mohan Malaviya )(1861-1946) (Posthumous)||He was a scholar and reformer of education. Malaviya founded both Banaras Hindu University (1906) and Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (1906). From 1919 to 1938, he served as the university’s vice-chancellor. He led the Indian National Congress for four times as president and presided over the Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.|
|Atal Bihari Bajpayee (1924-2018)||He was a member of parliament for almost forty years. He was elected twice to the Rajya Sabha and nine times to the Lok Sabha, and he held the office of the prime minister of India for three terms, in 1996, 1998 and from 1999 to 2004. He served as minister of foreign affairs from 1977 to 1979, and in 1994 he received the “Best Parliamentarian” award.|
|2019||Pranab Mukherjee (b-1935)||He is an Indian politician. From 2012 until 2017, he was India’s thirteenth president. He was a prominent member of the Indian National Congress and held several cabinet positions in the Indian government. Before being elected president, he was the Union Finance Minister from 2009 until 2012.|
|Nanaji Deshmukh (1916-2010) (Posthumous)||He was an Indian social activist. He worked in the areas of health, education, and rural independence. He was a leader in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a member of the Rajya Sabha, and a member of the RSS. In 1999, he received the Padma Vibhushan award. In 1950, at Gorakhpur, he established the country’s first Saraswati Shishu Mandir.|
|Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011)
|He was known as Sudhakantha and was an Assamese playback vocalist, lyricist, musician, singer, poet, and filmmaker. In 1975, he won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction before receiving the Bharat Ranta, India’s highest civilian honour. He was also the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), the Padmashri Award (1977), the Padmabhushan Award (2001), and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987).|
Bharat Ratna Award FAQs
Q. How many Bharat Ratna winners are there?
Ans. Till 2022, there are 48 Bharat Ratna recipients.
Q. Who got Bharat Ratna 2022?
Ans. No one received the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, for 2022. The Padma Awards, however, were given to 128 winners in total.
Q. Who is the first woman Bharat Ratna award?
Ans. As India’s first female prime minister, Indira Gandhi was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1971.
Q. Who was the first Bharat Ratna award winner?
Ans. In 1954, the first Bharat Ratna was given to Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Sir C.V. Raman, and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.
Q. Which is the biggest award?
Ans. The Bharat Ratna is the country’s highest civilian honour. It is given in honour of exceptionally excellent service or accomplishment in any area of human endeavour.
Q. Who refused Bharat Ratna?
Ans. The Bharat Ratna Award was denied by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. He led the independence movement and served as India’s first Education Minister.
Q. Which is the 4 highest civilian award in India?
Ans. Bharat Ratna (1st), Padma Vibhushan (2nd), Padma Bhushan (3rd) and Padma Shri are the 4 highest civilian awards in India which are given to anyone for exceptional work in their field.
Major Incidents in Indian History
- Quit India Movement
- Chauri Chaura Incident
- Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
- Green Revolution in India
- Non-Cooperation Movement
Famous Personalities Biography
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Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Subhash Chandra Bose