Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpee and freedom fighter Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) will receive the Bharat Ratna. The decision to confer the highest civilian award of the country was announced by the Union Government on 24 December 2014.
Till now 43 people have been honoured with the Bharat Ratna. In 2013, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and scientist C N R Rao were awarded Bharat Ratna for their contribution in their respective fields.
About Madan Mohan Malaviya
• He was a freedom fighter and educationist who was part of the Indian National Movement
• He was popularly known as Mahamana.
• He was president of Indian National Congress (INC) for two terms in 1909 and1918. He was one of the founders of the Hindu Mahasabha.
• He was one of the leading educationists of India before independence and he was founder of the Banaras Hindu University in 1916.
• He was also the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946. His efforts resulted in the launch of its Hindi edition in 1936
• Malviya was born in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India on 25 December 1861
About Atal Bihari Vajpayee
• Vajpayee is a three time Prime Minister of India who served the first term in 1996 for just 13 days. During his second term in 1998-1999 he served for 13 months.
• In his final and third term he completed the full five-year from 1999-2004. Thus, he became the first Prime Minister from outside the Indian National Congress party to serve a full five-year term.
• When Janata government collapsed, Vajpayee restarted the Jana Sangh as the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980.
• He began a push for a full-scale diplomatic peace process with Pakistan and initiated a new peace process aimed towards permanently resolving the Kashmir dispute and other conflicts with Pakistan. With this view he inaugurated Delhi-Lahore bus service in February 1999 and signed Lahore Declaration with Nawaz Sharif, the then PM of Pakistan.
• He was also the Minister of External Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai in 1978. As foreign minister, that year Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.
About Bharat Ratna Awards
• Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of India that was instituted on 2 January 1954 by the order of Rajendra Prasad, the former President of India. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence, but constitution prohibits using the award name as title.
• The award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service or 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 union government expanded the criteria to include any field of human endeavour in 2011.
• 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 and award does not contain any monetary grant.
• Original provisions of the Bharat Ratna did not allow any one to grant the posthumous awards. Later in January 1966, a provision posthumous was inserted.
• The former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was the first individual to be honoured posthumously in 1966.
• The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were C Rajagopalachari, scientist C V Raman and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan were honoured in 1954.
When: 24 December 2014