Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour was conferred on cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar (40) and eminent scientist Prof CNR Rao (79) by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. The awards were given at the Durban Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on 4 February 2014.
The recipient of the award will receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion. This award does not carry any monetary grants.
With this felicitation, Sachin became the first sportsperson to be conferred with the honour of Bharat Ratna. He is also the youngest person alive to be conferred with the award. Master blaster Sachin retired from international cricket on 16 November 2013. Sachin after receiving the award dedicated it to his mother.
Prof CNR Rao (Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao) is the third scientist who has been conferred with the award. He received the honour after CV Raman andAPJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. Rao is recognized international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. Till now, he has published 1400 research papers and 45 books.
With this honour felicitation, Tendulkar and Rao have joined the selected list of 41 eminent personalities, who have been conferred with this award. Both of them are also recipients of Padma Vibhushan, which is the country`s second highest civilian honour. The award was instituted in 1954 and is given in recognition of exceptional service of the highest order.
At present, Prof CNR Rao is the head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. To accommodate the sportspersons with the top honour, the government of India revised the eligibility criteria of the sportsperson in December 2011. Apart from, this Sachin is the first active sportsperson, who became the Rajya Sabha member of the country. He became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2013.
Earlier, the Union Home Minister issued guidelines that say that Bharat Ratna cannot be used as a prefix or suffix by the recipient’s name as per the Constitution of India. But the guidelines also say that the awardees can mention Awarded Bharat Ratna by the President or Recipient of Bharat Ratna award in their bio-data, visiting card or the letter heads.
Bhimsen Joshi, who won this award in 2009, was the last recipient of the award. This year’s Bharat Ratna was announced after a gap of four years.
About Bharat Ratna Awards
Rajendra Prasad, the former President of India on 2 January 1955 gave his order to establish an award. As per the order of the then President (till 1966), the award did not allowed any one to grant the posthumous awards. Further in January 1966, a provision was inserted for this.
Till date, 12 posthumous awards have been given of which one includes Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Bose was given the award in 1992, which was withdrawn due to legal technicalities. The case of Bose is the only and last case recorded till date of withdrawal of the award. The Order of precedence of India is the protocol list (hierarchy of important positions) has placed Bharat Ratna awardees at the seventh position.
Non-Indians, who have been conferred with the award
• Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
• Nelson Mandela (1990)
Naturalised Indian citizen to be awarded
• Mother Teresa (1980)
The eldest person to be awarded who was alive at the time of receiving the award
• Dhondo Keshav Karve (age 100)
Posthumously eldest over all
• Vallabhbhai Patel is the eldest overall (posthumously at the age of 75)
C Rajagopalachari, CV Raman and Radhakrishnan of three from Madras Presidency now Tamil Nadu was the first people to conferred with the award in 1954. Rajagopalachari was the Independence activist and last and the only Indian Governor-General of India. CV Raman was a Physicist from Madras and also a Nobel laureate and Radhakrishnan was a philosopher and India's First Vice President from 1952-1962 and was also the Second President of India from 1962-1967.