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India’s Highest Civilian Award (Bharat Ratna): and Facts at a Glance

Feb 26, 2016 15:56 IST

    Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour given for exceptional service towards advancement of art, literature, science and sports in recognition of public service of highest order. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. There is no provision that Bharat Ratna should be given to Indian citizens only. The award has been awarded to a neutralized Indian citizen, mother Teresa (1980), and two non Indians- khan Abdul gaffer khan and Nelson Mandela. It is not mandatory that Bharat Ratna should be awarded very year.


    Facts about Bharat Ratna Award

    Bharat Ratna' is the highest civilian award of the country... The number of annual awards is restricted to a maximum of three in a particular year. The award does not carry any monetary grant.

    1. The award was started by former President of India Rajendra Prasad on 2nd January, 1954.

    2. The medal looks like a Peepal leaf with “Bharat Ratna” written on it in Devanagari script. It contains an image of sun on it. The back side of the award portrays the state emblem and motto.

    3. The "Bharat Ratna" medals are produced at Alipore Mint, Kolkata along with the other civilian awards like Padma Vibushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, and wartime gallantry awards like Param Vir Chakra (PVC), Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), and Vir Chakra (VrC).

    4. At the time of its commencement only the alive people were eligible for this award. Later this criterion was changed.

    5. The names of the awardees are/is recommended to the President by the Prime Minster of India.

    6. First recipients of this award were Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Sir C.V. Raman, and Chakravarti Rajagopalachari in 1954.

    7. Mother Teresa was the first naturalized Indian citizen who received the Bharat Ratna Award in 1980.

    8. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990) are two non Indians who got Bharat Ratna Award.

    9. Sachin Tendulkar is the first sportsperson and the youngest Bharat Ratna Award Winner.

    10. Subhash Chandra Bose was awarded with Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. But due to controversy (as there is no evidence of Subhash Chandra Bose's death) his family refused to accept the award as   posthumous winner. This is the only incident in the history of Bharat Ratna that an award was withdrawn.

    11. Bharat Ratna was awarded to Sachin Tendulkar and C. N. R. Rao in 2013.

    12. The latest awardees are Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Madan Mohan Malaviya in 2014.

    13. Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru (1947-64) and Indira Gandhi (1966-77, 1980-84) have been criticised for recommending their names to the president by themselves to get the awards in 1955 and 1971 respectively.

    14. There is no provision that award should be given to Indians only.

    15. It is not mandatory that Bharat Ratna should be awarded very year.

    16. The award does not carry any monetary grant.

    17. Vallabhbhai Patel is the eldest to receive (after death, at age 116) the award and Gulzarilal Nanda is the eldest alive person to receive (at age 99) the award.

    18. The holders of the Bharat Ratna rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.

    19. In a particular year maximum three persons can get this award (although in 1999 four persons awarded).

    20. M.S. Subbalaxmi was the first musician who got this award.


    Last awardees are: Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Madanmohan Malviya (2015)

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