Bharat Ratna Award List: India’s Highest Civilian Honor

India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna Award, holds great significance in the country’s prestigious list of accolades. Established in 1954, the award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The name ‘Bharat Ratna’ translates to ‘Gem of India’ in Hindi, reflecting the esteemed status of the award in the Indian honors system.

History of Bharat Ratna

The Bharat Ratna was established by the President of India on January 2, 1954. Initially, the award was limited to achievements in the fields of art, literature, science, and public services, but its scope was later expanded to include any field of human endeavor. The award consists of a medallion in the shape of a peepul leaf, with the national emblem of India on one side and the words ‘Bharat Ratna’ inscribed on the other. The recipient also receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a small replica of the medallion.

Criteria for Eligibility

Over the years, the criteria for awarding the Bharat Ratna have evolved. Initially, it was only awarded for exceptional work in art, literature, science, and public service. However, the criteria were amended in 2011 to include any field of human endeavor. The only stipulation is that the recipient should have made exceptional contributions of the highest order.

Notable Recipients of the Bharat Ratna

Several eminent personalities from various fields have been honored with the Bharat Ratna for their outstanding contributions to society. Some of the notable recipients include:

1. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

A renowned philosopher and India’s first Vice President and second President, Dr. Radhakrishnan was honored with the Bharat Ratna in 1954 for his distinguished service to the nation.

2. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

Known as the ‘Missile Man of India’ and the 11th President of India, Dr. Kalam received the Bharat Ratna in 1997 for his pioneering work in space technology.

3. Sachin Tendulkar

Regarded as one of the greatest cricketers of all time, Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2014 for his unparalleled achievements in cricket.

4. Lata Mangeshkar

The legendary playback singer, Lata Mangeshkar, received the Bharat Ratna in 2001 for her exceptional contributions to Indian music.

5. Atal Bihari Vajpayee

A highly respected statesman and former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was conferred with the Bharat Ratna in 2015 for his illustrious political career.

Controversies Surrounding the Bharat Ratna

Despite being the highest civilian award in India, the Bharat Ratna has not been devoid of controversies. Critics have raised concerns over the selection process, alleging favoritism and political biases in conferring the award. Additionally, there have been debates over the posthumous conferment of the award, with some arguing that it should only be given to living individuals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a non-Indian receive the Bharat Ratna?

The Bharat Ratna is only awarded to Indian citizens for exceptional service or performance.

2. Can the Bharat Ratna be taken away?

Once conferred, the Bharat Ratna cannot be taken away under any circumstances.

3. How many people can receive the Bharat Ratna in a year?

The Bharat Ratna is limited to a maximum of three recipients in a particular year.

4. Is the Bharat Ratna given posthumously?

Yes, the Bharat Ratna can be awarded posthumously, as has been the case with some recipients in the past.

5. Are there any monetary benefits associated with the Bharat Ratna?

While the Bharat Ratna is a prestigious honor, it does not carry any monetary benefits or special privileges.

6. Who decides on the recipients of the Bharat Ratna?

The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, who makes the final decision on the conferral of the award.

7. Can organizations or groups be awarded the Bharat Ratna?

The Bharat Ratna is typically awarded to individuals, although there have been instances where organizations and groups have been honored collectively.

8. Is there an age limit for receiving the Bharat Ratna?

There is no specific age limit for receiving the Bharat Ratna, as the award is based on exceptional contributions rather than age.

9. Can foreigners who have become Indian citizens receive the Bharat Ratna?

Foreigners who have acquired Indian citizenship and meet the eligibility criteria can be considered for the Bharat Ratna.

10. Can the Bharat Ratna be awarded multiple times to the same person?

The Bharat Ratna can only be awarded once to an individual in a lifetime for their exceptional contributions.

The Bharat Ratna continues to be a symbol of excellence and national pride in India, honoring individuals who have left an indelible mark on society through their exceptional achievements. Through its illustrious history and distinguished recipients, the award stands as a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and spirit of recognition.

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Kavya Patel
Kavya Patel
Kavya Patеl is an еxpеriеncеd tеch writеr and AI fan focusing on natural languagе procеssing and convеrsational AI. With a computational linguistics and machinе lеarning background, Kavya has contributеd to rising NLP applications.