List of Bharat Ratna Recipients (Including 2015)

Bharat Ratna Awardees List

  • The Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India) is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred "in recognition of exceptional service/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 government expanded the criteria to include "any field of human endeavour" in December 2011. The 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; there is no monetary grant associated with the award. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.
  • The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and scientist C. V. Raman, who were honoured in 1954. Since then, the award has been bestowed on 45 individuals, including 12 who were awarded posthumously. The original statutes did not provide for posthumous awards but were amended in January 1955 to permit them. The former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri became the first individual to be honoured posthumously. In 2014, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, then aged 40, became the youngest recipient; while social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve was awarded on his 100th birthday. Though usually conferred on India-born citizens, the Bharat Ratna has been awarded to one naturalised citizen, Mother Teresa, and to two non-Indians, Pakistan national Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and former South African President Nelson Mandela. On 24 December 2014, the Indian government announced the award to independence activist Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

List of recipients of Bharat Ratna

Key
   Naturalized citizen recipient
   Non-citizen recipient
   Posthumous recipient

List of laureates awarded the Bharat Ratna Award

YearLaureatesNotes
1954C Rajagopalachari 1944.jpgC. RajagopalachariAn Indian independence activist, statesman, and lawyer, Rajagopalachari was the only Indian and last Governor-General of independent India. He was Chief Minister of Madras Presidency (1937–39) and Madras State (1952–54); and founder of Indian political party Swatantra Party.
Photograph of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan presented to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962.jpgSarvepalli RadhakrishnanPhilosopher Radhakrishnan served as India's first Vice-President (1952–62) and second President (1962–67). Since 1962, his birthday on 5 September is observed as "Teachers' Day" in India.
Sir CV Raman.JPGC. V. RamanWidely known for his work on the scattering of light and the discovery of the effect, better known as "Raman scattering", Raman mainly worked in the field of atomic physics and electromagnetism and was presented Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
1955 –Bhagwan DasIndependence activist, philosopher, and educationist, Das is a co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith and worked with Madan Mohan Malaviya for the foundation of Banaras Hindu University.
Visvesvaraya Statue bust at JIT.jpgM. VisvesvarayaCivil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18), Visvesvaraya was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. His birthday, 15 September, is observed as "Engineer's Day" in India.
Jnehru.jpgJawaharlal NehruIndependence activist and author, Nehru is the first and the longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).
1957Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant.jpgGovind Ballabh PantIndependence activist Pant was premier of United Provinces (1937–39, 1946–50) and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54). He served as Union Home Minister from 1955–61.
1958Dr Dhondo Keshav Karve Cropped.pngDhondo Keshav KarveSocial reformer and educator, Karve is widely known for his works related to woman education and remarriage of Hindu widows. He established the Widow Marriage Association (1883), Hindu Widows Home (1896), and started Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women's University in 1916.
1961 –Bidhan Chandra RoyA physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker, Roy is often considered as "Maker of Modern West Bengal". He was second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62) and his birthday on 1 July is observed as National Doctors' Day in India.
 –Purushottam Das TandonOften titled as "Rajarshi", Tandon was an independence activist and served as speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (1937–50). He was actively involved in a campaign to get official language status to Hindi.
1962Food Minister Rajendra Prasad during a radio broadcast in Dec 1947 cropped.jpgRajendra PrasadIndependence activist, lawyer, statesman, and scholar, Prasad was closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement for Indian independence. He was later elected as the first President of India (1950–62).
1963 –Zakir HusainIndependence activist and education philosopher, Husain served as a Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (1948–56) and the Governor of Bihar (1957–62). Later, he was elected as second Vice-President of India (1962–67) and went on to become the third President of India (1967–69).
PV Kane.jpgPandurang Vaman KaneIndologist and Sanskrit scholar, Kane is best known for his five-volume literary work, History of Dharmaśāstra: Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India; the "monumental" work that extends over nearly 6,500 pages and being published from 1930 to 1962.
19661736 Lal Bahadur Shastri cropped.jpgLal Bahadur ShastriKnown for his slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer"), Independence activist Shastri served as second Prime Minister of India (1964–66) and led the country during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
1971Indira2.jpgIndira GandhiKnown as the "Iron Lady of India", Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India during 1966–77 and 1980–84. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, her government supported Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the formation of a new country, Bangladesh.
1975 –V. V. GiriWhile studying at the University College Dublin, Giri was involved in the Irish Sinn Féin movement. Returning to India, he organized labour unions and brought them to take active participation in Indian freedom struggle. He was elected as the first President of All India Trade Union Congress in 1926. Post-independence, Giri held positions of Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore and various other cabinet ministries. He became the first acting President and was eventually elected as the fourth President of India (1969–74).
1976Kamarajar cropped.jpegK. KamarajIndependence activist and statesman Kamaraj was a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1954–57, 1957–62, and 1962–63.
1980MotherTeresa 090.jpgMother Teresa +"Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" was a catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work in 1979 and was beatified on 19 October 2003 by Pope John Paul II and canonised on 4 September 2016 by Pope Francis.
1983Gandhi and Vinoba.jpgVinoba BhaveIndependence activist, social reformer, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave is best known for his Bhoodan movement, "Land-Gift Movement". He was given the honorific title "Acharya" ("teacher") and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1958) for his humanitarian work.
1987Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.jpgKhan Abdul Ghaffar Khan*Widely known as "Frontier Gandhi", independence activist and Pashtun leader Khan was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined Khilafat Movement in 1920 and founded Khudai Khidmatgar ("Red Shirt movement") in 1929.
1988Puducherry MGR statue.jpgM. G. RamachandranActor turned politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, 1985–87.
1990Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar.jpgB. R. AmbedkarSocial reformer and leader of the Dalits ("Untouchables"), Ambedkar was the Chief architect of the Indian Constitution and also served as the first Law Minister of India. Ambedkar predominantly campaigned against the social discrimination with Dalits, the Hindu varna system. He was associated with the Dalit Buddhist movement and accepted Buddhism as a religion along with his close to half a million followers on 14 October 1956.
Nelson Mandela-2008 (edit).jpgNelson Mandela*Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, Mandela was the President of South Africa (1994–99). Often called as the "Gandhi of South Africa", Mandela's African National Congress movement was influenced by Gandhian philosophy. In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1991Rajiv Gandhi (cropped).jpgRajiv GandhiGandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.
Sardar patel (cropped).jpgVallabhbhai PatelWidely known as the "Iron Man of India", Patel was an independence activist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India (1947–50). Post independence, "Sardar" ("Leader") Patel worked with V. P. Menon towards dissolving 555 princely states into the Indian union.
Morarji Desai (portrait).pngMorarji DesaiIndependence activist Desai was the sixth Prime Minister of India (1977–79). He is the only Indian national to be awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan, highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan.
1992Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.jpgAbul Kalam AzadIndependence activist Azad was India's first Minister of Education and worked towards free primary education. He was widely known as "Maulana Azad" and his birthday on 11 November is observed as National Education Day in India.
J.R.D. Tata (1955).jpgJ. R. D. TataIndustrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer, Tata founded India's first airline Air India. He is the founder of various institutes including Tata Institute of Fundamental ResearchTata Memorial HospitalTata Institute of Social SciencesTata MotorsTCSNational Institute of Advanced Studies, and National Centre for the Performing Arts.
SatyajitRay.jpgSatyajit RayHaving debuted as a director with Pather Panchali (1955), film-maker Ray is credited with bringing world recognition to Indian cinema. In 1984, Ray was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.
1997Gulzarilal NandaIndependence activist Nanda was two times interim Prime Minister of India (1964, 1966) and two times deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
 –Aruna Asaf AliIndependence activist Ali is better known for hoisting the Indian flag in Bombay during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Post Independence, Ali was elected as Delhi's first mayor in 1958.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam in 2008.jpgA. P. J. Abdul KalamAerospace and defence scientist, Kalam was involved in the development of India's first satellite launch vehicle SLV III and was the architect of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. He worked for Indian National Committee for Space ResearchIndian Space Research OrganisationDefence Research and Development Laboratory and was appointed as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Secretary to Department of Defence Research and Development and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation. Later, he served as the eleventh President of India from 2002 till 2007.
1998Ms subbulakshmi 140x190.jpgM. S. SubbulakshmiCarnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi, often hailed as "Queen of songs", is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.
Chidambaram Subramaniam.jpgChidambaram SubramaniamIndependence activist and former Minister of Agriculture of India (1964–66), Subramaniam is known for his contribution towards Green Revolution in India. During the late 1970s, he worked for International Rice Research Institute, Manila, and the International Maize and Wheat Research Institute, Mexico.
1999 –Jayaprakash NarayanIndependence activist, social reformer, and commonly referred as "Lok Nayak" ("People's Hero"), Narayan is better known for "Total Revolution Movement" or "JP Movement" initiated during the mid-1970s to "overthrow the corrupt and exploitative Congress government".
Amartya Sen NIH.jpgAmartya SenWinner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998), Sen has done research over several topics including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophywelfare economicsdecision theorydevelopment economics, public health, and gender studies.
Gopinath Bordoloi.jpgGopinath BordoloiIndependence activist Bordoloi is the first Chief Minister of Assam (1946–50). His efforts and association with the then Minister of Home Affairs Vallabhbhai Patel were widely acknowledged while keeping Assam united with India when parts of it were to merge with East Pakistan.
Ravi Shankar 2009 crop.jpgRavi ShankarWinner of four Grammy Awards and often considered "the world's best-known exponent of Hindustani classical music", sitar player Shankar is known for his collaborative work with Western musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.
2001Lata Mangeshkar - still 29065 crop.jpgLata MangeshkarWidely credited as the "nightingale of India", playback singer Mangeshkar started her career in the 1940s and has sung songs in over 36 languages. In 1989, Mangeshkar was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.
Bismillah at Concert1 (edited) 2.jpgBismillah KhanHindustani classical shehnai player, Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades and is credited to have brought the instrument to the centre stage of Indian music.
2009Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (cropped).jpgBhimsen JoshiHindustani classical vocalist, Joshi was a disciple of Kirana gharana, an Indian musical school. He is widely known for the Khyal genre of singing with a "mastery over rhythm and accurate notes".
2014CNRrao2.jpgC. N. R. RaoThe recipient of Honorary Doctorates from 63 Universities including PurdueIIT BombayOxford, chemist and professor Rao has worked prominently in the fields of Solid State and Materials ChemistrySpectroscopy and Molecular Structure. He has authored around 1600 research papers and 48 books.
Sachin at Castrol Golden Spanner Awards (crop).jpgSachin TendulkarHaving debuted in 1989, Tendulkar played 664 international cricket matches in a career spanning over two decades. He holds various cricket records including the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries, the first batsman to score a double century in a One Day International and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket.
2015Madan Mohan Malaviya1.jpgMadan Mohan MalaviyaScholar and educational reformer Malaviya is a founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (1906) and Banaras Hindu University and served as the university's vice-chancellor from 1919 till 1938. He was the President of Indian National Congress for four terms and was the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.
Ab vajpayee.jpgAtal Bihari VajpayeeParliamentarian for over four decades, Vajpayee was elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms; 1996, 1998, 1999–2004. He was Minister of External Affairs during 1977–79 and was awarded the "Best Parliamentarian" in 1994.

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