Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour, given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, Sports and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954.
The original specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal, 35 mm in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend "Bharat Ratna" above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon. This design was altered after a year.
The first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many dignitaries, each a whiz in varied aspects of their career has received this coveted award.
Madan Mohan Malaviya(2015) - (Posthumous) Scholar and educational reformer and founder of Banaras Hindu University.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee(2015) - Ex-prime Minister and one of the best parliamentarian for over four decades.
Sachin Tendulkar (2014)- Cricketer
C. N. R. Rao (2014) - Scientist
Bhimsen Joshi (2009) - Hindustani classical singer
Bismillah Khan (2001) - Hindustani classical shehnai player
Lata Mangeshkar (2001) - Playback singer
Gopinath Bordoloi (1999) - Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Assam
Amartya Sen (1999) - Economist from Kolkata and a Noble laureate
Ravi Shankar(1999) - Sitar player from Calcutta
Jayaprakash Narayan(1998) - Posthumous, independence activist and politician
Chidambaram Subramaniam(1998) -Independence activist, Minister of Agriculture
M. S. Subbulakshmi(1998) - Carnatic classical singer
Aruna Asaf Ali (1997) - Posthumous, independence activist
Gulzarilal Nanda (1997) - Independence activist, interim Prime Minister
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam(1997) - Aeronautical Engineer, 11th President of India
Satyajit Ray (1992) - Bengali Filmmaker
J. R. D. Tata (1992) - Industrialist and philanthropist
Abul Kalam Azad(1992) - Posthumous, independence activist, first Minister of Education
Morarji Desai (1991) Independence activist, fourth Prime Minister
Vallabhbhai Patel (1991) - Posthumous, independence activist, first Home Minister,Was responsible for unification of all Indian princely states.
Rajiv Gandhi (1991) - Posthumous, Sixth Prime Minister.
Nelson Mandela(1990) - Second non-citizen and non-Indian recipient, Leader of the Anti-Apartheid movement and Noble laureate
B. R. Ambedkar (1990) - Posthumous, Chief architect of the Indian Constitution,Crusader against Untouchability, Dalit Icon, Social Reformer, Historian, politician, economist, and scholar
M. G. Ramachandran (1988) - Posthumous, film actor, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) - First non-citizen, independence activist
Vinoba Bhave (1983) - Posthumous, social reformer, independence activist
Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1980) - Catholic nun, founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata and Noble laureate
K. Kamaraj (1976) - Posthumous, independence activist, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu State
V. V. Giri (1975) - Trade unionist and fourth President
Indira Gandhi (1971) - Third Prime Minister,The First Woman Prime Minister of India(1966-1977,1980-1984)
Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966) - Posthumous, independence activist, second Prime Minister
Pandurang Vaman Kane(1963) - Indologist and Sanskrit scholar
Zakir Hussain (1963) - Independence activist, Scholar, third President
Rajendra Prasad (1962) - Independence activist, jurist, first President
Purushottam Das Tandon (1961) - Independence activist, educator
Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961) - A physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker. He is often considered as "Maker of Modern West Bengal"
Dhondo Keshav Karve (1958) - Educator, social reformer
Govind Ballabh Pant (1957) - Independence activist, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister
Jawaharlal Nehru (1955) - Independence activist, author, first Prime Minister
Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (1955) - Civil engineer, Diwan of Mysore
Bhagwan Das (1955) - Independence activist, author, Founder of Kashi Vidya Peeth
Radhakrishnan (1954) - Philosopher, India''s First Vice President (1952-1962), and India''s Second President(1962-1967)
C. V. Raman(1954) - Physicist from Madras and a Nobel laureate
C Rajagopalachari(1954) - Independence activist, last and the only Indian Governor-General of India
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