Bharat Ratna is the most prestigious and honorable civilian award presented by the Government of India. Bharat Ratna means ‘Jewels of India” or “Gems of India.”

Facts about Bharat Ratna:

  • Bharat Ratna award is the highest civilian award of India.
  • The award is given “in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order" without any distinction of occupation, sex, position, and race.
  • Bharat Ratna was instituted on 2nd January 1954 in the Gazette of India.
  • The award was originally given to Arts, Science, Literature, and Public Service but in 2011 changed the criteria and is given to “any field of human endeavor.”
  • The recipient of Bharat Ratna has 7th A position in India order of precedence.
  • The Prime Minister of India recommends the name of candidates for Bharat Ratna to the President of India. Maximum three persons received an award exception in 1999(4 persons).
  • The recipients receive a Sanad(certificate) signed by the President of India and Medallion on 26th January. The Awardee does not carry any monetary grant.
  • There are no provisions to give Bharat Ratna only to Indian citizens.
  • The Bharat Ratna award was suspended two times, first in July 1977-1980 during the Morarji Desai Government and the second time in August 1992 to December 1995 due to Constitution Validity of an award under article 18 of the constitution.
  • Since inception to 2019, There are a total of 48 recipients of Bharat Ratna, and 16 out of 48 were given to Posthumously.

Shape and Size of Bharat Ratna Medallion:

Bharat Ratna award recipients list year wise since 1954

  • Peepal leaf-shaped medallion. Made from toned Bronze in Alipore mint, Kolkata India.
  • Front side: embossed Replica of Sun (1.6cm diameter) in the medallion and made from platinum. Bharat Ratna words (made from silver) embossed below it in the Devanagari script.
  • Reverse side: embossed National Emblem with National Motto “Satyameva Jayatae” in Devanagari script.
  • Size: 5.8cm long x 4.7cm width x 3.1 mm thick.

Bharat Ratna award recipients list year wise:

Recipients of Bharat Ratna award in the year 1954:

(1) C Rajagopalachari
  • State: Tamilnadu
  •  He was the first Indian Born Governor-General of India and last Governor-General of India. 
  • His sobriquet name was “Mango of Krishnagiri.”
(2) Sarvepalli Radhakrishan
  • State: Tamilnadu
  •  He was the first recipient of Bharat Ratna, the first vice –president of India, and the first education minister of India.
  •  He was the first Indian to hold the chair of the oxford university. 
  • The Teacher day is celebrated every year on 5th September in memory of Sarvelpali Radhakrishan.
(3) C.V. Raman
  • State: Tamilnadu 
  • He was the first Indian and Asian scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in any field of science in 1930.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1955:

(1) M. Visvesvaraya
  • State: Karnataka.
  •  He was a Diwan of Mysore but a civil engineer in the profession. 
  • British Government gave him the title “Knight Commander of the British Indian Empire” (KCIE).
  • Engineer day on 15th September every year.
(2) Dr.Bhagwan Das
  • State: Uttar Pradesh
  • The freedom fighter and activist. 
  • Co-Founder of Banaras Hindu University and Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth.
(3) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
  • State: Uttar Pradesh
  •  He was the first prime minister of independent India. 
  • The longest-serving Prime minister of India and the architecture of Modern India. 
  • Popularly known as “Chacha Nehru.”

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1957:

Govind Ballabh Pant:
  •  State: Uttar Pradesh 
  • He was the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. 
  • He was an ardent supporter of the Hindi language. Reorganization of state on basis of Linguistics when he was the Home Minister of India.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1958:

Dhondo Keshav Karve:  
  • State: Maharashtra 
  • He was a mathematician and social reformer. 
  • He worked mainly upliftment life of women specially Remarriage of Widow and women’s education. 
  • Popularly known as “Maharshi Karve” and “Anna Karve.” 
  • He was the first living Indian whose name was issued a postal stamp of India.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1961:

(1) Bidhan Chandra Roy
  • State: West Bengal 
  • Physician, Activist, Philanthropist
  •  He was considered as “Maker of Modern West Bengal.” 
  • Doctor day is celebrated on 1st July in memory of Bidhan Chandra Roy.
(2) Purushottam Das Tandon
  • State: Uttar Pradesh 
  • Freedom fighter follower of Gandhi.
  •  Popular known as “U.P. Gandhi” and “Rajashri”
  • Mainly remembered for strong advocacy of Hindi as an official language.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1962:

Rajendra Prasad
  • State: Bihar 
  • First President of India. 
  • He was the only President of India who completed two consecutive full terms.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1963:

(1) Dr. Zakir Hussain
  • State: Uttar Pradesh
  •  Freedom Fighter first Muslim President of India.
(2) Pandurang Vaman Karve
  • State: Maharashtra
  •  Famous Indologist and Sanskrit Scholar. 
  • Popularly known as “ Mahamahapadhaya.”
  • Mainly worked in English as History of Dharma Shastra: Ancient and Medieval Religion, Civil law.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1966:

Lal Bahadur Shastri:  

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1971:

Indira Gandhi: 

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1975:

V.V. Giri: 
  • State: Odisha 
  • Only Elected President of India as an independent candidate. Founding member of All India Railway Federation in 1923.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1976:

K. Kamraj: 
  • State: Tamilnadu
  •  Popularly known as “Kalvi Than Thai” (Father of Education).
  •  He acknowledged “Kingmaker “in India. 
  • He started free education for disadvantaged children and brought free Mid-day meals to children in the school.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1980:

Mother Teresa: 
  • State: West Bengal
  •  Mother Teresa awarded Nobel Prize in Peace for her charitable work for leprosy, AIDS, and T.B. patients.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1983:

Vinoba Bhave:
  • State: Maharashtra 
  • He became famous in the Bhoodan Movement (Land Gift). Popularly known as “Acharya''
  • .First recipient of Ramon Magsaysay award from community leadership.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1987:

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
  • Country: Pakistan 
  • Popularly known as Frontier Gandhi.
  •  He founded Khudai Khidmatger (Servants of God) popularly known as the Red Shirts movement in 1920.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1988:

M.G. Ramachandra: 
  • State: Tamilnadu 
  • He was the first film actor who became Chief Minister of state. A cultural icon of Tamilnadu.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1990:

(1) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: 
  • State: Madhya Pradesh
  • The chief architect of the Indian constitution.
  •  The main leader of Oppressed class people in India and strong opposition to the Varna system in India.
(2) Nelson Mandela: 
  • Country: South Africa 
  • Popularly known as “Gandhi of South Africa.” 
  • Famous for Anti-Apartheid movement (Discrimination on basis of Colour or Race) in South Africa. 
  • Awarded Nobel Prize for Peace in 1980.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1991:

(1) Rajiv Gandhi: 
(2) Vallabhbhai Patel: 
  • State: Gujarat 
  • He was famous for his work to integrate 555 princely states into India.
  •  Popularly known as Iron Man
  • First Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of India. 
  • World's largest statue built-in memory of Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat.
(3) Morarji Desai: 
  • State: Gujarat 
  • First non-congress Prime minister of India. 
  • The only person in India who got an award from Pakistan ``Nishan-e-Pakistan '' (highest civilian award of Pakistan) and Bharat Ratna. 
  • Oldest Prime Minister of India who holds office.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1992:

(1) Mauala Abul kalam Azad: 
  • State: West Bengal  
  • Popularly known as “Our Master”
  • Started free education to children up to the Primary level.
(2) JRD Tata: 
  • State: Maharashtra 
  • First Licensed Pilot in India, known as the father of the civil aviation of India
  • Established many institutes such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR 1940), Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS 1936).
  •  Founded the first cancer hospital in India and Asia Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in 1941.
(3) Satyajit Ray: 
  • State: West Bengal considered a great Indian filmmaker. 
  • He gave recognition to Indian cinema at the world level.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in the year 1997:

(1) Gulzarilal Nanda: 
  • State: Punjab 
  • Freedom Fighter. Interim Prime Minister two times after the death of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
(2) Aruna Asif Ali: 
  • State: West Bengal
  • Freedom Fighter She became famous after hoisting the Indian flag in Gowalia tank Maidan in Bombay during the Quit India movement in 1942.
(3) APJ Abul Kalam
  • State: Tamilnadu 
  • 11th President of India, Aerospace scientist. 
  • Worked in ISRO, DRDO, mainly for the development of Missile technology and the civilian space program in India. 
  • He was the project director of India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle(SLV-III).
  •  Popularly known as “Missile Man of India” and “People’s President.”

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 1998:

(1) MS Subalakshmi: 
  • State: Tamilnadu  
  •  Indian Carnatic Music Singer. 
  • First Musician recipient of Bharat Ratna. 
  • First Musician recipient of the Raman Magsaysay award. 
  • First Indian to perform in the United Nations General Assembly in 1966.
(2) Chidambaram Subramaniam: 
  • State: Tamilnadu 
  • During the time as minister of Agriculture, He successfully implemented the Green Revolution and White Revolution and made India Self-dependent in Agriculture and Milk production.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 1999:

(1) Jay Prakash Narayan: 
  • State: Bihar
  •  Freedom Fighter and Social reformer.
  •  He became famous for the “Total Revolution Movement” against the Emergency during Indira Gandhi ruling. 
  • Popularly Known as “Loknayak”.
(2) Amartya Sen: 
(3) Gopinath Bordoloi: 
  • State: Assam 
  • First Chief Minister of Assam. 
  • He was mainly known for his efforts to integrate Assam in India with help of Vallabhbhai Patel (Home Minister of India).
  •  Popularly known as “Lokapriya.”
(4) Pt. Ravi Shankar: 
  • State: West Bengal 
  • Hindustani classical Sitar Player. 
  • Famous for collaboration of Hindustani Classical music with Western Music. 
  • Winner of Grammy Award.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 2001:

(1) Lata Mangeshkar: 
  • State: Maharashtra 
  • Female Playback Singer 
  • Popularly known as “Nightingale of India”, Queen of Melody, Voice of Nation
  •  First Indian to perform in the Royal Albert Hall.
(2) Bismillah Khan: 

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 2009:

Bhimsen Joshi:
  • State: Karnataka 
  • Indian Vocalist in Hindustani classical music.
  •  Known for the Khayal form of Singing.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 2014:

(1) C N R Rao: 
  • State: Karnataka 
  • Professor in Chemistry specialization in Solid states and Materials chemistry.
(2) Sachin Tendulkar: 
  • State: Maharashtra 
  • Cricketer, the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries. 
  • First Batsman to score a double century in one-day international. 
  • The only player to complete 30000 runs in international cricket. 
  • Popularly known as “Little Master” and “Master Blaster.”

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 2015:

(1) Madan Mohan Malaviya: 
  • State: Uttar Pradesh 
  • Indian Freedom Fighter and Educational Reformer. 
  • Founder of Banaras Hindu University and Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha. 
  • Popularly known as “Mahamana.”
(2) Atal Bihari Vajpayee: 
  • State: Madhya Pradesh 
  • Former Prime Minister of India. 
  • He was the first Non-Congress Prime Minister of India who completed his full five-year term in office. 
  • Governance day is celebrated every year on 25th December on his birthday.

Recipient of Bharat Ratna in year 2019:

(1) Pranab Mukherjee: 
(2) Bhupen Hazarika: 
  • State: Assam 
  • Famous playback singer in the Assamese language.
  •  Popularly known as “Sudhakantha”
(3) Nanaji Deshmukh: 
  • State: Maharashtra
  •  Social Activist. 
  • Worked mainly in Education, Health, and rural self-Reliance.

Interesting facts about Bharat Ratna:

  • The first recipient of Bharat Ratna: Dr. Sarvelpali Radhakrishan
  • The first recipient of Bharat Ratna posthumously: Lal Bahadur Shastri
  • First Musician recipient of Bharat Ratna: M S Subhalakshmi
  • First Woman recipient of Bharat Ratna: Smt. Indira Gandhi
  • First Sportsperson recipient of Bharat Ratna: Sachin Tendulkar
  • The youngest recipient of Bharat Ratna: Sachin Tendulkar (40 years)
  • Oldest recipient of Bharat Ratna: Dhondo Keshav Karve (100 years)
  • First Non-Indian recipient of Bharat Ratna: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
  • First Chief Minister recipient of Bharat Ratna: M G Ramachandran
  • First Economist recipient of Bharat Ratna: Amartya Sen
  • Recipient of Bharat Ratna and “Nishan-e-Pakistan” (highest civilian award of Pakistan): Moraji Desai

State-wise Distribution of Bharat Ratna Recipients:

Number of Recipients
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Madhya Pradesh
Two foreigners also received Bharat Ratna awards: Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
and Nelson Mandela (1990)

Woman recipients of Bharat Ratna:

Indira Gandhi
Mother Teresa
Aruna Asif Ali
MS Subalakshmi
Lata Mangeshkar

Benefits to Bharat Ratna award recipients:

  • The recipient of Bharat Ratna has 7th A position in India order of precedence.
  •  The recipient has been awarded as a State Guest honor with all privileges during their travel within India in the states. 
  • They are entitled to diplomatic passports and lifetime free executive class travel on Air India. 
  • Indian embassies abroad would provide proper facilitation as and when requested by the awardee on their visits abroad.


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  1. Very nice article on Bharat ratna award .

  2. A very helpful and comprehensive article on bharat ratna. one can get maximum information about the gems of India, with the help of this article


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