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Sachin Tendulkar, CNR Roa get Bharat Ratna screamed the newspaper headlines! The newspaper since then have been full of congratulatory messages for Sachin and CNR Rao ,on Sachin dedicating Bharat Ratna to his mother ,  why hockey legend late Dhyan Chand did not get,Sourav Ganguly bats for Bharat Ratna to Viswanathan Anand, BJP asks why Atal Bihari Vajpayee hasn’t been conferred Bharat Ratna . It made be think what does getting Bharat Ratna means?

Bharat Ratna Award

The Bharat Ratna,Jewel of India in English, is India’s highest civilian honour. Others being Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan , Padma Shri .It is generally conferred on 23rd of January for rendering outstanding services in art, literature, scientific achievements, social service and even sports . The award was instituted by the President of India on 2nd January 1954.  The prime minister recommends the president the name of the person he thinks is fit.Three people can get Bharat Ratna award in one year. The award can also be granted posthumously. The top 4 civilian honours –Bharat Ratna , Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan , Padma Shri do not carry any prize money.  On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.

The medal or decoration is in the form of a peepal leaf, about 5.8 cm long, 4.7 cm wide and 3.1 mm thick. It is of toned bronze. On its obverse is embossed a replica of the sun, 1.6 cm in diameter, below which the words Bharat Ratna are embossed in Devanagari script. On the reverse are State emblem and the motto, also in Devanagari. The emblem, the sun and the rim are of platinum. The inscriptions are in burnished bronze.  The ribbon is white. The awards are produced at Kolkata Mint.

Bharat ratna medal

Bharat ratna medal

The perks associated with Bharat Ratna are

  • Free first class flight journey anywhere in India.
  • Free first class train journey.
  • Pension equal to or 50% of Prime Minister of India’s salary.
  • Can attend the Parliament meetings and sessions.
  • Precedence at par with Cabinet Rank.
  • Eligible for Z category protection, if needed.
  • Special Guest in Republic Day and Independence Day.
  • Status equal to VVIP.

Holders of the Bharat Ratna decoration comes in seventh position jointly with former Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers of the Union, Leaders of Chief Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission of India and the respective Chief Ministers of States.

Winner of Bharat Ratna

Winner of Bharat Ratna

Some interesting facts about Bharat Ratna

  • The first person to receive Bharat Ratna were scientist C.V. Raman along with Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
  • The first person to receive Bharat Ratna after death is Lal Bahadur Shashtri.
  • As India’s first education minister, Abul Kalam Azad, refused the Bharat Ratna arguing that those who selected awardees should not themselves be recipients. Was posthumously awarded in 1992
  • Among awards given so far only 2 awards were given to foreign citizen-Nelson Mandela (1990), Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987).
  • Subhas Chandra Bose was awarded with Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. But due to controversy (as there is no evidence of Subhas Chandra Bose’s death) the award was withdrawn. It is the only incident in the history of Bharat Ratna that an award was withdrawn.

More about Bharat Ratna at Wikipedia Bharat Ratna,  An interesting read on why transparency is needed for Bharat Ratna evaluation, Livemint’s Why Sachin should not get Bharat Ratna 

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Getting Bharat Ratna is more about prestige and we shall keep on seeing suggestions as to who should get,who shouldn’t. What do you say?


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