Select Page

Ratan Tata should get Bharat Ratna, Sachin Tendulkar, CNR Roa get Bharat Ratna screamed the newspaper headlines!  The Bharat Ratna is mired in several controversies and award grants have been subject to multiple Public-Interest Litigations (PILs). It made me think what does getting Bharat Ratna means?

Bharat Ratna Award

The Bharat Ratna, Jewel of India in English, is India’s highest civilian honor. Others are Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri . It is generally conferred on the 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. Only Three people can get the 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 the 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 

  • 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 come in the 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.

What do the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri winners get?

List of Bharat Ratna winners of India till date

  • Pranab Mukherjee (2019)
  • Bhupen Hazarika (2019)
  • Nanaji Deshmukh (2019)
  • Madan Mohan Malaviya (2015)
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2015)
  • Sachin Tendulkar (2014)
  • CNR Rao (2014)
  • Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (2008)
  • Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar (2001)
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan (2001)
  • Prof Amartya Sen (1999)
  • Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi (1999)
  • Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan (1999)
  • Pandit Ravi Shankar (1999)
  • Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998)
  • Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi (1998)
  • Dr Abul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (1997)
  • Aruna Asaf Ali (1997)
  • Gulzari Lal Nanda (1997)
  • Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhai Tata (1992)
  • Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1992)
  • Satyajit Ray (1992)
  • Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1991)
  • Rajiv Gandhi (1991)
  • Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1991)
  • Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedakr (1990)
  • Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1990)
  • Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (1988)
  • Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
  • Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1983)
  • Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1980)
  • Kumaraswamy Kamraj (1976)
  • Varahagiri Venkata Giri (1975)
  • Indira Gandhi (1971)
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966)
  • Dr Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963)
  • Dr Zakir Hussain (1963)
  • Dr Rajendra Prasad (1962)
  • Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961)
  • Purushottam Das Tandon (1961)
  • Dr Dhonde Keshav Karve (1958)
  • Pt Govind Ballabh Pant (1957)
  • Dr Bhagwan Das (1955)
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (1955)
  • Dr Mokshagundam Vivesvaraya (1955)
  • Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1954)
  • Dr Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (1954)
  • Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan (1954)
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.
  • The Bharat Ratna can also be awarded to non-Indians as there is no written rule against the same. Mother Teresa, a naturalized Indian citizen was conferred with the award in 1980. Non-Indians, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela have also been awarded the Bharat Ratna.
  • The Bharat Ratna ceremony is usually held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi but a special ceremony was held at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai to honour Karve on his 100th birthday, 18 April 1958

Video on Bharat Ratna Award

Related Posts:

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 

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?


If you love watching movies online for free, moviebox pro apk is one of the best in the market.

123 free movies