Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award granted by the Government of India to distinguished citizens. The award was instituted in 1954. The purpose of the Bharat Ratna is to award exceptional service or performance of the highest order without any discrimination.
When the award was first constituted, it was meant to reward exceptional achievements in art, science, literature and public service. But since 2011, the criteria of the award have been expanded to include exceptional achievements in any human endeavor.
It is the Prime Minister of India who recommends the Bharat Ratna and it is the President of India who confers it. Winners of the award receive a certificate or a Sanad signed by the President and a medallion. This award does not carry any monetary grants. There can only be a maximum of three nominees awarded per year.
The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were among the greatest Indians who ever lived – freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari, former President, teacher and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and the great scientist C. V. Raman. They were given this honor in 1954.
Since then the Bharat Ratna has been conferred to 45 distinguished men and women, including 12 who were given the award posthumously.
Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest cricketer of his generation was the youngest to receive this award, at the age of 40. Two non-Indians, freedom fighter Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan of Pakistan and former South African President Nelson Mandela have also received the award.
|Year||Name Of The Person/ Awardee(s)|
|1954||Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Dr Chandrashekhar Venkataraman [First Awardee(s)]|
|1955||Dr. Bhagwan Das, Dr. Mokshgundm Visveswaraya, Jawaharlal Nehru|
|1957||Govind Vallabh Pant|
|1958||Keshav Karve Rdhodo|
|1961||Dr. BC Roy, Purushottam Das Tandon|
|1962||Dr. Rajendra Prasad|
|1963||Dr. Zakir Hussain, Pandurang Vaman Kane|
|1966||Lal Bahadur Shastri (posthumous)|
|1975||V. V. Giri|
|1976||K. Kamaraj (posthumous)|
|1983||Acharya Vinoba Bhave (posthumous)|
|1987||Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (The first overseas)|
|1988||Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (posthumous)|
|1990||Dr. BR Ambedkar (posthumously), Nelson Mandela|
|1991||Rajiv Gandhi (posthumous), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (posthumous), Morarji Desai|
|1992||JRD Tata, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (posthumously), Ray|
|1997||Aruna Asaf Ali (posthumous), Gulzari Lal Nanda (posthumous), A.P.J. Abdul Kalam|
|1998||M. S. Subbulakshmi, C. Subramaniam, Jayaprakash Narayan (posthumous)|
|1999||Professor Amartya Sen, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Gopinath Bardoli (posthumous)|
|2001||Lata Mangeshkar, Ustad Khan Bismilah|
|2014||Sachin Tendulkar, Dr. C.N.R. Rao|
|2015||Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumous) [Recent Awardee(s)]|