Complete List of Bharat Ratna Award Recipients (1954-2024): India’s Highest Civilian Honors

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Bharat Ratna Award: The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian honor, established on January 2, 1954. It recognizes “exceptional service/performance of the highest order” in any field of human endeavor, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The award was initially limited to arts, literature, science, and public services but was expanded in 2011 to include any field of human effort.

Bharat Ratna Award 2024

Recipients of the Bharat Ratna receive a certificate (Sanad) signed by the President of India and a medallion in the shape of a peepal leaf. There is no monetary grant associated with the award. The first recipients, in 1954, were C. Rajagopalachari, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and C. V. Raman. Since then, the award has been bestowed upon 53 individuals, including posthumous honorees.

Notable recipients include cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, the youngest awardee, and social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve, the oldest. While primarily conferred on Indian citizens, it has also been awarded to naturalized citizen Mother Teresa and non-Indians like Nelson Mandela.

The Bharat Ratna ranks seventh in the Indian order of precedence and is highly respected for its prestige and recognition of India’s most distinguished individuals.

Bharat Ratna Award Winners 2024

The Bharat Ratna Award is India’s most prestigious civilian honor, first established in 1954. It’s given to individuals who have delivered exceptional service or performance in any field of human endeavor, including arts, literature, science, and public service.

The award is open to everyone, regardless of their job, gender, or status. Each year, up to three people can be honored with this award. The President of India presents the Bharat Ratna to the recipients. It’s also possible to receive the award after death; so far, 16 individuals have been honored posthumously.

Check out the list of all Bharat Ratna Award winners from 1954 to 2024 to see the remarkable individuals who have earned this distinguished recognition.

Bharat Ratna 2024 Award Winners List (1954-2024)

The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian honor, awarded to 48 individuals to date, with 17 awarded after their death. Below is a list of recipients who have been honored with the Bharat Ratna for their remarkable contributions to society.

 1954C. RajagopalachariActivist, statesman, and lawyer
 Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan India’s first Vice-President and second President
C. V. RamanPhysicists, mathematicians, and scientists
 1955Bhagwan DasActivist, philosopher, and educationist
M. VisvesvarayaCivil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore
Jawaharlal NehruActivist and author served as the Prime Minister of India
1957Govind Ballabh PantActivist and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
1958Dhondo Keshav KarveSocial reformer and educator
1961Bidhan Chandra RoyPhysician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker
Purushottam Das TandonActivist and speaker of the United Provinces Legislative Assembly
1962Rajendra PrasadActivist, lawyer, statesman, and scholar
1963Zakir HusainActivist, economist, and education philosopher served as a Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and the Governor of Bihar
Pandurang Vaman KaneIndologist and Sanskrit scholar, known for his five-volume literary work
1966Lal Bahadur ShastriActivist and served as the second Prime Minister of India
1971Indira Gandhi First women Prime Minister of India
1975V. V. GiriTrade Unionist
1976K. KamarajIndependence activist and statesman, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
1980Mother Teresa Catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.
1983Vinoba Bhave Activist, social reformer, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi
1987Khan Abdul Ghaffar KhanFirst noncitizen, independence activist
1988M. G. RamachandranActor turned politician, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
1990B.R. AmbedkarSocial reformer and leader of the Dalits
Nelson MandelaLeader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, President of South Africa
1991Rajiv GandhiGandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.
Vallabhbhai PatelActivist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India
Morarji DesaiActivist, and Prime Minister of India
1992Abul Kalam AzadActivist and first Minister of education
J. R. D. TataIndustrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer
Satyajit RayDirector, filmmaker, writer, novelist
1997Gulzarilal NandaActivist, and interim Prime Minister of India.
Aruna Asaf AliActivist
A.P.J Abdul KalamAerospace and defense scientist
1998M. S. SubbulakshmiCarnatic classical vocalist
Chidambaram SubramaniamActivist and former Minister of Agriculture of India
1999Jayaprakash Narayan Activist, and social reformer
Amartya SenEconomist
Gopinath BordoloiActivist
Ravi ShankarMusician, sitar player
2001Lata MangeshkarSinger
Bismillah KhanHindustani classical shehnai player
2009Bhimsen JoshiHindustani classical vocalist
2014C. N. R. Rao Chemist and professor, author
Sachin TendulkarCricketer
2015Madan Mohan MalaviyaScholar and educational reformer.
Atal Bihari BajpayeeElected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha, and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms.
2019Pranab MukherjeeIndian politician, and senior leader in the Indian National Congress.
Nanaji DeshmukhA social activist from India, education, health, and rural self-reliance.
Bhupen Hazarika Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet, and filmmaker from Assam.
2024 (Posthumously)Karpoori ThakurA respected socialist leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar.
2024Lal Krishna AdvaniA veteran leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
2024PV Narsimha RaoFormer Prime Minister of India.
2024Chaudhary Charan SinghA former Prime Minister who was a strong advocate for the agricultural sector and farmers’ rights.
2024MS SwaminathanKnown as the ‘Father of the Green Revolution’.

Bharat Ratna 2024 Award Winners

Each year, a maximum of three people are honored with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. The constitution states that the Bharat Ratna title cannot be attached before or after the recipient’s name. Those who receive the award get a certificate, known as a sanad, signed by the President of India, along with a medal.

IPL Winners List

The medal is shaped like a peepal leaf, measuring about 5.8 cm in length, 4.7 cm in width, and 3.1 mm in thickness. Made of bronze, it features a sun engraving in the center that is 1.6 cm across. The reverse side of the medal displays the state emblem and the national motto in Devanagari script.

Bharat Ratna Awards in a Year

Typically, up to three individuals can receive the Bharat Ratna each year. However, in 2024, five distinguished figures were honored: Karpoori Thakur, L. K. Advani, P. V. Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh, and M. S. Swaminathan.

Notably, formal nominations for the Bharat Ratna aren’t required. The Prime Minister recommends candidates to the President of India. Interestingly, there were no Bharat Ratna recipients from 2020 to 2023.

This information is particularly useful for students preparing for competitive exams, who are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the list of awardees.

Eligibility for the Bharat Ratna Award

The Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, was originally given for exceptional achievements in literature, science, arts, and public service. In 2011, the Indian government broadened the criteria to include “any field of human endeavor.” There’s no rule stating that only Indian citizens can receive the Bharat Ratna. The eligibility has recently been updated to allow athletes to be considered for the award.

Decision Process for the Bharat Ratna

The Prime Minister recommends Bharat Ratna candidates to the President of India. The number of awards given each year is limited to a maximum of three.

Bharat Ratna Award Winner 2024

Karpoori Thakur, the esteemed socialist leader and ex-Chief Minister of Bihar, will be honored with the Bharat Ratna posthumously, aligning with his centennial birth anniversary.

Lal Krishna Advani, a seasoned leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is also set to receive the Bharat Ratna in 2024. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 3, 2024, acknowledging Advani’s significant impact on Indian politics and society.

The Bharat Ratna for 2024 will also be awarded to two former Prime Ministers, PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, as well as the distinguished agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan. These awards celebrate their extraordinary dedication and service to India’s progress.

Youngest Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award

Sachin Tendulkar, an iconic figure in cricket, became the youngest recipient of the Bharat Ratna in 2014 at the age of 40, cementing his status as a cricketing legend.

Oldest Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award

Dhondo Keshav Karve holds the record as the oldest recipient of the Bharat Ratna Award. A prominent social reformer, he was honored with this prestigious award on his 100th birthday in 1958.

Bharat Ratna Award: FAQs

Que: Who were the recipients of the Bharat Ratna Award in 2019?

Ans: The recipients of the Bharat Ratna in 2019 were Nanaji Deshmukh, a dedicated social activist; Pranab Mukherjee, a seasoned politician and former President of India from 2012 to 2017; and Bhupen Hazarika, a celebrated Indian playback singer, lyricist, poet, filmmaker, and musician.

Que: How many Bharat Ratna awards can be given in a year?

Ans: A maximum of three Bharat Ratna awards can be presented each year to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service in public life.

Que: Who was the first posthumous recipient of the Bharat Ratna award?

Ans: The first posthumous recipient of the Bharat Ratna was Lal Bahadur Shastri, the former Prime Minister of India and a noted social activist.

Que: When was the Bharat Ratna Award introduced?

Ans: The Bharat Ratna Award was established in 1954.

Que: Who received the first-ever Bharat Ratna Award?

Ans: The first recipient of the Bharat Ratna Award was C.V. Raman, renowned for his groundbreaking work in science.

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