Bharat Ratna Award
In Awards and Prizes
‘Bharat Ratna’ is India’s highest award given to a civilian. It is awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary and scientific achievements, as well as public service.
Bharat Ratna was instituted on 2 January 1954. The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science and public services but the government expanded the criteria to include ‘any field of human endeavour’ in December 2011. Recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year.
Recipients of Bharat Ratna receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award.
The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, scientist C. V. Raman and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was honoured in 1954. In 1966, former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri became the first individual to be honoured posthumously. Most recently, the Indian government has announced the award to freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.