Laureates awarded with the Bharat Ratna.
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Laureates awarded with the Bharat Ratna.

Laureates awarded with the Bharat Ratna.Bharat Ratna ( Jewel of India) is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. 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 receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence, but are constitutionally prohibited from using the award name as a title.

The first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, scientist C. V. Raman and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who were honoured in 1954. Since then, the award has been bestowed on 45 individuals including 11 who were awarded posthumously. The original statutes did not provide for posthumous awards but were amended in January 1955 to permit them. In 1966, former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri became the first individual to be honoured posthumously. In 2013, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, aged 40, became the youngest recipient while social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve was awarded on his 100th birthday. Though usually conferred on Indian citizens, the Bharat Ratna has been awarded to one naturalised citizen, Mother Teresa in 1980, and to two non-Indians, Pakistan national Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1987 and former South African President Nelson Mandela in 1990. Most recently, Indian government has announced the award to freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya (posthumously) and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 24 December 2014.

List of laureates awarded with the Bharat Ratna

Year Laureates Notes
1954 C. Rajagopalachari Independence activist, last and only Indian Governor-General of India
C. V. Raman Nobel laureate physicist (1930)
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Philosopher, India’s first Vice-President (1952–62), and second President (1962–67)
1955 Bhagwan Das Independence activist, theosophist, and founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith
Visvesvaraya Civil engineer, statesman and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18)
Jawaharlal Nehru Independence activist, author, and first Prime Minister of India (1947–64)
1957 Govind Ballabh Pant Independence activist, first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54)
1958 Dhondo Keshav Karve Social reformer
1961 Bidhan Chandra Roy Physician-Surgeon and second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62)
Purushottam Das Tandon Independence activist, educator
1962 Rajendra Prasad Independence activist, lawyer, first President of India (1950–62)
1963 Zakir Hussain Independence activist, second Vice-President of India (1962–67), and third President of India (1967–69)
Pandurang Vaman Kane Indologist and Sanskrit scholar
1966 Lal Bahadur Shastri Independence activist and third Prime Minister of India (1964–66)
1971 Indira Gandhi Former Prime Minister of India (1966–77, 1980–84)
1975 V. V. Giri Trade unionist, first Acting President of India, and fourth President of India (1969–74)
1976 K. Kamaraj Independence activist and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (1954–57, 1957–62, 1962–63)
1980 Mother Teresa Catholic nun, founder of the Missionaries of Charity and Nobel peace prize laureate (1979)
1983 Vinoba Bhave Independence activist, social reformer, and Ramon Magsaysay Award laureate (1958)
1987 Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Independence activist
1988 M. G. Ramachandran Film actor and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (1977–80, 1980–84, 1985–87)
1990 B. R. Ambedkar Chief architect of the Indian Constitution and social reformer
Nelson Mandela Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1993)
1991 Rajiv Gandhi Ninth Prime Minister of India (1984–89)
Vallabhbhai Patel Independence activist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India (1947–50)
Morarji Desai Independence activist and sixth Prime Minister of India (1977–79)
1992 Abul Kalam Azad Independence activist
J. R. D. Tata Industrialist and philanthropist
Satyajit Ray Filmmaker
1997 Gulzarilal Nanda Independence activist and two times interim Prime Minister of India
Aruna Asaf Ali Independence activist
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Aerospace and Defense Scientist, eleventh President of India (2002–07)
1998 M. S. Subbulakshmi Carnatic classical vocalist
Chidambaram Subramaniam Independence activist and former Minister of Agriculture of India (1964–66)
1999 Jayaprakash Narayan Independence activist and social reformer
Ravi Shankar Hindustani classical Sitar player
Amartya Sen Nobel laureate economist (1998)
Gopinath Bordoloi Independence activist, first Chief Minister of Assam (1946–50)
2001 Lata Mangeshkar Playback singer
Bismillah Khan Hindustani classical Shehnai player
2009 Bhimsen Joshi Hindustani classical vocalist
2013 C. N. R. Rao Chemist
Sachin Tendulkar Cricketer
2014 Madan Mohan Malaviya Educationist and politician (President of Indian National Congress (INC) in 1909, 1918)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Former Prime Minister of India (1996), (1998), (1999-2004), poet
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