Bharat Ratna Award List

Bharat Ratna Award List

Bharat Ratan is acclaimed as higest civilian award of India. Any person without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex is eligible for these awards. Bharat Ratan is awarded in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. Here, we bring a list of awardees of Bharat Ratan from 1954, since its inception till date. Now a days, lots of questions being asked from the Bharat Ratan recipient list every year in exams like UPSC, State PSCs, SSC and other Government exams. Here we are providing list of Bharat Ratan Awardees.

Bharat Ratna Award List

Bharat Ratan Key Features:

  1. Introduction:- Bharat Ratna was first introduced in year 1954.
  2. Devnagri Script:- The text “Bharat Ratna” is written in Devanagari Script on the upper edge in silver gilt
  3. It is also not mandatory that Bharat Ratna be awarded every year.
  4. Recommendation:-The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister himself to the President.
  5. No Monetary grant:- No money is awarded with the Bharat Ratan.
  6. Annual Awardees Limit:- There is a limit to the total awards which could be given in one year i.e. maximum of three.
  7. Criteria:- 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.
  8. Total awardees:- Award has been given to 45 individuals, including 12 who were awarded posthumously.

Bharat Ratna Award: List of recipients



Brief Description


C. Rajagopalachari

  • Independence activist and lawyer
  • Rajagopalachari was the only Indian and last Governor-General of independent India.
  • founder of Indian political party Swatantra Party.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

  • India's first Vice-President (1952–62) and second President (1962–67).
  • His birthday on 5 September is observed as "Teachers' Day" in India.

C. V. Raman

  • Discovery of "Raman scattering",
  • Raman worked in the field of atomic physics and electromagnetism
  • Presented Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.


Bhagwan Das

  • Independence activist, philosopher, and educationist, and co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapithand
  • Worked with Madan Mohan Malaviya for the foundation of Banaras Hindu University.

M. Visvesvaraya

  • Civil engineer and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire.

Jawaharlal Nehru

  • Independence activist and author,
  • First and the longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).


Govind Ballabh Pant

  • Independence activist
  • Premier of United Provinces (1937–39, 1946–50)
  • First Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54).
  • He served as Union Home Minister from 1955–61.


Dhondo Keshav Karve

  • Social reformer and educator,
  • Known for his works related to woman education and remarriage of Hindu widows.
  • Established the Widow Marriage Association (1883), Hindu Widows Home (1896)


Bidhan Chandra Roy

  • A physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker
  • Roy is considered as "Maker of Modern West Bengal".
  • He was second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62)

Purushottam Das Tandon

  • Titled as "Rajarshi", Tandon
  • Independence activist and served as speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (1937–50).
  • He was actively involved in a campaign to get official language status to Hindi.


Rajendra Prasad

  • Independence activist, lawyer and scholar,
  • He was closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement for Indian independence.
  • He was elected as the first President of India (1950–62).


Zakir Husain

  • Independence activist and education philosopher.
  • He served as a Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (1948–56) and the Governor of Bihar (1957–62).
  • He was elected as second Vice-President of India (1962–67)
  • Also become the third President of India (1967–69).

Pandurang Vaman Kane

  • Indologist and Sanskrit scholar
  • Best known for his five volume literary work, History of Dharmasastra: Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India; the "monumental" work that extends over nearly 6,500 pages and being published from 1930 to 1962.


Lal Bahadur Shastri

  • Known for his slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer")
  • He served as second Prime Minister of India (1964–66)
  • Led the country during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.


Indira Gandhi

  • Known as the "Iron Lady of India"
  • Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India during 1966–77 and 1980–84.
  • During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, her government supported Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the formation of a new country, Bangladesh.


V. V. Giri

  • He organized labour unions and brought them to take active participation in Indian freedom struggle.
  • He was elected as the first President of All India Trade Union Congress in 1926.
  • Giri held positions of Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore and various other cabinet ministries.
  • He became the first acting President and was eventually elected as the fourth President of India (1969–74).


K. Kamaraj

  • Independence activist and statesman
  • Kamaraj was a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1954–57, 1957–62, and 1962–63.


Mother Teresa 

  • "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" was a catholic nun and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity.
  • She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work in 1979


Vinoba Bhave

  • Independence activist, social reformer
  • Bhave is best known for his Bhoodan movement, "Land-Gift Movement".
  • He was given the honorific title "Acharya" ("teacher")

  • Awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1958) for his humanitarian work.


Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan

  • Widely known as "Frontier Gandhi", independence activist
  •  He joined Khilafat Movement in 1920 and founded Khudai Khidmatgar ("Red Shirt movement") in 1929.


M. G. Ramachandran

  • Actor turned politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, and 1985–87.


B. R. Ambedkar

  • Social reformer and leader of the Dalits ("Untouchables")
  • Ambedkar was the Chief architect of the Indian Constitution and also served as the first Law Minister of India.
  • Ambedkar predominantly campaigned against the social discrimination with Dalits, the Hindu varna system.

Nelson Mandela

  • Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa,
  • Mandela was the President of South Africa (1994–99).
  • Often called as the "Gandhi of South Africa", Mandela's African National Congress movement was influenced by Gandhian philosophy.
  • In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Rajiv Gandhi

Gandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.

Vallabhbhai Patel

  • Widely known as the "Iron Man of India"
  • Patel was an independence activist and first Deputy Prime Minister of India (1947–50).
  • Post-independence, "Sardar" ("Leader") Patel worked with V. P. Menon towards dissolving 555 princely states into the Indian union.

Morarji Desai

  • Independence activist
  • He was the sixth Prime Minister of India (1977–79).
  • He is the only Indian national to be awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan, highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan.


Abul Kalam Azad

  • Independence activist
  • He was India's first Minister of Education and worked towards free primary education.
  • He was widely known as "Maulana Azad"

J. R. D. Tata

  • Industrialist, philanthropist, and aviation pioneer
  • Tata founded India's first airline Air India.
  • He is the founder of various institutes including Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Tata Memorial Hospital, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tata Motors, TCS, National Institute of Advanced Studies, and National Centre for the Performing Arts.

Satyajit Ray

  • Having debuted as a director with Pather Panchali (1955), film-maker Ray is credited with bringing world recognition to Indian cinema.
  • In 1984, Ray was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.


Gulzarilal Nanda

  • Independence activist Nanda was two times interim Prime Minister of India (1964, 1966)
  • Two times deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.

Aruna Asaf Ali

  • Independence activist Ali is better known for hoisting the Indian flag in Bombay during the Quit India Movement in 1942.
  • Post-Independence, Ali was elected as Delhi's first mayor in 1958.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

  • Aerospace and defence scientist, Kalam was involved in the development of India's first satellite launch vehicle SLV III and was the architect of Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
  • He worked for Indian National Committee for Space Research, Indian Space Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Laboratory
  • Appointed as the Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, Secretary to Department of Defence Research and Development and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  •  Later, he served as the eleventh President of India from 2002 till 2007.


M. S. Subbulakshmi

  • Carnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi, often hailed as "Queen of songs"
  • First Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.

Chidambaram Subramaniam

  • Independence activist and former Minister of Agriculture of India (1964–66)
  • Subramaniam is known for his contribution towards Green Revolution in India.
  • During the late 1970s, he worked for International Rice Research Institute, Manila, and the International Maize and Wheat Research Institute, Mexico.


Jayaprakash Narayan

  • Independence activist, social reformer, and commonly referred as "Lok Nayak" ("People's Hero")
  •  Narayan is better known for "Total Revolution Movement" or "JP Movement" initiated during the mid-1970s to "overthrow the corrupt and exploitative Congress government".

Amartya Sen

  • Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998)
  • Sen has done research over several topics including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.

Gopinath Bordoloi

  • Independence activist Bordoloi is the first Chief Minister of Assam (1946–50).
  • His efforts and association with the then Minister of Home Affairs Vallabhbhai Patel were widely acknowledged while keeping Assam united with India when parts of it were to merge with East Pakistan.

Ravi Shankar

  • Winner of four Grammy Awards and often considered "the world's best-known exponent of Hindustani classical music",
  • sitar player Shankar is known for his collaborative work with Western musicians including Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.


Lata Mangeshkar

  • Widely credited as the "nightingale of India"
  • Started her career in the 1940s and has sung songs in over 36 languages.
  • In 1989, Mangeshkar was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema.

Bismillah Khan

  • Hindustani classical shehnai player
  • Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades
  • Brought the instrument to the centre stage of Indian music.


Bhimsen Joshi

  • Hindustani classical vocalist, Joshi was a disciple of Kirana gharana, an Indian musical school.
  • He is widely known for the Khyal genre of singing with a "mastery over rhythm and accurate notes".[


C. N. R. Rao

  • The recipient of Honorary Doctorates from 63 Universities including Purdue, IIT Bombay, Oxford, chemist and professor Rao has worked prominently in the fields of Solid State and Materials Chemistry, Spectroscopy and Molecular Structure.
  • He has authored around 1600 research papers and 48 books.

Sachin Tendulkar

  • He played 664 international cricket matches in a career spanning over two decades.
  • He holds various cricket records including the only player to have scored one hundred international centuries,
  • First batsman to score a double century in a One Day International
  • Only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket.


Madan Mohan Malaviya

  • Scholar and educational reformer Malaviya is a founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (1906) and Banaras Hindu University
  • Served as the university's vice-chancellor from 1919 till 1938.
  • He was the President of Indian National Congress for four terms and was the Chairman of Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

  • Parliamentarian for over four decades,
  • Vajpayee was elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, twice to the Rajya Sabha and served as the Prime Minister of India for three terms; 1996, 1998, 1999–2004.
  • He was Minister of External Affairs during 1977–79 and was awarded the "Best Parliamentarian" in 1994.


Pranab Mukherjee

  • He is an Indian politician who served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017.
  • He has been a senior leader in the Indian National Congress and has occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Government of India.
  • Prior to his election as President, he was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.

Nanaji Deshmukh

  • He was a social activist from India.
  • He worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance.
  • He was a member of RSS, a leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and also a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999.
  • India’s first Saraswati Shishu Mandir was established by him at Gorakhpur in 1950.

Bhupen Hazarika

  • He was an Indian playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam, widely known as Sudhakantha.
  • Before he got Bharat Ranta (India's highest civilian award), received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1975.
  • Recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1977), and Padmabhushan (2001), and also awarded with Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992).

Here you can also go through details of various other awards like Bharat Ratna, Noble Prize, Civilians awards, etc which will be very helpful for Government exams like UPSC, State PSCs, SSC and other competitive exams.

  1. Indian Civilian Awards
  2. Nobel Prize Winners in India
  3. Nobel Prize Winner List
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