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Bharat Ratna

Bharat Ratna is India's highest civilian award. The Bharat Ratna is India's supreme decoration and honor, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievement, as well as "recognition of public service of the highest order." Throughout the history of the decoration, it has been very carefully stressed that the award of the Bharat Ratna carries with it no title, no "knighthood," and no particular status.

The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards (and this perhaps explains why the decoration was never awarded to Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi), though this provision was added in the January 1955 statute (and there have, subsequently, been seven posthumous awards). While there was no formal provision that recipients of the Bharat Ratna should be Indian citizens, this seems to have been the general assumption. There has been one award to a naturalized Indian citizen (to Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, "Mother Theresa," in 1980) and one to a non-Indian (to Nelson Mandela in 1990).

The original specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal, 1-3/8 inches in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend "Bharat Ratna" above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon. There is no indication that any specimens of this design were ever produced and one year later the design was altered.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) 1954
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1878-1972) 1954
Dr Chandrasekhar Venkat Raman (1888-1970) 1954
Dr Bhagwan Das (1869-1958) 1955
Dr Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (1861-1962) 1955
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 -1964) 1955
Govind Ballabh Pant (1887-1961) 1957
Dr Dhondo Keshave Karve (1858-1962) 1958
Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (1882-1962) 1961
Purushottam Das Tandon (1882-1962) 1961
Dr Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) 1962
Dr Zakir Husain (1897-1969) 1963
Dr Pandurang Vaman Kane (1880-1972) 1963
Lal Bahadur Shastri (Posthumous) (1904-1966) 1966
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984) 1971
Varahagiri Venkatagiri (1894-1980) 1975
Kumaraswami Kamraj (Posthumous) (1903-1975) 1976
Mary Taresa Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) (1910-1997) 1980
Acharya Vinobha Bhave[?] (Posthumous) (1895-1982) 1983
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan[?] (1890-1988) 1987
Marudu Gopalan Ramachandran (Posthumous) (1917-1987) 1988
Dr Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar (Posthumous) (1891-1956) 1990
Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (b-1918) 1990
Rajiv Gandhi (Posthumous) (1944-1991) 1991
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel[?] (Posthumous) (1875-1950) 1991
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1896-1995) 1991
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1888-1958) 1992
Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhai Tata (1904-1993) 1992
Satyajit Ray (1922-1992) 1992
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 1997
Gulzarilal Nanda (1898-1998) 1997
Aruna Asaf Ali (Posthumous) 1997
MS Subbulakshmi (b 1916) 1998
C Subramaniam[?] (b 1910) 1998
Jayaprakash Narayan[?] (1902-1979) 1998
Ravi Shankar (b 1920) 1999
Amartya Sen (b 1933) 1999
Gopinath Bordoloi (1927-??) 1999
Lata Mangeshkar (b 1929) 2001
Bismillah Khan[?] (b 1916) 2001

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