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List of Bharat Ratna Award Winners From 1954 to 2024 (updated List as on 03 april 2024)

Bharat Ratna

The Bharat Ratna award is the highest civilian award in India which was instituted in the year 1954. The Bharat Ratna award is awarded to people for their exceptional public service and performance of the highest order in any field of human activity like literature science and art.

In a year only three Bharat Ratna awards are awarded. According to the constitution, the Bharat Ratna cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient’s name. The recipient of the award is facilitated with a sanad or certificate signed by the president and a medal.

The medal is in the form of a peepal leaf which is 5.8 cm long, 4.7 cm wide, and 3.1 mm thick. It is a bronze medal and in the middle of the medal, the image of the sun is embossed which is 1.6 cm in diameter. On the other side of the medal state emblem and the Moto of the country are written in Devnagri script.

Why in the news?

Any person in any occupation sex or position is eligible for the Bharat Ratna award. In a year, a maximum of 3 people is awarded the Bharat Ratna award. The Bharat Ratna award is presented by the President of India. This award is also awarded posthumously, till now 17 people have been awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously and 36 prenomously.

Updated List of Bharat Ratna Award Winners

The Bharat Ratna award was received by 53 persons and 17 were awarded posthumously. A list of all the people who were facilitated with the Bharat Ratna award is listed below with their contributions to society.

YearBharat Ratna Winner Name1. C. Rajagopalachari
Bharat Ratna 19541.C. Rajagopalachari Rajagopalachari, an Indian independence activist, statesman, and lawyer, was the only Indian and last Governor-General of independent India. He was Chief Minister of Madras Presidency (1937–39) and Madras State (1952–54) and founder of the Indian political party Swatantra Party.
2. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan He served as India’s first Vice President (1952–62) and second President (1962–67). Since 1962, his birthday on September 5 has been observed as “Teachers’ Day” in India.
1. Bhagwan DasWidely known for his work on the scattering of light and the discovery of the effect, better known as “Raman scattering,” Raman mainly worked in the fields of atomic physics and electromagnetism and was presented with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
Bharat Ratna 19551.Bhagwan DasIndependence activist, philosopher, and educationist, and co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapithand, worked with Madan Mohan Malaviya for the foundation of Banaras Hindu University.
2.M. VisvesvarayaA civil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18), he was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. His birthday, September 15, is observed as “Engineer’s Day” in India.
3. Jawaharlal NehruIndependence activist and author Nehru is the first and longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).
Bharat Ratna 19571. Govind Ballabh PantIndependent activist Pant was premier of the United Provinces (1937–39, 1946–50) and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54). He served as Union Home Minister from 1955–61.
Bharat Ratna 19581.Dhondo Keshav KarveKarve, a social reformer and educator, is widely known for his works related to women’s education and the remarriage of Hindu widows. He established the Widow Marriage Association (1883), Hindu Widows Home (1896), and Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University in 1916.
Bharat Ratna 19611. Bidhan Chandra RoyA physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker, is often considered the “Maker of Modern West Bengal.”. He was the second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62), and his birthday on July 1 July is observed as National Doctors’ Day in India.
2.Purushottam Das TandonOften titled “Rajarshi”, Tandon was an independence activist and served as speaker of the United Provinces Legislative Assembly (1937–50). He was actively involved in a campaign to get official language status to Hindi.
Bharat Ratna 19621. Dr. Rajendra PrasadIndependence activist, lawyer, statesman, and scholar, Prasad was closely associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement for Indian independence. He was later elected as the first President of India (1950–62).
Bharat Ratna 19631. Dr.Zakir HusainKnown for his slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer”), Independence activist Shastri served as the second Prime Minister of India (1964–66) and led the country during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
2.Pandurang Vaman KaneIndologist and Sanskrit scholar, Kane is 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 was published from 1930 to 1962.
Bharat Ratna 19661.Lal Bahadur ShastriWhile studying at the University College Dublin, Giri was involved in the Irish Sinn Fein movement. Returning to India, he organized labor unions and brought them to take active participation in the Indian freedom struggle. He was elected as the first President of the All India Trade Union Congress in 1926. Post-independence, 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).
Bharat Ratna 19711.Indira GandhiKnown 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 the Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the formation of a new country, Bangladesh.
Bharat Ratna 19751.V. V. Giri1. Mother Teresa
Bharat Ratna 19761.K. KamarajIndependence activist and statesman Kamaraj was a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1954–57, 1957–62, and 1962–63.
Bharat Ratna 19801. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan“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 and was beatified on 19 October 2003 by Pope John Paul II and canonized on 4 September 2016 by Pope Francis.
Bharat Ratna 19831.Vinoba BhaveIndependence activist, social reformer, and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave is best known for his Bhoodan movement, “Land-Gift Movement”. He was given the honorific title “Acharya” (“teacher”) and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1958) for his humanitarian work.
Bharat Ratna 19871.Khan Abdul Ghaffar KhanActor-turned-politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, and 1985–87.
Bharat Ratna 19881.M. G. Ramachandran 2. Nelson Mandela
Bharat Ratna 19901.Dr.B. R AmbedarSocial 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 social discrimination with Dalits, the Hindu varna system. He was associated with the Dalit Buddhist movement and accepted Buddhism as a religion along with his close to half a million followers on 14 October 1956.
2.Nelson MandelaLeader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, Mandela was the President of South Africa (1994–99). Often called 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.
Bharat Ratna 19911. Rajiv GandhiGandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.
2. Sardar Vallabhbhai PatelWidely 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.
3. Morarji DesaiIndependence activist Desai was the sixth Prime Minister of India (1977–79). He is the only Indian national to be awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan.
Bharat Ratna 19921. Dr. Abul Kalam AzadIndependence activist Azad was India’s first Minister of Education and worked towards free primary education. He was widely known as “Maulana Azad” and his birthday on 11 November is observed as National Education Day in India.
2. J. R. D. TataIndustrialist, 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.
3. Satyajit RayHaving 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.
Bharat Ratna 19971. Gulzarilal NandaIndependence activist Nanda was two times interim Prime Minister of India (1964, 1966) and two times deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
2. Aruna Asaf AliIndependence 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.
3. Dr. A.P.J Abdul KalamAerospace and defence scientist, Kalam was involved in the development of India’s first satellite launch vehicle SLV III and was the architect of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. He worked for Indian National Committee for Space Research, Indian Space Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Laboratory and was 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.
Bharat Ratna 19981. M. S. SubbulakshmiCarnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi also called “Queen of songs”, is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.
2. Chidambaram SubramaniamIndependence 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.
Bharat Ratna 19991. Jayaprakash NarayanIndependence activist, social reformer, and commonly referred to 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”.
2. Dr. Amartya SenWinner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998), Sen has done research on several topics including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.
3. Gopinath BordoloiIndependence 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.
4. Ravi ShankarWinner 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.
Bharat Ratna 20011. Lata MangeshkarWidely credited as the “nightingale of India”, playback singer Mangeshkar 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.
2. Bismillah KhanHindustani classical shehnai player, Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades and is credited to have brought the instrument to the centre stage of Indian music.
Bharat Ratna 20091. Bhimsen JoshiHindustani 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”.
Bharat Ratna 20141. C. N. R. RaoThe 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.
2. Sachin TendulkarHe 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, the first batsman to score a double century in a One Day International and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in both ODI and Test cricket.
Bharat Ratna 20151. Madan Mohan MalaviyaScholar and educational reformer Malaviya is a founder of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (1906) and Banaras Hindu University and served as the university’s vice-chancellor from 1919 till 1938. He was the President of the Indian National Congress for four terms and was the Chairman of the Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.
2. Atal Bihari VajpayiParliamentarian 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.
Bharat Ratna 20191. Pranab MukherjeeHe 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.
2. Nanaji DeshmukhHe 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.
3. Bhupen HazarikaHe 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), he 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).
Bharat Ratna 20241. Karpoori ThakurKarpoori Thakur, the 11th Chief Minister of Bihar, held office for two terms: 1970-1971 and 1977-1979. In 1978, he instituted the reservation policy for state government jobs, a pivotal step toward socio-economic equity. Thakur’s legacy is marked by his impactful tenure and pioneering contributions to affirmative action in Bihar.
2. L. K. AdvaniL. K. Advani served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India from 2002 to 2004. He played a pivotal role in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, advocating for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Advani is the longest serving leader of opposition in the Lower House of Parliament.
3. P. V. Narasimha RaoP. V. Narasimha Rao, the 9th Prime Minister of India (1991-1996), initiated significant economic reforms, liberalizing the Indian economy. His tenure saw the dismantling of the License Raj and the introduction of the New Economic Policy, fostering economic growth.
4. Charan SinghCharan Singh, the 5th Prime Minister of India (1979-1980), was a champion of farmers’ rights. As a prominent political figure, he focused on agrarian reforms and implemented policies to address the concerns of the agricultural community.
5. Dr. M. S. SwaminathanM. S. Swaminathan is renowned as the “Father of the Green Revolution in India.” Serving as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, he played a pivotal role in revolutionizing Indian agriculture.

First Recipients of Bharat Ratna Award

The first Bharat Ratna award was awarded to politician C. Rajagopalachari, philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, andscientist CV Raman in the year 1954.

Oldest Person to Get bharat Ratna Award

Dhondo Keshav Karvewas the oldest person to receive the Bharat Ratna Award. He was a social reformer and was awarded on his 100th birthday in 1958

Youngest Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award

The youngest Bharat Ratna recipe in India was Sachin Tendulkar who received this award in the year 2014 when he was 40 years old. He is one of the finest Indian cricketers of all time and is considered a legend in the history of Cricket.

About Bharat Ratna Award Winner 2024

Karpoori Thakur– A renowned socialist leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar, is set to be posthumously conferred with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. The announcement of this prestigious honor coincides with the eve of his 100th birth anniversary.

Lal Krishna Advani– On 3rd February 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed that Lal Krishna Advani, the veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, will be conferred with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award. This recognition marks a significant honor for Advani’s contributions to Indian politics and public life.

Former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, along with renowned agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, are slated to receive this prestigious honor, underscoring their unmatched commitment to India’s advancement.

The Bharat Ratna, India’s most esteemed civilian award, is poised to recognize the remarkable contributions of three exceptional individuals whose endeavors have profoundly influenced the nation’s course.