- It is the highest Civilian award of India.
- It was instituted in 1954 by the order of Rajendra Prasad then President of India.
- Bharat Ratna does not hold monetary grant.
- A maximum of three awards can be given in a year.
- The provision to honor a person posthumously was not there primarily but was later added in 1966.
- Subhash Chandra Bose and 12 others were awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously, but the award from S.C. Bose was withdrawn owing to posthumous nature of award as the death of S.C.Bose is still a mystery. This is the only case when an award has been withdrawn.
- Mother Teresa (1980) has been one award Bharat Ratna , the first naturalized Indian citizen to receive this award.
- Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990) are the two non-Indians to be honored with Bharat Ratna.
- In 2011, the Govt. of India made amendments in the criteria which allowed the sports person to be honored with Bharat Ratna.
|S.No.||Name||Awarded in||Who they were?|
|1||Shri Chakravarti Rajagopalachari||1954||Last Governor – General, Independence activist|
|2||Dr. Sarvapali Radhakrishnan||1954||India’s 1st Vice President (1952 – 1962) and India’s 2nd President (1962 – 1967)|
|3||Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman||1954||Physicist|
|4||Dr. Bhagwan Das||1955||Independence activist, Kashi Vidya Peeth Founder|
|5||Dr. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya||1955||Diwan of Mysore, Civil Engineer|
|6||Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru||1955||Author, Independence activist, 1st Prime Minister|
|7||Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant||1957||Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister|
|8||Dr. Dhondo Keshave Karve||1958||Educationist, social reformer|
|9||Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy||1961||Chief Minister of West Bengal, Physician|
|10||Shri Purushottam Das Tandon||1961||Educationist , Independence activist|
|11||Dr. Rajendra Prasad||1962||1st President of India , Jurist, Independence activist|
|12||Dr. Zakir Hussain||1963||3rd President of India ,Scholar, Independence activist,|
|13||Dr. Pandurang Vaman Kane||1963||Sanskrit scholar and Indologist|
|14||Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri (Posthumous)||1966||2nd Prime Minister of India, Independence activist|
|15||Smt. Indira Gandhi||1971||3rd Prime Minister of India|
|16||Shri Varahagiri Venkata Giri||1975||4th President of India, Trade unionist|
|17||Shri Kumaraswami Kamraj (Posthumous)||1976||Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Independence activist|
|18||Mother Teresa||1980||Founder of Missionaries of Charity and a Catholic nun|
|19||Shri Acharya Vinobha Bhave (Posthumous)||1983||Independence activist and a Social reformer|
|20||Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan||1987||1st non-citizen, Independence activist|
|21||Shri Marudu Gopalan Ramachandran (Posthumous)||1988||Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Film actor|
|22||Dr. Bhim Rao Ramji Ambedkar (Posthumous)||1990||Crusader against Untouchability, Chief architect of Indian Constitution, Social Reformer|
|23||Dr. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela||1990||2nd non – citizen and non – Indian recipient, Leader of Anti – Apartheid movement|
|24||Shri Rajiv Gandhi (Posthumous)||1991||6th Prime Minister of India|
|25||Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (Posthumous)||1991||Independence activist, 1st Home Minister|
|26||Shri Morarji Ranchhodji Desai||1991||4th Prime Minister and Independence activist|
|27||Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Posthumous)||1992||1st Minister of Education and an Independence activist|
|28||Shri Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhai Tata||1992||Philanthropist and an Industrialist|
|29||Shri Satyajit Ray||1992||Filmmaker|
|30||Shri Gulzarilal Nanda||1997||Interim Prime Minister, Independence activist|
|31||Smt. Aruna Asaf Ali (Posthumous)||1997||Independence activist|
|32||Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam||1997||Aeronautical Engineer and 11th President of India|
|33||Smt. Madurai Sanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi||1998||Carnatic classical singer|
|34||Shri Chidambaram Subramniam||1998||Minister of Agriculture and an Independence activist|
|35||Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan (Posthumous)||1999||Politician, Independence activist|
|36||Professor Amartya Sen||1999||Economist|
|37||Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi (Posthumous)||1999||Chief Minister of Assam, Independence activist|
|38||Pandit Ravi Shankar||1999||Sitar player|
|39||Sushri Lata Dinanath Mangeshkar||2001||Playback singer|
|40||Ustad Bismillah Khan||2001||Hindustani classical shehnai player|
|41||Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi||2009||Hindustani classical singer|
|42.||C N R Rao||2013||Scientist|
|44.||Pt.Madan Mohan Malviya||2014||Educationist and politician|
|45.||Atal Bihari Vajpayee||2014||Former Prime Minister|
- Sachin Tendulkar (40, when the award was announced) is the youngest to be honoured with Bharat Ratna Award.
- Dhondo Keshav Karve was awarded Bharat Ratna at the age of 100 making him the eldest person alive at the time of receiving the award.