Bharat Ratna Awards: First Three Recipients, Bharat Ratna Winners 2022

By Balaji

Updated on: March 17th, 2023

The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. It literally translates to the ‘Jewel of India’. The Bharat Ratna award, established on January 2, 1954, is given in appreciation of “outstanding service/performance of the highest order,” regardless of a recipient’s race, profession, position, or sex. The award was initially only given for accomplishments in the humanities, sciences, and public service, but in December 2011, the government broadened the criteria to encompass “any sphere of human endeavor.”

Know more about the Bharat Ratna winners, the First Three Recipients, and the most famous Recipients, along with the latest winners list for 2022, and more.

Table of content

  • 1. First Three Recipients of Bharat Ratna (more)
  • 2. What is Bharat Ratna? (more)
  • 3. Bharat Ratna Award Winners: Highlights (more)
  • 4. Bharat Ratna Award List 2022 (more)
  • 5. List of Bharat Ratna Award Recipients (Year Wise) (more)
  • 6. Which President Got Bharat Ratna? (more)
  • 7. History of Bharat Ratna Award (more)
  • 8. Key Facts about Bharat Ratna Award (more)

First Three Recipients of Bharat Ratna

The First Three Recipients of the Bharat Ratna award were honored in 1954. C. Rajagopalachari, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and Sir C.V. Raman were the first three Bharat Ratna award recipients.

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari: Bharat Ratna Award Recipient

  • He was an Indian statesman, author, lawyer, and forerunner in the Indian struggle for independence.
  • Rajagopalachari served as India’s final governor general before it became a republic in 1950. Additionally, he was the first governor-general born in India; all previous occupants were British nationals.
  • The Swatantra Party was created by Rajagopalachari. He strongly supported disarmament and world peace and fiercely opposed the deployment of nuclear weapons.
  • Throughout his life, he also picked up the moniker “Mango of Salem.”

Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan: Bharat Ratna Award Recipient

  • He was a politician and philosopher from India who served as the country’s second president from 1962 to 1967, as well as its first vice president from 1952 to 1962.
  • Radhakrishnan, one of the most eminent scholars of comparative philosophy and religion of the 20th century, held the Spalding Chair of Eastern Religion and Ethics at the University of Oxford from 1936 to 1952 and the King George V Chair of Mental and Moral Science at the University of Calcutta from 1921 to 1932.
  • Advaita Vedanta served as the foundation for Radhakrishnan’s philosophy, which reinterpreted this tradition for a modern audience.

Sir C.V. Raman: Bharat Ratna Award Recipient

  • He was an Indian physicist who specialized in light scattering. He and his student K. S. Krishnan found using a spectrograph; they created that light deflected through a transparent material change in wavelength and frequency.
  • Later, the Raman effect or Raman scattering referred to this phenomenon, a previously unidentified kind of light scattering that they named “modified scattering.”
  • Raman was the first Asian to win a Nobel Prize in any field of science when he was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery.

What is Bharat Ratna?

The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian honor. The accolade, which was founded on January 2, 1954, is bestowed in recognition of “excellent service/performance of the highest level,” regardless of the recipient’s race, occupation, status, or sex. The government changed the requirements for the award in December 2011 to include “any sector of human endeavor,” when it had previously only been presented for achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public service.

Bharat Ratna Winners List 2022 PDF

Only three Bharat Ratna awardees may be honored each year, as recommended by the Prime Minister to the President. The recipients receive a Sanad (certificate) bearing the President’s signature and a medallion in the form of a peepal leaf.

Bharat Ratna Award Winners: Highlights

There have been 48 people who have received the Bharat Ratna award since 1954, including 14 posthumous recipients. The table listed some important facts, like the first Bharat Ratna winners, foreign recipients, etc., below.

Important Facts about Bharat Ratna Winners
Name of Bharat Ratna Award Recipient Year Details about Bharat Ratna Winners

C. Rajagopalachari

C. V. Raman

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan



First Recipient of Bharat Ratna

Governor-General of the Dominion of India and a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Physicist and Nobel Prize winner

Second President and First Vice President of India

Mother Teresa 1980 Anglo-Indian Nun
Abdul Ghaffar Khan 1987 Pakistani Educationist (Foreign Recipient)
Nelson Mandela 1990 South African President (Foreign Recipient)
Lata Mangeshkar 2001 Indian Playback Singer
Sachin Tendulkar 2014 Youngest Recipient and the only sportsperson on the list

Bharat Ratna Award List 2022

Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award that the Government of India gives. It has been given to three people every year since its inception in 1954. There have been a few instances where the awards were canceled. The year 2022 was such an instance as well.

No Bharat Ratna awards were given in 2022, but 128 Padma awards were given.

List of Bharat Ratna Award Recipients (Year Wise)

Below is a tabulated and comprehensive list of Bharat Ratna Awardees, along with their achievements explained briefly;

Bharat Ratna Awardees Brief Description Year
C. Rajagopalachari Indian politician, lawyer, independence activist, writer, statesman, and historian, Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India and the only person of Indian descent to hold this post. 1954
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Indian statesman and philosopher.

1st Vice President of India

C. V. Raman Indian physicist who made out a path-breaking contribution to the field of light scattering.

Nobel Laureate(Physics)

Bhagwan Das A member of the Central Legislative Assembly of British India and an Indian Theosophist 1955
M. Visvesvaraya Civil Engineer and Statesman 1955
Jawaharlal Nehru A prominent figure in the Indian struggle for independence,

1st Prime Minister of India

Govind Ballabh Pant Indian freedom fighter

An architect of modern India

Dhondo Keshav Karve A prominent social reformer in India in the field of women’s empowerment and welfare 1958
Bidhan Chandra Roy An outstanding Indian physician, philanthropist, educationist, freedom fighter, and politician

Also served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal in 1948

Purushottam Das Tandon An important freedom fighter from Uttar Pradesh, India.

He has put great effort into making Hindi one of the Official languages of India.

Rajendra Prasad 1st President of India, an Eminent figure in the Indian Independence Struggle 1962
Zakir Husain 3rd President of India 1963
Pandurang Vaman Kane Indologist and Sanskrit scholar 1963
Lal Bahadur Shastri 2nd Prime Minister of India 1966
Indira Gandhi The only female Prime Minister of India, the Iron Lady of India 1971
V. V. Giri 4th President of India 1975
K. Kamaraj A leader from the Indian National Congress 1976
Mother Teresa An Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic missionary and nun 1980
Vinoba Bhave An Indian advocate of human rights and nonviolence 1983
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan A Pashtun independence activist 1987
M. G. Ramachandran An Indian filmmaker, actor, and politician who was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. 1988
B. R. Ambedkar An Indian jurist, politician, economist, and social reformer who was a part of the Dalit Buddhist movement

Father of the Indian Constitution

Nelson Mandela A South African political leader, revolutionary, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa

Was inspired by Gandhi’s teachings of Ahimsa

Rajiv Gandhi An Indian politician who was the 6th Prime Minister of India 1991
Vallabhbhai Patel The First Deputy Prime Minister of India

The iron man of India

Morarji Desai An eminent Indian independence activist

4th Prime Minister of India

Abul Kalam Azad An Indian scholar, freedom fighter, and an experienced leader of the Indian National Congress 1992
J. R. D. Tata Chairman of Tata Group

Steelman of India

Satyajit Ray Indian filmmaker, music composer, screenwriter, graphic artist, author, and lyricist 1992
Aruna Asaf Ali An Indian independence activist

First Mayor of Delhi

Gulzarilal Nanda Indian politician and economist who specialized in labor issues 1997
Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam Missile Man of India

Gifted Scientist and visionary

M. S. Subbulakshmi Carnatic singer from Madurai, Tamil Nadu 1998
Chidambaram Subramaniam An Indian Independence activist and politician 1998
Jayaprakash Narayan Indian independence activist, socialist, theorist, and political leader 1999
Amartya Sen Indian philosopher and economist 1999
Gopinath Bordoloi 1st Chief Minister of Assam 1999
Ravi Shankar An Indian musician and composer of Hindustani classical music 1999
Lata Mangeshkar Indian music director and playback singer 2001
Bismillah Khan Indian musician is known for popularizing the Shehnai 2001
Bhimsen Joshi Indian vocalist from Karnataka 2009
C. N. R. Rao Presently, the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India 2014
Sachin Tendulkar Former captain of the Indian Cricket team and one of the greatest batsmen in the world of Cricket. 2014
Madan Mohan Malaviya An Indian politician and educationist 2015
Atal Bihari Vajpayee Indian politician, poet, and statesman.

He served three terms as the PM of India

Pranab Mukherjee 13th President of India 2019
Nanaji Deshmukh Social Activist 2019
Bhupen Hazarika An Indian playback singer, musician, lyricist, singer, poet, and film-maker from Assam 2019

Which President Got Bharat Ratna?

There have been 48 awardees of the esteemed Bharat Ratna Awards. There have 6 Indian presidents who have got Bharat Ratna.

The list of Presidents of India who got the Bharat Ratna is given below:

President of India Year of Award
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 1954
Rajendra Prasad 1962
Zakir Hussain 1963
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam 1997
Dr V V Giri 1975
Pranab Mukherjee 2019

Indian President Bharat Ratna Facts

  • Which Indian Presidents Have Presented the Bharat Ratna to Each Other? – Madan Mohan Malaviya & Atal Bihari Vajpayee is one such pair of Indian presidents who have presented the Bharat Ratna to each other.
  • The Second Indian President to Get Bharat Ratna – Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India to receive the Bharat Ratna after Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

History of Bharat Ratna Award

The formation of the three-tiered Padma Vibhushan, divided into classes or warg that rank just below Bharat Ratna, was announced in a press release from the President’s office on January 2, 1954. The Padma Vibhushan was split into three awards on January 15, 1955; the highest of the three is the Padma Vibhushan. It is then followed by the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.

  • The Bharat Ratna does not require that awardees be Indian nationals. Mother Teresa, a naturalized Indian citizen, received it in 1980. It has also been given to non-Indians: Pakistan’s Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1987 and South African President Nelson Mandela in 1990.
  • The first musician to get the honor was M. S. Subbulakshmi of Tamil Nadu. At age 40, Sachin Tendulkar became the honor’s youngest recipient and first sportsperson. On April 18, 1958, Dhondo Keshav Karve celebrated his 100th birthday by receiving this honor.
  • Twice throughout its existence, the award’s suspension was only temporary. After Morarji Desai took office as the country’s 4th prime minister in 1977, the first suspension occurred. On January 25, 1980, when Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister, the suspension was lifted.
  • After two Public-Interest Litigations contesting the “constitutional legitimacy” of the awards were filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Kerala High Court in the middle of 1992, the civilian awards were once more put on hold. After the litigation, the Supreme Court restored the awards in December 1995.

Key Facts about Bharat Ratna Award

These are some key facts about the coveted Bharat Ratna Award;

  • The original statute announced in January 1954 did not include the idea of giving this honor to a deceased recipient.
  • Finally, a provision for posthumous awards was incorporated into the illustrious award’s legislation in January 1966.
  • In 1954, the first Bharat Ratna was given to Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and Sir C.V. Raman.
  • The first sportsperson and youngest recipient of the Bharat Ratna Award are Sachin Tendulkar.
  • Bronze is used to cast the medallion. It is shaped like a pipal tree leaf with a sunburst in the middle, and Bharat Ratna is inscribed below it.
  • The Indian flag is engraved on the reverse, and Satyameva Jayate is written there in Devanagari script. A white ribbon is used for sashing the medallion around the neck.
  • The prize carries no financial endowment.
  • The award was formerly limited to literature, arts, science, and public service achievements. However, in 2011, the Indian government broadened the criteria to include “any sphere of human endeavor.”
  • There is no specific rule stating that only citizens of India may receive the Bharat Ratna.
  • The Indian government recently changed the requirements for athletes to be eligible for the Bharat Ratna.
  • The Prime Minister recommends candidates for Bharat Ratna to the President.
  • A single year may only have a maximum of three awards given out overall.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose received the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. Subhash Chandra Bose’s family refuses to accept the honor because there isn’t any conclusive proof of his passing.
UPSC Notes
Cabinet and Council of Ministers White Revolution in India
1857 Revolt Leaders Lucknow Pact 1916
Constitution of India Dadasaheb Phalke Awards
Types of Crops in India Tughlaq Dynasty
Our Apps Playstore
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium