List of Bharat Ratan Award Winners (1954 to 2019) Complete Recipients List

List of Bharat Ratan Award Winners 1954 to 2019

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What is Bharat Ratna Award?

The Bharat Ratna is one of the highest civilian awards of the Republic of India. the award was instituted in the year 1954, the award is conferred in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order.

Initially, the award was limited to the achievements in the arts, literature, and public services

The recommendation for the Bharat Ratna was made by the prime minister of India to the president, with a maximum number of three nominees.

Who is Eligible for Bharat Ratana Award?

Any person is eligible for Bharat Ratana award without the distinction of race, occupation, position, and sex.

Bharat Ratna is considered as one highest civilian award which is instituted in 1954.

Therefore, we are providing a list of all the Bharat Ratna Awardees till date, so that you can refer this for a quick revision soon!

  1. C. Rajagopalachari (1954)
  2. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954)
  3. C.V. Raman (1954)
  4. Bhagwan Das (1955)
  5. Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya (1955)
  6. Jawaharlal Nehru (1955)
  7. Govind Ballabh Pant (1957)
  8. Dhondo Keshav Karve (1958)
  9. Bidhan Chandra Roy (1961)
  10. Purushottam Das Tandon (1961)
  11. Rajendra Prasad (1962)
  12. Zakir Hussain (1963)
  13. Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963)
  14. Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966)
  15. Indira Gandhi (1971)
  16. V.V. Giri (1975)
  17. K Kamaraj (1976)
  18. Mother Teresa (1980)
  19. Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1983)
  20. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
  21. M.G. Ramachandran (1988)
  22. B.R. Ambedkar (1990)
  23. Nelson Mandela (1990)
  24. Rajiv Gandhi (1991)
  25. Vallabhbhai Patel (1991)
  26. Morarji Desai (1991)
  27. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1992)
  28. JRD Tata (1992)
  29. Satyajit Ray (1992)
  30. Gulzarilal Nanda (1997)
  31. Aruna Asaf Ali (1997)
  32. APJ Abdul Kalam (1997)
  33. M.S. Subbulakshmi (1998)
  34. Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998)
  35. Jayaprakash Narayan (1999)
  36. Amartya Sen (1999)
  37. Gopinath Bordoloi (1999)
  38. Pandit Ravi Shankar (1999)
  39. Lata Mangeshkar 2001)
  40. Ustad Bismillah Khan (2001)
  41. Bhimsen Joshi (2009)
  42. C.N.R Rao (2014)
  43. Sachin Tendulkar (2014)
  44. Atal Bihari Vajpayee (2015)
  45. Madan Mohan Malviya (2015)

Bharat Ratna Award: List of Recipients

Bharat Ratna winners list

Year Laureates Brief Description
1954 Bharat Ratan Awards C. Rajagopalachari An Indian independence activist, statesman, and lawyer, Rajagopalachari 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 Indian political party Swatantra Party.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan He served as India’s first Vice-President (1952–62) and second President (1962–67). Since 1962, his birthday on 5 September is observed as “Teachers’ Day” in India.
C. V. Raman Widely 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 field of atomic physics and electromagnetism and was presented Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930.
1955 Bharat Ratan Awards 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, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18), was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. His birthday, 15 September, is observed as “Engineer’s Day” in India.
Jawaharlal Nehru Independence activist and author, Nehru is the first and the longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).
1957 Bharat Ratan Awards Govind Ballabh Pant Independence activist Pant was premier of United Provinces (1937–39, 1946–50) and first Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (1950–54). He served as Union Home Minister from 1955–61.
1958 Bharat Ratan Awards Dhondo Keshav Karve Social reformer and educator, Karve is widely known for his works related to woman education and remarriage of Hindu widows. He established the Widow Marriage Association (1883), Hindu Widows Home (1896), and started Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University in 1916.
1961 Bharat Ratan Awards Bidhan Chandra Roy A physician, political leader, philanthropist, educationist, and social worker, Roy is often considered as “Maker of Modern West Bengal”. He was second Chief Minister of West Bengal (1948–62) and his birthday on 1 July is observed as National Doctors’ Day in India.
Purushottam Das Tandon Often titled as “Rajarshi”, Tandon was an 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.
1962 Bharat Ratan Awards Rajendra Prasad Independence 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).
1963 Bharat Ratan Awards Zakir Husain Independence activist and education philosopher, Husain served as a Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (1948–56) and the Governor of Bihar (1957–62). Later, he was elected as second Vice-President of India (1962–67) and went on to become the third President of India (1967–69).
Pandurang Vaman Kane Indologist 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 were published from 1930 to 1962.
1966 Bharat Ratan Awards Lal Bahadur Shastri Known for his slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the Soldier, Hail the Farmer”), Independence activist Shastri served as second Prime Minister of India (1964–66) and led the country during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
1971 Bharat Ratan Awards 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.
1975 Bharat Ratan Awards V. V. Giri While studying at the University College Dublin, Giri was involved in the Irish Sinn Fein movement. Returning to India, 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. 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).
1976 Bharat Ratan Awards 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.
1980 Bharat Ratan Awards 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 and was beatified on 19 October 2003 by Pope John Paul II and canonised on 4 September 2016 by Pope Francis.
1983 Bharat Ratan Awards Vinoba Bhave Independence 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.
1987 Bharat Ratan Awards Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan Widely known as “Frontier Gandhi”, independence activist and Pashtun leader Khan were a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined Khilafat Movement in 1920 and founded Khudai Khidmatgar (“Red Shirt movement”) in 1929.
1988 Bharat Ratan Awards M. G. Ramachandran Actor turned politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, and 1985–87.
1990 Bharat Ratan Awards 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. 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.
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.
1991 Bharat Ratan Awards 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 Desai 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.
1992 Bharat Ratan Awards Abul Kalam Azad Independence 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.
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.
1997 Bharat Ratan Awards Gulzarilal Nanda Independence activist Nanda was two times interim Prime Minister of India (1964, 1966) and 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 defense 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 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.
1998 Bharat Ratan Awards M. S. Subbulakshmi Carnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi often hailed as “Queen of songs”, is the 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.
1999 Bharat Ratan Awards 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.
2001 Bharat Ratan Awards Lata Mangeshkar Widely 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.
Bismillah Khan Hindustani classical shehnai player, Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades and is credited to have brought the instrument to the center stage of Indian music.
2009 Bharat Ratan Awards 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”.[
2014 Bharat Ratan Awards 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, 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.
2015 Bharat Ratan Awards Madan Mohan Malaviya Scholar 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 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.
2019 Bharat Ratan Awards 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 honored 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).


The above list of Bharat Ratna recipient will enhance the general knowledge of the reader.

Frequently Asked Question

Below I have compiled a few queries regarding the Bharat Ratna Award.

Q Who got first Bharat Ratna?

The first receiver of the prestigious Bharat Ratna is the politician C. Rajagopalachari, philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and scientist C. V. Raman, who was honored in 1954.

Q Is Bharat Ratna given every year?

Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honor given for exceptional service. it is not mandatory that Bharat Ratna will be awarded every year.

Q What are the Benefits & Facilities extended to a Bharat Ratna Awardee?

The Bharat Ratna awardee receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President of India and a medallion. The medallion is in the form of a Peepal leaf, about 5.8 cm long, 4.7 cm wide and 3.1 mm thick. It is made of toned bronze.

On its obverse is embossed a replica of the sun, 1.6 cm in diameter, below which the words Bharat Ratna are embossed in Devanagari script. On the reverse are State emblem and the motto, also in Devanagari. The emblem, the sun, and the rim are of platinum. The inscriptions are in burnished bronze.

Q Who is the latest Bharat Ratna winner?

Satyajit Ray received an Academy Honorary Award in 1992 followed by the Bharat Ratna the same year. In 1999, Amartya Sen was awarded the Bharat Ratna, a year after his 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

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