Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award, awarded for the highest degree of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as “recognition of public service of the highest order.” Unlike knights, holder of the Bharat Ratna carry no special title nor any other honorifics, but they do have a place in the Indian order of precedence. The award was established by the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, on January 2, 1954. Along with other major national honours, such as the Padma Shri, the awarding of the Bharat Ratna was suspended from July 13, 1977 to January 26, 1980. The honour has been awarded to forty persons, a list which includes two non-Indians and a specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal carrying the state emblem and motto, among other things. It is uncertain if a design in according with the original specifications was ever made. The actual award is designed in the shape of a peepul leaf and carries the Hindi-writeen words “Bharat Ratna” on the front.
Author: Shaiesh Chandra