What is the highest civilian award given in India?

Submitted by aurora on Thu, 02/21/2008 - 22:50

Front Face of Bharat Ratna Award Bharat Ratna.

The Bharat Ratna "Jewel of India" is India's supreme decoration and honor, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievement, as well as "recognition of public service of the highest order.Throughout the history of the decoration, it has been very carefully stressed that the award of the Bharat Ratna carries with it no title, no knighthood," and no particular status. It was established by the President of India, 2 January 1954. The regulations were revised 8 January 1955 (to alter the design) and amended 26 January 1957 (to alter the depiction of the devices on the obverse and reverse). From 13 July 1977 to 26 January 1980, awards of the Bharat Ratna were suspended.

Back Face of Bharat Ratna Award

Images showing the medal: front and rear side and the certificate that is all a part of the award.

Description: A toned bronze pipal leaf design, 2-5/16 inches x 1-7/8 inches, downwards.In the center,aplatinum sunburst with the name of the decoration in silver-gilt in Sanskrit /Hindi " Bharat Ratna" "Jewel of India" below. In 1957, the sun and motto were changed to burnished bronze. It is to be worn around the neck from an oval suspender


Other facts related to the awards:

The honour has been awarded to forty persons, a list which includes two non-Indians and a naturalized Indian citizen.

The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards though this provision was added in the January 1955 statute.

While there was no formal provision that recipients of the Bharat Ratna should be Indian citizens ,this seems to have been the general assumption. There has been one award to a naturalized Indian citizen — Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa(1980); and two to non-Indians — Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan(1987) and Nelson Mandela(1990)

Indian freedom fighterNetaji Subhas Chandra Bose was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1992. The award was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality. This is the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.