List of Bharat Ratna Award Winners 2021
Dear readers, If you are looking for the Bharat Ratna Award 2021 Winners List then you are on the right article. The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. The last Bharat Ratna award was given to Bhupen Hazarika, Pranab Mukherjee, and Nanaji Deshmukh in 2019. The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science, and public services, but the government expanded the criteria to include “any field of human endeavour” in December 2011.
The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President, with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. The first-ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Dr. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many dignitaries, each a whiz in varied aspects of their career, have received this coveted award.
Bharat Ratna Award 2021 Winners List
C. Rajagopalachari – 1954
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari is popularly known as Rajaji or C.R., also known as Mootharignar Rajaji. (Rajaji, the Scholar Emeritus), was an Indian statesman, writer, lawyer, and independence activist. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India, as India soon became a Republic in 1950.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan – 1954
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 – 1954
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.
Bhagwan Das – 1955
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 – 1955
Civil engineer, statesman, and Diwan of Mysore (1912–18) were Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire. His birthday, 15 September, is observed as “Engineer’s Day” in India.
Jawaharlal Nehru – 1955
Independence activist and author, Nehru is the first and the longest-serving Prime Minister of India (1947–64).
Govind Ballabh Pant – 1957
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.
Dhondo Keshav Karve – 1958
Social reformer and educator, Karve is widely known for his works related to women 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.
Bidhan Chandra Roy – 1961
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 – 1961
Often titled “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.
Rajendra Prasad – 1962
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).
Zakir Husain – 1963
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 – 1963
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 was published from 1930 to 1962.
Lal Bahadur Shastri – 1966
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.
Indira Gandhi – 1971
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 the Bangladesh Liberation War which led to the formation of a new country, Bangladesh.
V. V. Giri – 1975
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 the Indian freedom struggle. He was elected as the first President of the 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).
K. Kamaraj – 1976
Independence activist and statesman Kamaraj was a former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1954–57, 1957–62, and 1962–63.
Mother Teresa – 1980
“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.
Vinoba Bhave – 1983
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.
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan – 1987
Widely known as “Frontier Gandhi”, independence activist and Pashtun leader Khan was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He joined Khilafat Movement in 1920 and founded Khudai Khidmatgar (“Red Shirt movement”) in 1929.
M. G. Ramachandran – 1988
Actor turned politician Ramachandran served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for three terms; 1977–80, 1980–84, and 1985–87.
B. R. Ambedkar – 1990
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 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 – 1990
Leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, Mandela was the President of South Africa (1994–99). Often called 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.
Rajiv Gandhi – 1991
Rajiv Gandhi was the ninth Prime Minister of India serving from 1984 to 1989.
Vallabhbhai Patel – 1991
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 – 1991
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, the highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan.
Abul Kalam Azad – 1992
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 – 1992
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 – 1992
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.
Gulzarilal Nanda – 1997
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 – 1997
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 – 1997
Aerospace and defence scientist, Kalam was involved in the development of India’s first satellite launch vehicle SLV III and was the architect of the 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.
M. S. Subbulakshmi – 1998
Carnatic classical vocalist Subbulakshmi often hailed as “Queen of songs”, is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.
Chidambaram Subramaniam – 1998
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.
Jayaprakash Narayan – 1999
Independence activist, social reformer, and commonly referred to 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 – 1999
Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (1998), Sen has researched several topics including social choice theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies.
Gopinath Bordoloi – 1999
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 – 1999
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.
Lata Mangeshkar – 2001
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 – 2001
Hindustani classical shehnai player, Khan played the instrument for more than eight decades and is credited to have brought the instrument to the centre stage of Indian music.
Bhimsen Joshi – 2009
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”.
C. N. R. Rao – 2014
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 – 2014
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.
Madan Mohan Malaviya – 2015
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 the Indian National Congress for four terms and was the Chairman of the Hindustan Times from 1924 to 1946.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee – 2015
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.
Pranab Mukherjee – 2019
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. Before he was elected President, he was Union Finance Minister from 2009 to 2012.
Nanaji Deshmukh – 2019
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 honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1999. India’s first Saraswati Shishu Mandir was established by him at Gorakhpur in 1950.
Bhupen Hazarika – 2019
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), he 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).