Five Bharat Ratna awards announced in a single year by the government since Independence

TNN Bureau. Updated: 2/9/2024 6:48:54 PM National

New Delhi, Feb 09: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the groundbreaking announcement on Friday, revealing that two former Prime Ministers – Chaudhary Charan Singh and PV Narasimha Rao – along with the father of India’s ‘green revolution, Dr MS Swaminathan – will be among the recipients of the esteemed “Bharat Ratna 2024 awards. It is perhaps for the first time in the history of Independent India that five Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian awards, have been given to five people of distinction in a year.

Last week, Lal Krishan Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister and mentor of Prime Minister Modi, along with former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur, were honoured with Bharat Ratna awards.

This historic decision surpasses the previous record set in 1999 when four dignitaries were honoured with the Bharat Ratna. Among the recipients during that year were Jayaprakash Narayan (Posthumous), Professor Amartya Sen, Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi (Posthumous), and Pandit Ravi Shankar.

Established on January 2, 1954, the Bharat Ratna stands as India’s most prestigious civilian honour, recognizing individuals for their exceptional contributions and performances of the highest calibre, regardless of race, occupation, position, or gender. Initially, the award was limited to achievements in the fields of arts, literature, science, and public service. However, in December 2011, the Government of India expanded the eligibility criteria to encompass excellence in “any field of human endeavour.”

This year’s recipients represent a diverse spectrum of contributions, reflecting the rich tapestry of India’s cultural, political, and agricultural landscape.

On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media platform X to announce that former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao will be posthumously honoured with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award.

In his post, the Prime Minister expressed delight at the recognition bestowed upon Narasimha Rao, highlighting his extensive service to India in various capacities as a distinguished scholar and statesman. PM Modi acknowledged Narasimha Rao’s significant contributions as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister, and Member of Parliament and Legislative Assembly, spanning many years.

The Prime Minister praised Narasimha Rao’s visionary leadership, attributing to him the credit for India’s economic advancement and the establishment of a solid foundation for the country’s prosperity and growth. PM Modi particularly emphasized Narasimha Rao’s tenure as Prime Minister, which was characterized by transformative measures that opened India to global markets, ushering in a new era of economic development.

Furthermore, Modi underscored Narasimha Rao’s contributions to India’s foreign policy, as well as his efforts in the fields of language and education, highlighting the multifaceted legacy of a leader who guided India through critical transformations while enriching its cultural and intellectual heritage.

Prime Minister Modi also declared that former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh will be posthumously honoured with the prestigious Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

In his announcement, Prime Minister Modi lauded the late Choudhary Charan Singh, emphasizing his lifelong dedication to championing the rights of farmers and their welfare.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister stated, “It is a moment of pride for our government as the esteemed former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh ji is bestowed with the Bharat Ratna. This recognition is a tribute to his unparalleled contributions to the nation. Throughout his life, he relentlessly advocated for farmers’ rights and welfare. Whether serving as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Home Minister of the country, or as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, he consistently prioritized nation-building. He also exhibited unwavering courage in opposing the Emergency. His unwavering dedication and steadfast commitment to democracy, especially during challenging times like the Emergency, serve as an inspiration to the entire nation.”

Further, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media platform X today to announce that Dr MS Swaminathan, renowned for his pivotal role in the Green Revolution, will be honoured with the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.

In his post, the Prime Minister expressed joy at the Government of India’s decision to confer the Bharat Ratna on Dr MS Swaminathan Ji, recognizing his monumental contributions to Indian agriculture and farmers’ welfare. Modi highlighted Dr Swaminathan’s crucial role in achieving self-reliance in agriculture during challenging times and his exceptional efforts in modernizing Indian agriculture.

The Prime Minister also lauded Dr Swaminathan’s invaluable work as an innovator and mentor, emphasizing his role in fostering learning and research among numerous students. Modi underscored Dr Swaminathan’s visionary leadership, which not only transformed Indian agriculture but also ensured the nation’s food security and prosperity.

Reflecting on their close association, the Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for Dr Swaminathan’s insights and inputs, affirming the profound impact of his contributions on the nation’s agricultural landscape.

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