• India
  • Apr 01

President Murmu confers Bharat Ratna on L.K. Advani

President Droupadi Murmu conferred Bharat Ratna on BJP stalwart and former deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani at his residence in New Delhi on March 31.

This year, the government announced five Bharat Ratna awards — one to Advani and four posthumously to former Prime Ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan and two-time former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur.

On March 30, kin of Narasimha Rao, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Swaminathan and Karpoori Thakur received the award from the President at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

L.K. Advani

Advani, a doyen of Indian politics, has served the nation for over seven decades. Born in Karachi (now in Pakistan) in 1927, Advani migrated to India in 1947 during Partition. The 96-year-old BJP stalwart has served as deputy Prime Minister from June 2002 to May 2004 and as Union Home Minister from October 1999 to May 2004. He was BJP president multiple times — from 1986 to 1990, 1993 to 1998, and 2004 to 2005. During his fight against Emergency (1975-77), Advani spent 19 months in Bangalore’s central jail. A high point in Advani’s political life came when he spearheaded the Ram Janmabhoomi movement in the late 1980s.

Karpoori Thakur

Karpoori Thakur, who passed away in 1988, was the first non-Congress socialist leader who became chief minister twice — first for seven months in December 1970 and later for two years in 1977. Thakur’s tenure as Chief Minister is best remembered for implementation of the recommendations of the Mungeri Lal Commission, whereby quotas for backward classes were introduced in the state. Thakur was  known affectionately as ‘Jan Nayak’ (people’s leader).

Chaudhary Charan Singh

Chaudhary Charan Singh was Prime Minister between July 28, 1979 and January 14, 1980. Born on December 23, 1902, at Noorpur in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, Singh shifted to Meerut in 1929 and later joined the Congress. After the Congress split, he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second time in February 1970 with the support of the Congress. However, the President’s Rule was imposed in the state on October 2, 1970. Considered the chief architect of land reforms in Uttar Pradesh, Singh had the reputation of being a hard taskmaster who would not tolerate inefficiency, nepotism and corruption in administration. He died in 1987.

P.V. Narasimha Rao

Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996. He is known for initiating far-reaching economic reforms and for his skilful political manoeuvring. He was the first PM from the south, the first Congress leader from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to complete a full five-year term and the man who steered India through the turbulent early 1990s. He is widely recognised for ushering in economic reforms. India’s Look East policy was enunciated by him in 1992. In 1992, his government passed the Constitution 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts, which mandated reservation of one-third of seats for women in Panchayati Raj institutions. He was born in Karimnagar district, now in Telangana, on June 28, 1921. He died on December 23, 2004, at the age of 83.

M.S. Swaminathan

M.S. Swaminathan was a globally renowned plant geneticist and pioneer of the Green Revolution in India. He was born on August 7, 1925 in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. A plant geneticist by training, Swaminathan has made a stellar contribution to the agricultural renaissance of India. His efforts involved introducing high-yielding genetic varieties of rice and wheat in India and the subcontinent, alongside American agronomist Norman Borlaug. Swaminathan was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987 for his work. Swaminathan’s research as a plant geneticist addressed the issue of food insecurity and helped small farmers augment their income by enhancing productivity. He dedicated his entire life to improving agriculture and the income of farmers.

Bharat Ratna

• Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the country. 

• It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. 

• It is treated on a different footing from Padma Awards. 

• The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President. 

• No formal recommendations for Bharat Ratna are necessary. 

• On conferment of the award, the recipient receives a certificate signed by the President and a medallion. The award does not carry any monetary grant.

• In terms of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution, the award cannot be used as a prefix or suffix to the recipient's name.

• Dr.S. Radhakrishnan, C. Rajagopalachari and C.V. Raman were the first recipients of Bharat Ratna when it was instituted in 1954.

• There is no written provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only. 

• Bharat Ratna was awarded to a naturalised Indian citizen Mother Teresa in 1980 and two non-Indians — Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1987 and Nelson Mandela in 1990.

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