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Who is Karpoori Thakur Who Got the Bharat Ratna 2024?

The highest civilian award in the nation is Bharat Ratna, which was instituted in the year 1954. Any person of any occupation, age, sex, or position is eligible for this award.

This award is also given posthumously, and till now, 17 people have been awarded posthumously, including the recent one which will be awarded to “Karpoori Thakur.”

The nation’s highest civilian award has been awarded to Karpoori Thakur. He was a socialist leader and former chief minister of Bihar, popularly known as “Jan Nayak” (leader of the people).

Today, we will let you know about Bharat Ratna’s history, list of the award winners, and much more useful information.

History Of Bharat Ratna:

Bharat Ratna

The highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, was established on 2nd January 1954 by Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President. This award is only given to those people who have made noteworthy contributions in their respective fields. Each year, the Prime Minister nominates three people for this award. 

A certificate, known as Sanad, is provided to the winner of this honor that the President has signed. In the beginning, this award was only limited to public services, literature, arts, and science. However, in 2011, the Government changed it to any field belonging to human endeavor.

The Bharat Ratna medal is in the form of a peepal leaf, which is 3.1 mm thick, 5.8 cm long, and 4.7 cm wide. It is a bronze medal, and in the center, an image of the sun is portrayed, which is 1.6 cm in diameter.

The text “Bharat Ratna” is written in Devanagari Script on the upper edge in a silver-gilt pattern. A platinum State Emblem of India is placed in the middle, and on the other side, the national motto, “Satyameva Jayate,” is written in Devanagari Script.

According to Article 18(1) of the Constitution, this award can’t be used as a suffix or prefix to the recipient’s name. However, an award winner should consider it essential she/he may use the following term in their letterhead, visiting card, biodata, etc: “Recipient of Bharat Ratna Award” or “Awarded Bharat Ratna By The President.”

Bharat Ratna Award Eligibility:

  • A person of any sex, gender, or cast can be awarded the Bharat Ratna.
  • Although citizens of India are preferred, people of any nationality are also eligible for this award.
  • The PM must nominate an individual. However, only three nominees are awarded this prestigious award in a single year.

List Of Bharat Ratna Award Winners (1954-2024):

49 persons have received the award, and 17 awards have been awarded posthumously till now. A list of all the Bharat Ratna winners who were facilitated by the nation is mentioned below, with their significant contributions to society.


The first Bharat Ratna Awardee was awarded to the following people:

  • C. Rajagopalachari: An activist, lawyer, and statesman who was the only and last Governor-General of Independent India.
  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: He was the first President of India and the country’s second President.
  • C.V. Raman: He became the first Asian scientist who receive a Nobel Prize in any branch of science. Also, he is famous for his inventories in physics, like “Raman Scattering.”


  • Bhagwan Das: He was the co-founder of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, and he has also contributed to Banaras Hindu University.
  • M. Visvesvaraya: He was born on 15th September, and that day is celebrated as Engineer’s Day in the country.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru: He was the first and longest-tenured Prime Minister of India, and at the time of receiving this award, he was the PM.


  • Gobind Ballabh Pant: He was elected to be the First Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He was a strong supporter of making Hindi a national language.


  • Dhondo Keshav Karve: He was the oldest Bharat Ratna Awardee and a great social reformer.


  • Bidhan Chandra Roy: He is recognized as the Maker of Modern West Bengal. He was born on 1st July, also celebrated as the National Doctor’s Day in the country.
  • Purushottam Das Tandon: He was titled Rajarshi and became the Legislative Assembly speaker in Uttar Pradesh.


  • Rajendra Prasad: He was India’s first president and had active involvement with Mahatma Gandhi in the non-cooperation movement.


  • Zakir Hussain: He was elected to be India’s third President and second Vice President. Also, he became Aligarh Muslim University’s Vice-Chancellor.
  • Pandurang Vaman Kane: He was a great Sanskrit Scholar and Indologist. He is also known for his works like “History of Dharmasastra.”


  • Lal Bahadur Shashtri: He became the first posthumous person for the Bharat Ratna Award. “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” slogan is popular because of him.

– 1971

  • Indira Gandhi: The first female recipient to receive this award and was also the Prime Minister during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.


  • V.V. Giri: He served as the first acting India President and became the fourth President of India. Also, he organized many trade unions for the struggle for freedom.


  • K. Kamaraj: He was recognized as the King Maker in the history of Indian Politics.


  • Mother Teresa: She is the first and only naturalized Indian citizen who received the Bharat Ratna Award.


  • Vinoba Bhave: He was a great follower of Gnadhism and is popular for his Bhoodan Movement in the country.


  • Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: He was the first non-citizen recipient of this award.  Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan became the first non-citizen recipient of the Bharat Ratna Award.


  • M.G. Ramachandran: He was the first actor to receive the Bharat Ratna Award and became the chief minister of any state.


  • B.R. Ambedkar: He was a social reformer and leader of the untouchables (Dalits). He was the chief architect of India’s Constitution and served as India’s first Law Minister.
  • Nelson Mandela: He was the leader of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. He is also known as the Gandhi of South Africa, and his African National Congress movement was also influenced by Gandhian philosophy. Additionally, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


  • Rajiv Gandhi: He was elected to be the sixth Prime Minister of India and in 1984, became the youngest PM of India at the age of 40 years.
  • Vallabhbhai Patel: He is recognized as the Iron Man Of India and served as the first Deputy Prime Minister. He also played a significant role in Bardoli Satyagraha.
  • Morarji Desai: He is the sole national of India to receive the highest civilian award of Pakistan, the Nishan-e-Pakistan.


  • Abdul Kalam Azad: Abul Kalam Azad was India’s first Education Minister and is popularly known as Maulana Azad. His birth anniversary is celebrated as National Educational Day in the nation.
  • J.R.D. Tata: He was India’s aviation pioneer and Industrialist. He started the country’s first-ever airline, which was named Air India. He also established many institutes like Tata Motors, TCS, and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
  • Satyajit Ray: He is credited with bringing Indian Cinema to the recognition of the world. In 1955, he directed his first film, “Pather Panchali.” He also received the country’s highest cinema award, which is the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.


  • Gulzarilal Nanda: He served twice as the interim Prime Minister of India and the deputy chairman of the erstwhile Planning Commission.
  • Aruna Asaf Ali: In the post-independence period, she became the first mayor of Delhi. In 1942, she was also involved actively in the Quit India Movement.
  • A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: He is popularly known as the Missile Man of India, and his contribution to launching ballistic missiles, developing vehicle technology, etc, is noteworthy.


  • M.S. Subbulakshmi: She was a classical vocalist in Carnatic Music and is popularly known as the Queen of Songs.
  • Chidambaram Subramaniam: Chidambaram is known for contributing to India’s Green Revolution.


  • Jayaprakash Narayan: He is famous as the People’s Leader (Loknayak). He also launched the JP Movement/Total Revolution Movement against the Congress Government.
  • Amartya Sen: He is a Nobel Laureate in Economic Science and has contributed to welfare economics, social choice theory, social justice in economics, etc.
  • Gopinath Bordoloi: He was elected to be Assam’s first Chief Minister. Also, he is recognized as the Lokapriya In Assam because of his dedication to development.
  • Ravi Shankar: He is well-known as the World’s Best Exponent of Hindustani Classical Music and also received the Grammy Awards.


  • Lata Mangeshkar: She is popularly known as the Queen of Melody, Nightingale of India, Voice of Millenium, etc.
  • Bismillah Khan: He is celebrated as the Classical Shehnai Player and became the third classical musician to receive the Bharat Ratna Award.


  • Bhimsen Joshi: He was a great exponent of Hindustani classical music, and was a disciple of recognized Kiarana gharana.


  • C.N.R. Rao: He is an eminent chemist who contributed a lot to structural and solid-state chemistry.
  • Sachin Tendulkar: Being the youngest Bharat Ratan Awardee, has debuted in the International cricket match at the age of only 16 years.


  • Madan Mohan Malaviya: He was the founder of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and Banaras Hindu University.
  • Atal Bihari Bajpayee: He was elected to be the Prime Minister of India three times. In 1994, he got the best parliamentarian award.


  • Pranab Mukherjee: He was elected to be the 13th President of India and 14th and 15th Lok Sabha Leader.
  • Nanaji Deshmukh: Also known as “Chandikadas Amritrao Deshmukh,” contributed to rural self-reliance, health, and education.
  • Bhupen Hazarika: He was a popular poet, musician, filmmaker, lyricist, and playback singer.


  • Karpoori Thakur: He was the former Chief Minister of Bihar and a renowned socialist leader.
  • LK Advani: PM Narendra Modi announced on February 3, 2024 that Bharat Ratna will be conferred to veteran BJP leader.

Karpoori Thakur: Posthumously Bharat Ratna

Bharat Ratna | Karpoori Thakur

The former chief minister of Bihar and a socialist leader, Karpoori Thakur, popularly known as “Jan Nayak” (leader of the people). He served as Bihar’s chief minister twice, from 1970 December to 1971 June and from 1977 December to 1979 April.

One of Karpoori Thakur’s notable contributions was the introduction of the “Karpoori Thakur Formula” for reservation. This aimed to provide equitable representation for the backward class in government services.

In November 1978, he executed a 26% reservation for the backward class in Bihar. This movement set the stage for the Mandal Commission recommendations in the 1990s. This policy licensed the backward class and sparked the growth of regional parties that changed the face of Hindi Heartland politics.

As an education minister, he abolished the English subject as compulsory at the matriculation level. He said that it is creating a barrier for many students in competitive exams. Additionally, he founded many schools and colleges, particularly in backward regions. He also made education up to the 8th class for free, mainly lessening dropout rates.

Karpoori Thakur’s legacy keeps extending beyond educational improvements. Thakur initiated significant land reforms, which led to the redistribution of land from Zamindars to the Dalits. By his reforms, he earned the title “Jan Nayak.”

Bottom Line:

The highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, will be awarded to former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur posthumously. He is known as “Jan Nayak” (people’s hero) and was a socialist leader. Till now, 49 persons have received the award, and 17 awards have been given posthumously.

You can also Read Atal Setu: A Step Toward “Viksit Bharat”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. Who all got Bharat Ratna award in India?

Ans.. The highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna has been received by 49 individuals with 17 posthumously.

Q. How many Indian presidents got Bharat Ratna?

Ans.. Till now, 6 Presidents have got Bharat Ratna, including Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Zakir Husaan, Rajendra Prasad, Dr. V.V. Giri, APJ Abdul Kalam, and Pranab Mukherjee.

Q. Who is the youngest Bharat Ratna?

Ans.. Sachin Tendulkar received the youngest Bharat Ratna in 2014 and was the first athlete to do so.

Q. Who is the first non Indian to receive the Bharat Ratna?

Ans.. Bharat Ratna has been awarded to two non-Indians, including Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela. The first non-Indian was Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan.

Last Update :- 26-01-2024

David Gillmore

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