Indian honours such people with the Bharat Ratnas, the highest civilian awards bestowed by the country for exceptional service towards advancement of art, literature and science, and in recognition of public service of the highest order.
The boo covers forty-one luminaries from various walks of life who are considered Bharat Ratnas or Gems of India and highlights the their illustrious deeds. What made them special and worthy of the country's highest honour and why are they considered Gems of the Nation? One will find the answers to these questions in the book.
Wg Cdr D P Sabharwal is a postgraduate in Aeronautical Engineering. He had a distinguished career spanning twenty-five years in the Indian Air Force. He took premature retirement to pursue a career of teaching and writing. He has published twelve books on aviation related subjects. This is his fourth book with Rupa & Co.
The order was established by Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of India, on 2 January 1954. The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards, which perhaps explains why the decoration was never awarded to Mahatma Gandhi. This provision was added in the January 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been eleven posthumous awards, including the award to Subhash Chandra Bose in 1992, which was later withdrawn due to a legal technicality following the controversy about whether he is dead or still alive, and is the only case of an award being withdrawn.
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 naturalised Indian citizen: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa and two non-Indians, namely Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela.
Beginning with 1954 when the awards given to three personalities, so far forty-one Bharat Ratnas have been awarded, the last ones being in 2001. The subsequent pages briefly highlight the achievements of these great personalities.
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