India has produced a legacy of learned persons and brave hearts since time immemorial. Probably, there would not be enough space to measure their sacrifices in words. However, we cannot close our eyes to those people who have made our country proud by excelling in their own fields and bringing us fame and international recognition.
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour, given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order.
While there was no formal provision that the recipients of the Bharat Ratna should be Indian citizens, but this seems to have been the general assumption. There has been one award to a naturalized Indian citizen—Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa (1980); and two to non-Indians —Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan better known as Badshah Khan or Frontier Gandhi (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990).
Originally, the specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal carrying the state emblem and motto, among other things. It is uncertain if a design in accordance with the original specifications was ever made. The actual award is designed in the shape of a peepul leaf and carries with the words 'Bharat Ratna', inscribed in Devanagari script. The reverse side of the medal carries the state emblem and motto. The award is attached to a two-inch wide ribbon, and was designed to be worn around the recipient's neck.
The Bharat Ratna is India's supreme decoration and honour, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as 'recognition of public service of the highest order'. Holders of the Bharat Ratna carry no special title, but they do have a place in the order of precedence.
The original specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal, 35 mm in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend 'Bharat Ratna' above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon. There is no indication that any specimens of this design were ever produced and one year later the design was altered.
The original statutes of January 1954 did not make allowance for posthumous awards, though this provision was added in the January 1955 statute. Subsequently, there have been many posthumous awards. 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 naturalized Indian citizen—Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa (1980); and two to non-Indians — Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990).
We take utmost precaution while collecting data of various dignitaries. If readers found any kind of discrepancy, please inform us. We will make it correct in the coming edition of the book.
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