Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that former prime ministers PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan will be conferred Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Usually, three Bharat Ratna awards are given in a year. However, this year, the government has named five people for Bharat Ratna, including veteran BJP leader LK Advani and former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur.
PV Narasimha Rao
PV Narasimha Rao served as the prime minister from June 21, 1991 to May 16, 1996.
He was born in 1921 in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar and studied at Osmania University in Hyderabad, Bombay University, and Nagpur University.
An agriculturist and an advocate, he also served as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
He was also the Minister for External Affairs from January 14, 1980, to July 18, 1984, the Minister of Home Affairs from July 1984 to December 1984, and the Minister of Defence from December 1984 to September 1985.
Born in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut in 1902, Charan Singh served as the prime minister from July 28, 1979 to January 14, 1980.
He was first elected to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1937 from Chhaprauli. He represented the constituency in 1946, 1952, 1962 and 1967.
He also served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh twice, first in 1967 and then in 1970.
Born in 1925, MS Swaminathan is popularly known as the father of the Green Revolution in India.
He obtained a BSc degree in Zoology from the Maharajas College in Thiruvananthapuram, and also in Agricultural Sciences from the Coimbatore Agricultural College.
He also got his MSc degree in Agricultural Sciences (specializing in genetics and plant breeding) from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and PhD degree from Cambridge University, UK.
BJP leader LK Advani had been the BJP national president from 1986-90, 1993-98, and 2004-05.
Capping a parliamentary career of nearly three decades, Mr Advani was first the Home Minister and later, the Deputy Prime Minister in the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet from 1999 to 2004.
Born in Bihar’s Samastipur District in 1924, Karpoori Thakur served as the chief minister of the state twice, first from December 1970 to June 1971 and then from December 1977 to April 1979.
He had been a mentor to many current generation leaders of the state, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Bharat Ratna was instituted in 1954 and any person without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex is eligible for these awards.
It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
The recommendations for the award are made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. On conferment of Bharat Ratna, the recipient receives a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a medallion.