Awards, prizes and honors play an important role in encouraging the individuals in society to do better in every walk of life. All the governments and other institutions around the world have established awards to honor people who have produced remarkable and quality service to the society by their work. Some of the these awards are so famous that everybody dreams of getting them. Nobel Prize, Oscars, Man Booker etc. are known around the world. Today, we are publishing information on the top 10 national awards in India.
ALSO SEE: World’s Top Awards and Highest Honors
1. Bharat Ratna
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. It was instituted in the year 1954 and the first recipients of the Bharat Ratna were politician C. Rajagopalachari, philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and scientist C. V. Raman.
The Bharat Ratna is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. Bharat Ratna can be awarded posthumously. Youngest Bharat Ratna recipient is cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who received the award at the age of 40 in the year 2014. The oldest recipient is social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve who received the award at the age of 100 years.
Following non-India-born people have been conferred with Bharat Ratna:
- Mother Teresa (Albania-born, naturalized Indian citizen) was awarded in 1980
- Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (Pakistani citizen) was awarded in 1987
- Nelson Mandela (South African citizen) was awarded in 1990
- CV Raman (Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930; Bharat Ratna in 1954)
- Mother Teresa (Nobel Peace Prize in 1979; Bharat Ratna in 1980)
- Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998; Bharat Ratna in 1999)
Award composition: a medal is in the shape of a peepal leaf, a certificate signed by the President of India. There is no cash component in the award. The holders of the Bharat Ratna rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.
The Bharat Ratna medals are produced at Alipore Mint, Kolkata, West Bengal.
2. Param Vir Charka
Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is the highest gallantry award in India conferred for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime. It was established on 26 January 1950 and the first recipient was Major Somnath Sharma.
So far 21 soldiers and officers of our armed forces have been honored with Param Vir Chakra — of these 20 have been from Indian Army and only one from the Indian Air Force.
Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon is the only Air Force officer to have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously in 1971.
Indian Navy has never been awarded with a PVC.
As per a convention in the Indian Army when a PVC awardee appears in ceremonial uniform – everybody would salute him, including the Army Chief, in the Army irrespective of rank. There is, however, no legal provision exists for this.
Award composition: A circular bronze medal on a purple ribbon. The words “Param Vir Chakra” are written in Hindi and English. A cash allowance is given to awardees under the rank of lieutenant and in some cases a cash award.
3. Ashok Chakra
Ashok Chakra is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra. It is the highest peacetime bravery award for showing most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice other than in the face of the enemy.
Ashok Chakra was established by the Government of India in 1952. The first recipient was Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas (1952).
This award is not exclusively for the military. Ashok Chakra may also be awarded to civilians.
Award composition: A circular gold gilt medal on a 32 mm, dark green ribbon with a 2 mm central saffron stripe.
4. Dadasaheb Phalke Award
Dadasaheb Phalke award is the highest award in India for cinema. The award commemorates the father of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke.
Dadasaheb Phalke awards are given every year at the National Film Awards ceremony.
The first person to be honored with Dadasaheb Phalke award was actress Devika Rani in 1969.
Actors Prithviraj Kapoor (1971) and Vinod Khanna (2017) were awarded posthumously.
Award composition: This award includes Swarna Kamal medal and a shawl. The award also has a cash component of Rs. 1,00,000.
5. Jnanpith Award
Jnanpith Award is a major literary honor in India. It was instituted by Bhartiya Jnanpith in 1961. This honor is given only to Indian nationals for their outstanding contribution towards literature in any of the Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.
The first recipient of Jnanpith Award was G. Sankara Kurup, who won it for his anthology, Odakkuzhal, in Malayalam language.
Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi was the first woman to win Jnanpith Award. Devi won the award for her novel Pratham Pratishruti.
So far, the Jnanpith Award has been given in 16 languages out of 23 eligible languages. With eleven wins, the Hindi language authors have won the most number of award.
Many people consider the Jnanpith Award to be the highest literary award in India. This award is not a government award.
Award composition: A bronze replica of Saraswati and a cash prize of Rs. 50,00,000 (five million)
6. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is the highest award in the field of sports in India. It was instituted in 1991-92 by the Government of India. The award is given to Indian sports persons for their spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports awards it annually.
The first recipient of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna was India’s Chess Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand in the year 1991-92.
The youngest recipient of this award is shooter and Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra who won it at the age of 18 in 2001.
Pankaj Advani is the only sportsperson to have won the award for two sports, namely Billiards and Snooker.
Award composition: a medallion, a certificate, and a cash prize of Rs. 7,50,000.
7. Dronacharya Award
Dronacharya Award is India’s highest sports coaching honor. The award is named after Drona, a character from the epic Mahabharata.
This award is given every year by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. It was established in 1985 and the first recipient were Bhalchandra Bhaskar Bhagwat (in Wrestling), Om Prakash Bhardwaj (in Boxing), and O. M. Nambiar (in Athletics).
Award composition: a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a certificate, ceremonial dress, and a cash prize of Rs. 5,00,000.
8. Sahitya Akademi Award
Instituted in 1954 by the Government of India, these awards are given to the writers of the most outstanding books of literary merit. Sahitya Akademi gives these awards in 24 languages.
Award composition:a plaque and a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000. Renowned film-maker Satyajit Ray designed this plaque.
9. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) gives this award every year to for notable and outstanding research in the field of science and technology. The award commemorates the founder Director of CSIR Dr. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar.
To be eligible for this award one has to be over 45 years in age and has done notable work in India during the past five years prior to the award year.
The award was instituted in 1958 and the first recipient was Kariamanickam Srinivasa Krishnan from Tamil Nadu. Krishnan specialized in Raman scattering.
Award composition: a citation, a plaque, a cash award of Rs. 5 lakh, a monthly allowance of Rs. 15,000 upto the age of 65.
10. Padma Vibhushan
Padma Vibhushan is the second highest civilian award in India. Government of India established this award on 02 January 1954 to recognize the exceptional and distinguished service, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex.
The first recipients of the award were Satyendra Nath Bose, Nand Lal Bose, Zakir Hussain, Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, and V. K. Krishna Menon, who were honored in 1954.
Award composition: a circular-shaped bronze toned medallion suspended on a 32 mm wide pink ribbon.