Pranab Mukherjee conferred Bharat Ratna, Bhupen Hazarika and Nanaji Deshmukh conferred posthumously
Bharat Ratna 2019: Former President Pranab Mukherjee was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour by President Ram Nath Kovind on August 8 at a grand ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The President also conferred the Bharat Ratna posthumously upon late singer Bhupen Hazarika and late RSS leader Nanaji Deshmukh. The conferral ceremony saw in attendance Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, PM Narendra Modi and several Union Ministers. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were notably absent from the event, while senior Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Janardan Dwivedi, Ahmed Patel and Anand Sharma were in attendance.
The Bharat Ratna was conferred after a gap of four years. In 2015, the Modi Government had conferred the prestigious honour upon former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya.
The Bharat Ratna 2019 conferred upon Bhupen Hazarika was received by his son Tej while Virendrajeet Singh, Chairman of Deendayal Research Institute, received the honour on behalf of Nanaji Deshmukh.
Pranab Mukherjee Bharat Ratna
Pranab Mukherjee was the 13th President of India and had served between 2012 and 2017. He became the fifth president to receive the Bharat Ratna.
The other Presidents to receive the nation’s highest civilian honour include Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Zakir Hussain and VV Giri.
Pranab Mukherjee, at the age of 47, had become India’s youngest Finance Minister in 1982. He was chosen to lead key ministers including external affairs, defence and finance from 2004. He became the first President to have this distinction.
Bharat Ratna Bhupen Hazarika
Bhupen Hazarika, popular Assamese musician and filmmaker, played a huge role in bringing the culture and folk music of Assam and north-east India to Hindi cinema. He was born on September 8, 1926 and passed away on November 5, 2011.
Bhupen Hazarika was conferred the Padma Shri in 1977, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987, Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1992, Padma Bhushan in 2001 and Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 2012.
Bhupen Hazarika was multi-talented, as he was a singer, playback singer, lyricist, poet, musician and filmmaker. He had done his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1952.
Hazarika also had a brief stint in politics, as he had been fielded by the BJP from the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat in 2004 but was unsuccessful. Earlier, he had served as an Independent MLA in Assam between 1967 and 1972.
Bharat Ratna Nanaji Deshmukh
Nanaji Deshmukh was born on October 11, 1916 in Hingoli, Maharashtra. Deshmukh had set up a chain of RSS-inspired schools throughout India and was associated with the RSS till his death in 2010 at the age of 94 in Satna, Madhya Pradesh.
Nanaji Deshmukh is one of the founding members of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which later evolved into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In politics, Deshmukh had served as a Lok Sabha MP from UP’s Balrampur constituency between 1977 and 1979.
Deshmukh had played a leading role in the formation of the Janata Party government in 1977 and was one of the key members of the JP Narayan’s movement against the Emergency in 1975.
The Union Government had announced the Bharat Ratna Awardees 2019 in January. The government had revealed then that the award would be conferred upon Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh and Bhupen Hazarika.
With the latest conferral, the total number of Bharat Ratna awardees has gone up to 48.