Bharat Ratna is the India's highest award given to civilian. It is awarded for the highest degree of national service. This service includes the artistic ,literary and scientific achievements as well as public services. Bharat Ratna was instituted on 2 January 1954 . the award was originally limited to achievements in Arts, literature science and Public Service but the government expanded the criteria to include ' any field of human endeavor' in December 2011. 

Recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime minister to the President with a maximum of three nominees be awarded per year. 

Recipients of Bharat Ratna receive a sanad (certificate) signed by the president and Peepal -leaf shaped medallion there is no monetary grant associated with the award. the first recipients of Bharatratna were politician c. Rajagopalachari, scientist C.V Raman and philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who were honored in 1954. 

In 1966 former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri become the first individual to be honored posthumously government has announced the award to freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya ( posthumously) and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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