The Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award and is conferred ‘in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex’.
Today, it was bestowed on former President Pranab Mukherjee. The prestigious award was also posthumously conferred on Nananji Deshmukh and legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika.
Pranab Mukherjee was a veteran member of the Congress party and had also served under former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He was the 13th President of India who served from 2012 to 2017. Pranab Da, as his colleagues fondly called him, was also the finance minister under the prime ministership of Manmohan Singh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile went on Twitter and congratulated the veteran politician on the honour.
Pranab Da is an outstanding statesman of our times. He has served the nation selflessly and tirelessly for decades, leaving a strong imprint on the nation’s growth trajectory. His wisdom and intellect have few parallels. Delighted that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 25, 2019
Mukherjee, too, minutes later addressed the honour via Twitter.
It is with a deep sense of humility and gratitude to the people of India that I accept this great honour #BharatRatna bestowed upon me. I have always said and I repeat, that I have got more from the people of our great country than I have given to them.#CitizenMukherjee— Pranab Mukherjee (@CitiznMukherjee) January 25, 2019
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also congratulated the former statesman on Twitter.
Congratulations to Pranab Da on being awarded the Bharat Ratna! The Congress Party takes great pride in the fact that the immense contribution to public service & nation building of one of our own, has been recognised & honoured.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 25, 2019
Among the other awardees was Nanaji Deshmukh, who had passed away at the age of 84 in 2012. He was a member of the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1979, representing UP’s Balrampur. He had also served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005.
Legendary singer-composer from Assam, Bhupen Hazarika, who died in 2011 was also conferred with the prestigious award.