Civilian Awards in India
People work for money but go an extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards”. This quote by Dale Carnegie seems absolutely accurate.
When one does something great they are showered with appreciation and rewards. Awards are conferred to recognize the good works of people and honor their achievements. India gives various awards to its citizens for their distinguished contribution in the areas of Leadership, Literature, Patriotic and Particulars.
Civilian awards are bestowed on the top performers for their distinguished work in several fields. People from the fields of education, art, sports, literature, medicine, social work, science and engineering, public affairs, trade, and industry, etc. have received the awards since India’s independence.
There are four types of civilian awards
Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in the country. Earlier, the awards were conferred only in the fields of science, public services, arts, and literature but amendments were made in 2013 in the eligibility criteria after which sports category was also included.
The Prime Minister recommends the nominees of the award to the President of India. The number of recipients per year is restricted to three. Till date, nearly 45 Bharat Ratna have been conferred.
Design: Bharat Ratna is in the form of a peepal leaf, made of bronze, which is about 5.8 cm long, 4.7 cm wide and 3.1 mm thick. Embossed with a replica of the sun which is 1.6 cm in diameter, it has the words “Bharat Ratna” crafted on it in Devnagri script in burnished bronze. The emblem of India, the sun and the rim present on the award are made up of platinum.
Important recipients: The inception year of the award was 1955 and three people- Dr. C V Raman, C Rajagopalachari, and Dr. S Radhakrishnan were presented this award.
Satyajit Ray is the only filmmaker who received this award. After the amendment of 2013, Sachin Tendulkar was also given the Bharat Ratna. Two foreign nationals including Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, and Nelson Mandela were also recipients of this award.
Conferred: Bharat Ratna is conferred in recognition of exceptional services of the highest order.
Criterion: Any field of human endeavor including arts, science, sports, and literature.
These awards are announced every year on Republic Day. Any person without any discrimination can receive this award. All people of any race, caste, sex, position or religion are eligible for this award. However, the government servants including those working with PSUs (except doctors and scientists) are excluded.
Padma Awards are also presented by the President of India in the month of March every year. The recipients are selected by Padma Awards committee which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The awards are just for honor, no cash allowance or any kind of benefit/confession etc. are attached to these awards. The recipients of the Padma awards are given a decoration comprising of a Sanad(certificate) and a replica of the medallion.
It is the highest award conferred to the people after the Bharat Ratna. The award seeks to recognize the achievements of people in fields of art, science, public service including the services rendered by the government employees.
Design: Circular in design, the Padma Vibhushan has a geometric pattern superimposed on the circle which is of 0.6 mm thickness, and 4.4 cm diameter. Made of bronze, the award has the word “Padma” embossed on it in Devnagri script above the word Vibhushan which is below the lotus. The back side of the award contains the national emblem with “Satya Meva Jayate” carved on it. The inscription (Padma Vibhushan), the geometric pattern, and the border is of burnished bronze, rest all the embossing is of white gold.
Important recipients: Sharad Shri Pawar, Sachin Tendulkar, V K Menon, Zakhir Hussain, and more.
Conferred: for “exceptional and distinguished service”
Criterion: “service in any field including service rendered by Government servants”
Padma Bhushan is the third highest honor presented by the Government of India. The award is conferred for exceptional services in any filed or discipline given to the nation.
Design: The design is similar to that of Padma Vibhushan but has undergone slight changes. The award has “Padma Bhushan” carved on it and instead of white gold, yellow gold is used.
Conferred: “Distinguished service of a high order to the nation”
Criterion: Service in any field
Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award given in India. The award is presented in areas of Arts, Education, Sports, Medicine, Public Affairs, Social Service, Industry, Science and Literature.
Design: The design of Padma Shri is slightly different than that of Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. There is a geometric pattern on either side, the word “Padma Shri” is carved on it in burnished bronze while all other carvings of pattern and lotus is done using stainless steel.
Important recipients: Manoj Joshi, Mother Teresa, Mehboob Khan and many more.
Conferred: “Distinguished contribution to the nation”
Criterion: Contribution in any field
Over the years many noted personalities in various fields have received the highest civilian awards though 120 Padma Awards and 3 Bharat Ratna are presented every year.