Prez confers Bharat Ratna on PV, Singh, Swaminathan, Thakur

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Dr Swaminathan, Karpoori Thakur get nation’s highest honour

President Droupadi Murmu confers Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour, on former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur (posthumously) during a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 30, 2024. Thakur's son Ram Nath Thakur accepted the honour from the President. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu conferred the country's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, on former prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh, agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan, and two-time former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur posthumously at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.

The Bharat Ratna awards for Rao, Singh, Swaminathan, and Thakur were received by their kin at a ceremony attended by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and other dignitaries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the contributions of those conferred the Bharat Ratna, paying rich tributes to former prime ministers Rao and Singh besides other luminaries. "Every Indian cherishes what P.V. Narasimha Rao Garu has done for our nation and feels proud that he has been conferred the Bharat Ratna. He worked extensively to further our country's progress and modernisation. He is also known as a respected scholar and thinker. His contributions will forever be cherished," Modi said.

P.V. Prabhakar Rao, son of the late prime minister Rao received the Bharat Ratna on his behalf.

"As the ninth Prime Minister of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao led far-reaching economic reforms. In his youth, he actively participated in the freedom struggle, particularly against the misrule and oppression in Nizam-ruled Hyderabad. Known for his command over several languages and literature, he served as Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996," the Rashtrapati Bhavan said in a post on X. Often referred to as the Chanakya of Indian politics, he is recognised for initiating far-reaching economic reforms and demonstrating skilled political maneuvering.

He was the first Prime Minister from the south, the first Congress leader from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family to complete a full five-year term, and the man who steered India through the turbulent early 1990s.

Bharat Ratna on behalf of former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh was received by Jayant Chaudhary, his grandson.

Chaudhary Charan Singh, a Jat leader from western Uttar Pradesh, served as Prime Minister between July 28, 1979, and January 14, 1980.

On behalf of Swaminathan, the Bharat Ratna was received by Dr Nitya Rao, his daughter.

Dr Swaminathan, who passed away on September 28, 2023, at the age of 98, is widely recognised for transforming India from a drought-stricken country dependent on the United States for food grain imports in the 1960s to achieving self-sufficiency in food production by 1971.

On behalf of the late Karpoori Thakur, the Bharat Ratna was received by Ramnath Thakur, his son. Socialist icon Thakur served as Bihar's Chief Minister from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979. His tenure as Chief Minister is best remembered for the implementation of the Mungeri Lal Commission recommendations, which introduced quotas for backward classes in the state.