Bharat Ratna - This is the highest civilian award given to an Indian. It recognises exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. The Prime Minister recommends names to the President, and a maximum of three nominees are awarded per year. Winners are given a certificate signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–shaped medallion.
In the file pic: Legendary Shehnai maestro, Bismillah Khan (L) gestures towards Indian President (R) K. R. Narayanan, as he requests to play at least once in the presidential palace's Durbar Hall, after he received the Bharat Ratna on May 4, 2001. Pic/AFP
Padma Vibhushan - This is the second-highest civilian award given to Indians, and is awarded to recognise exceptional and distinguished service to the nation in any field. The award consists of a medal and a citation awarded by the President. Similarly, the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri are the third and fourth highest civilian awards in the country.
In the file pic: Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (L) presents The Padma Vibhushan Award to Indian actress Zohra Segal during a Civil Investiture Ceremony Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi late April 7, 2010. Pic/AFP
Param Vir Chakra - This is India's highest military honour awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air. It is often awarded posthumously. The awards were established on January 26, 1950. The medal has the country’s emblem in the middle, and four replicas of the ‘Vajra’ -- the weapon of Indra, the God of heaven. Similarly, the Maha Vir Chakra is the second-highest military decoration in India, followed by the Vir Chakra. The Ashok Chakra is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra and is given for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
In the file pic: Indian infantryman Yoginder Singh Yadav makes his way up to the presidential dais to receive from Indian President K.R. Narayanan the Param Vir Chakra for gallantry in combat during the Kargil conflict, prior to the country's 50th Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2000 in New Delhi. Pic/AFP
National Film Awards - These awards recognise overall excellence in Indian cinema, and bring into limelight regional movies that are otherwise ignored. A national panel appointed by the government selects the winners. The main categories include feature Films, Non-Feature Films and Best Writing on Cinema. All award winners are given a medallion, cash prize and a certificate of merit.
In the file pic: Best Actress award winner Geetanjali Thapa (L), and joint winners for Best Actor Suraj Venjaramoodu (C) and Raj Kumar (R) pose before receiving their awards from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during the 61st National Film Awards function in New Delhi on May 3, 2014. Pic/AFP
Dadasaheb Phalke Award - A part of the National Film Awards, this is considered the highest honour in Indian cinema and recognises outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema. The winner gets a golden lotus medallion better known as ‘Swarna Kamal’, a shawl, and a cash prize. First given away in 1969, the award was established to honour Dadasaheb Phalke, widely regarded as the father of Indian cinema.
In the file pic: Veteran Bollywood actor Pran (C) is honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award by Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari (L) at his residence in Mumbai on May 10, 2013. Pic/AFP
Gandhi Peace Prize - The Indian government instituted the award in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Given away annually to individuals and institutions, the award recognises contributions in social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and Gandhian methods. The prize includes in cash, a plaque and a citation. It is open to people from all nationalities.
In the file pic: Indian President K.R. Narayanan (L) awards the annual Gandhi Peace Prize of 1999 to Murlidhar Devidas Amte (Baba Amte), 86, at the presidential palace in New Delhi January 14, 2000 for his work among leprosy patients. Pic/AFP
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna - This is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports. The award consists of a medal, a scroll of honour and cash as well. The award was instituted in 1991-92, citing the lack of rewards for sportsmen in the country.
In the file pic: Indian athlete Anju Bobby George (R), winner of a bronze medal in the long jump event at the 2003 World Athletic Championships, receives the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award from Indian President Abdul Kalam at a function at presidential palace in New Delhi, 21 September 2004. Pic/AFP
Arjuna Award - The award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of sports by Indians. It was instituted in 1961 and carries a cash prize, a bronze statuette of Arjuna and a scroll. Award categories include indigenous games and physically handicapped.
In the file pic: Indian badminton player Ashwani Ponnappa (R) receives the Arjuna Award 2012 from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at a function at The Presidential Palace in New Delhi on August 29, 2012. Pic/AFP
Dronacharya Award - Instituted in 1985, the award is given for excellence in sports coaching. The award includes a bronze statuette of Dronacharya, a scroll of honour and cash. It is named after Dronacharya, who was the teacher of Arjuna.
In the file pic: Indian wrestling Coach Captain Chandrup (2R) receives The Dronacharya Award 2010 from Indian President Pratibha Patil (L) during a function at The Presidential Palace in New Delhi on August 29, 2010
Dhyan Chand Award - This is the country’s highest award for lifetime achievement in sports. Named after the great hockey player Dhyan Chand, the award carries a cash prize, a plaque and a scroll of honour, and was instituted in 2002.
In the file pic: Chief coach of India's men's hockey team Rajinder Singh (R) receives the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award from Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (L) at a sports and adventure awards function at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi on August 29, 2005. Pic/AFP
From military to arts and sports, India honours its heroes in every field. As India celebrates its 73rd Independence Day, we tell you about the history and significance of India's most revered awards
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