On August 8, 2019, in a grand ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind felicitated former President Pranab Mukherjee, late Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer Bhupen Hazarika with Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award.
In pic: Former President Pranab Mukherjee with Hazarika's son Tej Hazarika and Vikramjeet Singh, a close relative of Nanaji Deshmukh.
83-year-old Pranab Mukherjee who also served as the 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017 was conferred Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award by President Ram Nath Kovind. Mukherjee is not only well known for being at the helm of various key posts in the Congress party but also in the governments led by former Prime Ministers such as Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Dr. Manmohan Singh.
In pic: Former president of India, Pranab Mukherjee is all smiles for the camera as President Ram Nath Kovind confers him with the Bharat Ratna.
Nanaji Deshmukh, who was associated with the RSS till his last breath, played an important role in the Jai Prakash (JP) movement against Emergency in 1974 and was also instrumental in the formation of the Janata Party government back in 1977. Before Bharat Ratna, Deshmukh was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan by the government.
In pic: Chairman of Deendayal Research Institute, Virendrajeet Singh receives the Bharat Ratna from President Ram Nath Kovind on behalf of Nanaji Deshmukh.
Bhupen Hazarika, born in 1926, was a playback singer, lyricist, musician, poet and filmmaker from Assam. Before the Bharat Ratna, Hazarika was bestowed with some of the most notable awards such as Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padma Shri (1977), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), Padma Bhushan (2001) and Padma Vibhushan (2012-posthumously).
Hazarika is well remembered for giving music to acclaimed Bollywood movies such as Rudaali, Darmiyaan, Gaja Gamini, Daman, and many Assamese hits. He also gave music to award-winning Assamese film 'Sameli Memsaab'. Hazarika's son Tej Hazarika received the Bharat Ratna on behalf of his father Bhupen Hazarika.
The grand ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi was graced by Vice President M Venkaikah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Senior BJP leader LK Advani, and cabinet ministers of the Modi government.
In pic: Vice President M Venkaikah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Senior BJP leader LK Advani, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and other cabinet leaders stand for the national anthem.
The Bharat Ratna - Country's highest civilian award is conferred after a gap of four years. The Bharat Ratna was last conferred upon former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya by the Narendra Modi government back in 2015.
Till date, 48 eminent personalities have been conferred with the Bharat Ratna so far including former president Pranab Mukherjee, Bhupen Hazarika, and Nanaji Deshmukh.
In pic: With a bright smile on his face, former president Pranab Mukherjee humbly accepts the Bharat Ratna from President Ram Nath Kovind.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaikah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah pose for an official picture with Bharat Ratna awardee Pranab Mukherjee, Tej Hazarika (Bhupen Hazarika's son) and Virendrajeet Singh (who received award on behalf of late Nanaji Deshmukh) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
On Thursday, former President Pranab Mukherjee received the Bharat Ratna while social activist Nanaji Deshmukh and late singer-composer Bhupen Hazarika were conferred with the highest civilian honoured posthumously by President Ram Nath Kovind at a grand ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. See pictures. (All Pictures Courtesy/Pallav Paliwal)
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