Held as the highest civilian award in India, Bharat Ratna is awarded to an individual for his/her extraordinary service or performance inarts, literature, science and public services. However, in 2011, the criterion was open for any field of human endeavor and has three nominees every year.
Philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, politician C. Rajagopalachari and scientist C. V. Raman were the first recipients of this prestigious award in 1954. Last year, the Bharat Rattan was presented to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve and chemist C. N. R. Rao.
However, in its glorious past, there are several superstars who never had their hands on the prestigious Bharat Ratna. Some probable contenders other than Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Netaji Subash Chander Bose are as the following:
6. Major Dhyan Chand
Indisputably, the greatest field hockey player ever, Major Dhyan Chand was known as The Wizard and helped India win three Olympic gold medals. With more than 1000 goals to his tally, Major was described as the man with the golden stick. Even Don Bradman, the cricketing legend said that Dhyan Chand scored goals like runs in cricket. To honor his achievements, 29th August (his birthday) is celebrated as the National Sports Day in India.
5. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai
Renowned as the Father of India’s space program, Vikram Sarabhai’s inputs to establish the Indian Space Research Organization are commendable. Vikram Sarabhai was strongly supported by Dr. Homi Bhabha, who helped in setting up India’s first rocket launching station. In addition, Vikram Sarabhai served as President of the Physics section for Indian Science Congress and the General Conference of the I.A.E.A. Verína. Honoring him, the Indian govt. has awarded Vikram Sarabhai with Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1962, Padma Bhushan in 1966 and Padma Vibhushan in 1972.
4. Viswanathan Anand
The former World Chess Champion described as the most versatile word chess champions ever by chess commentator Lubomir Kavalek, Viswanathan Anand has earned five world titles to his name. Incredibly, Anand was the undisputed chess champion from 2007 to 2013 and has also won the Classical, Rapid and Blitz world championships. Anand has won six Chess Oscars. Anand was also awarded with Jameo de Oro, Global Strategist Award, Russian Order of Friendship and Indian sportsperson of the year for 2012.
3. Rashbehari Bose
A courageous fighter and revolutionary leader from pre-independence era, Rashbehari Bose was among the prominent names who organized the Indian National Army. Born in Bengal province, Bose held a degree in medical sciences and engineering. Bose’s attempt to assassinate Lord Hardinge is one illustration to his several heroic revolutionary activities. Bose also played an active role in the formation of Indian National Army and served as important delegate between India and Japan. Even the Japanese Government honored Rashbehari Bose with the Order of the Rising Sun after he was killed during World War II.
2. Annie Besant
Globally recognized Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator, Annie Besant was a prominent British socialist who played an essential role in Indian’s independence. Before coming to India, Annie was part of the Marxist Social Democratic Federation and Fabian Society. However, her time in India had other plans for her and she became member to Indian National Congress and played a major role in establishing The Central Hindu College and Hyderabad (Sind) National Collegiate Board. Moreover, she launched the campaign Home Rule League for Indian democracy and continued her theosophical works till she died in 1933.
1. Dr. Homi Bhabha
Renowned as the father of Indian nuclear program, Homi Bhabha was born on 30th October 1909, and did his education from Royal Institute of Science until 1927. Later, he went to Caius College of Cambridge University and completed his doctoral studies in theoretical physics. Homi returned to India in 1939 and served as reader in the Indian Institute of Science for some time. In 1954 Homi represented India in International Atomic Energy Forums and formulated his three stage nuclear power program. It’s primarily his vision and efforts that India is among the eight nuclear powers of the world today.