Quiz on Bharat Ratna

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 02, 2021

Earn the stripes: Mother Teresa was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1980   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Happy New Year!

On this day in 1954, the Bharat Ratna Awards were instituted. This quiz is all about India’s highest civilian award.

And the award goes to...

1 Three people were awarded the Bharat Ratna in its first year. Two of them were C Rajagopalachari, the only Indian governor-general, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India’s second president. Who was the third, not from the world of government or politics?

2 The Bharat Ratna ceremony is usually held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. But in 1958, a special ceremony for the award was held in the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai to honour someone on his 100th birthday. Name the person.

3 Technically, Mother Teresa was an Indian citizen and Badshah Khan was born in undivided India. Who was the first foreigner, a citizen of a country in another continent, to be awarded the Bharat Ratna?

4 Two former pilots have been awarded the Bharat Ratna. The first was Rajiv Gandhi, posthumously in 1991. Who is the other?

5 Who was the first Grammy winner to be awarded a Bharat Ratna?

6 In 2001, the two people awarded the Bharat Ratna were both from the field of music — one classical and one largely popular. Name the winners.

7 Which Indian political leader actually discontinued the Bharat Ratna awards when he came to power, calling them “worthless and politicised” and then accepted the award himself when he was nominated a few years later?

8 The leaf of which specific tree is used in the design of the awards along with an image of the sun and the words ‘Bharat Ratna’ in Devanagari script?

9 In 1992, which nominee’s family vociferously opposed the decision of the government to award this leader a posthumous Bharat Ratna on the ground that nobody had actual proof that he had died?

10 Whose nomination for a Bharat Ratna award in 2014 was challenged in a PIL on the ground that it was a violation of the model code of conduct — because he was a Congress nominee to the Rajya Sabha and his award could influence the voters of Delhi, MP, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, which were going to the polls at the time? The petition was dismissed.


1 Scientist CV Raman.

2 Social reformer Dhondo Keshav Karve, also known as Maharishi Karve.

3 Nelson Mandela in 1990. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1990.

4 Industrialist, philanthropist and aviation pioneer JRD Tata in 1992.

5 Pandit Ravi Shankar, in 1999.

6 Ustad Bismillah Khan and Lata Mangeshkar.

7 Morarji Desai; he stopped the awards in 1977, but accepted it in 1991.

8 Peepul tree (Ficus Religiosa).

9 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

10 Sachin Tendulkar. Incidentally, there were objections against scientist CNR Rao, the other awardee that year, too. Many scientists felt there were more deserving candidates for the honour.


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster;

Twitter: @joybhattacharj

Published on January 02, 2021

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