Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour, given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order. The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. 

The first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many people, each a whiz in varied aspects of their career, have received this coveted award.

List of all Bharat Ratna awardees so far–
S.No Name Birth / death Awarded Notes Indian state or country
1. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 1888–1975 1954 Second President, First Vice President, Philosopher. Tamil Nadu
2. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari 1878–1972 1954 Last Governor-General, Freedom Fighter. Tamil Nadu
3. C. V. Raman 1888–1970 1954 Nobel-prize winning Physicist Tamil Nadu
4. Bhagwan Das 1869–1958 1955 Philosopher, Freedom Fighter Uttar Pradesh
5. Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya 1861–1962 1955 Civil Engineer Karnataka
6. Jawaharlal Nehru 1889–1964 1955 First Prime Minister, Freedom Fighter, Author. Uttar Pradesh
7. Govind Ballabh Pant 1887–1961 1957 Freedom Fighter, Home Minister Uttar Pradesh
8. Dhondo Keshav Karve 1858–1962 1958 Educationist, Social Reformer Maharashtra
9. B. C. Roy 1882–1962 1961 Physician, Politician West Bengal
10. Purushottam Das Tandon 1882–1962 1961 Freedom Fighter, Educationalist. Uttar Pradesh
11. Rajendra Prasad 1884–1963 1962 First President, Freedom Fighter, Jurist Bihar
12. Zakir Hussain 1897–1969 1963 Former President, Scholar. Andhra Pradesh
13. Pandurang Vaman Kane 1880–1972 1963 Indologist and Sanskrit scholar Maharashtra
14. Lal Bahadur Shastri 1904–1966 1966 Posthumous, Second Prime Minister, Freedom Fighter Uttar Pradesh
15. Indira Gandhi 1917–1984 1971 Former Prime Minister Uttar Pradesh
16. V. V. Giri 1894–1980 1975 Former President, Trade Unionist. Andhra Pradesh
17. K. Kamaraj 1903–1975 1976 Posthumous, Freedom Fighter, Chief Minister-Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu
18. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) 1910–1997 1980 Naturalized Indian citizen, Nobel Laureate (Peace, 1979). West Bengal
19. Acharya Vinoba Bhave 1895–1982 1983 Posthumous, Social Reformer, Freedom Figher. Maharashtra
20. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan 1890–1988 1987 First non-citizen, Freedom Fighter. Pakistan
21. M. G. Ramachandran 1917–1987 1988 Posthumous, Chief Minister-Tamil Nadu, Actor. Tamil Nadu
22. B. R. Ambedkar 1891–1956 1990 Posthumous, Architect-Indian Constitution, Leader of Buddhist people of India Maharashtra
23. Nelson Mandela b. 1918 1990 Second non-citizen and first non-Indian, Leader of Anti-Apartheid movement. South Africa
24. Rajiv Gandhi 1944–1991 1991

Posthumous, Former Prime Minister

New Delhi
25. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 1875–1950 1991 Posthumous, Freedom Fighter, First Home Minister of India. Gujarat
26. Morarji Desai 1896–1995 1991 Former Prime Minister, Freedom Fighter. Gujarat
27. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888–1958 1992 Posthumous, Freedom Fighter, Educator. West Bengal
28. J. R. D. Tata 1904–1993 1992 Industrialist and philanthropist. Maharashtra
29. Satyajit Ray 1922–1992 1992 Legendary Indian Film Director West Bengal
30. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam b. 1931 1997 Former President, Scientist. Tamil Nadu
31. Gulzarilal Nanda 1898–1998 1997 Freedom Fighter, former Prime Minister. Punjab
32. Aruna Asaf Ali 1908–1996 1997 Posthumous, Freedom Fighter. West Bengal
33. M. S. Subbulakshmi 1916–2004 1998 Classical singer. Tamil Nadu
34. Chidambaram Subramaniam 1910–2000 1998 Freedom Fighter, Minister of Agriculture(Father of Green revolution). Tamil Nadu
35. Jayaprakash Narayan 1902–1979 1998 Posthumous, Freedom Fighter, Social Reformer.

Uttar Pradesh

36. Ravi Shankar b. 1920 1999 Classical sitar player. West Bengal
37. Amartya Sen b. 1933 1999 Nobel Laureate (Economics, 1998), Economist. West Bengal
38. Gopinath Bordoloi 1890–1950 1999 Posthumous, freedom fighter Assam
39. Lata Mangeshkar b. 1929 2001 Play back singer Maharashtra
40. Ustad Bismillah Khan 1916-2006 2001 Hindustani classical shehnai player Bihar
41. Bhimsen Joshi 1922–2011 2009 Hindustani classical singer Karnataka
42. C. N. R. Rao b. 1934 2014 Scientist Karnataka
43. Sachin Tendulkar b. 1973 2014 Cricketer

Maharashtra

44.

Madan Mohan Malaviya

1861–1946

2015

Freedom Fighter, Politician

Uttar Pradesh
45. Atal Bihari Vajpayee b. 1924 2015

Former Prime Minister

New Delhi
Note : No one was awarded the country's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007