New Delhi- Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, musicians Bhupen Hazarika and Social Activist Nanaji Deshmukh were honored with Bharat Ratna on Thursday. President Ram Nath Kovind honored Dr Mukherjee with the Bharat Ratna at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Also music composer Bhupen Hazarika and social worker Nanaji Deshmukh have been given this honor posthumously.
Significantly, on the eve of Republic Day (January 26) this year, the Government of India announced the award of Bharat Ratna to former President Pranab Mukherjee, besides social worker Nanaji Deshmukh and famous musician and singer Bhupen Hazarika.
In place of late social worker Nanaji Deshmukh, Chairman of Deen Dayal Research Institute, Virendrajit Singh received Bharat Ratna. His son Tej Hazarika took the Bharat Ratna award in place of the late singer Bhupen Hazarika.
Pranab Mukherjee was the President of the country from July 2012 to July 2017. Earlier, he also held the responsibility of important ministries like Finance, Defense and Foreign Affairs. In the Congress-led UPA government at the Center from 2004 to 2012, he was considered a major ‘troublemaker’.
Mukherjee became the youngest finance minister in the country at the age of 47 in 1982. From the year 2004, he held the work of three important ministries, Ministry of External Affairs, Defense and Finance. Mukherjee, known as ‘Pranab Da’, was the President of the country from 2012 to 2017. Mukherjee faced criticism from some people for attending an RSS program in Nagpur last year.
Nana ji Deshmukh
Nanaji Deshmukh, associated with the Sangh, was formerly associated with the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. After the formation of the Janata Party government in 1977, he did not accept the post of minister and continued to work for the expansion of various projects under the Deendayal Research Institute throughout his life. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government nominated him a member of the Rajya Sabha. It was during Vajpayee’s tenure that the Government of India also awarded him the Padma Vibhushan for exemplary contributions in the field of education, health and rural self-reliance.
Bhupen Hazarika belonged to the northeastern state of Assam. Apart from his native language Assamese, Bhupen Hazarika used to sing songs in Hindi, Bangla and many other Indian languages. He sang Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite hymn ‘Vaishnav Jan’ in the film ‘Gandhi to Hitler’. He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan.