5 Muslims Among Bharat Ratna Awardees: A Tribute to Excellence and Diversity


The five Muslim recipients of the esteemed award have left an indelible mark in their respective domains, spanning politics, science, and music.

Mohammad Alamullah / Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The Government of India has bestowed the prestigious Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honor, upon 53 individuals. Among the distinguished recipients, five Muslims have been recognised for their outstanding contributions across various fields, showcasing the country’s commitment to honoring excellence and diversity.

Since its inception, the Bharat Ratna has been a symbol of national pride, reserved for those who have significantly enriched the fabric of Indian society. Notably, the five Muslim recipients of this esteemed award have left an indelible mark in their respective domains, spanning politics, science, and music.

1. Dr. Zakir Hussain: In 1963, Dr. Zakir Hussain, the third president of India, was honored with the Bharat Ratna. A staunch supporter of India’s independence movement, Dr. Hussain’s legacy transcends his presidency, symbolising a commitment to the nation’s ideals.

2. Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: A trailblazer in advocating for non-violence and social reform, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan became the first non-Indian and Pakistani recipient of the award in 1987. His tireless efforts in promoting peace and justice resonate across borders.

3. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Renowned as the country’s first education minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad received the Bharat Ratna in 1992. His contributions to the Indian freedom struggle and dedication to education continue to inspire generations.

4. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: Fondly remembered as the ‘Missile Man’ of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was honored with the Bharat Ratna in 1997. His pioneering work in missile technology and steadfast leadership as the President of India exemplify innovation and statesmanship.

5. Ustad Bismillah Khan: A maestro of the Shehnai, Ustad Bismillah Khan was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2001. His mesmerising melodies and cultural contributions have enriched the musical heritage of India, earning him a place of reverence in the nation’s cultural tapestry.

These five remarkable individuals embody the spirit of excellence and inclusivity, reflecting the diverse tapestry of India’s heritage and values. As the nation celebrates their achievements, their legacies serve as beacons of inspiration for future generations, driving the pursuit of excellence in all spheres of life.


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