Who are the 5 Women honored with the Bharat Ratna till 2024?

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The Bharat Ratna, instituted in 1954, is a prestigious award recognizing exceptional contributions in various fields. While 48 individuals have been honored, only five are women, each leaving an indelible mark on Indian history.

Meet the Only 5 Women who have been awarded the Bharat Ratna

NameYearState Name
Indira Gandhi1971Uttar Pradesh
Mother Teresa1980West Bengal
(Born in Skopje,
now North Macedonia)
Aruna Asaf Ali1997West Bengal
M.S. Subbulakshmi1998Tamil Nadu
Lata Mangeshkar2001Maharashtra

Also Read: Notable Recipients of Bharat Ratna Award Key Points: VVI for Exam

Indira Gandhi

  • Indira Gandhi, the first and only female Prime Minister of India, received the Bharat Ratna in 1972.
  • Born into the Nehru family, she became President of the Congress party in 1959, playing a crucial role in India’s political landscape.
  • In 1971, she aided Bangladesh in its liberation, earning her the esteemed award.

Mother Teresa

  • Recognized for her selfless work, Mother Teresa was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1980.
  • Originating from Macedonia, she founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, offering care to the neglected and ill.
  • Her international religious family continues to serve the less privileged globally.

Aruna Asaf Ali

  • Aruna Asaf Ali, an independence activist, posthumously received the Bharat Ratna in 1997.
  • Known for hoisting the Indian flag during the Quit India Movement in 1942, she faced imprisonment for protesting mistreatment in Tihar Jail.
  • Her contributions extended to politics, where she became the first Mayor of Delhi.

M. S. Subbulakshmi

  • In 1998, MS Subbulakshmi became the first musician to be honored with the Bharat Ratna.
  • Hailing from a musical family in Tamil Nadu, she showcased her talent at a young age.
  • Her international performances, including at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall, helped popularize Carnatic music globally.

Lata Mangeshkar

  • Renowned playback singer Lata Mangeshkar was awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2001.
  • With a career spanning over 70 years, she recorded thousands of songs in multiple languages.
  • From her debut in 1942 to her recent tribute to Indian soldiers, Lata Mangeshkar remains an icon in the world of music.


These five exceptional women, through their distinct contributions, have left an indomitable legacy in Indian history. The Bharat Ratna recognizes not only their achievements but also serves as a testament to the diverse and impactful roles women have played in shaping the nation.

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