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"SaY" it with Inspiration: Meet the only five women in India who have been awarded the Bharat Ratna

The Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India and since its inception several great social leaders and personalities from various fields have been conferred this honour.

The list of recipients for this prestigious award include leaders such as C. Rajagopalachari  in 1954, Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam in 1997 and Sachin Tendulkar in 2013.

Surprisingly, this strong list of 48 individuals having received the Bharat Ratna includes only five female recipients who symbolised exceptional service of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.

Here is a list of the five female recipients of the Bharat Ratna.

Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi was awarded with Bharat Ratna in the year 1971. She is the first and only female Prime minister of India.

She was the Prime minister of India from 1966-77 to 1980-84.

In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named “Woman of the millennium” in an online poll organised by BBC.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was awarded Bharat Ratna in the year 1980. She was known worldwide for her charity works .She is the founder of Missionaries of Charity. She showed motherly affection towards poor, orphans, diseased and destitute. She is praised and awarded for her selfless service.

Aruna Asaf Ali

Aruna Asaf Ali was awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously in the year 1997. She was the Independence activist. She is proudly remembered for her brave act of hoisting the Indian National Flag during the Quit India Movement. After Independence she became the Delhi’s first Mayor.

MS Subbulakshmi

M.S. Subbulakshmi was awarded Bharat Ratna in 1998. She was the first musician ever to receive this honour. She is not only a Carnatic singer but also an actor too. Her voice and singing skills were admired by many greats like Pandit Nehru, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Sarojini Naidu, Kishori Amnokar to name a few. She has received many honours and awards from many great institutions world over.

Lata Mangeshkar

Lata Mangeshkar was awarded Bharat Ratna in the year 2001. She is the second vocalist to receive this award after M.S. Subbulakshmi. She is a renowned play back singer and music director. Her musical career was in the peak for about three to four decades. She has sung songs in over 36 regional Indian Languages. She is the recipient of many Awards and accolades in India as well as from other world countries.

She is the known as the "Nightingale of India".

Spin A Yarn India salutes these women achievers and we hope they will inspire many, by which the list of women with Bharat Ratnas' will rise in the future!


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At Spin A Yarn India: our mission is to become the primary outlet of children focused content by encouraging the participation of India’s latent indigenous story telling creativity, knowledge, and culture.

Spin A Yarn India is a partner of the United Nations Indigenous Language and the Bhasha Sangam programs. Spin A Yarn India runs as a social enterprise. Profit is reinvested to support children from underprivileged backgrounds to gain access to books, education and in general to improve the literacy of families across India.

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