New Delhi, Aug 8: Former President Pranab Mukherjee, will be awarded Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function to be held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Thursday evening. Eminent music director and singer from Assam Bhupen Hazarika and social worker Nanaji Deshmukh will also be awarded Bharat Ratna. Both Nanaji Deshmukh and Dr Bhupen Hazarika were chosen for the top civilian award posthumously.
Mr Mukherjee, who was President of the country from 2012 to 2017, has had a political career spanning five decades during which he has occupied several ministerial portfolios in the Central Government. Bhupen Hazarika, an eminent playback singer, lyricist, musician, singer, poet and film-maker from Assam, is widely known as Sudhakantha. His songs, written and sung mainly in the Assamese language by himself, have become popular among the people of Assam, besides West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Dr Hazarika, who died on November 5, 2011 has earlier received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction in 1975. Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1987), Padmashri (1977), and Padmabhushan (2001). Hazarika was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1992), India's highest award in cinema, by the Government and Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (2008), the highest award of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.He was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, in 2012.
A social activist, Nanaji Deshmukh, has worked in the fields of education, health, and rural self-reliance. A leader of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh and also a former member of the Rajya Sabha, Nanaji Deshmukh was earlier honoured with the Padma Vibhushan by the Government . Last time the Bharat Ratna was conferred was in 2015 when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and eminent educationist and founder of Banaras Hindu University Madan Mohan Malviya (posthumously) were honoured with the award.UNI