New Delhi: Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and social activist Nanaji Deshmukh were conferred with the country’s highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, posthumously, while former President of India Pranab Mukherjee received the award for the year 2019 from President Ram Nath Kovind at a function held in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
Hazarika’s son Tez Hazarika received the award on behalf of his father in a glittering function which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior members of his Cabinet, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, chief ministers of different states, including Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, MPs and other invited guests.
Prior to this, Hazarika received the National Film Award, Padmashri, Dada Saheb Phalke Award and Padma Vibhushan, among many other prestigious honours.
Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee’s life-long political career spanned about five decades, during which he held various key posts in the Congress as well as in the governments led by Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh.
The 83-year-old served as India’s 13th President from 2012-2017, but prior to his election to the post, Mukherjee also served as the union finance minister from 2009 to 2012.
Nanaji Deshmukh represented Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur constituency in the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1979. He also served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. One of the founding members of Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Nanaji Deshmukh established a chain of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-inspired schools throughout India. He was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh till his death at the age of 94 in 2010.