Prez bestows Bharat Ratna on Malviya, Padma awards
New Delhi: Noted educationist and freedom fighter Madan Mohan Malviya was today posthumously conferred the Bharat Ratna, country’s highest civilian award, by President Pranab Mukherjee.
A host of other other personalities included veteran BJP leader L K Advani and Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Parkash Singh Badal, were honoured with Padma awards by Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
Members of Malviya’s family received the Bharat Ratna from Mukherjee at the traditional ceremony held in the historic Durbar Hall with prime minister Narendra Modi, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Home minister Rajnath Singh and Finance minister Arun Jaitley along with other senior cabinet ministers in attendance.
The prominent who were awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, included Advani and Badal, while Padma Bhushan was awarded to lawyer Harish Salve and journalists Swapan Dasgupta and Rajat Sharma.
Amongst the prominent Padma Shri awardees were film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, writer-lyricist Prasoon Joshi, physician Dr Randeep Guleria, creator of popular cartoon character ‘Chacha Chaudhary’ Pran Kumar Sharma (posthumously), shuttler PV Sindhu, Hockey star Sardara Singh and amputee Everest climber Arunima Sinha.
Last week, the President had awarded the Bharat Ratna to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at his house in Delhi.
Malviya, an educationist with a vision, was behind the establishment of the Banaras Hindu University.
Born on December 25, 1861, Malviya was catapulted into the political arena immediately after his first moving speech at the second Congress session held in Kolkata in 1886. He was President of INC in 1909 and 1918.
Malviya is also remembered for his stellar role in the Independence movement and his espousal of Hindu nationalism.
He was one of the initial leaders of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha.
Surprisingly, no Congress leader could be seen during the Padma awards function.
Sources at the Rashtrapati Bhavan said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was invited as per protocol.
Asha Pran, wife of famous cartoonist Pran who was awarded Padma Shri (posthumously), said, “The award has come late but it is still a recognition of the creative work he did during his life time.”
Creator of cartoon characters such as Chacha Chowdhary, Billu, Pinki and Raman, which were published in 10 languages, Pran Sharma passed away on August 5, 2014.
Indian Hockey Captain Sardar Singh said it was an honour to receive the coveted award.