Padma Vibhushan

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Padma Vibhushan
Padma Vibhushan India Ie Klasse.jpg
Type Civilian
Category National
Instituted 1954
First awarded 1954
Last awarded 2015
Total awarded 303
Awarded by Government of India
Previous name(s) Pahela Varg
Ribbon IND Padma Vibhushan BAR.png
First awardee(s) Satyendra Nath Bose, Nand Lal Bose, Zakir Hussain, Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, V. K. Krishna Menon
Last awardee(s) K. G. Subramanyan, Mario Miranda, Bhupen Hazarika, Kantilal Hastimal Sancheti, T. V. Rajeswar
Award rank
← Bharat RatnaAshoka Chakra Award[1] Padma Bhushan[1] →

The Padma Vibhushan is the second highest civilian award in the Republic of India. It consists of a medal and a citation and is awarded by the President of India. It was established on 2 January 1954. It ranks behind the Bharat Ratna and comes before the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. It is awarded to recognize exceptional and distinguished service to the nation in any field, including government service. The first recipients of this award were Satyendra Nath Bose, Nand Lal Bose, Zakir Hussain, Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, and V. K. Krishna Menon in the year 1954.


The award was established by Presidential decree on 2 January 1954. The Padma Vibhushan was originally established as the Pahela Varg (First Class) of a three-class "Padma Vibhushan" awards. However the structure was changed in 1955 and there is no record of the award being presented to recipients in the original structure. The award was suspended between 1977 and 1980 and between 1992 and 1998.

As of 2015, only 303 people have thus far been awarded this honour.[2][3][4]

As of 2015, there are 105 living recipients. The oldest living recipient as of 2015 is S. I. Padmavati (age 97-98); the youngest living recipient is Sachin Tendulkar (age 41).

Medallion details[edit]

First medallion (1954–1956)[edit]

The initial medal was a circular gold medal, 1-3/8 inches in diameter, with an embossed lotus flower in the center and the legend "Padma Vibhushan" above and a floral wreath below. The obverse side had the Indian state emblem with the legend Desh Seva (National Service) above and a lotus wreath below. No record exists to show whether this design was used to present a medal to the awardees.

Second medallion (1955–1956)[edit]

In 1955, the badge design was altered to be a "mainly circular" 1-3/16-inch toned bronze badge with geometrical patterns. The center had a lotus flower with four major petals embossed in white gold. Above and below this flower, the name of the decoration Padma Vibhushan was embossed in silver-gilt.

Current medallion (1957–current)[edit]

In 1957, the badge design was retained but the material changed from toned bronze to burnished bronze.

Famous refusals[edit]

Although the Padma awards, including the Padma Vibhushan are the highest civilian awards in India and those selected for the award are famous for their contribution to Indian social, cultural, economic, political or other speheres of life, several noted public figures have refused the award on various grounds. In The eminent jurist and former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma was awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously in 2014. His family refused to accept the award as they believed Justice Verma in principle "was never a man to yearn or lobby for any acclaim, reward or favour.".[5]"[6]

Several artists including musicians and writers including S Janaki, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Romila Thapar, Sitara Devi and Phanishwarnath Renu have also refused various Padma awards due to various reasons, including personal pride and what has been described as 'national interest'.[7]

List of awardees[edit]


External links[edit]