List Of Important Awards & Honours In India – Their Fields & First Awardees

India, with its rich cultural, artistic, and literary heritage, has established a plethora of awards and honours that recognize outstanding contributions in various fields. These accolades celebrate excellence, whether it be in the realms of literature, science, sports, or social service. The significance of these awards goes beyond individual recognition, shaping the cultural identity and inspiring generations to come. As, these awards not only honour individuals but also serve as a testament to India’s commitment to fostering talent and promoting excellence across diverse domains. In this vibrant tapestry of recognition, the awards and honours in India reflect the nation’s commitment to appreciating and celebrating the myriad talents that contribute to its multifaceted tapestry. Well, in this particular article, we shall explore all the important awards and honours in India, which exists in the various fields along with their first awardees!

Introduction to the Important Awards & Honours in India

In a nation brimming with vibrancy, where ancient wisdom whispers alongside the hum of technological innovation, India’s awards and honours stand as beacons of recognition, illuminating the paths of exceptional individuals and celebrating their contributions to the nation’s tapestry. These accolades, transcending mere trophies and titles, embody the values and aspirations that hold India together, weaving a narrative of excellence, service, and unwavering dedication. From the hallowed heights of the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, to the specialized honours bestowed upon scientists, artists, soldiers, and literary giants, these recognitions represent a constellation of diverse fields, each illuminated by the brilliance of those who have excelled. They mark milestones in the journey of a nation, acknowledging the individuals who have pushed boundaries, shattered glass ceilings, and dared to redefine the contours of possibility.

Imagine the echoes of thunderous applause and the glint of pride in the eyes of a war hero receiving the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry award. Picture the humble scientist, her eyes shining with a quiet brilliance as she is presented the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for a ground-breaking research. Consider the literary maestro, his soul resonating with the echoes of countless readers, as he receives the Jnanpith Award, the pinnacle of literary achievement in India. Each of these moments, crystallized in the bestowal of an award, becomes a testament to the human spirit’s boundless potential. Nevertheless, beyond the individual triumphs, these awards and honours hold a deeper significance. They serve as catalysts for inspiration, igniting the spark of aspiration in countless young minds. The stories of valour etched in the history of the Ashoka Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award, inspire generations to choose courage and compassion. The artistic virtuosity celebrated by the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships becomes a guiding light for those who yearn to paint their emotions on canvas or weave their dreams into melody!

List Of Important Awards & Honours In India – Their Fields & First Awardees

Let us embark on this exploration, where each award is like a stepping-stone and each honour opens up a chapter in the ever-evolving saga of India’s greatness. Moreover, in doing so, may we find not just inspiration, but also a renewed commitment to our own journeys, striving to contribute to the vibrant symphony of achievements that make India a land where aspirations soar and excellence knows no bounds! Well, the list of all the important awards & honours in India in the various fields along with their first awardees is mentioned as follows –

Civilian Awards

Bharat Ratna

  • Field: Highest civilian award in India for exceptional service/performance in any field.
  • First Awardees (1954): C. Rajagopalachari, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, and C.V. Raman.

Padma Vibhushan

  • Field: Second-highest civilian award for distinguished service/performance.
  • First Awardees (1954): Satyendra Nath Bose, Nand Lal Bose, Zakir Hussain, Balasaheb Gangadhar Kher, and V.K. Krishna Menon.

Padma Bhushan

  • Field: Third-highest civilian award for distinguished service/performance.
  • First Awardee (1954): Meherally Munshi.

Padma Shri

  • Field: Fourth-highest civilian award for distinguished service/performance.
  • First Awardee (1954): D. V. Gundappa.

Gallantry Awards

Param Vir Chakra

  • Field: Highest military decoration.
  • First Awardees (1950): Major Somnath Sharma, Major Dhan Singh Thapa, and Company Havildar Major Piru Singh Shekhawat.

Ashok Chakra

  • Field: Peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  • First Awardee (1952): Samar Bahadur.

Kirti Chakra

  • Field: Second-highest wartime gallantry award.    
  • First Awardee (1948): Havildar Lachhiman Gurung.

Science & Technology Awards

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize

  • Field: Scientific research in various fields.   
  • First Awardee (1961): S.N. Bose & D.S. Kothari (Physics).

Bharat Ratna

  • Field: Highest civilian award in India for exceptional service/performance in any field.
  • First Awardees (1954): C.V. Raman.

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Innovation Fellowship

  • Field: Technological innovation with social impact.
  • First Awardee (2014): Anil Gupta.

Sports Awards

Arjuna Award

  • Field: Sports award.
  • First Awardee (1961): R. K. Paunikar (Wrestling).

Dronacharya Award

  • Field: Sports coaching.
  • First Awardee (1985): O. M. Nambiar (Athletics).

Dhyan Chand Award

  • Field: Lifetime achievement in sports.
  • First Awardee (2002): Ajeet Singh (Athletics).

Literary Awards

Jnanpith Award

  • Field: Literary award.
  • First Awardee (1965): G. Sankara Kurup for his Malayalam work “Odakuzhal”.

Sahitya Akademi Award

  • Field: Literary award by the Sahitya Akademi.
  • First Awardee (1955): Rakesh Chandra.

Bharatendu Harishchandra Awards

  • Field: Hindi literature award.
  • First Awardee (1983): Sumitranandan Pant.

Saraswati Samman

  • Field: Literary award for an outstanding literary work in any Indian language.
  • First Awardee (1991): Harivansh Rai Bachchan for his autobiography in four volumes.

Gyanpeeth Award

  • Field: Literary award for Indian authors.
  • First Awardee (1965): G. Sankara Kurup for his work in Malayalam literature.

Arts & Culture Awards

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

  • Field: Highest award in Indian cinema.
  • First Awardee (1969): Devika Rani.

Bharat Ratna

  • Field: Highest civilian award in India for exceptional service/performance in any field.
  • First Awardees (1999): Ravi Shankar.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

  • Field: Performing arts award.
  • First Awardees (1952): Kanhaiyalal Sethia, Jaddan Bai, and Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande.

Significance of the various Important Awards & Honours in India

As we delve into the vast ocean of India’s awards and honours, we embark on a journey not just through individual achievements but also through the very soul of the nation. We witness the spirit of service enshrined in the highest civilian awards, the unwavering courage etched in the gallantry medals, and the boundless creativity celebrated in the artistic accolades. These are not mere badges of honour; they are threads woven into the rich tapestry of India’s narrative, testaments to the unwavering pursuit of excellence that defines this land of dreams and possibilities!

The significance of these awards goes much beyond the individual recognition, shaping up the cultural identity and inspiring generations to come. From the prestigious Bharat Ratna to the National Film Awards and sports honours like the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, each award carries a unique legacy. The Gyanpeeth Award and Sahitya Akademi Award acknowledge literary brilliance, while the Padma Awards recognize exceptional service to the nation.


As we reach the final lines of this exploration, it is not just a list of awards and honours that lingers in our minds, but rather a profound sense of the human spirit’s potential and the kaleidoscopic brilliance of India’s tapestry. These recognitions, like vibrant threads, have woven a narrative of service, valour, creativity, and innovation, each award a beacon illuminating the path of an exceptional individual. Yet, their significance transcends individual triumphs. They inspire a nation, whispering tales of courage to young ears and igniting the spark of ambition in aspiring minds. They remind us that excellence, in its myriad forms, deserves not just celebration but emulation. Each gallantry medal whispers of selfless acts, each scientific prize echoes with years of tireless research, and each literary accolade sings with the power of words to move hearts and minds!

Furthermore, these awards hold a mirror to the diverse soul of India. They champion the voices of every corner of the land, ensuring that no talent remains hidden, and no contribution unsung. From the linguistic tapestry woven by the Sahitya Akademi Awards to the technological strides recognized by the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Innovation Fellowship, these recognitions celebrate the richness of India’s mosaic. They stand as testament to the fact that excellence knows no language, no region, no background, only the unwavering pursuit of one’s chosen path. Therefore, let us celebrate these awards and honours not as mere distinctions, but as living reminders of the human spirit’s boundless potential. Let them inspire us to push boundaries, embrace challenges, and strive for excellence in our chosen fields. For in doing so, we not only honour the extraordinary individuals who have come before us, but also contribute to the vibrant symphony of achievements that makes India a land where dreams take flight and aspirations know no bounds.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Chat on WhatsApp
How can I help you today?