Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar and top scientist CNR Rao were awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's biggest civilian award.
Sachin, 40, is the youngest recipient of the award. He is also the first sportsperson to be chosen for the honour. Tendulkar bowed out of international cricket after his 200th Test match - 24 years and one day after his first. He played in 664 international matches, scoring 34.357 runs and making 100 centuries. He scored almost 2500 more test runs than the second placed batsman, Ricky Ponting.
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao, who serves as the head of the scientific Advisory council to the Prime Minister of India, also joins the select list of India's 41 Bharat Ratnas. An international authority on solid state and materials chemistry, the 79 year old scientist has authored about 45 books and 1500 research papers in his career spanning over five decades.
Bharat Ratna ( Jewel of India or Gem of India in English) is the Republic of India's highest civilian award. Until 2011, the official criteria for awarding the Bharat Ratna stipulated it was to be conferred for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary and scientific achievements as well as recognition of public service of highest orders. In December 2011, the government of India modified the criteria to allow sportspersons to achieve the award; since then, the award may be conferred for performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour.
The holder of the Bharat Ratna ranks 7th in the order of precedence; however, the honour does not carry a monetary grant.