(Last Updated on : 11/12/2010)
The Padma Bhushan Award is ranked second in the three class category of the prestigious Padma Awards. The Padma Vibhushan Award is the highest in this category and the other award is the Padma Shri Award. The Padma Bhushan Award is also ranked as third among all the national civilian awards presented in India, after the Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan. The award is presented to recognise distinguished and exceptional service, of the highest order to the nation. Indian citizens achieving great feats in any field can receive the award. The fields include services by the government servants and it can be given posthumously, as well.
The Padma Bhushan Award was introduced on 2nd January 1954. The original design of the award was a circular silver medal with a diameter of 1-3/8 inches and also with a Lotus flower inscribed in the center. The term `Padma Bhushan` was written in the center of the medal and there was a floral wreath below, as well. On the reverse side of the medal, there was a state emblem with `Desh Seva` or `National Service` written with a Lotus wreath below. The recipients of the award used to wear the medal around their neck with a ribbon. However, this design was altered within a year, on 8th January, 1955, and no indication can be found whether any specimen of this design was produced.
The design of the Padma Bhushan Award was altered principally with a view to remove the class structure. The design of the badge was again revised on 30th August 1955, for a miniature badge of the award. It got another design on 26th January 1957. According to the changes made to the badge of the award in January, 1955, the award is `mainly circular` bronze badge with a diameter of 1-3/16 inch and with geometrical patterns. There is a Lotus flower inscribed in the middle of the badge, with three petals embossed in white gold. The term `Padma Bhushan` is written in Hindi on the above and below of this Lotus flower and the term is embossed in silver gilt. The badge was altered to be of polished bronze with the embossing in white gold, in the year 1957.
The badge of the Padma Bhushan Award is suspended from a ring. The national emblem is inscribed on the reverse of the badge, and the motto is embossed below, in white gold. The winners of this award wear the badge with a ribbon that is thirty-two millimeter long and of medium pink in colour. There is a six-millimeter central white stripe in the ribbon. The female recipients of the award wear the badge from a bow fashioned from this ribbon. In the first year of its inception, the Padma Bhushan Award was presented to a total of 23 people, who showed their excellence in different fields. Since then, the award is being given every year, except for a short period from 13th July 1977 to 26th January 1980, when it was suspended, due to unavoidable circumstances. So far, a large number of 1034 people have received the award for showing outstanding performances in their respective fields. A total of 31 people have received the Padma Bhushan Award in the year 2009.
The Padma Bhushan is a civilian award, which is given by the President of India for outstanding performance in any field.