(Last Updated on : 04/12/2013)
The Padma Vibhushan Award is ranked at the second highest position among all the civilian awards given in India. The award is presented by the Government of India to recognise excellence of Indian citizens in any field and also to recognise notable services to the nation, including services rendered by government servants. The award consists of a medal and a citation and is awarded by the President of India. The Padma Vibhushan Award was established by Presidential decree on 2nd January, 1954 and since then, a total of 235 people have been given the award so far. The award can be given posthumously, as well. After 1954, the award was presented every year, except for a short period from 13th July 1977 to 26th January 1980, when it was suspended due to unfortunate circumstances. Apart from that period, no award was given between the year of 1992 and 1998, as well.
The Padma Vibhushan Award was originally established as the 'Pahela Varg' or 'First Class' of the three class 'Padma' awards. As per the original design, the award was a circular gold medal with a diameter of 1-3/8 inches. A Lotus flower was inscribed in the center of the medal, with the term 'Padma Vibhushan' written above. There as also a Lotus wreath below. A state emblem with 'Desh Seva' or 'National Service' was written above on the reverse side of the medal, with a lotus wreath below. However, the design was changed on 8th January, 1955, within a year after its inception, with a view to remove the class structure.
The new design of the Padma Vibhushan Award was amended on 30th August 1955 to make a miniature badge of the award. The award was further redesigned on 26th January 1957. According to the final design of the award, it is now a circular toned bronze badge, with a diameter of 1-3/16 inch and also with geometrical patterns. There is a Lotus flower embossed in the center of the badge, with four major petals in white gold. The term 'Padma Vibhushan' is written in silver gilt, on above and below the Lotus flower.
The badge was again altered to burnished bronze with all embossing in white gold, in the year 1957. The national emblem along with the motto is inscribed below in white gold, on the reverse side of the badge. The winners of the Padma Vibhushan Award hang the badge from a ring and wear it with a ribbon that is medium pink in colour. The female recipients of the award wear the badge from a bow fashioned from this ribbon. In the very first year of its inception, a total of 6 extremely talented people received the Padma Vibhushan Award. The award was given for the last time so far in 2009, and a total of 10 people received the award in that year.