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Bhimsen Joshi gets Bharat Ratna award

February 10, 2009 16:00 IST

Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was Tuesday presented with Bharat Ratna, country's highest civilian award, at a simple ceremony held at his residence in Pune in Maharashtra.

The award, which was announced after a gap of seven years, was presented to 87-year-old Joshi by an Additional Secretary of the Home Ministry.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar and shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan were the last to receive the Bharat Ratna

"In terms of usual practice, Joshi was requested to indicate his preference for coming to New Delhi to receive the
decoration of the award of Bharat Ratna" from President Pratibha Patil.

"It was, however, informed that on account of his frail health, Panditji is not in a position to travel to Delhi," an official spokesman said, adding Joshi, on his part, indicated his preference for receiving the award at his residence and also requested that the presentation may be a low key affair without involving too many people.

Joshi is the sixth person from the field of art and culture to get the Bharat Ratna award after Satyajit Ray, M S Subbulakshmi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Lata Mangeshkar and Ustad Bismillah Khan.

He is the second vocalist to get the highest civilian award after Subbulakshmi in 1998.