Eminent Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was Tuesday presented with the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, at a simple ceremony held at his residence in Pune.
The award, which was announced after a gap of seven years, was presented to the 88-year-old maestro by an additional secretary of the home ministry. The eminent vocalist has been ailing.
“In terms of usual practice, Panditji was requested to indicate his preference for coming to New Delhi to receive the decoration of the award of 'Bharat Ratna' from the President,” said a release from the home ministry.
“It was, however, informed that on account of his frail health, Panditji is not in a position to travel to Delhi. Panditji, on his part, indicated his preference for receiving the award at his residence. He also requested that the presentation may be a low key affair without involving too many people.”
He is the second vocalist to get the highest civilian award after M.S. Subbulakshmi in 1998.
The legendary Kirana gharana vocalist celebrated his 88th birthday last week. It was a low-key affair with the maestro not meeting any visitors or receiving any phone calls.