People who have refused to accept honorary awards


The nation recognizes certain people who have contributed and done immense work towards the betterment. This work could be in the form of art, journalism, education, literature and many other fields. Due to many reasons, they refuse this award. Be it a personal, professional or emotional reason, they have declined this offer.

1. Rahul Dravid (Honorary Doctorate -2017)1honorary-awardsHe declined this honorary doctorate from the Bangalore University for a reason that has pumped up reverence in the hearts of everyone nationwide. He said he’d rather earn it after researching on a subject in the field of sports than having it receiving an honorary degree. This is not the first time he did so. He once refused a doctorate from the Gulbarga University.

2. Sitara Devi (Padma Bhushan – 2002)2honorary-awardsShe refused to accept the Padma Bhushan award, declaring, “It is an insult, not an honor,” pointing out that younger and lesser known people had got Padma Vibhushan.

3. Krishnaswamy Subramanyam (Padma Bhushan – 1999)3honorary-awardsSubrahmanyam declined the honour of a Padma Bhushan, stating that bureaucrats and journalists should not accept government awards.

4. Romila Thapar (Padma Bhushan – 1992 and 2005)4honorary-awards
The historian turned down the Padma Bhushan in both the years saying that she only wanted to “accept awards from academic institutions or those associated with my professional work”

5. Sonu Nigam (Filmfare – 1997)5honorary-awardsSonu Nigam had won the Filmfare award for best singer for the song, ‘Sandeshe Aate Hain’. He reportedly refused to accept the award on stage, saying, “the song had been sung by me and Roop Kumar Rathore. It couldn’t be completed without him, so I can’t understand the logic behind giving this award to me alone.”

6. Khushwant Singh (Padma Bhushan – 1974)6honorary-awardsKhushwant Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 . In 1984, however he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army (Operation Blue star). In 2007, the Indian government awarded Singh the Padma Vibhushan.

7. Ustad Vilayat Khan 7honorary-awardsHe turned down Padma Shri (1964) and Padma Bhushan (1968), saying the awards committee wasn’t competent enough to judge his music. In January 2000, when he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, he again refused, going so far as to call it “an insult”. This time, his criticism had a slightly different twist: he would not accept any award that other sitar players, his juniors and in his opinion less deserving, had been given before him. “If there is any award for sitar in India, I must get it first”, he said, adding that “there has always been a story of wrong time, wrong person and wrong award in this country”.
Among other honors he turned down was the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

8. J.S.Verma (Padma Bhushan – 2014)8honorary-awardsHe was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his relentless service to the nation in his field. he sadly passed away in April 2013 at the age of 80. His wife and family in all humility wrote back to the President of India refusing to accept the award as they believed Mr. Verma in principle “was never a man to yearn or lobby for any acclaim, reward or favour.” His family believed Mr. Verma if alive at the time would have done the same too.

9. S.Janaki (Padma Bhushan – 2013)9honorary-awardsIn her playback singing career over 50 years, she has won 4 National Film Awards and 31 different State Film Awards. In 2013, she refused to accept the Padma Bhushan, because it had come too late and that South Indian artists were not given their due recognition.

10. Lata Mageshkar (Filmfare – 1958)10honorary-awardsThe country’s famous singer Lata Mangeshkar refused to accept her first Filmfare award because the statuette was designed in the shape of a woman, and was unclothed. Finally, the organizers wrapped the award with a handkerchief and presented it to the singer. Later, in yet another unusual gesture, after monopolizing the best female playback singer category till 1966, Mangeshkar gave up claim to the award to promote fresh talent.

11. Phanishwarnath Renu (Padma Shri)11honorary-awardsThe Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu returned the Padma Shri, recalling Tagore’s disavowal of knighhood after Jaliyawala bag massacre.

12. Rabindranath Tagore (Knighthood – 1915)12honorary-awardsIndia’s most famous poet and artist, Rabindranath Tagore was conferred with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. In 1915, he was granted a knighthood by the British Crown, which he renounced after the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre, protesting the mistreatment of Indians by the British.