Shashi Tharoor to get Legion of Honour, France's highest civilian award

Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur: French Government has decided to bestow the highest French civilian honour - Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur to Senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor.

Key Highlights:

  • According to media reports, the French government is honouring him for his writings and speeches.
  • The honour will be conferred to him when any one of the French Ministers visits India.
  • Emmanuel Lenain, the French ambassador to India, officially wrote to Mr. Tharoor informing him of the honour.
  • In 2010, Tharoor received a similar honour, from the Spanish government. The King of Spain had bestowed upon him the Encomienda de la Real Order Espanola de Carlos III.
  • The two-term Lok Sabha MP is also a celebrated author with several fiction and non-fiction books under his belt.

About Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur:

  • The Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour) was constituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize outstanding contributions to the recipient’s field of expertise, regardless of their nationality.
  • It was constituted as the highest civilian award given by the French Republic.
  • The Legion has five classes, listed in descending rank:
  1. Grand Cross (limited to 80 members)
  2. Grand Officer (200)
  3. Commander (1,000)
  4. Officer (4,000)
  5. Knight, or Chevalier (unlimited).
  • Badge of the Legion includes the inscription “République Française”, meaning Republic of France. 
  • Its back side has the inscription of crossed tricolours, along with its motto “Honneur et Patrie” that means “Honor and Country”.
  • Since its inception, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneurhas been a very egalitarian honour and has been bestowed upon both men and women, irrespective of rank, birth, or religion.
  • Admission into this order, which can be conferred posthumously, requires 20 years of civil achievement in peacetime or extraordinary military bravery and service in times of war.

Which other Indians have received the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur?

  • The first Indian to be awarded with the Legion of Honour was Maharaja Pratap Singh of Idar in 1918.
  • Since then many Indians have been honoured with the award.

They are as follows in different classes:

Grand Cross:

  • Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (1930)
  • Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala (1948)

Grand Officer:

  • Maharaja Pratap Singh of Idar (1918)
  • Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir (1938)
  • Sardar Hardit Malik (1956)


  • J. R. D. Tata (1983)
  • Manna Dey (1985)
  • Satyajit Ray (1987)
  • Pt. Ravi Shankar (2000)
  • V. S. S. Sastry (2009)
  • S. H. Raza (2015)
  • Ratan Tata (2016)


  • Sajjan Singh of Ratlam (1918)
  • Amitabh Bachchan (2007)
  • Lata Mangeshkar (2007)
  • Yashwant Sinha (2015)
  • Shobhana Bhartia (2016)
  • GeneralJoginder Jaswant Singh (2016)


  • Durga Charan Rakshit (1896)
  • Mohamed Haniff (1937)
  • Ruchira Gupta (2017)
  • S R Rana (1951)
  • Sivaji Ganesan (1995)
  • Zubin Mehta (2001)
  • Alarmel Valli (2004)
  • C. N. R. Rao (2005)
  • E. Sreedharan (2005)
  • G. R. Gopinath (2006)
  • Nadir Godrej (2008)
  • N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (2012)
  • Anjali Gopalan (2013)
  • Shahrukh Khan (2014)
  • Manish Arora (2016)
  • Raja Mohan (2016)
  • Kamal Haasan (2016)
  • Soumitra Chatterjee (2017)
  • Azim Premji (2018)
  • S. Kiran Kumar (2019)