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National Bravery awards

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National Bravery awards


National Bravery Award for Indian Children is given each year by Government of India and Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), to Indian children for meritorious acts of bravery against all odds.

The award is given to around 24 children below the age of 16. One of two coveted awards in this category are the Sanjay Chopra Award and Geeta Chopra Award instituted in 1978, in the memory of Chopra children who laid their lives while confronting their kidnappers, and are given to a boy and a girl respectively for acts of bravery. The highest award in the category is the Bharat Award, constituted in 1987, and the Bapu Gayadhani Award was instituted in 1988.

The origin of the award dates back to 2 October 1957, when India's first Prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was watching a performance at Delhi's Ramlila grounds, at the Red Fort, and a fire broke out in a shamiana (decorated tent) through a short circuit. Subsequently, Harish Chandra, a 14-year old scout, promptly took out his knife, and ripped open the burning shamiana, saving lives of hundreds of trapped people; this incident inspired Pt. Nehru initiate the awards, he asked the authorities to constitute an award to honour brave children from all over the country, and the tradition has continued hence, and later Harish Chandra became the first recipient of the award.

The award includes a medal, a certificate and cash award, the Bharat Award winner gets a gold medal, while the rest get a silver medals. Further they are also given financial assistance to complete their schooling, as a part of ICCW's sponsorship programme and professional courses such as medical and engineering, under the Indira Gandhi scholarship scheme

In 2009, the Government of India announced reservation of some seats in Medical and Engineering Colleges and Polytechnics for the winners of the award

List of Awards

  1. Bharat Award, since 1987
  2. Sanjay Chopra Award, since 1978
  3. Geeta Chopra Award, since 1978
  4. Bapu Gayadhani Award, since 1988
  5. National Bravery Award, since 1957

Applications for the awards are received from various sources such as the central/state government departments, panchayats, zilla parishads, school authorities as well as state and Union territory councils for child welfare.

The selection is made by a committee constituted by the ICCW, comprising representatives from the secretariats of the President and the vice-president, various ministries, as well as the Central Social Welfare Board, the police, All India Radio, Doordarshan and leading NGOs such as the National Bal Bhavan, SOS, Children's Villages of India, R K Mission and experienced ICCW members.

Some notable brave children

Name: N Kandha Kumar
Age: 11

Kumar gave up his life to save his schoolmates. He was awarded the prestigious Bapu Gayadhani Award (posthumously).

Born in a farming family in Karur district in Tamil Nadu, Kumar would spend most of his time in the fields. "He was always cheerful, he used to laugh all the time," says his father.

On July 22, 2003, he was returning home from school along with dozen other children in a van. As the van was crossing an unmanned railway crossing near Amur, the engine suddenly gave out. Seeing a speeding train approaching, the driver deserted the van.

But Kumar was undaunted. He managed to get two small children out of the vehicle. Some others escaped. Kumar again went inside the van to help the others stuck inside. He never returned. As he was coming out of the van the second time, the train hit him on the head and he died on the spot. Three other children and the conductor also died on the spot.

Name: Hoti Lal
Age: 15

On June 17 last year, Hoti Lal was playing on the banks of Yamuna in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. A woman named Mayadevi was there along with her niece Jyoti, 17, and granddaughter Tanu, 15, bathing. Jyoti ventured some distance away from the bank and was swept away by the current. As she screamed for help, Mayadevi and Tanu rushed to save her. But they, too, lost control and were being swept away.

Hoti Lal, watching all this from a distance, jumped into the river and brought Tanu back to the shore. Then he went back and rescued Mayadevi. However, he could not trace Jyoti.

People who had gathered on the shore by then took Tanu and Mayadevi to hospital. Tanu was saved, but Mayadevi died on way to the hospital. Later, Jyoti's body was also traced.

The amazing part of the story is that Hoti Lal is mentally and physically challenged by birth. One of his legs and hands paralysed. But he is a good swimmer.



National bravery awards for 2008

A 12-year-old boy who played a vital role in identifying the terrorists who planted bombs in Delhi, a 13-year-old who saved lives by raising an alarm over a faulty railway track, and a 14-year-old who dodged marriage to a 40-year-old are among 20 children chosen to receive the National Bravery Awards for 2008.

The names of these brave-hearts, who will be felicitated by the Prime Minister later this month, were announced by Indian Council for Child Welfare president Gita Siddharth here on Saturday.

The prestigious Sanjay Chopra and Geeta Chopra awards have gone to young Saumik Mishra from Uttar Pradesh, who foiled a theft attempt, and Prachi Santosh Sen of Madhya Pradesh, who saved four children from electrocution. Prachi, however, was grievously injured and had her fingers amputated.

Kavita Kanwar from Chhattisgarh gets the Bapu Gaidhani award posthumously. Along with Seema Kanwar, Kavita had saved the lives of three inmates who were caught in a kitchen fire in the Adivasi Kanya Ashram.

Asu Kanwar of Jodhpur in Rajasthan was also selected for the Bapu Gaidhani award. Asu put up a stiff fight against being married off to a 40-year-old farmer in exchange for money.

The girl opposed the match for two years and was finally saved by the intervention of a self-help group that in turn approached the District Women Development Agency to get the wedding called off.

Balloon seller Rahul, who hit the headlines after he identified the men who planted bombs on Barakhamba Road in the national Capital on September 13 last year, was awarded for his exemplary courage. Rahul, a prime eyewitness to the blasts, provided vital information about the suspects to the police. His statement helped the police make sketches of the suspects.

M. Marudu Pandi of Dindigul in Tamil Nadu was chosen for the honour for showing presence of mind and alerting railway officials about a fracture in the rail track and averting an accident.

Six-year-old twins from Bangalore, Gagan and Bhoomika J. Murthy, were rewarded for saving the life of a baby caught in a bull fight. The children, unmindful of the threat to their own lives, rescued the baby even as the crowds watched the bull fight.

Silver Kharbani of Meghalaya, who saved the life of her young cousin trapped in a fire, will also be one of the 20 who will get pride of place in the Republic Day Parade here on January 26 atop an elephant.

Yumkhaibam Addison Singh from Manipur was chosen for rescuing an eight-year-old from drowning in a pond, while Vishal Suryaji Patil from Maharashtra was awarded for rescuing a woman and her child from drowning. Shahanshah of Uttar Pradesh, Dinu K.G. of Kerala, Anita Kaura and Reena Kaura of West Bengal, Majjusha A of Kerala and Hina Quereshi of Rajasthan were also selected for saving people from drowning.

Manish Bansal of Jind in Haryana, who along with his older brother helped nab armed miscreants who had broken into their home, and Kritika Jhanwar of Rajasthan who also fought off robbers are among the 20 who will be hosted by President Pratibha Patil at a reception in Rashtrapati Bhavan. As part of the awards, financial assistance under the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme is provided to those undertaking professional courses. For others, this assistance is provided till they complete their graduation. The Centre has reserved some seats for awardees in medical and engineering colleges and polytechnics.

( Courtesy: The Hindu )


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