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Nation salutes 25 bravehearts who defied age to save others



Twenty-five children, three girls and 22 boys, were felicitated in New Delhi by India Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) with the National Awards for Bravery 2015. Their acts were as diverse as their backgrounds. The ICCW had instituted the Bharat Award for an exceptionally outstanding, meritorious and gallant deed in 1987.

In 2014, Gaurav had jumped into the Ambazari Lake in Nagpur district when he spotted four drowning children. He saved all of them but couldn't save himself. His body was subsequently recovered by fishermen. His father, a carpenter, and his mother, a maid, were proud but wished Gaurav was present to receive the award like the other recepients.

The Masaipet train-bus mishap had shocked the nation in July 2014 when 20 students and the driver of a school bus were killed, and 19 children were injured, when a Secunderabad-bound passenger train rammed into a school bus at an unmanned level crossing near Masaipet village in Medak district of Telangana, about 40km from Hyderabad. They were students of Kakatiya Techno School in Toopran. Malla Goud's three children — Ruchitha, Varun and Shruthi — were on board. As the driver who was hours behind schedule rushed through the crossing, the children had reportedly screamed in panic asking him to slow down. When Ruchitha saw the Nanded train fast approaching towards them, she pushed Varun and another friend from the window, but failed to rescue Shruthi. Ruchitha has been felicitated with the Geeta Chopra Award for her quick-thinking and courage.

The children will receive their awards from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of Republic Day and will get an opportunity to participate in the Republic Day parade too. The awardees, apart from a medal, certificate and cash, will be given financial assistance until they complete schooling.

The other recepients include Arjun Singh (16, Uttarakhand) who won the Sanjay Chopra Award who fought a tiger to save his mother. Ramdinthara (15, Mizoram), Rakeshbhai Shanabhai Patel (13, Gujarat) and Aromal SM (12, Kerala) received the Bapu Gaidhani Award. Ramdinthara saved two people from high tension wires and electrocution. Rakesh saved a child from drowning, and Aromal single-handedly saved two women from drowning.

Kashish Dhanani (Gujarat), Maurice Yengkhom, Chongtham Kuber Meitei (both from Manipur), Angelica Tynsong (Meghalaya), Sai Krishna Akhil Kilambi (Telangana), Joena Chakraborty and Sarwanand Saha (Chhattisgarh), Dishant Mehndiratta (Haryana), Beedhovan, Nithin Philip Mathew, Abhijith KV, Anandu Dileep, Muhammad Shamnad (all from Kerala), Mohit Mahendra Dalvi, Nilesh Revaram Bhil, Vaibhav Ramesh Ghangare (all from Maharashtra), Abhinash Mishra (Odisha), Bhimsen alias Sonu and late Shivansh Singh (both from Uttar Pradesh), were other recepients.

Who Determines the National Bravery Awards?
The National Bravery Awards are given by the government after an extensive selection process. Many ministries and departments around India are responsible for determining who will receive these honours. These include a few organizations outside of the government’s reach plus the Office Bearers of the Indian Council for Child Welfare or ICCW. The National Bravery Award was introduced shortly after 1957 when two children were first given honours by the ICCW for their bravery. The award was soon brought about as an annual honour given to children who perform great and brave deeds in service of others above themselves. This is to inspire children to be more honourable and to respect others above all. The Bharat Award was added in 1987-88 by the ICCW to honour children who perfect outstanding and significant deeds as a means of assisting other people. The Geeta Chopra and Sanjay Chopra Awards were added in 1978 while the Bapu Gaidhani Awards were added in 1988-89. The ICCW has honoured close to a thousand children for their bravery since 1957. There have been 656 boys and 264 girls that have been honoured with National Bravery Awards over the years.

What National Bravery Award Recipients Earn?
Recipients of the National Bravery Awards will receive medals and certificates honouring their work as well as cash rewards. Those who are eligible can also receive financial assistance to help them with their schooling. They may also be eligible for added forms of financial support based on what their state governments have to offer. The ICCW will also offer students who are looking into professional collegiate studies support through the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme. This will help children with support for paying off a substantial part of their college expenses until they graduate from their respective schools. Some seats for medical and engineering colleges, as well as some polytechnics schools, have been reserved for honourees. These are being reserved in accordance with the Government of India’s requests. The awards are being given as one of the most prominent honours in the country. These honours are given to children as a means of recognizing those who have gone above and beyond to help other people and are among the greatest rewards given in the country.