National Awards of India
Bharat Ratna Award
India has produced a legacy of brave hearts since times immemorial. Probably there is not enough space to measure their sacrifices. However, we cannot close our eyes to those people who have made our country proud by excelling in their own fields and bringing us international recognition given for exceptional service towards advancement of Art, Literature and Science, and in recognition of Public Service of the highest order. It is also not mandatory that Bharat Ratna be awarded every year.
The original specifications for the award called for a circular gold medal, 35 mm in diameter, with the sun and the Hindi legend “Bharat Ratna” above and a floral wreath below. The reverse was to carry the state emblem and motto. It was to be worn around the neck from a white ribbon. This design was altered after a year.
Bharat Ratna Award
Bharat Ratna Award (Reverse Side)
The provision of Bharat Ratna was introduced in 1954. The first ever Indian to receive this award was the famous scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. Since then, many dignitaries, each a whiz in varied aspects of their career has received this coveted award.
In fact, our former President, Shri A. P. J Abdul Kalam is also a recipient of this esteemed honour (1997). There is no written provision that Bharat Ratna should be awarded to Indian citizens only. The award has been awarded to a naturalized Indian citizen, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa (1980) and to two non-Indians – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela (1990). In 2009, the award was conferred on famous Indian vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi. Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist Prof. C.N.R. Rao have received the Bharat Ratna from President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee on February 4, 2014, in New Delhi.
Param Vir Chakra (PVC)
Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is the highest gallantry award for officers and other enlisted personnel of all military branches of India for the highest degree of valour in the presence of the enemy. Introduced on 26th January 1950, this award may be given posthumously.
Literally, Param Vir Chakra means ‘Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave’. In Sanskrit, ‘Param means Ultimate, ‘Vir (Pronounced veer) means Brave and ‘Chakra means Wheel.
If any recipient of the PVC shall again perform such and act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added, and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the ‘Indra’s Vajra’ in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
The PVC is the equivalent award of the Medal of Honour in the United States, and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.
One amongst the luminous recipients of this honour was Flying Officer Nirmal Jiit Singh Sekhon, who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously in the year 1971. He is the lone Indian Air Force officer to have been honoured with the Param Vir Chakra till date.
Padma Awards, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri are given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field including service rendered by Government servants. The recommendations for Padma Awards are received from the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, Central Ministries/Departments, Institutions of Excellence, etc. which are considered by an Awards Committee. On the basis of the recommendations of the Awards Committee, and after approval of the Home Minister, Prime Minister and President, the Padma Awards are announced on the eve of the Republic Day.
Padma Vibhushan Award:
Padma Bhushan Award:
Padma Shri Award:
The art of appreciating the brave and gallant is not new. They form one of the most important constituents of a nation’s stability. History defines gallantry as commanded respect and appreciation. The concept of emancipation of the brave is cognizant in our Epics too. In the Mahabharata, the merit of dying as a martyr in the cause of Dharma is all along appreciated as the easiest way to heaven. In fact, any kind of death on the battlefield was considered glorious.
Whether being the appointed head of a clan, raised memorials in honour of the martyrs/brave souls or granted titles, robe of honour, cash awards or medals etc., recognition of bravery has always been a very prestigious affair. The conclusion of British Rule in India saw the end of the old institution of British honours and awards. Independent India saw the introduction of awards such as Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Shaurya Chakra etc.
The Ashok Chakra series of awards are open to civilians also. Recommendations received in respect of civilians from the State Governments/Union territory Administra-tions and Ministries/Departments of the Central Government are processed by the Ministry of Defence for the consideration of the Central Honours and Awards Committee chaired by the Defence Minister. These awards are biannual and are given on the Republic Day and Independence Day.
This is awarded for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy. This award may be granted to civilians or to military personnel and may be awarded posthumously.
The national awards for bravery was started in 1957 by the Indian Council for Child Welfare to recognise and honour children who have performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice. Every year the ICCW confers these awards to children below 16years of age.
Applications for these awards are acknowledged from Central/State government departments, Panchayats, Zila 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 of representatives from the Secretariats of the President and the Vice-President, various ministries, as well as the Central Social Welfare Board, 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.
The awards are announced on November 14 (Children’s Day) and the Prime Minister presents the awards on the eve of Republic Day. The awardees receive a medal, certificate and cash as a token of their indispensable courage.
In addition to this, some of them are also granted financial assistance to complete their schooling (ICCW’s sponsorship programme) and professional courses such as medical and engineering (under the Indira Gandhi scholarship scheme). Assistance is also provided to some till they complete their graduation.
Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of Awards
The Jeevan Raksha Padak Series of awards are given for courage and promptitude under circumstances of great danger to the life or bodily injury of the rescuer, displayed in an act or a series of acts of humane nature, in saving life from drowning, fire, rescue operations in mines, etc. Recommendations for Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are received from the State Government/Union Territory, Administrations and Ministries /Departments of the Government of India