Bravery awards in India is an act of recognition to those children who gear up the strength by displaying immense valour and escape people who are stuck in dangerous situations by risking their own lives. These children distinguish themselves by performing brave deeds which should be an act of selfless service which sometimes imperil their own lives. The national awards are given annually to the children below the age of 16 for the meritorious acts they have done against all odds.
What drove the authorities to start such an initiative?
The national bravery awards came into being under the Nehru government after witnessing an audacious act of a 14-year old child who saved many lives. During the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in 1957, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru was watching a performance in Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan and all of a sudden fire broke out which was caused by a short circuit in or decorated tent. The child without giving a second thought took his knife and tore the burning tent, rescuing lives of hundreds of people who were trapped. This lay the foundations for Nehru to develop giving awards to brave children across the country.
The first bravery award was presented to Harish Chandra by Nehru in 1958. The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) bags the responsibility to confer awards every year.
The ICCW has introduced other sets of award categories such as The Sanjay Chopra Award and the Geeta Chopra Award (1978) which is in memory of two Chopra children who bravely confronted kidnappers but unfortunately the fate couldn’t save their lives. It is given to a boy and a girl and finally The Bharat Award and The Bapu Gaidhani Award which was established in 1987 and 1988 respectively.
How Applications are Invited and the Procedure to Apply
The State Council or Union Territory council of ICCW invites application through various departments of state government including commissioners of police and Director Generals of states and union territories.
The application form can be obtained from the ICCW office in New Delhi and it should be enclosed with following documents:
details of the deed performed by the applicant in about 250 words
proof of Date of Birth
any newspaper clippings or the FIR filed with police station
the account of the incident should preferably be endorsed by different authorities such as principal/ headmaster of the school where the applicant is studying or head of panchayat/ zila panchayat general secretary, president of the state council for child welfare, DM/ Collector/ govt official of the equivalent rank, superintendent of police of the area or police official of higher rank.
Another important factor is that child should be between 6-18 years of age at the date of the incident. The selection is done by a committee comprising of representatives from secretariats of the president of India, vice-president of India, HRD ministry, women and child development, youth affairs and sports, health and family welfare, railways, defence, home affairs, labour, rural development, information and broadcasting, AIR, Doordarshan, police, some NGOs, office bearers and some members of the council
The awardees get a medal, a certificate and cash award and they are given assistance until their schooling. The ICCW provide financial aid under the Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme for those who wish to undertake professional courses like engineering and medical courses. The government of India has reserved seats for the awardees in government and medical college as well.
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