National Bravery Awards: India
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National Bravery Awards 2015
Winners of the National Bravery Awards, 2015
2020: Bal Puraskar
The 17-year-old Hridayeshwar Singh Bhati, whose entire body is paralysed was ecstatic about receiving the Bal Puraskar given to outstanding child achievers. He is 85% affected by muscular dystrophy, but his mind has always overcome his body. Finding new and patented variations in the complex world of chess moves earned him the honour.
Bhati is one of the 49 children conferred the Bal Puraskar by the Union ministry for women and child development. At an interaction with the media on Thursday, his mother recalled, “He was four when we noticed he fell every time he tried to walk. The doctor told us about his condition. It took us time to cope, but our son made everyone believe that his physical limitations would do nothing to stop him.”
Venkatasubramanian too didn’t have much going for him. “My son was born without an arm. I believed it was divine punishment and cried all the time,” said mother Jayapradha. But gradually, the boy, now 16, made the family believe they were wrong and that he was destined for big things. A multi-dimensional talent awarded for his accomplishments with the abacus, karate and scouting, Venkatasubramanian aspires to become a civil servant.
Onkar Singh, 14, didn’t even know he had been selected for the award till he was in Punjab. “The internet was banned in Jammu & Kashmir, my homestate,” the 14-year-old explained. His love for science, astronomy in particular, inspired him to dwell on the law of thermodynamics and, at the age of 12, produce a book on theoretical physics titled When Time Stops.
It was also in the troubled state that Soumyadip Jana, 16, earned his stripes. In February 2018, the Sajuwan military station in Jammu was facing a terrorist attack. Some terrorists tried to force their way into their house, but the teenager stopped them in their track, though he suffered several bullet injuries for his efforts. He was in a coma for over six months and is still undergoing treatment at Army Hospital in Delhi.
The Bal Puraskar, consisting of a medal, cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a certificate and citation, was given out by President Ram Nath Kovind. The kids are scheduled to meet PM Narendra Modi. . Union women and child development minister Smriti Irani joined the children on Thursday and called them “the new hope of India”. She suggested they should form a WhatsApp group to stay in touch and share their knowledge and ideas.
New Delhi : From six-year old Veerangana Adityasinh Jhala who alerted neighbours to a fire that broke out in their building and ensured their timely evacuation to 14year-old Badal and 15-yearold Manish saving a young girl from being sexually assaulted, the National Awards for Bravery, organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, showcased stories of exemplary courage by children.
Among the awardees were also those who stood up for social justice, be it the 18-yearold, visually impaired Krishna Nimesh Sheth of Maharashtra or 13-year-old Krishna Menariya of Rajasthan who fought against child marriage.
Determined to continue the fight for justice, Sheth, who has also won international karate tournaments, said, “I have never considered my disability to be a weakness and I am always ready tocompete with anybody. But I was bullied and harassed to the extent that I am still under medication for mental trauma. But during the pandemic, when things turned for the worse in terms of access to study material and resources, I decided to lodge complaints against the authority and fight for justice. Now having been given this award, I am not only feeling proud but also motivated to fight for other students who may be facing a similar situation like mine. ”
Being held after a gap of two years, the bravery awards honoured 56 children shortlisted since 2020. In 2019, the central government had dissociated itself from ICCW and revamped the national awards for children as the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar.
Gita Siddhartha, former president and life patron, ICCW, said, “These gallant children come from 17 diffe-rent states of India, but their language is one of valour and courage. They are lionhearts who have responded to distress with determination. They have shown true bravery. They had the clearest vi-sion of what lay before them, risk and danger alike, but nevertheless went out to meet the challenge. That’s what it takes to be a hero. ”
The acts of bravery were diverse. In 2021, Nitin Singh,16, a native of Uttarakhand, was attacked by a leopard and thrown three metres away and pounced on again. Bleeding profusely and struggling for his life, Singh found a rod made by the villagers and startedspinning it. It was because of the sound of the rod and subsequent commotion by villagers that the leopard fled.
Nine-year-old Dnyeya Kaiwalya Kulkarni of Pune showed remarkable presence of mind and saved a six-year-old who received a shock and got stuck to an electric pole.
“When I heard her cry for help, I went rushing to her side. The first thing I checked was whether I was wearing rubber sandals because I know rubber insulates against electricity. My mother and grandmother had told me about this fact and at that crucial moment I remembered it. I feel very proud to have received this award,” said Kulkarni.
Similar tales of outstanding effort in the face of danger came from all corners of the country, be it the story of Sabika Yasmine from Lakshadweep or 12-year-old Forme Khongji from Meghalaya, both of whom saved others from drowning.