The 'National Bravery Awards for Indian Children' are some of the prestigious civil awards in India, which are presented to the Indian children for meritorious acts of bravery against all obstacles.
The children, eight girls and 13 boys, have been selected by a high powered committee in recognition for their outstanding deeds of bravery and meritorious service. Two Awards will be given posthumously.
The coveted Bharat Award will be given to 13-year-old Gaurav Singh Saini of Haryana, who saved approximately 50 to 60 people in a stampede at the Naina Devi temple.
Karan Nishad of Uttar Pradesh has been selected for the Sanjay Chopra Award, the 11-year-old boy had saved five persons from drowning.
The prestigious Geeta Chopra Award will be conferred on 10-year-old Maibam Prity Devi of Manipur, who saved several lives when miscreants hurled a grenade inside their shop in Mayang Imphal Bazar.
Late Ranu Mishra (10 years) of Uttar Pradesh will get the Bapu Gaidhani Award posthumously for displaying exemplary courage in saving her brother and his friend from drowning.
Vijith V. of Kerala and Narendrasinh Natvarsinh Solanki of Gujarat will also get Bapu Gaidhani Awards for their acts of bravery. Vijith had saved four children from drowning in river Kallada while Narendrasinh had saved his father from the clutches of a crocodile in river Dhadhar.
Along with courageous acts there are instances of bold decisions and revolts against prevailing social-evil. Three girls from West Bengal-Rekha Kalindi (11 years), Sunita Mahato (11 years) and Afsana Khatun (12 years) refused to get married at early age and wanted to continue their studies.
The other recipients are: Uddesh R. Ramnathkar (Goa), Dijekshon Syiem, Thoi Thoi Khumanthem (Manipur), Zonunsanga, Lalrammawia (both from Mizoram), Sujith R., Amal Antony, Krishnapriya K., Sujith Kumar P.(all from Kerala), Master Dijekshon Syiem (Meghalaya), Vaishaliben Sambhubhai Solanki (Gujarat) and Yogesh Kumar Jangid (Rajasthan).
The Sanjay Chopra Award and Geeta Chopra Award are two of the most coveted awards among the National Bravery Awards. The awards were instituted in the year 1978 in the memory of the two brave Chopra children, who laid their lives while confronting their kidnappers. These two awards are presented to a boy and girl, respectively for their acts of bravery. The Bharat Award is considered the highest award among all the National Bravery Awards. This award was incepted in the year 1987 and the other prestigious award in this category, named the Bapu Gayadhani Award was started to be presented from 1988. The names of the award winning children are announced on 14th November, every year and the children receive the award from the Prime Minister of India, on a later date. A reception is also organised in their honour by the President of India and they take part in the Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, New Delhi, on 26th January, as well.
The National Bravery Award was a brainchild of India's first Prime Minister, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, who thought about it on 2nd October, 1957, while watching a performance at Delhi's Ramlila grounds, at the Red Fort. An accident occurred in that programme, when a fire broke out in a Shamiana, due to a short circuit. A 14 year-old scout, named Harish Chandra reacted bravely at that time and he instantly ripped open the burning Shamiana, using his knife. He saved hundreds of people who were trapped inside, with this act. Pundit Nehru was stunned and inspired with the brave act of that child and he instructed the authorities to constitute an award to honour brave children from all over the country. Action was taken immediately and Harish Chandra became the first one to receive this award.
The awardees, who will receive a medal, certificate and cash, are selected by a committee comprising representatives of various ministries, non-governmental organisations and Indian Council for Child Welfare members.
Eligible awardees are also granted financial assistance until they complete their schooling. Since its inception in 1957, the bravery awards have been given to 777 children, including 554 boys and 223 girls.