Brave-hearts sharing a common passion for helping people in distress even at the risk of their own lives, were honoured at the “Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award-2009” function here on Friday.

In the physical bravery category, late Chintan Joshi of Maharashtra was posthumously given a gold medal for making a valiant bid to save his friends from drowning in a dam in Lonavala.

His father Vijay Shantilal Joshi remembered his son as a jovial boy who was always willing to lend a helping hand. “He was in his first year of MBA in Mumbai when he went for an excursion to Lonavala. His friends decided to swim in Tungarli Dam. They swam to the far side of the dam where the water was deep. As two of them were struggling to stay afloat, my son jumped into the dam and managed to rescue them. But the effort to save the two boys zapped him of energy and the water prevailed over him.”

The silver medal in the same category went to late Subhash Swain. While successfully chasing away bandits, who were attempting to loot a jewellery shop in Orissaa, Mr. Swain received a fatal gunshot.

Sultan Ahmed from Rampur received the bronze medal in the physical bravey section on behalf of his late son Talib Hussain. At the risk of his own life, Mr. Hussain had saved six members of a family whose house was on fire. Mr. Ahmed says that he has not got any compensation from Government, till date.

Prakash Murlidhar Amte and Mandakini Amte were honoured with the Social Lifetime Achievement Award for their commitment towards improving the lives of the Madia Gond tribal people of Maharashtra.

The Mind of Steel Award was bagged by Sushree Yashoda Palan, who has made a career out of writing books in Gujarati despite suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. “I cannot bend my legs and my right hand is like a piece of wood. Yet I was determined to complete my education and my mother wholeheartedly supported me. I did tuition to run my kitchen,” she says.

The Amodini Award was conferred on economist Chetna Gala Sinha for her extensive work in empowering women through micro-finance in rural Maharashtra. “I started micro-enterprise development banks in rural areas in my State and Karnataka. This has enabled women vegetable sellers to buy mobile phones and supply groceries to more houses. We support a holistic approach that combines economic activity with educational tool and healthcare,” says Ms. Sinha.

In Acts of Social Courage category, non-government organisation APJVPS/Ashray from Andhra Pradesh got the gold, Delhi activist Pratibha Devi bagged the silver and Parmaben Sawa from Gujarat received the bronze medals.

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