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National Bravery Awards for 22

Vijetha S.N
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Ramdinthara (15) from Mizoram, who died saving his friend from drowning, is the only child to get the award posthumously

THE BRAVE WINNERS:Some of the young winners of the National Bravery Awards 2013.— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
THE BRAVE WINNERS:Some of the young winners of the National Bravery Awards 2013.— Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

It was a sultry June night. Young Akanksha Gaute sat behind her father on their bike, enjoying the ride home. Suddenly her father told her to be alert; he didn’t like the look of two fellows on the motorcycle behind them.

The duo were soon joined by another similar pair and they sped ahead only to stop right in front of them, forcing Akanksha’s father to do the same. Everyone got off and the four men started with lewd comments followed by violent threats, when, all of a sudden, “smack!”, one man got hit, and, before the others could react, another two were hit, hard and in all the right places.

“They had messed with the wrong people,” says a smiling 16-year-old Akanksha, trained in martial arts for nine years. She has come to the Capital from Chhattisgarh to collect the National Bravery Award, along with 20 other brave children from across the country who risked life and limb to save the lives of others.

“I didn’t hesitate,” says another ever-smiling brave heart, 14-year-old Sameep Anil Pandit.

He ran into his school’s burning cattle shed to free buffaloes. They were chained and were not noticed. By the time they were spotted, the fire had spread and everyone gave up on them, except Sameep. “They might have been just buffaloes to the others, but to me they were my friends,” he adds, winking at his mother, a police constable.

“He suffered deep bruises on his shoulders and arms and when I sounded him out, he stubbornly told me he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again,” she says, proud about her son who wishes to be a soldier one day.

Proud and worried parents were aplenty. There was the father who watched his son dive into the water again and again to save people from drowning.

“There was nothing we could say to stop him and I just know if he sees someone in trouble he would do it again” says Atulbhai Mistry, father of Tarang Mistry. Tarang is this year’s winner of the Bharat Award.

“I was so proud and so scared that I started crying,” says the mother of the youngest braveheart, seven-year-old Koroungamba Kumam from Manipur. One night he woke up to find his house on fire and his sister in danger. He swiftly got his sister to safety and continued fighting the fire with quilts.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed” — a small boy in Karnataka’s Kodagu district learnt the true meaning of this quote when he accidently fell into a river in spate. He would’ve drowned had it not been for his best friend, 13-year-old Suhail who jumped right in and rescued him. The fact that Suhail knew little swimming did not seem to matter. “He thanked me. We didn’t hug or anything but I know that he would’ve done the same for me,” says Suhail.

Saving the lives of strangers at the risk of one’s own life can seem strange to many but Vishnu M.V. doesn’t think so. He was waiting for a train in his home State of Kerala when he saw two girls crossing the railway tracks.

One of them lost a step and fell face down; suddenly they heard the whistle of the train and, try as she might, the girl couldn’t get up. The train started approaching nearer and Vishnu, heart thudding ran and pulled up the girl. Had he been even a second late, both would’ve been crushed beneath the train.

Saving her sister from a tiger attack, diving into dangerous waters to save the drowning, running into blazing fires to save the burning are some of the brave acts done by the 22 children being awarded this year’s National Bravery Awards.

Fifteen-year-old Ramdinthara from Mizoram, who sacrificed his life while trying to save his friend from drowning, is the only child to get the award posthumously.

The others will receive their awards from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the 63{+r}{+d}Republic Day celebrations.

The Geeta Chopra award will be given to a girl in Delhi who exposed physical and sexual abuse of the inmates of a children’s home by the owner and staff. Gajendra Ram from Chhattisgarh will be felicitated with the “Sanjay Chopra” award.

The other awardees include Devansh Tiwari and Mukesh Nishad from Chhattisgarh, Lalrinhlua from Mizoram, E. Suganthan from Tamil Nadu, Ramith K and Mebin Cyriac from Kerala, Vishwendra Lohkna, Satendra Lohkna and Pawan Kumar Kanaujiya from Uttar Pradesh , Stripleaseman Mylliem from Meghalaya and Sapna Kumari Meena from Rajasthan.


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