When 22 sailors were trapped in their ship due to Cyclone Neelam in Tamil Nadu in October last year, five brave hearts, without a thought for their own safety, rushed to their rescue in the dead of night swimming nearly 100 metres into the sea.
These five persons -- Vadivelu, P. Kalaimani, V. Madan, Uday Moorthy and K. Gopi -- were among the 11 honoured for their acts of bravery and presented the Godfrey Phillips Bravery National Awards, 2013, here on Wednesday.
They were chosen from over 2,000 nominees from across West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Each of the 11 shared his/her interesting stories with the audience. An 11-year-old girl, Prasannta Shandilya from Odisha, awarded the “Special Physical Bravery Award” for protecting her parents from five dacoits, recalled the experience in her home on the night of April 12, 2011.
“On hearing their cries for help I was first taken aback but then realised I had to do something. I crawled into the kitchen and brought two handfuls of chilli powder which I hurled at the attackers,” said Ms. Shandilya.
Her parents then apprehended the intruders and the police were informed.
Shandilya had also been presented the National Bravery Award 2011 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Republic Day last year.
Another inspiring story was that of Priyanka Mondal who was honoured with the “Social Bravery Award”.
A qualified nurse by profession, she was walking back home from work at around 8 p.m. on January 20, 2011, when she heard cries of pain. On closer inspection she found a woman in midst of labour and a helpless husband unable to locate anyone for help or any vehicle to take them.
The highway was deserted and dark. Ms. Mondal came to their rescue and helped the woman deliver her baby on the roadside, under the light of a mobile phone. Her hair clips were used to serve as clamps for the umbilical cord.