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Real life heroes honoured, some posthumously

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Courage personified: Godfrey Philips Bravery Ambassador Preity Zinta and chairperson of Guild of Service, V. Mohini Giri (left) present Sushree Ashamma (centre) with the award in mind-of-steel category.
Courage personified: Godfrey Philips Bravery Ambassador Preity Zinta and chairperson of Guild of Service, V. Mohini Giri (left) present Sushree Ashamma (centre) with the award in mind-of-steel category.

Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: Real life heroes were honoured with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery National Awards-2007 by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi at Hotel Ashok here on Wednesday. Some of the awards were presented posthumously.

Taking time off his busy schedule, Mr. Dasmunsi said: “On this occasion I remember my favourite nephew who rescued tribals who had been swept away by the strong currents of a river, but he lost his own life.”

Bollywood star Preity Zinta, the ambassador for the awards, said: “I have played many roles on screen, but the role of bravery ambassador is the most satisfying. When I was born, my parents said Lakshmi had come into the house and later encouraged me to stand on my own feet. It is important that today’s generation realises that girls are not liabilities.”

The gold medal in the physical bravery category was won by the late Manoj Chouhan. His father Umrao Singh Chouhan, who received the award, said his son saved 35 people during the floods in Indore last year.

“Even though he has been recognised, I am sad that I cannot see him in flesh and blood.”

The silver medal in the same category went to late Javed Ahmad who saved the lives of many children from an inferno in Meerut. The bronze medal went to the late Biswanath Ghosh of West Bengal, who rescued girls from being eve-teasing by a group of boys but was later killed by them.

Dr. Rekha Mishra, who has played a key role in curbing sex determination tests and prevention of malnutrition, got the gold medal in the social acts of courage category. Representatives of Ambulance Access for All that was the first to react and transfer injured persons to hospitals during the 7/11 Mumbai blasts received the silver award in the social acts of courage category. Another organisation, Ujjaini Senior Citizens’ Forum, that has been providing services to the needy got the bronze medal in the same category.

Sushree Ashamma of Andhra Pradesh, who has put an end to the practice of ‘Jogini’ in which young girls are married to the village deity and sexually exploited, received the award in the mind-of-steel category. The Social Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mohammed Abdul Wohab who has set up a free check-up centre and clinic for labourers and rickshaw-pullers suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases in West Bengal.

The Special Social Lifetime Achievement Award went to Alice Garg who established a society for the upkeep of rag-pickers’ children.

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