Every year, Indian children between the ages of 6 to 18 are felicitated for their commendable acts of bravery. On this Republic Day, 25 children will be bestowed with the National Bravery Award by the Government of India and the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW).
This year, eight children from the southern part of the country, including six from Kerala and two from Telangana, are among the 25 National Bravery Award winners. The winner from Kerala is 13-year-old Nithin Philip Mathew, who saved his neighbour's family after their house caught fire in a cylinder blast, while the other from the state, Aromal rescued two children from drowning in a 14-feet pond.
The other winners from Kerala are Beedhovan (14), Anandu Dileep (14), Abhijith KV (15) and Muhammad Shamnad (14). Shivampet Ruchitha, hailing from Telangana, is the youngest of all the 25 award winners. She saved two children on her school bus when a train hit their vehicle. The other child from Telangana, Sai Krishna saved his maid from getting electrocuted inside their house.
Yet another award winner is Joena Chakraborty from the capital city, whose father's phone was snatched by two men on a road. Joena ran after the snatchers and took the phone back without caring about the danger. From Maharashtra, Gaurav Kawduji Sahastrabuddhe sacrificed his life while saving his four friends.
On January 24, the winners will receive the award at the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Of the 25 winners, 22 are boys and 3 are girls. The awardees will also perform at the Republic Day Parade.
The National Bravery Award was started in 1957 to give awards to children between the ages of 6 to 18 for their brave deeds. The awards consists of the following categories:
The Bharat Award, since 1987
The Sanjay Chopra Award, since 1978
The Geeta Chopra Award, since 1978
The Bapu Gaidhani Award, since 1988
General National Bravery Awards, since 1957
The committee which selects the deserving children consists of representatives from leading government and non-government organisations i.e. the secretariats of the president and the vice-president, the Central Social Welfare Board, the Indian Police, All India Radio, Doordarshan, the National Bal Bhavan, and the SOS Children's Villages of India.
The Bharat award winner gets a gold medal, while the rest get a silver medal. Each child is also given financial assistance to complete his or her schooling, as a part of ICCW's sponsorship programme, under the Indira Gandhi scholarship scheme.