On March 31 last year, 15-year-old Ramdinthara had gone swimming with his friends when one of them began to drown. Though Ramdinthara managed to pull his friend out, he drowned. Ramdinthara is the only child who was conferred the National Bravery Award posthumously this year.
Started by the Indian Council for Child Welfare in 1957, the National Bravery Award was constituted to recognise children for performing outstanding deeds of bravery and serve as an inspiration for many others.
The list of awardees this year has 22 children.
One of the most prestigious of the National Bravery Awards —Bharat Award — is being given to Tarang Atulbhai Mistry from Gujarat.
Tarang Atulbhai Mistry
On the afternoon of March 8 last year, the 17-year-old boy saved four persons from drowning. On the occasion of Dhuleti, Tarang, like several others, had come to the banks of Narmada to take a dip in the river. Hearing the calls of help, Tarang jumped into the 20-25-foot deep water. He saved the lives of four people that day.
Akanksha Gaute was another such braveheart. On the night of June 2 last year, in Chhattisgarh, a group of miscreants started abusing Akanksha and her father who were on their way home. The miscreants started misbehaving with them. With nine years of training in martial arts and a black-belt in karate, 16-year-old Akanksha was unfazed. She beat up three of them.
Another child who was conferred the National Bravery Award this year is nine-year-old Stripleasemen Mylliem from Meghalaya.
On August 2, 2011, Stripleasemen woke up to see his cousin, 28-year-old Bremmingstar Mylliem, go on a killing spree. Bremmingstar killed his parents and younger sister. Stripleasemen woke up his 11-year-old cousin. Kicking the door open, Stripleasemen dragged his cousin to a neighbour’s house and saved her life. The villagers came and apprehended Bremmingstar and handed him over to police.
Another of the bravehearts, Renu, put an end to the repeated abuse of residents of her shelter home. Renu approached a helpline who put her in touch with the Child Welfare Committee. After being apprised of the conditions at the shelter home by Renu, a team of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights conducted a night-long operation at the shelter. The extent of the abuse at the house — psychological and physical — as well as the corporal manner in which punishment was meted out to its residents, was exposed due to Renu’s efforts. Renu was given the Geeta Chopra Award for her courage.
In yet another display of exemplary courage, seven-year-old Koroungamba Kumam rescued his sister from a fire on the night of July 11, 2011, in Manipur. As the quilts and mattresses caught fire, Koroungamba woke up to the acrid smell. Taking stock of the situation, he quickly covered his sister’s bed with thick clothes, raised the alarm and later shifted her to a safer place. While he managed to save his sister, Koroungamba suffered serious burn injuries to his arms and legs.
A 16-year-old boy from Kerala, Mebin Cyriac, is also among the 22 recipients of the National Bravery Award this year. When he saw his teacher, Bijin Thomas, falling into the Pampa river while getting off a boat, Mebin dived into the waters and searched for him. He dragged Thomas to the shore and revived him.
On August 17, 2011, 12-year-old Lalrinhlua and his friends were going to a neighbourhood pond for a swim when they heard the screams of a child. Rushing to the pond, they saw a boy drowning. With no one around to rescue the child, Lalrinhlua jumped into the waters and pulled the unconscious boy to safety. He then administered first-aid to revive the boy.
Ten-year-old Gajendra Ram, a student of a primary school in a village in Chhattisgarh, saw his fellow student, Gayatri, fall into 22-foot well. Immediately, he jumped into the well to save her. He put Gayatri on his back and tried to climb out of the well. When he could do not this, he stood her up against the wall of the well and kept her afloat. Later, villagers rescued both children from the well. For his bravery, Gajendra Ram has been conferred with the Sanjay Chopra Award.
On June 3, 2011, 8-year-old Devansh Tiwari had gone to his relative’s place in Chhattisgarh when he saw 14-year-old Shikhar fall into a septic tank near a construction site. The tank had been covered but had a hole, about two feet wide, on the top. Dangling his legs through the hole, he asked Shikhar to hold on to his legs and he tried to pull Shikhar up. Meanwhile, Devansh kept shouting for help. Hearing his cries, people gathered and rescued Shikhar from the tank.
Fourteen-year-old Ramith K from Kerala was returning home on January 25, 2012, when he heard cries of help. A 58-year-old woman had fallen into a pond and was drowning. On hearing her cries, a man from the village rushed to help. However, while trying to save her, he too began drowning and shouted for help. Ramith jumped into the pond and saved their lives by dragging them out of the water.
On May 12 last year, a storehouse caught fire in Chhattisgarh. Six children who were trapped in the building began crying for help. Meanwhile, the fire, which had started in the wooden and straw structure outside, reached the electric wires inside. With smoke filling the storehouse, the children had no way to escape. It was 16-year-old Mukesh Nishad who pulled them out one by one and saved their lives.