Important Awards in India
India, the land of varied culture, is also known to be the land of the brave. Amidst this pandemic, we can see that our soldiers are relentlessly striving to balance the scope of harmony in a nation. Do the highest awards in India consider the stereotypical form of bravery? Or does India recognize bravery in different fields like Civilian order, Human Rights order, Peace and Leadership order, or the ones who have made the country proud? Is it the society or the country that India considers bestowing the award? How are the awards considered prestigious in our country; what are the parameters? Here are the Important Awards in India from different spheres.
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Important Awards in India
Let us now see Important Awards in India:
1. Bharat Ratna (Civilian Award)
Established on 1954, presented by the President of India, serves an individual (foreign nationals have received this award as well; for example Nelson Mandela in 1990) who has shown phenomenal service in the field of art, literature, science and “any field of human endeavor” (This phrase was included in 2011). Satyajit Ray being the only filmmaker who was awarded this award, we can go back and see the award has done justice to C.V Raman’s immense strive for knowledge in Science as well. Mother Teresa was awarded Bharat Ratna after she received the Nobel Prize in Peace in 1979; similarly, we see that Amartya Sen was bestowed this award a year later after he received his Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998. In the field of music, Bhimsen Joshi was presented with this award in 2008; JRD Tata, the phenomenal industrialist, was also bestowed with this award in the year 1992.
One striking fact about this award is that there is no cash or monetary benefit linked with this award. The award is manufactured at Alipore Mint, Kolkata, West Bengal. Bharat Ratna stands as the symbol of spectacular and selfless service to the society irrespective of sex, creed, race, and religion. Other examples of the prestigious Civilian awards are – Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan.
2. Padma Vibhushan Awards in India
Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award of India. Established in 1954, the award is given for “exceptional and distinguished service” irrespective of caste, creed, sex, religion. This is given to people who have rendered “service in any field including service rendered by Government servants” including doctors and scientists but excluding those working with the public sector undertakings.
3. Padma Bhushan
Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in India. Also established in 1954, this award is given to an individual for “distinguished service of a high order…without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex.”
4. Padma Shri
Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India. It is awarded by the Government of India on every Republic Day. It is awarded to citizens due to their significant contribution in the field of art, science, literature, education, industry, sports, medicine, social service, industry, and social studies.
5. Param Vir Chakra (Gallantry Award)
First awarded in 1947, but instituted in 1950, the President of India awards the armed cadets (gallantry or military) with this award. The criteria are set as follows “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valor or supreme sacrifice, in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air.” The direct translation of the award is “Wheel of the ultimate brave.” This award is not any less than the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom. The importance of this award can be perceived if we look at history; this award was only given 21 times in 70 years of Independent India. The majority of this award has been bestowed when there were grave threats posed by Pakistan; the first person who was awarded Param Vir Chakra was Major Shomnath Sharma who showcased striking leadership when Srinagar airport was attacked by Pakistani infiltrators. The youngest recipient of this award was a 19-year-old cadet who captured Tiger Hill during Kargil War.
One striking fact is that unlike Bharat Ratna, the award name can be used as their surname. Shipping Corporation of India names its 15 ships by the first fifteen recipients of this award.
Similar awards of gallantry awards are Mahavir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Kirti Chakra; all of them symbolizing the amount of patriotism and bravery for the well- being of the nation.
6. Ashoka Chakra
Established in 1954, this is India’s highest peacetime military decoration which is awarded to individuals for their valor or self-sacrifice in the battlefield.
7. Mahavir Chakra Award in India
Established in 1950, this is the second-highest gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra. This award is given to individuals who have shown great acts of bravery in the presence of the enemy on land, air, or at sea. During the Indo-Pakistan 1971 war, at one time 11 Indian Air Force officers were bestowed with this award.
8. Vir Chakra
Established in 1950, this award is also given to individuals who have shown acts of bravery on the battlefield. This is the third-highest prestigious award in the Gallantry award in India category.
9. Shaurya Chakra
Established in 1952, this is the third in order after Ashoka Chakra and Kirti Chakra for peace. This award is given to individuals who have not engaged in directs actions with the enemy but have shown acts of great courage and self-sacrifice.
10. Kirti Chakra
Established in 1952, this is the second-highest military peacetime award after Ashoka Chakra. This is awarded to individuals who have shown acts of bravery away from the battlefield.
11. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (Sports Award)
Named after the former Prime Minister of India. Rajiv Gandhi, it is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. As of recent awards, the awardee wins a medallion and a cash prize of 7.5 lakhs. The Ministry while nominating certain individuals are particular to consult the Anti-Doping committee (drugs used for enhancement during activity) and their history- this is the most important step of the nomination.
As of 2018, there have been thirty-six recipients from fourteen sport disciplines: Athletics, Badminton, Billiards, Boxing, Chess, Cricket, Field Hockey, Gymnastics, Shooting, Snooker, Tennis, Wrestling, Weightlifting, and Yacht Racing has been considered for this award. The most recent recipients of the award are para-athlete Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia. Sportsmen in India have always had the history to represent India In different games – the power and zeal our nation provides are spectacular for the audience to witness.
12. Arjuna Award
Established in 1961, this award is given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. The award carried 5 lakh INR in cash and the bronze statue of Arjuna and a scroll. As per the current revision of this award, the eligible sportsman should have good performance consistently for the previous 4 years at the International level and should also possess a sense of discipline, sportsmanship, and leadership.
13. Dronacharya Awards in India
Established in 1985, this award is given to the “Guru”, to the Coaches in Games for outstanding Coaching in Sports and Games. Named after the Hindu mythological character “Dranacharya” who trained “Arjuna”, it is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports with a cash prize of 5 lakh INR, a statue of Dronacharya, a certificate and a ceremonial dress.
14. Gandhi Peace Prize (International Peace Prize)
Established in the year 1995, on the 125th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, this award recognizes an individual or an organization for their distinguished role on establishing peace and leadership in the field of economy, society, administration, culture, committee, science in a non-violent method – those adopted by that of Mahatma Gandhi’s. In 2014, ISRO was bestowed with this award; Ramkrishna Mission and Bharatiya Vidya Mandir were also the esteemed recipients of this award. Amidst extreme violence now this award stands as a symbol of silent battles signifying non-violence and enhancement in the minds of the society.
15. Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding
First awarded in 1965, this award is given internationally by the Government of India in honor of Jawaharlal Nehru. The first winner of this award was U Thant from Myanmar. Martin Luther King Jr. (United States of America) was the next recipient of this award. This award was last awarded in the year 2009 to Angela Merkel from Germany. This award is given for goodwill, international understanding, imparting friendship and solidarity.
16. Indira Gandhi Prize
Established in 1968, this award is given to individuals or organizations who strive effortlessly to promote peace, international economic order in this world. 2.5 million INR cash prize and a citation are given. The recent bearer of this award of the year 2019 is from the United Kingdom named – Sir David Attenborough; he is a famous television broadcaster and historian, known world-wide.
There are other important awards in India in different fields as well. Kalidas Samman was conferred by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. It is given to individuals in the field of Classical Dance, Classical Music, Theatre, and Visual Art. Outstanding Parliamentary Award is given to the best all-round performance as a Member of Parliament. Nehru Literary Award has been instituted by the Indian Adult Education. It is awarded for promoting adult education and literacy in India. R. D Birla National Award is given for outstanding research in the medical and research field. Prani Mitra Award is given for contribution towards Animal Welfare. National Child Awards for Exceptional Award is given to children of the age group 4 – 15 years for their exemplary achievements. It is given on Children’s Day (14th November) in Rashtrapati Bhawan. Appan Menon Memorial Award is given to journalists interested to undertake projects in the fields of international and development affairs in India and South Asia.