Gallantry Awards in India


Gallantry awards in India hold great significance in recognizing and honoring the exceptional bravery and valor exhibited by individuals in various challenging situations. These awards serve as a testament to the courage, selflessness, and sacrifice displayed by individuals in the face of danger or adversity. These awards not only honor the recipients but also inspire and motivate others to exhibit bravery and selflessness in the face of adversity. They serve as a source of national pride and unity, fostering a spirit of patriotism and reverence for the armed forces.


Types of Gallantry Awards

Gallantry awards are basically divided into into two parts:
1. Gallantry at the face of enemy (War Time)

  • Param Vir Chakra
  • Mahavir Chakra
  • Vir Chakra

2. Gallantry other than the face of enemy (Peace Time)

  • Ashoka chakra
  • Kirti Chakra
  • Shaurya Chakra

Order of precedence of the awards:

The Param Vir Chakra -- the Ashoka Chakra -- the Mahavir Chakra -- the Kirti Chakra -- the Vir Chakra -- the Shaurya Chakra.

Gallantry Awards given so far:

As per official website of government, the awardees who got gallantry awards are:

  • Param Vir Chakra – 21
  • Mahavir Chakra – 212
  • Vir Chakra – 1332
  • Ashoka chakra – 97
  • Kirti Chakra – 486
  • Shaurya Chakra – 2122

Some important facts:

• Post-independence, the Government of India on 26th January, 1950 instituted first three gallantry awards namely Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947.

• Thereafter, other three gallantry awards i.e. Ashoka Chakra Class-I, Ashoka Chakra Class-II and Ashoka Chakra Class-III were instituted by the Government of India on 4th January, 1952, which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947. These awards were renamed as Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra respectively in January, 1967.

When are these awards announced?

These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year –

  • On the occasion of the Republic Day and
  • On the occasion of the Independence Day.

Eligibility conditions for the award-

1. In order to qualify for the Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, and Vir Chakra, a person must fall into one of the following categories:
• Officers and members of all ranks of the Territorial Army, Militia, Naval, Military, and Air Forces, as well as any Reserve Forces and other Armed Forces that are duly established.
• Civilians of either sex working regularly or temporarily for any of the aforementioned Forces, including Matrons, Sisters, Nurses, and the Staff of the Nursing Services and Other Services Relating to Hospitals and Nursing.

Conditions of Eligibility:

• Whether on land, at sea, or in the air, the enemy must be present for the Param Vir Chakra to be given out for the most outstanding courage or some daring or noteworthy act of valour or self-sacrifice.
• Whether on land, at sea, or in the air, acts of conspicuous bravery in the presence of the adversary qualify for the Maha Vir Chakra.
• The Vir Chakra is awarded for deeds of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land or at sea or in the air.

2. People who fall into the following categories are eligible for the Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Shaurya Chakra:

• Officers, members of all ranks of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, members of any Reserve Force, members of the Territorial Army, members of the Militia, and members of any other legally established forces.
• Civilians of either sex from all walks of life, including Central Para-Military Forces and Railway Protection Force members;
• Members of the Nursing Services of the Armed Forces;.

Conditions of Eligibility:

  • Other than in the face of an enemy, the Ashoka Chakra is given for the most egregious courage, some act of daring, the greatest act of valour, or self-sacrifice.
  • The Kirti Chakra is given for eminent bravery that is not displayed in the presence of an opponent.
  • The Shaurya Chakra is given for bravery displayed away from an enemy.

Selection Process of awardees:

The awards are granted to individuals from the armed forces as well as civilians. The selection committee considers various factors, including the degree of risk faced, the individual's courage and determination, and the impact of their actions on the overall outcome of the operation or situation.
The nominations for gallantry awards are received from various sources, including superior officers, eyewitnesses, and other reliable accounts. The committee, comprising senior military officers and government officials, evaluates each nomination based on the established criteria. The final decision is made by the President of India, who confers the gallantry awards .

Param Vir Chakra

The Param Vir Chakra also known as “wheel of the ultimate bravery” is the highest gallantry award in India which is awarded for acts of exceptional bravery and courage in the battlefield, whether on land, sea, or air.

Mahavir Chakra

The Mahavir Chakra is the second-highest gallantry award in India which is conferred for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, but of a lesser degree than that required for the Param Vir Chakra.

Vir Chakra

The Vir Chakra is the third-highest gallantry award which is awarded for acts of bravery and valor in the face of the enemy, either on the battlefield or in aerial combat.

Ashoka chakra

It is the highest peacetime military award for bravery and self sacrifice in the battlefield apart from when confronted with the enemy. Naik Narbahadur Thapa, Havildar Bachittar Singh, and Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas were the first recipients of this Ashoka Chakra.

Kirti Chakra

The Kirti Chakra is second highest peace-time award, awarded for conspicious bravery in non- combat situation. It can be awarded to military personnel as well as to civilians. It can be awarded posthumously.

Shaurya Chakra

Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for bravery, self sacrifice or gallantry otherwise than on the face of enemy.

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