Param Vir Chakra

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Param Vir Chakra
Param-vir-chakra-medal.png

Param-Vir-Chakra-ribbon.svg
Param Vir Chakra and its ribbon, the highest military decoration of India
Awarded by Republic of India
Country India
Type Military award
Eligibility
  • Officers, men and women of all ranks of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, of any of the Reserve Forces, of the Territorial Army Militia and of any other lawfully constituted Armed Forces.[1]
  • Matrons, Sisters, Nurses and the staff of the Nursing Services and other Service pertaining to Hospitals and Nursing, and Civilians of either sex serving regularly or temporarily under the orders, directions or supervision of any of the above-mentioned Forces.[1]
Awarded for Most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea, or in the air.[1]
Status Currently awarded
Post-nominals PVC
Statistics
Established 26 January 1950
First awarded 3 November 1947[a]
Last awarded 6 July 1999
Total awarded 21
Posthumous
awards
14
Distinct
recipients
21
Precedence
Next (higher) Bharat Ratna[3][4]
Next (lower) Ashoka Chakra[b][4][3]

The Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is India's highest military decoration awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy. The medal has been awarded 21 times, 14 of which were posthumous awards,[2] and 16 were awarded for their action in Indo-Pakistani conflicts alone.[6]

Literally meaning "Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave",[7] it is similar to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.[8][9] The PVC was established on 26 January 1950 (Republic Day of India).[7] Provision was made for the award of a bar for a second (or subsequent) awards of the Param Vir Chakra, with a replica of the Vajra, the weapon of Indra, the god of heaven.[7] To date, there have been no such awards. Award of the decoration carries with it the right to use "PVC" as a post-nominal abbreviation.[2]

The Ashoka Chakra is the peace time equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra, and is awarded for the "most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice" other than in the face of the enemy. Unlike Param Vir Chakra, which is awarded to only military personnel, Ashok Chakra decoration may be awarded either to military or civilian personnel and may be awarded posthumously.[5]

The award also carries several allowances and incentives to the recipient (or his family members in case of death of the recipient) by the central government and ministries. In addition, many states have established individual pension rewards that far exceeds the central government's stipend for recipients of the decoration.

History[edit]

The PVC was established on 26 January 1950 (Republic Day of India), by the President of India, with effect from 15 August 1947 (Independence Day of India).[7][2] It can be awarded to officers or enlisted personnel from all branches of the Indian military.[10] Provision was made for the award of a bar for a second (or subsequent) awards of the Param Vir Chakra, with a replica of the Vajra, the weapon of Indra, the god of heaven.[7] To date, there have been no such awards. Award of the decoration carries with it the right to use "PVC" as a post-nominal abbreviation.[2]

Design[edit]

The medal was designed by Savitri Khanolkar who was married to an Indian Army officer, Vikram Khanolkar of the Sikh Regiment.[11] This was done following a request from the first Indian Adjutant General, Major General Hira Lal Atal, who in turn had been entrusted with the responsibility of coming up with an Indian equivalent of the Victoria Cross by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the Indian Union. Coincidentally, the first Param Vir Chakra was awarded to her son-in-law Lt Gen Surinder Nath Sharma's (Engineer-in-Chief) elder brother, Major Somnath Sharma for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947. He died while evicting Pakistani infiltrators and raiders from Srinagar Airport. This was when India and newly formed Pakistan had the first war over the Kashmir issue.[12][9]

The medal is a circular bronze disc 1.375 inches (3.49 cm) in diameter. The state emblem appears in the center, on a raised circle. Surrounding this, four replicas of Vajra, the all-powerful mythic weapon of Indra, the ancient Vedic King of Gods. The motif symbolizes the sacrifice Rishi Dadhichi, who had donated his bones to the Gods for making Vajra to kill the demon Vritra. The Indian General Service Medal 1947 which contained the Bhavani sword was withdrawn later.[8][13] The decoration is suspended from a straight swiveling suspension bar. It is named on the edge. On the rear, around a plain center, are two legends separated by lotus flowers. The words Param Vir Chakra are written in Hindi and English.[14][9] A purple ribbon, 32 millimetres (1.3 in) long, holds the Param Vir Chakra.[9]

Recipients[edit]

The three living recipients of the Param Vir Chakra: Yogendra Singh Yadav, Bana Singh and Sanjay Kumar

The medal has been awarded 21 times, 14 of which were posthumous awards, and and 16 were awarded for their action in Indo-Pakistani conflicts alone.[6][15] Of the 21 awardees, 20 are from the Indian Army and one from the Indian Air Force. The Grenadiers have received the most number of Param Vir Chakras, with 3 awards. The various Gorkha Rifle regiments of the Indian Army have also received 3 awards, with the 1 Gorkha Rifles and 8 Gorkha Rifles and 11 Gorkha Rifles each having a PVC recipient.[16]

Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously in 1971 was the only Indian Air Force officer to date have been honoured with the Param Vir Chakra.[7][17][16] Naib Subedar, Sanjay Kumar and Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav are the only active duty PVC recipients in the Indian Army.[15]

Allowances and incentives for the awardees[edit]

The award also carries a cash allowance for those under the rank of lieutenant (or the appropriate service equivalent) and, in some cases, a cash award. On the death of the recipient, the pension is transferred to the widow until her death or remarriage. In case of bachelor posthumous recipient, the allowance is paid to his father or mother, and in case the award it awarded posthumously to a widower, the allowance shall be paid to his son or unmarried daughter.[18] A monthly stipend of Rs. 10,000 is given the awardee.[19] The award amount and pension benefits are exempted from income tax. In addition to these, different ministries under the Central Government have various incentives to the PVC winners. These include a first class /AC 2 tier Complimentary Pass to the awardee along with a companion from the Ministry of Railways, a 75% concession on economy fares by Indian Airlines, and no rental, installation and registration charges for the services by MTNL. In addition, the awardee is exempted from the toll tax by the Ministry of Transport. Many states have established individual pension rewards that far exceed the central government's stipend for recipients of the decoration.[20]

Allowances by state governments[edit]

Many states have established individual pension rewards that far exceed the central government's stipend for recipients of the decoration.[20]

Cash amount States awarding
₹3.1 million Haryana
₹3 million Punjab
₹2.5 million
₹2 million
₹1.5 million
₹1 million
₹22,500

Cancellation[edit]

There is a provision for cancellation of the award by the President of India. Thereafter the awardee name will be removed from the register, and the insignia will be recovered from the same. Although the President has the right to withdraw the cancellation, he /she must be competent enough to restore the award. Any notice of cancellation or restoration in all the cases will be published in the Gazette of India.[18]

In popular culture[edit]

The TV series, Param Vir Chakra (1990) on the lives of Param Vir Chakra winners, was directed by noted film director Chetan Anand. The first episode of the series featured the first recipient of the award, Major Som Nath Sharma of the Kumaon Regiment.[21][22][23]

The Bollywood movie LOC Kargil gives an account of all of the PVC recipients from the Kargil War where Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey is played by Ajay Devgan, Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav is played by Manoj Bajpayee, Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar is played by Sunil Shetty and Captain Vikram Batra is played by Abhishek Bachchan.[24]

Notes[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ PVC was established on 26 January 1950 (Republic Day of India), by the President of India, with effect from 15 August 1947.[2]
  2. ^ Though Ashoka Chakrais placed below PVC in the order of precedence, it is considered as a peacetime equivalent to Param Vir Chakra.[5]
Citations
  1. ^ a b c "Param Vir Chakra". Gallantry Awards. Indian Army. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "11 Facts You Need To Know About The Param Vir Chakra". Indiatimes. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Precedence Of Medals". Indian Army. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Chakravorty 1995, p. 40.
  5. ^ a b "Awards Warb" (PDF). warb-mha. p. 1. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b NCERT 2016, p. 5.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Param Vir Chakra (PVC)". India: National Portal of India. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  8. ^ a b NCERT 2016, p. 11.
  9. ^ a b c d Priya Aurora (27 December 2013). "7 Facts Average Indian Doesn't Know About Param Vir Chakra". Topyaps. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "PARAM VIR CHAKRA". Indian Army. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  11. ^ Satyindra Singh (20 June 1999). "Honouring the Bravest of the Brave". The Tribune, Chandigarh. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  12. ^ NCERT 2016, p. 12.
  13. ^ Haynes, Ed. "General Service Medal 1947". Decorations and Medals of the Republic of India. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Sumit Walia (Jan 23, 2009). "The first Param Vir Chakra". Sify.com. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  15. ^ a b "Other States / West Bengal News : Living with war memories that never fade". The Hindu. 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  16. ^ a b INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK (Jan 25, 2008). "Param Vir Chakra winners since 1950". Times of India. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "Indian Air Force :: Param Vir Chakra". Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  18. ^ a b Chakravorty 1995, p. 48.
  19. ^ "Param Vir Chakra IN". indiannavy.nic.in. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "How do we Reward the Men in Uniform? A look at the reward extended to Gallantry Award Winners". Factly. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Madhu Jain (August 15, 1990). "Mandi House hardsells Kashmir in its serial 'Gul Gulshan Gulfam'". India Today. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  22. ^ "Goldie commands respect even 10 years after death". www.sunday-guardian.com. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "Maker of innovative, meaningful movies". The Hindu. 15 June 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  24. ^ "LOC-Kagil: How `real'?". www.thehindu.com. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]