Param Vir Chakra
|Param Veer Chakra|
Param Vir Chakra and its ribbon, the highest military decoration of India
|Awarded by India|
|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.|
|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."|
|Established||26 January 1950|
|First awarded||3 November 1947|
|Last awarded||6 July 1999|
|Next (higher)||Bharat Ratna|
|Next (lower)||Ashoka Chakra|
The three living recipients of the Param Vir Chakra Award: Yogendra Singh Yadav, Bana Singh and Sanjay Kumar
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.
Literally meaning "Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave", it is similar to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom. 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). It can be awarded to officers or enlisted personnel from all branches of the Indian military. It is the highest gallantry award of the Government of India after Ashoka Chakra,(amendment in the statute on 26 January 1980 resulted in this order of wearing). It replaced the former British colonial Victoria Cross (VC), (see List of Indian Victoria Cross recipients).
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. To date, there have been no such awards. Award of the decoration carries with it the right to use P.V.C. as a postnominal abbreviation.
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. The decoration may be awarded either to military or civilian personnel and may be awarded posthumously.
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. The paltry amount of the pension has been a rather controversial issue throughout the life of the decoration. The stipend stood at Rs. 10,000 per month in August 2014. In addition, many states have established individual pension rewards that far exceeds the central government's stipend for recipients of the decoration.
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. Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar and Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav are the only active duty PVC recipients in the Indian Army.
The medal was designed by Savitri Khanolkar who was married to an Indian Army officer, Vikram Khanolkar of the Sikh Regiment. 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 (ENC) 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.
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. 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.
A purple ribbon, 32 millimetres (1.3 in) long, holds the Param Vir Chakra.
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.
The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd (SCI), a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise under the aegis of Ministry of Shipping, named fifteen of her Crude Oil Tankers in honour of the Param Vir Chakra recipients. All fifteen vessels were sister vessels and were commonly known as the PVC series tankers which were delivered to SCI from June 1984 to September 1985. The first of the PVC series of vessels was MT "Major Somnath Sharma, PVC" delivered to SCI on 11th June, 1984. Due to MARPOL Convention on single hull tankers, SCI phased out all fifteen PVC series crude tankers on completion of their economic age of 25 years.
In popular culture
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.
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 Bajpai, Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar is played by Sunil Shetty and Captain Vikram Batra is played by Abhishek Bachchan.
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