Param Vir Chakra

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Param Veer 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  India
Country  India
Type Medal
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]
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
Last awarded 6 July 1999
Total awarded 21
Posthumous
awards
14
Distinct
recipients
21
Precedence
Next (higher) Bharat Ratna[2]
Next (lower) Ashoka Chakra[2]
PVC Recipients.jpg
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",[3] it is similar to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.[3] 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.[3] 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.[1] 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.[3][4] Naib Subedar Sanjay Kumar and Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav are the only active duty PVC recipients in the Indian Army.[5]

Design[edit]

The medal was designed by Savitri Khanolkar who was married to an Indian Army officer, Vikram Khanolkar of the Sikh Regiment.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

A purple ribbon, 32 millimetres (1.3 in) long, holds the Param Vir Chakra.

Recipients[edit]

Key
   # Posthumous recipient
Service
Number
Rank Name Unit Branch Date Place
IC-521 Major Somnath Sharma# 4th Battalion
Kumaon Regiment
Indian Army November 3, 1947 Badgam
Jammu & Kashmir
27373 Naik Jadu Nath Singh# 1st Battalion
Rajput Regiment
Indian Army February 6, 1948 Naushera
Jammu & Kashmir
SS-14246 Second Lieutenant Rama Raghoba Rane Bombay Sappers
Corps of Engineers
Indian Army April 8, 1948 Naushera
Jammu & Kashmir
2831592 Company
Havildar
Major
Piru Singh Shekhawat# 6th Battalion
Rajputana Rifles
Indian Army July 17, 1948 Tithwal
Jammu & Kashmir
22356 Lance Naik Karam Singh 1st Battalion
Sikh Regiment
Indian Army October 13, 1948 Tithwal
Jammu & Kashmir
IC-8947 Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria# 3rd Battalion
1st Gurkha Rifles
Indian Army December 5, 1961 Elizabethville
Katanga, Congo
IC-7990 Major Dhan Singh Thapa 1st Battalion
8th Gurkha Rifles
Indian Army October 20, 1962 Ladakh
Jammu & Kashmir, India
JC-4547 Subedar Joginder Singh# 1st Battalion
Sikh Regiment
Indian Army October 23, 1962 Tongpen La
NFA, India
IC-7990 Major Shaitan Singh# 13th Battalion
Kumaon Regiment
Indian Army November 18, 1962 Rezang La
Jammu & Kashmir
2639885 Company
Quartermaster
Havildar
Abdul Hamid# 4th Battalion
The Grenadiers
Indian Army September 10, 1965 Khem Karan Sector
India
IC-5565 Lieutenant-Colonel Ardeshir Burzorji Tarapore# 17th Poona Horse Indian Army October 15, 1965 Phillora
Sialkot Sector, Pakistan
4239746 Lance Naik Albert Ekka# 14th Battalion
Brigade of the Guards
Indian Army December 3, 1971 Gangasagar
Agartala Sector
10877 F(P) Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon# No. 18 Squadron Indian Air Force December 14, 1971 Srinagar
Jammu & Kashmir
IC-25067 Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal# 17th Poona Horse Indian Army December 16, 1971 Barapind-Jarpal
Shakargarh Sector
IC-14608 Major Hoshiar Singh 3rd Battalion
The Grenadiers
Indian Army December 17, 1971 Basantar River
Shakargarh Sector
JC-155825 Naib Subedar Bana Singh 8th Battalion
Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry
Indian Army May 23, 1987 Siachen Glacier
Jammu and Kashmir
IC-32907 Major Ramaswamy Parameshwaran# 8th Battalion
Mahar Regiment
Indian Army November 25, 1987 Sri Lanka
IC-56959 Captain Manoj Kumar Pandey# 1st Battalion
11th Gorkha Rifles
Indian Army July 3, 1999 Khaluber/Juber Top
Batalik sector
Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir
2690572 Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav 18th Battalion
The Grenadiers
Indian Army July 4, 1999 Tiger Hill
Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir
13760533 Rifleman Sanjay Kumar 13th Battalion
Jammu & Kashmir Rifles
Indian Army July 5, 1999 Area Flat Top
Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir
IC-57556 Captain Vikram Batra# 13th Battalion
Jammu & Kashmir Rifles
Indian Army July 6, 1999 Point 5140, Point 4875
Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir

Regiments[edit]

Members of the Indian Army at the India Gate war memorial in Delhi.

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.

Other Honours[edit]

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[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.[9]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Param Vir Chakra". Gallantry Awards. Indian Army. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Precedence Of Medals". Indian Army. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Param Vir Chakra (PVC)". India: National Portal of India. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  4. ^ "Indian Air Force :: Param Vir Chakra". Bharat Rakshak. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  5. ^ "Other States / West Bengal News : Living with war memories that never fade". The Hindu. 2010-08-08. Retrieved 2013-07-10. 
  6. ^ Satyindra Singh (20 June 1999). "Honouring the Bravest of the Brave". The Tribune, Chandigarh. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Sumit Walia (Jan 23, 2009). "The first Param Vir Chakra". Sify.com. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  9. ^ Madhu Jain (August 15, 1990). "Mandi House hardsells Kashmir in its serial 'Gul Gulshan Gulfam'". India Today. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 

External links[edit]