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Past Awardees

Past Awardees



On 3rd May, 2000, Late Ghanshyam Binani’s birth anniversary, the Ghanshyam Binani Foundation announced a Bravery Award for children below 16 years. Given in this section is a brief profile of the awardees in the last decade, year by year.

 

Year 2013

BRAVERY: Male Category

Nikhil Ranga

On February 16, 2013, a 14-year-old student of Samalkha, Panipat, Nikhil Ranga, accompanied his father who was visiting the home of Anju, one of his students. As they were about to enter the house, they saw Anju’s mother, Neeraj, stuck to the iron gate. Due to an exposed wire in the gate, she got a severe electric shock.

Nikhil quickly rushed to the spot and tried to free the lady with a piece of cloth and a wooden stick. When that failed, he grabbed the wire and pulled it away, disconnecting it from the gate. At once the lady got freed and fell unconscious on the ground.

With help from neighbours, she was given first aid and immediately rushed to a local doctor. After regaining consciousness, Neeraj thanked all who helped her, and especially Nikhil whose presence of mind saved her life. The townspeople and everyone in the school where he studied, Hare Krishna International Public School, Samalkha, lauded the exceptionally brave deed of Nikhil.

The deed performed by Nikhil Ranga was an act of selfless, spontaneous service in the face of threat to his own life. On the basis of this rare act of courage and bravery performed by him, he has earned a high reputation among his family and friends.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award is a small token of appreciation for the lion-hearted Master Nikhil Ranga from Panipat.

 

Master Ashish

On March 10, 2013, Ashish Siwach, his brother Abhishek and two neighbourhood friends were enjoying themselves at a pond located in village Kirari near Delhi. He suddenly heard a group of children shouting for help.

At that time Ashish’s brother Abhishek and two other boys were taking a dip in the pond. But to their horror they saw that the current was stronger than they thought and soon got pulled into it. The three boys got trapped in its force.

When Ashish saw them, he plunged head on into the raging waters to rescue the boys. What is so surprising is that Ashish wasn’t an experienced swimmer, he only knew the basic strokes. The pond was 30 feet deep and 35 feet wide – full of mud and dirty water.

Fighting hard against the strong current, he told Abhishek to grab the collar of his T-shirt. By now, the other two boys were scared and breathless, and kept dragging Ashish down in his struggle. However, Ashish did not lose heart. After much jostling and pushing, he managed to rescue the boys and carried them over to the safe side of the pond.

Thus, despite not knowing how to swim, the very young and brave Ashish, only 16 years old, managed to save the lives of three boys. Kudos to his spirit of adventure and courage.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award is proud of Ashish Siwach and his deed of valour.

 

Vishal

In a remote village of Kandwal in Uttarakhand, there lives a fearless boy called Vishal, now 8 years old. On the evening of February 18, 2013 (it was about 8.15) he was on his way to the washroom which was at a distance in the compound of his house.

What he did not know was that a leopard was hiding in the very house where he lived – under the staircase! As soon as the boy came into the open, the leopard pounced on him. This sudden attack by a wild animal which seemingly came out of nowhere, flabbergasted Vishal.

However, after overcoming initial fear and nervousness, he began to struggle with the animal to free himself from its clutches. During the fight that followed, the leopard dragged Vishal 25 metres away from the compound. The sound of the animal’s growling and the boy’s screams attracted the attention of his family.

Upon hearing the cries for help, Vishal’s mother and sister rushed out of the house towards the boy who was caught in a dangerous situation. When the leopard saw the two women coming towards him, he attacked them too. Meanwhile, the boy continued his brave fight with the big animal.

It wasn’t long before all neighbours gathered at the spot. When the leopard saw the crowd, he panicked. He let go of Vishal and took flight. The injured, but sound in mind, Vishal was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. He soon recovered and was back on his feet again.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award acknowledges the bravery of the young boy and is proud to reward him for his valiant deed.

 

BRAVERY: Female Category

Gunjan Sharma

In these days with incidents involving terrorists and hostages, the story of one girl, Gunjan Sharma, leaves us amazed. It so happened that one afternoon on December 4, 2013, two armed men rushed out of Dikhow Hotel, Simaluguri in Assam, fired two rounds and hijacked a school van carrying 11 students from ONGC Kendriya Vidyalaya, Nazira.

The armed men forced the van driver to take the vehicle towards Mathurapur with all 11 students. When the frightened students began to cry, Gunjan pleaded with the gunmen to leave alone the other 10 classmates and take her instead as hostage.

On the way, however, the van fell into a ditch and the miscreants forcefully tried to take one girl student as hostage and escape. But unexpectedly they left the vehicle and the 10 students and took away Gunjan to a forest near Nagaland border. At around 4 am, the two men left her behind in the jungle near a bamboo grove.

After the fearsome drama was over, Gunjan walked for an hour to a village and found a hut whose owner informed the police. Soon the police van came and escorted Gunjan to the safety of her home.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award salutes Gunjan Sharma who offered herself as a hostage to save her schoolmates.

 

SOCIAL CAUSE: Male Category

T. Harshil Singh

Ever since he was much younger, Thakur Harshil Singh was inclined towards social issues and took part in programmes of social and environment concerns. Any boy of his age would love to spend pocket money on chocolates, ice creams and computer games, but he keeps some of the amount aside for charity work.

Once, on a New Year’s day, 13-year-old Thakur, an 8th standard student of G. Pulla Reddy High School, Hyderabad and his friends pooled together some money, and visited an old age home. With the amount they had collected, they organized lunch for the inmates.

Later in the day, they spent some time entertaining children with special needs, playing games and sports with them. He encouraged a group of his friends to join the Rotary Club for Social Work.

His love for nature and animals is also evident in his life. He was awarded a certificate for his participation on the aspects of spiritual, social and cultural values of the cow. He also participated in a competition on nature, and ‘Save Cows’ debate where he expressed his love for animals and advocated for animal-friendly society.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award for Social Cause salutes Thakur Harshil Singh for his concern for needy people, young and old, and his love for nature and animals.

 

Year 2012

 

Master Paul Francis
Age: 16 years

Sixteen-year-old schoolboy Paul Francis was enjoying a game with friends near his home in Thrissur, Kerala. Suddenly, the carefree youngsters came to a halt when they heard some children nearby screaming.

When Paul and his boys rushed to the spot, they saw Sam - Paul’s five-year-old cousin - trying to stay afloat in a pond 25 feet deep. But how did he get there?  They all wondered.

Apparently, Sam was riding on a bicycle in the courtyard of his home, when unexpectedly, he lost control. Before he could even realize, he went crashing down a 50 feet descent through a narrow opening in the compound wall – and plunged straight into the deep, dark pond. The bystanders were so scared that no one dared to jump in the water.

But as Paul saw his struggling, helpless cousin, he leaped downward into the pond to save the little boy – without even giving a second thought to his life or safety. What’s more Paul wasn’t a good swimmer, he only knew the basics.

However, the need of the moment overpowered him, and down he hurled himself into the forbidden depths. He grabbed the boy and brought him up to safety - his face smiling at the thought of saving a young life from drowning.

The news quickly reached the village, and all the young and old arrived on the scene – each one with a smile and an expression of gratitude for Paul.

The school where he studies in the 10th standard, Nirmala Matha Central School, East Fort, Thrissur, gave the braveheart a hero’s welcome!

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery Award is a small token of appreciation for the lion-hearted Master Paul Francis from Kerala.

 

Nishi Chandrakar
Age: 11 years

It was nothing short of a spine-chilling scene from a horror movie. The creepy incident took place one afternoon on March 17 in 2012 when two children were alone at home in Birgaon in Chhattisgarh.

It was Saturday, and both 11-year-old Nishi Chandrakar and her younger brother Lavesh were at home. They had switched on the cooler to ward off the heat. Lavesh was busy catching up with his school homework over the weekend – his textbooks and notebooks scattered on the floor. Nishi was in the next room busy with housework.

Lavesh got up to get a notebook lying near the cooler.  In doing so, he accidently touched the running cooler and was caught in the grip of a powerful electric current. He shrieked in great agony. Hearing her brother scream, Nishi rushed to the room. Before she could act, somehow her aunt, carrying her baby son Himesh, reached the spot.

The aunt tried to free Lavesh, but she herself and Himesh were caught in the electric current. Nishi, standing nearby with fear written all over face, quickly jumped on to a stool and put off the main switch – cutting off the flow of current. Then she pulled away all three of them from the cooler.

Since no one else was at home at the time, Nishi rushed Lavesh, her aunt and Himesh to a doctor with help from neighbours.  Thus a great tragedy was prevented due to Nishi’s presence of mind and her heroic action.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery Award salutes baby Nishi, the valiant girl from Chhattisgarh.

 

 

Year 2011

 

Baby Ganga Paresh Burke
Age: 10 Years

For every girl, her father is her first hero, come what may, he is one man who will always stand by her and love her for what she is. The father-daughter relationship is one of the most special and celebrated one, but what if, a person who you trust the most, a person who is your pillar of strength, breaks all the humane boundaries created by man and abducts his own child. A 10-year old girl Ganga’s small world was shaken when she saw her father’s cruel face. The incidence literally took away the ground from beneath her feet.

Paresh Gandhar Burke, a 35-year old husband of two and a father of five children found himself incompetent to feed two families. The solution to get rid of the situation he thought was to eliminate two of his daughters; Ganga and Pavitra. He hired a contract killer for the job. The killer tied Pavitra and put her in a gunny bag whereas Baby Ganga was roped to a chair with a PVC tape stuck on her mouth. It was traumatic for the little girls who would not have even thought, fate had something like this in-store for them. Ganga, feeling helpless could hear prayers and hymns from the neighborhood, strongly believing in God she started praying but soon realized that God always helps those who help themselves. Overcoming all her fears, she gathered strength and initiated her quest for freedom. After trying hard, she removed the tape and then freed herself from the rope. She ran to the temple and saw the man, her so called father there; but by now, reality had hit her very bad and she refused to go with her father. She alternatively chose to approach the police to narrate them her piece of the fate and agony. She reported the whole incidence to the police and even told them that her sister was still struggling to free herself. Acting on her information, in no time, the police got her sister, Pavitra rescued.

What Baby Ganga faced is a nightmare for anyone. Not only did it destroy her emotions attached to her father, but also her shelter. Today, both of them are there with their mother and must still be finding it hard to come to terms with reality. In a situation when many children would have lost faith in everything; Baby Ganga outshined the adversity by portraying faith in herself. She fought not just for herself, but also for her sister.

The Ghanshyam Binani Children Bravery Award salutes the triumphant spirit reflected by Baby Ganga.

 

Master Nikhil Sudhir Kabra
Age: 13 Years

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”, said Hon. Nelson Mandela. Master Nikhil is certainly a living testimony that shows courage is the triumph over the fear. At a bear age of 13, he had the wisdom to understand that something was more important than fear that a life was at stake. This brave child from Jalgaon, a district in Maharashtra, one day realized the strength within him and stood up in a testing situation. Nothing could justify his courage than the incident itself.

It was the fateful evening of April 2011 when Master Nikhil met with a horrifying incidence. On that evening, Master Nikhil heard loud screams appealing for rescue. It was his 17-year old neighbour Sunny, the only son of Shri Vilas Hiralal Pathak, a retired driver from State Transport Corporation, who was trapped in the house engulfed with fire and screaming for help. Sensing the gravity of the situation, Master Nikhil, in no moment, rushed to Sunny’s rescue.

Seeing Sunny burning into flames and battling for life, the stunned Nikhil started frantic search for water around. Incidentally, Nikhil located a plastic can lying in a reservoir near his house. Finding it as a perfect rescue measure, he jumped into the reservoir with an attempt to catch hold of the can and in turn, received severe injuries on his head. Refusing to give up and ignorant of own safety, Nikhil lifted the can in an attempt to fetch up water to douse the fire. The luck was not in his favour and he found that the plastic can he believed to be of any help was broken to carry sufficient amount of water. Changing his mind, he swiftly ran to his kitchen to find a pot full of water. Carrying enough water on return, he approached Sunny and poured water on him. He also called other people for help. His lone and concerted efforts eventually paid off and he could douse flames that had badly burnt Sunny. Nikhil’s timely intervention not only saved Sunny’s precious life, but also stopped him from inviting fatal burn injuries.

The nightmare was not yet over for both Nikhil and Sunny. During his rescue effort, Nikhil suddenly noticed that the gas cylinder in Sunny’s kitchen was still connected, which could have invited further trouble, if remained connected. While no one present there could dare to march ahead, Nikhil once again surging to his vigour, rushed to put off the button of a gas cylinder. In no minute, he detached the regulator and switched off all the electric switches and appliances in the burning house. Nikhil’s brave act thus resisted further disaster.

Master Nikhil’s bravery did not just limit to his physical capability; but his ability to stay calm in a pressing situation. It was his foresight that saved not only a human life, but also his neighbourhood.

Nikhil’s selfless act filled with brevity reflects his brave heart, courage and a sheer wisdom.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery Award wishes to salute this undying spirit of bravery and compassion for human life.

 

Master Vijay Kumar Saini
Age: 15 Years

Who is a hero? People say one who is afraid to run away from testing situations…

Master Vijay Kumar Saini is one such hero who had a tryst with destiny when he was at his flower shop on the banks of river Ganga in Kanpur at Dwodhi Ghat. On 5th September, 2011 like any other day when Master Vijay was busy in his shop. He suddenly saw six students ready to take a plunge in the river. Seeing the strong currents of the river, he loudly warned the boys of the danger. Oblivious of his call and true to their boisterous nature, all the six boys paid no heed and dived in the water.

In no moments did Master Vijay see one of the students being dragged by the strong current and struggling to stay above water. Even without thinking for a while, Master Vijay plunged into water along with his brother. He swam harsh currents and saved Ashish, Sunil and Rajat from drowning. Though he tried hard, but his efforts fell short in saving other students; Shashank, Shivam and Ashutosh. Unfortunately, these three students could not withstand the current and drowned.

In his adolescent age of 15, Master Vijay showed explicit bravery and rose to the occasion. There are very few people who have the valor to drop their guard and wear their soul. Master Vijay valued human life and dived into the river to save them when he himself could have been in danger. Not being crippled by anxiety and having the courage to take a call is the heart of a brave that thinks of others more than itself.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery Award is committed to honor such heroes who outshine others with their courage.

 

 

Year 2010

 

Ms. Anjali Avadhesh Gautam
Age: 14 Years

They say that ‘Valor is the capability to do the right thing against all odds...’ It is marvelous to witness courage in action of a person like petite’ Anjali. Anjali is a story of a brave girl.

Nakulnar, a village situated in the Kuwakonda District of Chhattisgarh witnessed a brutal attack by a group of 800 to a 1000 Naxalites in the early hours of the morning on July 07, 2010. A group of 12 armed naxalites caused mayhem by attacking the home of Shree Avadhesh Singh Gautam and fired at houses in the nearby vicinity.

Having rampaged every home that crossed their path, the armed group mercilessly killed two people in cold blood. In this utter state of commotion, 14 year old Anjali Singh Gautam, a daughter of Shree Avadhesh Singh Gautam, caught sight of her bleeding brother, hit by a bullet on his knee. With a sole objective of saving her brother, she fearlessly picked him up and carried him on her shoulders hastily running outside the house amidst the noxious firing. Her courage and alertness rescued the bleeding brother from the fatal aftermath. She could save her brother’s life. So much heroic was Anjali’s act that it virtually crippled cruel intentions of the ruthless mob of Naxalites on rampage.

Anjali is one example of sheer bravery and courage. The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery award salutes baby Anjali; the precious little daredevil from Chhattisgarh.

 

Master Vishal Naresh Kumar
Age: 9 Years

In a treacherous situation, a person with courage and conviction always puts others before himself. Master Vishal Naresh Kumar is one such brave young boy who well deserves this recognition and applause.

Master Vishal, nine year old son of Shree Naresh Kumar from Jhajjar District of Haryana gave a new lease of life to three fellow travelers while returning from Balaji Temple.

Vishal was faced with a life-threatening situation when the tyres of the bus he was traveling in, burst suddenly. As a result, the bus crashed into a seven feet deep valley causing a grievous situation for the 17 passengers on-board. In a spontaneous display of courage, Vishal jumped out of the bus seconds before the vehicle fell into the valley thereby sustaining brutal injuries. Five passengers had already succumbed to the call of death.

The remaining were left with severe injuries and little help. Vishal mustered all his strength and courage, and rushed to the nearby police station seeking assistance for victims of the accident. On his way back, he stopped a van for the injured to be taken to the nearby Alvar Hospital. At another hospital in Rajgarh, the little boy stayed with the wounded for grueling four hours and kept updating relatives about their condition. Despite losing his own mother, brave Vishal remained calm and composed till he had done his best to help everyone he could. At a tender age of 9, Master Vishal has proven that bravery is not on-sequence of age.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery award is a small token of acknowledgement for the great courage displayed by Master Vishal from Jhajjar.

 

Year 2008 - 2009

 

Baby Jahanavi
Age : 6 years

Courage is the ability to do the right thing against all odds. It is marvelous to witness courage in the actions of a person as young as Baby Jahanavi.

On 15 July 2009 Baby Jahanavi, all of 6 years of age, saved her little brother from a fire that burned down 7 huts in the village. Baby Jahanavi, a resident of Pithanivaripalem village, P. Gannavaram Mandal of East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh, is a 2nd standard student at the local Govt. primary school. She belongs to a poor family; both her parents work as daily labourers. Baby Jahanavi was playing outside her home on that fateful day while her mother was away washing clothes at the canal, and her 10 month old brother fast asleep inside the house. The fire was a result of a freak short circuit accident that led to roaring flames swiftly engulfing the area. Baby Jahanavi took no time to react to the mounting disaster: In a blink of an eye, with no consideration for her own life or safety, she darted into the house, and saved her dear brothers life. Local leaders and neighbors are still amazed by the spontaneity and courage displayed by Baby Jahanavi in such a terrifying situation.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery award salutes baby Jahanavi; the precious little daredevil from P. Gannavaram Mandal, Andhra Pradesh.

 

Master Gaurav Singh Saini
Age : 13 years

GBCBAA brave man is one who in the face of grave danger, is able to put others before himself. Master Gaurav Singh Saini is one such brave young man who simply deserves applause.

On 3 August 2008 Master Gaurav Singh Saini, all of 13 years of age, saved around 60 people during a stampede at the Naina Devi Temple in Himachal Pradesh, where he had gone with his family. A rain shelter collapse was mistaken to be a landslide which led to chaos and confusion amongst worshipers. People began to push against police railings put up for crowd control, which later collapsed, resulting in the stampede. Amidst the confusion, the 8th standard student from District Tohna, Master Gaurav Singh Saini, held on tightly to a barbed wire which helped prevent almost 60 people from falling and getting trampled over. Master Gaurav felt a sudden surge of energy in his body and he was himself surprised as to how he could manage to control the pressure of so many people. Thanks to his presence of mind at that crucial moment, he could drag to safety many helpless women and children. Regardless of the pain and injury caused by the sharp edges of the barbed wire, Master Saini risked his own life to continue the dangerous rescue mission.

The Ghanshyam Binani Bravery award is a small token of acknowledgement for the great courage displayed by Master Gaurav Singh Saini from Haryana.

 

Year 2007 - 2008

 

Master Anil
Age : 12 years 6 months

It takes courage to stand up for your convictions and it takes a brave soul to stand up to the faceless fear of terror.

On 13 September 2008, Delhi was rocked by serial bomb blasts. Anil was selling balloons at Barakhamba Road crossing near Connaught Place (Rajiv Chowk) when he saw two bearded men, dressed in black kurtas and pyjamas get off an autorickshaw. They put an object in a black polythene bag, put it into a dustbin and left thereafter. The blast took place 15 minutes later. As the prime eyewitness of the serial blasts, Anil came forward and provided vital clues about the two suspects. He also helped the police draw the sketches of the two suspected terrorists. Unmindful of the risk to his life, he stated boldly in front of the media and the police that he could recognize the men if he saw them again.

Anil, who is an orphan and is with the Apna Ghar Salaam Balak Trust, displayed extraordinary courage in providing vital information about the terrorists. We salute this young bravo.

Disclaimer : Name changed to protect the identity

 

 

Master Vishal Suryaji Patil
Age : 11 years 9 months

Those who dare, do. But what is commendable is when it comes from someone so young.

On the afternoon of 28 April 2008, Smt. Anjana Balwant Patil and her 12 year old son Vishal Balwant Patil had gone to the Chikotra river to wash clothes. Vishal was playing near the river bank when he slipped and fell into the 22 feet deep water. Trying to come out, he shouted for help. Since Vishal did not know how to swim, Anjana Patil jumped into the river to rescue him. However, as she too did not know swimming, she also started drowning. Seeing this, other ladies at the river bank started screaming. Hearing their screams, Vishal Suryaji Patil, who was returning home after a swim, rushed to the spot. Comprehending the situation, he jumped into the deep water. Catching hold of the drowning child, he brought him to the river bank. Then, diving into the river a second time, he lifted Smt. Patil and brought her to the bank. As both mother and son were unconscious, Vishal gave them first aid.

Vishal Suryaji Patil who is from Zulpewadi, Kolhapur, displayed outstanding courage in saving two lives. We salute this young bravo.

 

Baby Prachi Santosh Sen
Age : 9 years 8 months

Actions speak louder than words. And brave acts don’t just speak, they teach ... invaluable lessons in selflessness and humaneness.

On 2 July 2007 Prachi Sen, her four year old brother Manas and 13 year old sister Richa were playing with their friends - four year old Anay Pavar and 11 year old Shefali Pavar - on the terrace of a neighbour’s house. About three feet away a 11 KV high tension electric line was passing. Picking up an approximately seven feet long piece of iron rod lying there, Anay Pavar started rotating it playfully. However, the little boy lost his grip and it touched the high tension electric wire. The current passed through the rod and Anay was trapped. Manas Sen, who was standing nearby, got stuck to Anay. Richa and Shefali who moved forward to help them, met the same fate. Seeing the four of them in that state, Prachi, who was some distance away, instantly rushed to their rescue. Taking care not to step near the children, she caught the iron bar, stuck to the electricity line, firmly with her left hand and pulled it away while with her right hand she pushed the children away. As a result, the four children got detached from the current and fell on the terrace. While the other children escaped with minor injuries, Prachi’s left hand was severely burnt and the fingers had to be amputated.

Prachi who hails from Khargaon, M.P., displayed exemplary courage in saving the lives of four children risking her own life in the process. We salute this young bravo.

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Year 2006 - 2007

 

Master Gagan J. Murthy & Baby Bhoomika J. Murthy

GBCBAGagan J. Murthy and Bhoomika J. Murthy are the 7 year-old twins of Jnana Murthy and Meenakshi, studying in Capitol Public School, J. P. Nagar, Bangalore.

On the evening of 6th October 2007, Mr. Murthy as is his routine every week, got ready to go to the Madiwala vegetable market to buy vegetables and fruits. Gagan and Bhoomika also wanted to accompany him and he took them along on his wife’s insistence.

As all market places, Madiwala too is very congested. Besides those who come to shop for vegetables, there are commuters who wish to catch their respective vans, buses and private vehicles to reach their destination.

Mr. Murthy parked his vehicle in a safe place and advised the children not to venture anywhere. He gave them groundnuts and biscuits and went to buy vegetables.

The market was very crowded with a lot of stray animals too. In the melee, two big bulls suddenly started fighting over a piece of food. At first, people watched and found it entertaining. But soon it became gory as the bulls pierced each other. Then they diverted their anger on the people. They came on to a footpath where a 1½ year-old baby girl was sitting eating something. Many were throwing stones and threatening the bulls but nobody thought of saving the child.

Suddenly Bhoomika screamed and shouted to Gagan to save the child. And in a flash Gagan had the child in his arms. In the process, he slipped and started rolling on the floor along with the child. The twins displayed e x e m p l a r y courage in saving the life of a child.

 

Baby Rajiya Parveen Umarkhan

In the heavy rainfall that lashed Maharashtra from 5th to 8th August 2006, several rivers and nallahs were flooded. In village Mathani in Khamgaon Taluka, District Buldana in Maharashtra State which is 4 Km away from Khamgaon, the river Bordi was flowing over 4 feet on the bridge due to which there was no contact with Khamgaon taluka for two days.

Even after the downpour ceased, the floodwater was touching the bridge. Everyone enjoyed since there had been no water in the river for many years.

The Zilla Parishad Urdu Middle School is situated near the banks of the river. On 10th August 2006, in the lunch recess, the children went to see the floodwater on the bridge. Other children from the village also gathered there. Suddenly, 3-year old Wahidkhan Nadarkhan fell into the river. 12-year old Rajiya Parveen Umarkhan who studies in the Zilla Parishad Urdu School jumped into the river and saved Wahedkhan, even though she didn’t know to swim. Her courage and presence of mind is worthy of emulation.

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Year 2005 - 2006

 

Master Parth S. Sutaria

On the ill-fated day, at around 7 p.m., with the continuing downpour, the water level rose from ground level to a height of around five feet within a couple of minutes. The power went off and vehicles were drowned. Some of the belongings and animals were being carried away by the strong currents of flood water. Parth was at home with his mother and grand parents. His father was stuck at his Bandra Office and was able to reach home only the next day.

15 year old Parth Sutaria heard one of the families screaming for help on the ground floor (C/3/6/1, ONGC Colony). The children were crying and the parents, unable to open the doors due to the water pressure, didn’t know what to do. Parth who is 5’3”, immediately went down and saw the water levels rising at an alarming speed. Though a swimmer, at first, he was afraid. Parth shouted to Mr. Bhagat to push open the door. Mr. Bhagat was happy to hear that someone had responded to his cries for help. But try as he might, he could not get the door open.

That’s when Parth, risking his own life, slowly went to the door in neck-deep water. He first tried to pull the mosquito net door which was latched from inside. He then broke the mosquito net, put his hand inside and opened the latch. He then asked Mr. Bhagat to pull the door from inside and he also started pushing the door. But both of them could not open the door due to the water pressure. By this time, the water level rose to above four and half feet inside the flat. One of the other neighbours brought a log of wood and told Parth to break the main door. Finally, his continuous efforts made a hole in the door and he pulled out all of them one by one to safety. And within another 10 minutes, the water levels had risen to about 10 to 12 feet. The first floor was totally under water. Had Parth not taken timely action it would have been impossible to save the family of four.

Other adult residents were just mute spectators while a mere lad took the onus of saving a family at the risk of his own life. All this happened within twenty to thirty minutes and Parth not only made physical efforts but also boosted their morale with courageous words.

 

Baby Aasma A. Khan

12-year old Aasma Khan, an orphan from the Children’s Aid Society, Mankhurd, single-handedly saved 40 kids during the deluge.

A Class 7 student, Aasma has been staying in the orphanage for the last two years and is a favourite among the kids in the home. On that fateful day, all the children were asked to leave at 4 p.m. due to the heavy downpour. Around 4.30 p.m., water started entering the dormitories and the children had to be shifted to the superintendent’s room. There were nearly 100 kids between three-eight years of age in the room. They thought they were safe but the water levels started rising.

As the superintendent and the other two staffers were contemplating on how to get the kids out, Aasma seeing the fear in their eyes, immediately jumped in the water and took the kids to the other building. Even though she didn’t know to swim, not caring for her own safety, she carried three kids on her shoulders and took them to the other side. She helped save nearly 40 kids while the rest were helped by the other staff members.

Brave Aasma also has a piece of advice. She says that the rains have taught her not to meddle with nature. She says one must not create an imbalance by chopping trees and destroying the environment.

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Year 2004 - 2005

 

Baby Aksa Elizabeth Mani

The young dare where even the bravest may hesitate.

On Saturday, November 27, 2004, eight-year old Aksa was playing with her younger sister six year old Anoha and her friend four-year old Anugraha. They were as usual playing on the ground in front of their house. Aksa’s house is situated on the road that starts from Cyclone Junction on the Kottayam-Kochi Main Road. And from her house the road goes uphill.

In the midst of the play little Anugraha went to the road when a jeep came speeding down the road. Sometimes, the matter of life and death is decided within a fraction of a second. But it takes a person with a strong will and a brave heart to act within that fraction of a second.

Baby Aksa without caring for her own life ran uphill and pulled back Anugraha in the nick of time. Though the driver of the jeep applied the brakes, the vehicle stopped a few yards ahead of where Anugraha had been. It was only due to Aksa’s presence of mind, that a life was saved.

 

Master Jenson T. Santhosh

On May 5, 2004, eight-year old Master Jenson T. Santhosh went for bathing at the ‘Kakkath Kayam’ area of Vadakkanar, a small river full of rocks, where the locals go to learn swimming. In fact, the waters run very deep in some areas. He was accompanied by his five-year old cousin sister Moncy, six neighbouring children and a few elders as well.

All the children were swimming in safe waters when suddenly Moncy was swept away into the deep water. And before anyone could realize, she got caught between two rocks and turned upside down.

Everyone shouted out for help. But young Jenson, in spite of the fact that he didn’t know swimming very well, jumped into the river to save Moncy. Struggling hard, the young hero managed to reach the drowning Moncy and pulled her out to safety. In the process, both sustained severe injuries.

The courage and presence of mind shown by Jenson is worth emulating. For a person so young, he has shown what fearlessness truly is. If it hadn’t been for him, Moncy’s life would have been in grave danger.

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Year 2003 - 2004

 

Baby Shiney T.A.

GBCBAThirteen year old Shiney is a native of a small village in Kerala. She comes from an agricultural labourer’s family which lives below the poverty line and is studying in Std. VIII at Devi Vilasam Higher Secondary School of Kerala.

On September 12, 2003, Shiney had gone to the forest to collect firewood along with her mother and a neighbour Leela. While they were collecting firewood, suddenly, a wild tusker appeared from the bushes around and charged towards them. Frightened, they started running. Unfortunately, Leela being old could not run fast and was brutally killed by the elephant. After killing her, the uncontrolled animal turned its attention to Shiney’s mother who fell down while running and the elephant crushed her legs with the beastly act, while the helpless lady screamed and screamed.

Shiney heard her mother’s screams and immediately turned back to rescue her. She thought that her mother was also killed and started screaming loudly for help and did not leave the place. Her screams diverted the attention of the elephant and it turned to attack Shiney. However, Shiney took advantage of the time that the elephant took to turn and she immediately dragged her severely injured mother to a safe place. By this time the villagers had rushed to the spot and they eventually succeeded in chasing the animal away. Shiney’s immediate reaction without any hesitation saved her mother’s life. Her bold action has certainly earned her the status of a heroine.

 

Master Yogesh Kumar Jangid

Yogesh Kumar Jangid who hails from Jangidnagar, a small village in Rajasthan, has performed a commendable act of bravery on May 15, 2003.

It was a hot afternoon when Yogesh, a student of Std. 5, was walking home from his school. He noticed smoke coming from a nearby dwelling in Chandranagar. Out of curiosity, he approached the building and saw smoke coming from the thatched roof and heard windows smashing at the rear and screaming sounds. Flames could be seen inside the house and a little girl was besieged by fire and was about to be engulfed by its spreading flames. Her family members who were out to the near by city on their routine jobs would not have even dreamt that their only daughter was fighting for her life. The ceiling of the room was in flames and the child was screaming with fright. 11-year old Yogesh, giving an evidence of his courage and bravery, rushed to the spot at the nth moment. He made his way through the flames into the house, with the help of the door and dragged the little girl by her hand and pulled her out after a lot of fire fighting.

Yogesh displayed exemplary courage and initiative in the face of grave danger. His presence of mind and courage saved the life of the little girl.

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Year 2002 - 2003

 

Baby Meghna Indalkar
– Satara (Female Category)

The self-preserving instinct is God-given. Even animals have it. But 11-year old Meghna from Satara, Maharashtra defied all that and saved the life of a 6-year old without caring for her own.

Meghna comes from a conservative family from a village in Satara. As a family tradition the girls in this village are taught swimming from early childhood, as every second day you get to hear girls being pushed into the well by cruel in-laws.

On the evening of 14th March 2003, Meghna was returning from school at around 5 p.m. when she saw some 10-12 small boys crying for help. Apparently, 6-year old Ganesh had fallen into a well. Meghna saw that he was struggling for life. Ordinarily, a child her age would have panicked and screamed for help. But Meghna immediately jumped into the well without a second thought to her own safety. The well was almost 35 ft. deep. Little Meghna grabbed Ganesh by the back and climbed the stairs with the boy in her arms! The little boy was handed over to his parents, who blessed baby Meghna with their prayers.

Little Meghna displayed exemplary courage and initiative in the face of grave danger. Her presence of mind and immediate response saved the life of another child.

 

Master Rahul Bhowmick
– Shillong (Special Category)

Under normal circumstances, 12-year old Rahul should have been a school-going bubbly kid but fate played strange games with him.

Rahul, a resident of Shillong, had lost both his parents at the tender age of 8, and was brought to Bombay by Mr. Kamlesh and Mrs. Kavita Joshi to look after their dogs. He had been promised a salary of Rs. 1000/- per month, which he never got. What he got for his hard work was a thrashing every now and then. He was housed at the couple’s Kandivali home while they lived at Andheri. He was treated like a slave.

Also, another girl Anita, had been brought by this couple on the pretext of working as a housemaid. When Rahul was shifted to the couple’s home at Andheri, he met and recognised little Anita who hailed from Shillong. It was then that she told the young boy her sad plight that she’d been forced into prostitution. On December 4 2004, while the couple slept, the two youngsters ran away and spent 4 nightmarish days on the footpath, eating with beggars.

On being questioned by the cops at Andheri station, Mumbai, brave young Rahul gave a detailed account of their experiences with the couple. He also led the police to the couple’s Andheri and Kandivali residences where the police recovered nine registers containing accounts of the racket and names of 107 minor girls.

Rahul’s bravery not only changed his life but also saved the life of Anita and more than 100 other girls. He stands out as an icon of extraordinary courage, bravado and good human values. He brings alive the proverb “God helps those who help themselves”.

 

Master Carol Francis
– Kerala (Male Category)

December 26, 2003 should have been a normal day for 16-year old Carol Francis. A student of St. Philomina High School, Upputhara, Kochi, studying in Class XII, Carol should have been oblivious to all around him but for his studies.

But fate had other plans in store for him. 51-year old Sivadasan Pillai, who runs a hotel ‘Santosh’, got into the river Periyar at 10.30 a.m. to take a bath. A normal daily chore turned into a nightmare when he got caught in the quicksand and started drowning. His cries for help attracted a crowd, who in turn, helplessly cried for help! None had the courage to help Mr. Pillai. It was 16-year old Master Carol Francis who came as a Godsend at his hour of need. Hearing his cry for help Carol, unmindful of his own safety, jumped into the river to rescue a man more than thrice his age. Young Carol, instead of crying for assistance, jumped into the river and with his great presence of mind, managed to catch hold of Mr. Pillai’s hair and brought him safe on the riverbed.

Carol proved to be a shining example that age is no bar for an act of bravery. He saved the life of another in the face of grave danger to his own life.

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Year 2001 - 2002

 

Master Archies Limaye
– Mumbai (Male Category)

For young Archies, May 26th, 2001 should have been a fun filled normal day. But fate had other ideas in store for him.

The day started on a very normal note with Archies’ father, Manohar S. Limaye having left for work at 7.45 a.m. while his mother, Manasi Limaye at 10.30 a.m. Archies had a holiday at school and settled down to watching the Discovery Channel on T.V. A door bell changed Archies life irreversibly. Little did he realise that the next few minutes would test his courage, presence of mind and endurance. A young man with a bag, dressed attractively, showed an Identity Card of “ZEE T.V. Representative”. Archies, with due courtesy saw the items offered to him, but declined the offer to buy any. The salesperson innocently asked for a glass of water but hit Archies on the head with a hammer when he got him a glass. In a flash, the stranger caught Archies’ neck and demanded money and the cupboard keys. Archies was severely wounded and fought to keep conscious. The young 15 year old Archies’ training in Judo Karate came to his aid and he felled the man with his back foot and hit him on the sensitive part of the body. Thus angered, the man tried to attack Archies with the hammer again but, the wooden handle came off and the hammer fell away. Brave Archies, who had his wits about him, quickly seized the wooden handle and hit the attacker two/three times. Archies was bleeding profusely and blood was all over the house. The robber was not done as yet. In an attempt to finish off Archies, he held him by the throat and tried to hit his head on the wall. The commotion brought the neighbours to the door, who summoned help and rushed him to hospital.

There were seven hammer attacks on Archies’ head. He suffered a fracture on his forehead and 18 stitches on his head. Young Archies displayed exemplary courage and presence of mind in the face of grave threat. Unmindful of his personal safety, he displayed great inherent strength and fearlessness.

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Year 2000 - 2001

 

Master Kaiwan Panthaki
– Mumbai (Male Category)

GBCBAThis is the heart warming story of ten year old Kaiwan for whom, before the evening of 21st September 2000, robbers and thieves existed only in story books, T.V. serials or movies.

It was while playing at about 10.15 p.m. on that evening in his fourth floor flat at Dobhi Talao, Mumbai, that he found a burglar with a six inch knife breaking into his flat. Instead of screaming and shouting, he spontaneously acted bravely without the fear of being attacked by the goons. Instinctively, he rushed to the door, pushed with his strength and trapped the man between the door and the wall. Though trapped, the robber pulled out a long knife and slashed the boy’s thigh, but the young child held on. Sensing trouble, the burglar ultimately ran away. Throughout the drama, little Kaiwan was so intent on tackling the problem that he even forgot to shout for help even though his parents and grandparents were inside the flat. It was only after the man ran away that he shouted for help. Following the drama, an FIR was filed with the police, and Kaiwan was treated in the hospital.

It was extremely unusual that a young child like Kaiwan should have taken on a grown up armed robber, unmindful of his personal safety, thereby displaying great inherent courage and fearlessness.

 

Baby Chanduba Sodha
– Gujarat (Female Category)

GBCBAChanduba’s is the story of how the courage of a young girl saved the life of her father and cousin, and prevented a bank from being looted as well.

Young Chanduba lives with her family in a house inside the premises of a Co-operative Bank in Gandhidham, Gujarat, where her father Sardarsingh works as a watchman. It was on 30th June 1999, in the dead of the night, that four armed robbers entered the building to rob the bank when Sardarsingh was on duty accompanied by his nephew Dhiruba. When asked for the keys, Sardarsingh did not respond positively. The robbers handled him roughly, first tied his hands, dragged them and locked them in the toilet. Later, when they shouted on seeing the robbers, trying to break open the window grill, the thieves even fired on Sardarsingh. When the bullets misfired, they attacked them with iron rods and rained blows on them.

On being woken up by the commotion and seeing the men grappling with her father and cousin, little Chanduba, instead of being petrified, rushed outside and shouted for help.

Unnerved, the robbers ran away and were later caught by the police. Chanduba’s cries also brought the neighbours rushing to the bank. Sardarsingh, who was by then profusely bleeding from a grievous wound on his head, was given necessary medical help.

For an eleven-year-old child, Chanduba displayed exemplary courage and presence of mind in the face of grave threat. She saved the life of two people unmindful of her own and saved the bank from being looted. She shines as an example to all, young and old alike.

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