New Delhi, Jan 24 - Lauding young bravehearts as the “nation’s pride” and their courageous acts as an “inspiration” to all, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday presented the National Bravery Awards to 25 children ahead of Republic Day.
Paying his tributes to the five brave children who lost their lives while trying to save others last year, the prime minister said: “Mausmi Kashyap and Aryan Raj Shukla from Uttar Pradesh, M. Khayingthei from Manipur, Malsawmtluangi from Mizoram and L. Manio Chachei from Nagaland are not among us today.
“But the sacrifice of these brave children will always inspire the country,” he said.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was also present on the occasion.
This year a total of 25 children were selected for the prestigious awards of which five were given posthumously. Among the awardees, nine were girls.
Congratulating them, the prime minister said they are the “pride” of the nation.
“We are confident that with such brave children the future of our country is bright. I am confident that your acts of bravery will not only encourage other children, but also inspire all citizens to work for the good of all and to do good work,” he said.
“The youngest among you is seven-year-old Tanvi, who saved her four-year-old sister from drowning. Helping others at such a tender age is not an ordinary thing,” he said.
Manmohan Singh also mentioned the brave deeds done by other children like Shilpa Sharma from Himachal Pradesh who saved a child from a leopard; Shubham Santosh Chaudhari from Maharashtra who saved two girls from a fire; and Malieka Singh Tak who took on four men alone.
“Two days later you will participate in the Republic Day parade. Deeds of your bravery will then be known to the country. It will also be a special day for all of you to participate in the celebrations of Republic Day along with the country’s armed forces,” he said.
He also said that the country expects a lot from them and he has no doubts that they will not falter.
The awardees received a medal, certificate and cash. They will also get financial assistance until they complete their schooling.
The Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), an NGO that works with the objective of serving children in distress who are orphans and destitutes, has been felicitating brave children since 1957.
Since then, they have given awards to 871 brave children – 618 boys and 253 girls.