Param Vir Chakra: The Highest Gallantry Award in India

Param Vir Chakra or PVC is the India's highest military decoration which is awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self sacrifice, in the presence of enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air. It was introduced on 26 January, 1950 on the first Republic Day. It has mostly been awarded posthumously. It is what every army personnel dreams for. Do you know when Indian army used to work under British Army the highest honour or award given for the bravery to the soldiers was Victoria Cross? Let us study through this article in detail about Param Vir Chakra award, its eligibility criteria, on what basis it is given, who was awarded first with PVC, what are the allowances given to the awardees etc.

Param Vir Chakra

Awarded by: President of India
Type: Military Award
Country: India
Status: Active
Established: 26 January, 1950
Next (higher award): Bharat Ratna
Next (lower): Maha Vir Chakra
First awarded: 3 November, 1947 to Somnath Sharma
Last awarded: 6 July, 1999 to Vikram Batra
Total awarded: 21
Posthumous awards: 14
20 Awards from : Indian Army
One Award from: Indian Air Force

Param Vir Chakra: Meaning

The most supreme gallantry award conferred by India during wartime is the 'Param Vir Chakra'. In Sanskrit, Param means Ultimate, Vir (Pronounced as Veer) which means Brave and Chakra means wheel. Literally, Param Vir Chakra means 'Wheel or Cross of the Ultimate Brave'.

List of Paramvir Chakra awardees

Who designed the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest award for gallantry?

The Param Vir Chakra was designed by a female 'Savitri Khanolkar alias Savitri Bai' of foreign origin and wife of Vikarm Khanolkar, an officer in the Indian Army. On the request of Hira Lal Atal, the first Indian Adjutant General, Major General she has designed it. Since 1950, this award is same. None of the changes have been made in it.
Param Vir Chakra is a circular bronze medal of 3.49 cm in diameter. The state emblem of the four lions is in the centre on a raised circle. The all mighty weapon of Lord Indra's that is the Vajra surrounds it on four sides. The words Param Vir Chakra are embossed in English and Hindi with two lotus flowers between Hindi and the English inscriptions. The whole disc is suspended from a suspension bar with a purple ribbon through it. The ribbon is 1.3 inches long.

Param Vir Chakra: Riband

If any recipient of the Param Vir Chakra shall again perform such an act of bravery and have made him or her eligible to be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended. And for every such act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. Let us tell you that for every Bar a replica of the 'Indra Vajra' is awarded in miniature which shall be added to the riband when worn alone.

Param Vir Chakra Award is equivalent to:

Param Vir Chakra is the equivalent award of the Medal of Honour in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.

Who was awarded with the first Param Vir Chakra?

On 3rd November 1947, the first Param Vir Chakra was awarded to Maj. Somnath Sharma posthumously for his exemplary courage.

Mahavir Chakra: India’s Second Highest Gallantry Award

Till now, how many people are awarded with Param Vir Chakra in India?

Param Vir Chakra is the rare honour. Only 21 people have ever been awarded. Out of which 20 were from the Indian Army and one from the Air force.

The only Indian Air Force officer awarded with Param Vir Chakra:

Presently, Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon of Indian Air Force Flying officer is the only recipient of Param Vir Chakra.

Who got Param Vir Chakra for Kargil?

4 Kargil war heroes received the highest Gallantry award Param Vir Chakra namely Vikram Batra, Manoj Kumar Pandey, Naib Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar.

Param Vir Chakra: Postage Stamp

In 1976, Indian Postal department issued a stamp depicting the Param Vir Chakra medal. In 2000, 4 more were released depicting various recipients. On the stamps, the brave soldiers were: Lance Naik Karam Singh, Lance Naik Albert Ekka, Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hameed and Flying officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon. Not only this, in 1988, a serial on Indian Television was made which depicts various stories of the winners of Param Vir Chakra.

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Param Vir Chakra: Persons Eligible

The following categories of persons shall be eligible for the Param Vir Chakra:
a. Officers and men and women of all ranks of the Naval, Military and Air Forces, of any of the Reserve Forces, of the Territorial Army, Militia and of any other lawfully constituted Armed Forces.

b. Matrons, Sisters, Nurses and the Staff of the Nursing Services and other Services 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.

On what basis the Param Vir Chakra award is given?

The Param Vir Chakra is 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. It is announced twice in a year- first on the occasion of the Republic Day and then on the occasion of the Independence Day. It is awarded by the President of India and is given equally to the brave soldiers of the three wings of the Army. There is also no discrimination between male or female while presenting this award.  

Param Vir Chakra winners: Allowances and Rewards

The monthly allowance for post-independence Param Vir Chakra awardees will be Rs 20,000 after an increased allowance with retrospective effect from 1 August, 2017. Gallantry award winners do also get one-time cash awards from their state governments but they vary widely with no uniformity. Upon the death of the recipient, the pension is transferred to the spouse until their death or remarriage. In the case of a posthumous recipient who is unmarried, the allowance is paid to their parents. But if the award is being conferred posthumously on a widow or widower, the allowance is to be paid to their son or unmarried daughter. Let us tell you that the pension benefits and amount of the award are exempted from income tax.

So, now you may have come to know about the Param Vir Chakra award, winners, criteria to give award, PVC winners allowances, rewards etc.

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