India provides its valuable citizens with utmost care, fame, and dignity. The power of mankind and the contribution towards the society make it a better place to live in. From films to the service of the nation, the achievement awards aim at acknowledging the best of Indians.
It is broadly divided into many categories like Civilian Awards, Military Awards, Leadership Awards, Literature Awards, Particular Awards, and Films Award.
Let’s have a peek on these Awards one by one:
1. Civilian Awards:
A. Bharat Ratna
It is the highest civilian award of India, which was instituted in 1954. Bharat ratna is awarded in recognition of exceptional service and performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour. The award is bestowed to the recipient who receives a certificate (sanad) signed by the President and also receives a medallion.
B. Padma Awards
Instituted since 1954, these awards are presented every year on Republic Day. There are three categories to it, namely – Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in the decreasing order of importance.
I. Padma Vibhushan
This award is the second highest civilian award. Since 2 January 1954, the award is given for “exceptional and distinguished service”, without any distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The criterion include “service in any field including service rendered by Government servants” including doctors and scientists, excluding those working with the public sector undertakings.
II. Padma Bhushan
It is the third-highest civilian award and it is awarded to recognize distinguished service of the highest order to the nation, in any field. It is announced on the Republic Day of India every year since 2 January 1954.
III. Padma Shri
Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India and announced on the Republic Day. Padma Awards was established in 1954 and is awarded to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution towards the field of Arts, Education, Industry, Literature, Science, Sports, Medicine, Social Service and Public Affairs. Padma Shri is also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were not Indian citizens but did contribute in various ways to India.
2. Military Awards:
A. Wartime gallantry Awards
I. Param Vir Chakra
Param Vir Chakra or “Wheel of the Ultimate Brave” is India’s highest military decoration award, awarded for the degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy.
II. Maha Vir Chakra
Literally meaning “Great Warror Medal”, is the second highest military decoration award after the Param Vir Chakra. It is awarded for acts of perceivable gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
III. Vir Chakra
It is an Indian gallantry award presented for acts of bravery in the battlefield. This award carries with it the right to use Vr. C. as a postnominal abbreviation
B. Peacetime gallantry Awards
I. Ashoka Chakra
It is the highest peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
Subsequently “Kirti Chakra” is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle and “Shaurya Chakra” is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.
II. Kirti Chakra
Awarded for valour, courageous and brave action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. It can be awarded to both civilians as well as military personnel, including posthumous awards. It is equivalent Maha Vir Chakra.
III. Shaurya Chakra
This is an Indian military decoration awarded for valour, self-sacrifice or courageous action while not engaging in direct action with the enemy. It is generally awarded for Counter-Insurgency and action or operations against the enemy during peace-time.
C. Wartime/Peacetime service and Gallantry Awards
I. Sena Medal
The Medal is awarded to members of the Indian army, for such exceptional devotion to individual acts towards duty and courage as having special significance for the Army. It can be considered for a gallantry or for any individual soldier for carrying out distinguished service not in the face of enemy.
II. Nao Sena Medal
This is a gallantry award was established on 17 June 1960 by the President of India and is awarded for servicemen in the Indian Navy.
III. Vayusena Medal
Usually awarded in peacetime for a job well done, as well been granted during times of conflict for acts of gallantry in the face of enemy also though not in same number as the Vir Chakra.
D. Wartime Distinguished Service
I. Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal
This Medal is India’s highest Wartime Distinguished Service decoration, awarded for highest degree of distinguished service in an operational context, which includes times of war, conflict, or hostilities.
II. Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM)
Awarded for highest degree of distinguished service in an operational context, which includes times of war, conflict, or hostilities.
III. Yudh Seva Medal
Awarded for highest degree of distinguished service in an operational context, which includes times of war, conflict, or hostilities and may be awarded posthumously.
E. Peacetime Distinguished Service
I. Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM)
Eligible for Indian Armed Forces including Territorial Army, Auxiliary and Reserve Forces, Nursing officers and other members of the Nursing services and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces, this Medal is awarded in recognition to peace-time service of the most exceptional order and may be awarded posthumously.
II. Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)
This is a military medal, awarded to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the armed forces.
III. Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM)
The decoration of the Indian Armed forces, this medal is awarded to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the Indian armed forces.
3. Leadership Awards
A. International Gandhi Peace Prize
The ideals as espoused by Gandhi, it is a tribute given by the Government of India launched in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Awarded annually to individuals and institutions for their contribution towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.
B. Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
Also called as the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development prestigiously awarded annually to individuals or organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and new international economic order; ensuring scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
4. Literature Awards
A. Jnanpith Award
It is the highest literary honour award presented annually to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”. Established in 1961, the award is presented only to Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India and English with no posthumous consideration.
B. Sahitya Akademi Award
Established in 1954, the award’s purpose is to recognize and promote excellence in Indian writing and also acknowledge new trends. The award plaque was designed by the famous Indian film maker Satyajit Ray.
C. Sahitya Akademi fellowship
It is the highest honour bestowed by Akademi exclusively for Indian writers, and is given for the “immortals of literature”.
D. Bhasha Samman
The Sahitya Akademi established this award in 1996 and is given to writers, scholars, collectors, editors, performers or translators who have made remarkable contribution to the modernization, propagation, or enrichment of the languages concerned.
E. Translation Awards
First established in 1989, this award is annually given for outstanding translations of major works in other languages into one of the 24 major Indian languages.
F. Anand Coomarswamy Fellowships
Named after the Ceylon Tamil writer Ananda Coomaraswamy, was started in 1996. It is given to scholars from Asian countries to spend 3 to 12 months in India for pursuing a literary project.
G. Premchand Fellowships
Started in 2005 and named after Hindi writer Premchand, this fellowship is given to persons of eminence in the field of Culture from SAARC countries.
5. Particular Awards
A. National Sports Awards
I. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Named after former Prime Minister of India, is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India. It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
II. Dronacharya Award
Also officially known as Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games, is an award for sports coaching honour of the Republic of India. The award is named after “Dronacharya” , a character from the epic Mahabharata.
III. Arjuna Award
Instituted in 1961, this award is given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Govt of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports.
IV. Dhyan Chand Award
Known as Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games, is the lifetime achievement sporting honour. The award is named after Dhyan Chand (1905–79), an Indian hockey player who scored more than 1000 goals during a career span of over 20 years from 1926 to 1948.
B. Police Awards
I. President’s Police Medal for Gallantry
Established in 1951, The President’s Police Medal is a decoration awarded to members of law enforcement in India. Awarded annually on Republic Day and on Independence Day, it is awarded for either gallantry (being accorded a higher precedence) or distinguished service.
II. Police Medal
Established in 1951, this is a decoration awarded to members of law enforcement in India. Awarded annually on Republic Day and on Independence Day, it is awarded for either gallantry (being accorded a higher precedence) or distinguished service.
Two more Medals are also awarded namely – President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service and Police Medal for Meritorious Service with the same convocation as for the other two Medals above.
C. Bravery Awards
I. National Bravery Award
Constituted in 1957, these awards are given annually to about 25 Indian children for meritorious acts of bravery against all odds.
II. Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak
Originally called the Jeevan Raksha Padak, Class I award, this was constituted in 1961 and was awarded for civilian lifesaving.
III. Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak
Originally called the Jeevan Raksha Padak, Class II award, this was constituted in 1961 and was awarded for civilian lifesaving.
IV. Jeevan Raksha Padak
Originally called the Jeevan Raksha Padak, Class III award, this was constituted in 1961 and was awarded for civilian lifesaving.