The Gallantry Awards were instituted on January 26, 1950 after Independence, that were considered to come into effect from August 15, 1947. The first three awards are the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra, and the Vir Chakra introduced by the Government of India.
After these, three more gallantry awards were introduced – the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III on January 4, 1952.
Here are some facts about the Gallantry awards.
- The three awards – the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III were renamed as the Ashoka Chakra, the Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra in January, 1967.
- These awards are announced twice a year – Republic Day and Independence Day.
- The order in which the awards are given is Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.
- The Param Vir Chakra is circular in shape, made of bronze, and has four replicas of Indra’s Vajra embossed on the head of the medal with a plain purple ribbon.
- Maha Vir Chakra is the standard silver medal and has a five-pointed heraldic star with its points touching the rim on it with a half-white and half-orange ribbon.
- Vir Chakra is also a silver medal similar to the Maha Vir Chakra with a half-brown and half-orange ribbon.
- Ashok Chakra is a gold medal with a replica of the Ashoka Chakra in the centre lined with embossed lotus flowers. The ribbon is green in colour with a thin orange vertical line in the centre.
- Ashok Chakra is India’s highest peacetime gallantry award and Param Vir Chakra is the India’s highest wartime gallantry award given during wartime.
- Peacetime is the period of time when people or a nation are at peace, while, wartime is a period during which a war is being fought in a place.
- Kirti Chakra is again a silver medal with the replica of Ashoka Chakra in the centre and lotus flowers lining the chakra. The green ribbon is divided into two parts with two vertical orange lines.
- The Shaurya Chakra is a bronze medal with the replica of Ashoka Chakra in the centre and lotus flowers lining the chakra and the green ribbon is divided into three parts with three orange lines.
- All the Gallantry Awards except Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra are conferred along with some other Defence Distinguished Service awards to the awardees or their next-of-kins at the Defence Institute Ceremony by the President at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra are awarded at Rajpath during the Republic Day parade by the President.