Indian Gallantry Awards: A Salute to Courage, Sacrifice, and Valour

Indian Gallantry Awards

India, a nation rich in history and valour, has a tradition of honouring its brave sons and daughters who have displayed extraordinary courage, sacrifice, and dedication in the face of adversity. The Indian gallantry awards are a testament to the indomitable spirit and unwavering resolve of individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their nation. This article sheds light on the various types of Indian gallantry awards, each symbolizing a unique level of bravery and valour.

Param Vir Chakra (PVC): The Highest Gallantry Award

At the pinnacle of Indian gallantry awards is the Param Vir Chakra, established on 26th January 1950, and regarded as the nation’s highest military decoration. It is granted for the most evident courage or willingness to sacrifice oneself while facing the enemy. Recipients of the PVC, often posthumously, stand as epitomes of courage and devotion to duty.

The medal is cast in circular bronze measuring one and three-eighth inches in diameter. The obverse side displays four reproductions of ‘Indra’s Vajra’ surrounding the State Emblem, which includes the motto, raised at the centre. On the reverse side, the Param Vir Chakra is raised in both Hindi and English, accompanied by two lotus flowers on either side. The medal is designed with a swivel mounting fitting for attachment.

param vir chakra medal
Param Vir Chakra (Pic Credit:IndianNavy)
mahavir chakra
Maha Vir Chakra (Pic Credit:IndianNavy)

Maha Vir Chakra: Recognizing Exceptional Valor

The Maha Vir Chakra, instituted on the same day as the Param Vir Chakra, recognizes acts of bravery in the presence of the enemy that are of a high order but not quite deserving of the PVC. This gallantry award holds immense significance and is a mark of exceptional valour and devotion.

The Maha Vir Chakra, a symbol of exceptional courage, is a circular silver medal. Its obverse bears a heraldic star with five points, elegantly touching the rim. The medal measures one and three-eighth inches in diameter. In the centre, a domed piece showcases the State emblem, enhanced with a motto, in gold gilt. On the reverse, the Maha Vir Chakra’s name is embossed in both Hindi and English, adorned with two lotus flowers. The medal features swivel mounting for its fitting, combining both elegance and substance.

Vir Chakra: Celebrating Acts of Gallantry

The Vir Chakra, established alongside the Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra, commemorates acts of gallantry exhibited during wartime. It serves as a testament to the courage displayed by military personnel in the face of the enemy.

This medal is made of standard silver. Its front features an embossed five-pointed star, its points touching the rim, while the State Emblem (with motto) is domed at the centre in gold gilt. On the back, the medal proudly displays “Vir Chakra” in both Hindi and English, with two lotus flowers separating the languages. The swivel mounting ensures its distinguished display. This medal serves as a lasting honour for displaying bravery and valour.

Vir Chakra(Pic Credit:IndianNavy)
ashoka chakra medal
Ashoka Chakra(Pic Credit:IndianNavy)

Ashoka Chakra: Highest Peacetime Gallantry Award

While the aforementioned gallantry awards are predominantly reserved for military personnel, the Ashoka Chakra is open to both civilians and military personnel. Instituted on 4th January 1952, it is awarded for acts of bravery or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.

This award comprises a circular gold or silver medallion featuring the Ashoka Chakra in the centre surrounded by a lotus wreath and bears the inscription “Ashoka Chakra” ” in both Hindi and English, with two lotus flowers separating the languages.

Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra: Saluting Acts of Courage

The Kirti Chakra(second-highest peacetime gallantry award) and Shaurya Chakra(third-highest peacetime gallantry award) are lesser-known gallantry awards, but they hold immense significance. The Kirti Chakra is awarded for conspicuous gallantry, whereas the Shaurya Chakra is conferred for acts of bravery. Both awards recognize exceptional courage, whether on the battlefield or in civilian life.

kirti chakra
Kirti Chakra(Pic Credit:IndianNavy)
shaurya chakra
Shaurya Chakra(Pic Credit:IndianNavy)

Latest Honors: President Droupadi Murmu Approves 76 Gallantry Awards

In a remarkable display of recognition and respect, President Droupadi Murmu has recently sanctioned 76 gallantry awards for armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces personnel on the eve of India’s 77th Independence Day. This noteworthy act underscores the nation’s commitment to honouring and acknowledging acts of bravery that safeguard its sovereignty.

Among the accolades, four members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who made the ultimate sacrifice during an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh in April 2021 will receive the Kirti Chakra, the second-highest award for gallantry during peacetime. This tribute stands as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave souls in the pursuit of maintaining peace and security.

Moreover, eleven individuals will receive the Shaurya Chakra, the third-highest peacetime gallantry award, including personnel from the Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and CRPF. A poignant testament to their unwavering courage, five of these awardees will be posthumously honoured, highlighting the ultimate sacrifice they made for the nation.

The authorized honours additionally comprise 54 Sena Medals (for acts of bravery), three Nao Sena Medals (for acts of bravery), and four Vayu Sena Medals (for acts of bravery). The President’s recognition extends beyond combat, as she has also granted 30 Mention-in-Despatches to the Army and one to an Air Force personnel, acknowledging their significant contributions in various military operations.


The Indian gallantry awards stand as a testament to the resilience, bravery, and selfless dedication of individuals who have displayed exceptional valour in the face of adversity. These awards, steeped in history and tradition, pay homage to the sacrifices made by the nation’s heroes, both on and off the battlefield. As the legacy of these gallant individuals continues to inspire generations, India’s commitment to honouring courage remains unwavering, reminding us of the enduring spirit of bravery that defines the nation. President Droupadi Murmu’s recent gestures only amplify the importance of recognizing and celebrating the extraordinary efforts of those who place their nation before themselves.

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