It is divided into different categories.
Category A – War Time Gallantry Awards
1) PARAM VEER CHAKRA
Highest military award; equivalent to the Victoria Cross and was replaced once India gained its independence. It is awarded to distinguished act of valour in War Time. PVC is equivalent to Ashok Chakra which is a peacetime gallantry award.
Till now only 21 soldiers are awarded PVC. Of the 21 awardees, 20 have been from the Indian Army, and one has been from the Indian Air Force.Param Vir Chakra translates as the “Wheel of the Ultimate Brave”, therefore the award is granted for “most conspicuous bravery in the presence of the enemy”. The medal of the PVC was designed by Savitri Khanolkar, whose daughter’s brother-in-law Major Somnath Sharma, was coincidentally awarded the first PVC.
Famous Recipients – The three living recipients of the Param Vir Chakra are Yogendra Singh Yadav, Bana Singh and Sanjay Kumar .They gives many inspirational, motivational talks , shares their war experiences etc. Therefore these people are motivational for many Youngsters because this will encourage them to Join Defence Forces. Additionally they will create a perfect example of Brave Role Model.
Few other inspirational beings –
1) Capt. Vikram Batra, PVC [Famous Quote – ” Either I will come back after hoisting the Tricolour (Indian flag), or I will come back wrapped in it, but I will be back for sure ”]
2) Capt. Manoj Kumar Pandey, PVC [Famous Quote- “If death strikes before I prove my blood ; I swear I’ll kill death” ]
Many states reward the recipient as follows :-
₹20 Million – Haryana ( highest by any state )
₹3 Million – Punjab
₹2.5 Million -Assam Chandigarh Chattisgarh Delhi Goa Himachal Pradesh Kerala Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh Utrakhand
₹2 Million- Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh
₹1.5 million- Tamil Nadu Mizoram
₹1 million – Jharkhand Andhra Pradesh Bihar
₹22,500 – Gujarat J&K Karnataka Odisha Sikkim Bengal.
Coming to next in order :-
2) MAHAVIR CHAKRA
Maha Vir Chakra , also called Great Warrior Medal , is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
More than 218 acts of bravery and selfless courage have been recognized since the inception of the medal. The most MVCs awarded in a single conflict was in the Indo- Pak War of 1971 , when eleven were given to the Indian Air Force .
3) VEER CHAKRA
Third in precedence in the awards for wartime gallantry. Awarded for acts of bravery on the battlefield . It replaced the British Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Military Cross (MC) and Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) during the British period.
The Award of the decoration carries with it the right to use Vr.C. as a postnominal abbreviation (note the care to distinguish this abbreviation from that for the Victoria Cross (V.C.)). Veer Chakra comes after the PVC and MVC.
Till now 1322 personal had been awarded Veer Chakra .
Category B – Peacetime Gallantry Awards
1) Ashok Chakra
An Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
India’s highest peacetime Military decoration , awarded for the “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice” other than in the face of the enemy. In like manner this decoration may be awarded either to military or civilian personnel.
The medal is a Circular Gold gilt, 1-3/8 inches in diameter. In addition to the center of the chakra (wheel) of Ashoka, surrounded by a lotus wreath and with an ornate edge suspended by a straight bar suspender. As a result the medal is named on the edges.
Till date 83 had been awarded Ashok Chakra.
Fact Check – Though the Ashoka Chakra is placed below the PVC in order of wear, it is considered as a peacetime equivalent to Param Vir Chakra. It is though Uniquely identified on the chest of an Officer.
2) Kirti Chakra
Second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards. It is an Indian Military decorationn awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle. Can be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, including posthumous awards.
The peacetime equivalent of the Mahavir Chakra and comes after Ashok Chakra . As a matter of fact before 1967, the award was known as the Ashoka Chakra, Class II.
Till date there are 458 distinct recipients , among these 198 are posthumous awardees.
3) Shaurya Chakra
Third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards. It is an Indian decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy. Awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, sometimes posthumously.
Shaurya Chakra comes after the Ashok Chakra and the Kirti Chakra . It is circular in shape and is made of standard silver, one and three eight inches in diameter.
2014 distinct recipients and 627 posthumously awarded.
Category C – Wartime/Peacetime service Awards
These are Sena Medal for Army
Nau Sena Medal for Navy
Vayu Sena Medal for Air Force.
Mostly given for the leadership qualities and handling of the Troops to act right at the war zone.
Category D – Wartime Distinguished Service
1) Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal
Another equally important medal given to the person with the highest degree of distinguished services in an operational context. Awarded for distinguished service of the most exceptional order during war/conflict/hostilities.
2) Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
In the second place this military decorations is for Wartime Distinguished Service. It is awarded for a high degree of distinguished services in an operational context. “Operational context” includes times of war, conflict, or hostilities. Furthermore Uttam Yudh Seva Medal may be awarded posthumously.
3) Yudh Seva Medal
This medal is given for distinguished service during wartime. Moreover it is awarded for a high degree of distinguished service in an operational context ie. times of war, conflict, or hostilities and can be awarded posthumously.
Category E – Peacetime Distinguished Service
1) Param Vishist Seva Medal
Awarded in recognition to peace-time service for the most exceptional order and can be awarded posthumously.
All ranks of the Indian Armed Forces not only Territorial Army, Auxiliary and Reserve Forces but also Nursing Officers and other members of the Nursing services and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces are eligible for the same .
2) Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Similarly it is a military award of India given to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the armed forces. It comes after PVSM.
3) Vishist Seva Medal
Likewise it is also awarded to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the Indian Armed forces. It comes after PVSM as well as AVSM.
The award may be granted posthumously and subsequent awards are represented by a bar worn on the ribbon.
The award carries with it the right to use “VSM” as post-nominal letters. The medal was originally established as the “Vishisht Seva Medal, Class III”.
At the end , my favorite quote –
“To find us, you must be good, to catch us you must be fast, but to beat us…………
You must be kidding.”
– INDIAN ARMY