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Gallantry Awards

For the purpose of classification, Indian honours and awards can be divided into two categories :
(a)   Gallantry awards.
(b)   Non-gallantry awards.
The gallantry awards are again divisible into tow categories:  
(a)   Those for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
(b)   Those for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy.

The first category of the gallantry awards comprises :  
1.    Param Vir Chakra.
2.    Maha Vir Chakra.
3.    Vir Chakra.
4.    Sena, Nao Sena and Vayu Sena Medal.
5.    Mention in Dispatches.
6.    Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card.

The second category of the gallantry awards comprise the following :
  1.    Ashoka Chakra
  2.    Kirti Chakra
  3.    Shaurya Chakra

These were originally named Ashoka Chakra Class I, Class II, Class III. Among non-gallantry awards, the following can be mentioned :
  • Bharat Ratna.
  • Padma Vibhushan.
  • Padma Bhushan.
  • Param Vishisht Seva Medal.
  • Padma Shri.
  • Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal.
  • Uttam Yudh Seva Medal.
  • Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
  • Yudh Seva Medal.
  • Vishisht Seva Medal.
  • 30 Years Long Seva Medal.
  • 20 Years Long Service Medal.
  • 9 Years Long Service Medal.
  • Meritorious Service Medal.
  • Long Service and Good Conduct  Medal.
  • General Service Medal - 1947.
  • Samar Seva Medal.
  • Sainya Seva Medal.
  • Videsh Seva Medal.
  • Commendation Card.
  • Raksha Medal.
  • Poorvi Star.
  • Paschimi Star.
  • Sangram Medal.
  • Wound Medal.
  • 25th Independence Anniversary Medal.

The choice of star as a symbol for the Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra as also for Vishisht Seva Medal series is again meaningful. The star, a heavenly body known for its firm, steady and fixed position, symbolically denotes everlasting  glory.

In Indian mythology, Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapada and Queen Suniti, was given a place in northern horizon by Lord Vishnu in appreciation of his firm determination and supreme effort.  The polar star is therefore, called Dhruva Tara in Indian mythology.

Another widely used motif on Indian medals is the Ashoka Chakra. This is a twenty-four-spoked wheel occurring on the National Flag and the Ashoka Chakra series of medals. This wheel generally symbolised a sense of activity and forward movement.

In 4th century BC, the Buddhists adopted this symbol in the service of religion, calling it the Dharma Chakra. The preaching of the gospel by Lord Buddha was denoted with the Chakra (wheel) symbol and the act was called Dharma Chakra Parvartana.


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