“I thought my life was important enough to try and save, not only for me, but for the others in my life.”
These words were the outburst of 15-year old acid-attack survivor Resham Fatma. Her courage and presence of mind snatched her out of the jaws of death when her uncle was determined to end her life.
Like Reshma, there are thousands of other children nation-wide who live and die standing up for themselves and to those around.
Every Republic Day, 24 such brave hearts are awarded the National Bravery Award by the Prime Minister of India. Let's look at the ones who will be honoured by PM Narendra Modi this year. Their fascinating heroic deeds will certainly reiterate the message that the much sought-after hero after all lies in the actions we take.
1. Gunjan Sharma, Assam
13 years 9 months
After her school van was hijacked by an armed miscreant, Gunjan volunteered to be taken as a hostage. The miscreant took her as a hostage and entered into deep forests going towards the neighbouring state. At around 3:45 a.m, Gunjan was abandoned in the forest. She walked for an hour and reached a hut. The residents informed the police immediately. Gunjan got rescued after she had saved the lives of 10 other children.
2.Devesh Kumar, Uttar Pradesh
16 years 10 months
Devesh Kumar went to drop his father at his school. On reaching there, he and his father found out that the Principal of the girls' school was shouting for help. There were two thugs who snatched her gold chain and ran away. When Devesh started chasing them on his bike, one of them took out a gun and shot Devesh in the waist.
His sole aim in life now is to save the weak and chase the criminals. He wants to join the police or the army.
3. Rumoh Meto, Arunachal Pradesh
13 years 6 months
While helping his parents in the fields, he noticed 32 year old Milu Mega stuck to a 33 KV high voltage line crying for help. Rumoh jumped on the victim to get rid of the live wire but was thrown off by the strong current. Determined to save his life, Rumoh once again pushed him with all strength. Both of them were violenty thrown off by the current.
After getting treated Rumoh sustained serious burns and injuries but he had saved a life.
4. Riya Chaudhary, Uttar Pradesh
15 years 4 months
Last year, in March, Riya was preparing for her final exams. Suddenly she heard some commotion outside her house. She saw her parents and her uncle surrounded by armed thugs. On seeing them target her father, she rushed out and stood in front of him taking a bullet to her chest. Our heart goes out for Riya who laid down her life to save her father.
5.Monika alias Manisha, Uttarakhand
In a village in Chamoli district, Monika was washing clothes at the bank of Alaknanda river. Suddenly her 10-year old neighbour Sahil slipped into the river and started drowning. Without caring for her life, Monika jumped into the river. After catching hold of Sahil's hair, she brought him safely towards the bank. But she couldn't save herself from the strong current of the river.
6. Zeal Jitendra Marathe, Gujarat
13 years 11 months
While returning from a school picnic, Zeal's bus lost control. Seeing her friends and teachers thrown off from their seats, Zeal became alert. After noticing a broken window pane, she got herself out of the bus while making a passage for the rest.
Zeal informed the police and called an ambulance using her teacher's phone. She also stopped a passerby for help and kept on caring for the injured people on the spot before the ambulance arrived.
7. Sahanesh. R, Karnataka
13 years 9 months
While returning from school, Sahanesh's bus fell into the paddy fields beside a road after the driver had lost control. Stuck in the bus, fear gripped the students and they started screaming and shouting. Unfettered by his surroundings, Sahanesh broke open the front glass of the bus. He then pulled out the students and the driver trapped in the bus.
8. Ashwini Bandu Ughade, Maharashtra
13 years 2 months
Ashwini and her younger sister Rohini was returning from a neighbouring farm after collecting mangoes. Suddenly a leopard came from behind and attacked Rohini. Hearing Rohini's cry, Ashiwini ran towards her sister. The leopard had caught Rohini's head in its jaws and her legs in its paws. Gathering courage, Ashwini started hitting the leopard's head by throwing mangoes. She drove the leopard away and pulled her sister out of the jaws of death.
9. L. Brainson Singh, Manipur
When Brainson's six-year old brother got electrocuted in their house with no one around, his persistent fearless efforts helped in saving his brother's life.
10. Ripa Das, Tripura
7 years 7 months
On the morning of April 24, 2014, a major fire broke out in Ripa's neighbourhood and started spreading. As the fire came towards her house, she held her one-year old brother tightly and got him safely out. Earlier Ripa's mother and her grandmother had forgotten about the children and ran outside without taking them along. So she was left completely alone with her brother. Ripa was fearless and steady in her approach.
11. Balram Dansena, Chhattisgarh
11 years 8 months
Balram saved a child from drowning while he was taking a bath with his friends. 8-year-old Chandrakant was taking a bath and got himself stuck in deep water. Not knowing how to swim he started drowning before Balram intervened.
12. Rajdeep Das,Jharkhand
16 years 9 months
Last October, Rajdeep had gone out with his friends for Laxmi-visarjan to the pond far away from his village. After the ritual, he was informed that some girls were drowning. He then jumped into the eight-feet deep pond and started searching for the girls. He was exhausted from his search but still didn't give up. With great effort he managed to rescue the girls and gave them first-aid after pulling them out. Rajdeep's valiant act saved three precious lives.
13. Anjith. P, Kerala
12 years 7 months
Two boys Sanjay and Nashim went to the middle of the river for fishing with their net. The high tide caught them off guard and soon they lost control. They got entrapped in the mud and there was no way out. Anjith, who was playing nearby, heard their cries and without thinking jumped into the 20 feet deep river. Being an expert swimmer, he first dragged Nashim to the shore and then went in the river again to save Sanjay.
14. Aqil Mohammad N. K.,Kerala
9 years 6 months
Ashmil and his mother had gone to take bath in the Chaliyar river. Ashmil slipped and fell into the 12-foot deep river. The strong current took him 5 metres further. Not knowing how to swim, Ashmil's mother started crying for help. Playing nearby, Aqil heard their cries and rushed to the spot. He jumped into the river and saved Ashmil's life.
15.Midhun P. P.,Kerala
14 years 2 months
Around this time last year, 8-year old boy Srehari fell into an unused well as his cycle hit a stone. The children present in the vicinity started crying. Hearing the hullabaloo, Midhun reached there and jumped into the 8 metre deep well and saved the drowning boy.
16. Hiral Jitubhai Halpati, Gujarat
17 years 8 months
While returning from school, Hiral saw a 4-month-old infant falling into the river from a height of 30 feet. He jumped into the deep river and saved the baby's life.
17. G. Tooldev Sharma, Manipur
9 years 4 months
Tooldev jumped into the pond without thinking twice when he saw a 3-year old boy drowning. Not knowing how to swim he caught the boy's collar with one hand and a bamboo pole on the side and shouted for help. They were rescued soon after.
18. Stevenson Lawriniang, Meghalaya
14 years 6 months
Stevenson jumped into a deep pond to save the life of a boy who was drowning.
19. Mesak K. Remnalalnghaka, Mizoram
14 years 7 months
On seeing a young boy drowning in the river, Mesak jumped into the flowing river. Unfortunately Mesak didn't know how to swim and his efforts were not enough to save both their lives.
20. Mhonbeni Ezung, Nagaland
8 years 5 months
After her grandmother's blood pressure shot up and she fell in the river, Mhonbeni through her persistent efforts dragged her out. Seeing her grandmother in a precarious condition, she started giving her food and then rushed to the village to seek help. Her efforts saved her grandmother's life.
21. Labhanshu, Uttarakhand
15 years 8 months
His friend jumped into the Ganges to save a drowning man and they were both struggling. Seeing this Labhanshu jumped into the river to save both of them.
22. Gaurav Kumar Bharti, Uttar Pradesh
15 years 7 months
When his friend fell in the Ganges, he jumped into the river and saved his friend. But he was not lucky enough at the end as he got caught up in a deep whirlpool.
23. Vishal Becharbhai Katosana, Gujarat
10 years 2 months
Vishal saved two 7-year old children from drowning by making them hold tightly on to his shoulders while swimming out of danger into the safety of the banks.
24. Resham Fatma, Uttar Pradesh
16 years 9 months
After pouring acid on her head, Resham's 38-yer old uncle wanted to kill her with a knife for refusing his marriage proposal. Gathering all her strength, she pushed her uncle and fell off from the car. She ran and caught an auto straight to the Police Station.