Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest gallantry medal is awarded to military soldiers and officers to honour their highest degree of valour in the presence of the enemy.

It looks like this.

Do you know who designed the medal?

Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros, a Swiss woman who was later called Savitri Khanolkar was the brains behind its design.


Post-independence, PM Jawaharlal Nehru entrusted the job of releasing new gallantry medals incorporating Indian culture, to Major Gen Hira Lal Atal. He was an Indian soldier in the British Indian Army from 1925 to 1947 and became a Major General in 1947.

Major Gen Hira Lal asked Savitri Khanolkar to make the designs. Originally called Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros, she had converted to Hinduism and changed her name after marrying an army officer, Vikram Khanolkar.


She studied Indian culture in detail and even obtained a degree from the Nalanda university. 

Savitri Khanolkar designed a medal in bronze with a simple purple ribbon. Four replicas of Indra’s Vajra are imprinted on the face of the medal surrounding the Ashoka Chakra.


The Vajra has a special significance in the Indian culture. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Indra once went to Maharishi Dadhichi in search of a weapon strong enough to defeat Vritrasur. Maharishi Dadhichi sacrificed his life and the ultimate weapon was created with his bones.

This weapon was called Vajra and it helped gods defeat Vritrasur.


The Vajra was included in the design of the Param Vir Chakra to honour the achievements of soldiers who put the nation first and fought valiantly. Only 21 military personnel have been awarded with this honour ever since independence.

Not just the Param Vir Chakra, Savitri Khanolkar, also designed other bravery medals – Ashoka Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Vir Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.