The Hindu | Madhur Tankha | April 01, 2012
Ten bravehearts who demonstrated courage, compassion and alertness in thought and action have been honoured for their actions with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards 2012.
The Awards are conferred on people from different walks of life who have helped save lives and worked for the economic uplift of the downtrodden.The winners
Bicycle mechanic Mohammad Sharif from Faizabad earns a meagre Rs.5,000 per month. But he divides his time between his shop and the district hospital where he scrubs poor patients, feeds them and assists the nurse in administering medicine.
What sets this senior citizen apart is that he has also taken up the responsibility of performing the last rites of unclaimed bodies.
For Mohammad, 1982 was a traumatic year. “When I was informed that my son, a doctor, had been murdered and that his body had been dumped at Sultanpur as an unclaimed corpse, I was left grief-stricken and flabbergasted. Since then I vowed to give every dead person a decent burial. So far, I have performed the last rites of 1,000 Hindus and buried 500 Muslims in accordance with their religious beliefs.”
This unusual crusader was awarded in the “Social Bravery” category.
Ruchira Gupta has been working diligently for over two decades for the rights of women who became victims of prostitution. “Men who buy sex are creating the sex industry. We are trying to change the mind-set of youngsters in colleges and other places. Unfortunately, many girls are tricked and forced into this racket.”
This advocate for women empowerment was honoured under the “Social Lifetime Achievement” category.
Although born with short and weak limbs, Santosh Negi did not allow his physical deformity to come in the way of excelling academically. “At the age of ten, I had to start earning as my father retired and my mother expired. While studying in Class XII, I cleared the UP State Engineering Exam but could not pursue my dream because of a lack of funds. I did my M.Sc. in Physics, B.Ed. and am now studying to clear the Civil Services exam,” says this Uttarakhandi, who was honoured under the “Mind of Steel” category.
Haryana’s Sanjay Kumar was honoured posthumously under the “Physical Bravery” category. One day two years ago he was resting under a tree near the Bhakra canal when he noticed Mahipal, a student, drowning. This was the second time he had risked his own life to save someone from drowning. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts he could save neither Mahipal nor himself.
Brother-sister duo from Uttar Pradesh, Shamshad and Shahnaz, bravely staved off an attempt by a group of gangsters to kidnap businessman Ajay Gupta. Shamshad grabbed one of the kidnappers who threatened him with a gun. Despite this, he did not let him go. He got shot at and miraculously survived. The duo was conferred the award for “Physical Bravery”.
The other winners are Anuradha Gautam (Physical Bravery), Ranjan Trivedi (Social Bravery), NGO Samata (Social Bravery) and Viira Cabs (Amodini Award).