Government of India has instituted several national awards to honour and recognize the various individual acts of gallantry and merits and/or outstanding achievements of individuals. The national awards of India are conferred in the form of both civilian awards and gallantry awards. Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award in India. On the other hand, Param Vir Chakra is the most prestigious and highest gallantry award in India. Continue reading to learn more about the different categories or classification of Indian awards and honours.
Categories of Indian Awards:
Each year, the government of Indian confers various awards and honours. Those awards and honours can be divided into two broad categories: a) Gallantry awards and b) Non-gallantry or Civilian awards.
a) Gallantry Awards:
Gallantry awards are mainly given to those armed forces personnel and personnel from related services who show exemplary courage and strength in the presence of enemy and/or in peace time. Every year, the gallantry awards are announced by the Government of India on the occasion of Republic Day and Independence Day. They are normally presented by the President of India.
The gallantry awards can be divided into two distinct categories: i) Wartime gallantry awards and ii) Peacetime gallantry awards.
i) Wartime Gallantry awards:
Wartime gallantry awards are presented in recognition of highest degree of valor or self-sacrifice during war. The wartime gallantry awards in India are: Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal, Nao Sena Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Mention in Dispatches and Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card.
ii) Peacetime Gallantry awards:
Peacetime gallantry awards are presented in recognition of valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice during peacetime or situation other than war. The major peacetime gallantry awards in India are: Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Sena Medal, Nao Sena Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Mention in Dispatches, Chiefs of Staff Commendation Card etc.
b) Non-gallantry or Civilian awards:
Civilian or non-gallantry awards are given for exceptional and distinguished service in various areas. Major civilian awards in India are Bharat Ratna, Padam Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. Other civilian awards include Gandhi Peace Prize, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjun Award, Jnanpith Award, Dadasaheb Phalke Award etc. There are also some special non-gallantry awards for armed forces and allied services. For example: Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal etc.