Param Vir Chakra (PVC)
Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is the highest gallantry award for officers and other enlisted personnel of all military branches of India for the highest degree of valour in the presence of the enemy. Introduced on 26th January 1950, this award may be given posthumously.
Literally, Param Vir Chakra means 'Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave'. In Sanskrit, 'Param means Ultimate, 'Vir (Pronounced veer) means Brave and 'Chakra means Wheel.
If any recipient of the PVC shall again perform such and act of bravery as would have made him or her eligible to be recorded by a Bar to be attached to the riband by which the Chakra is suspended, and for every such additional act of bravery, an additional Bar shall be added, and any such Bar or Bars may also be awarded posthumously. For every Bar awarded a replica of the 'Indra's Vajra' in miniature shall be added to the riband when worn alone.
The PVC is the equivalent award of the Medal of Honour in the United States, and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.
One amongst the luminous recipients of this honour was Flying Officer Nirmal Jiit Singh Sekhon, who was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously in the year 1971. He is the lone Indian Air Force officer to have been honoured with the Param Vir Chakra till date.
The art of appreciating the brave and gallant is not new. They form one of the most important constituents of a nation’s stability. History defines gallantry as commanded respect and appreciation. The concept of emancipation of the brave is cognizant in our Epics too. In the Mahabharata, the merit of dying as a martyr in the cause of Dharma is all along appreciated as the easiest way to heaven. In fact, any kind of death on the battlefield was considered glorious.
Whether being the appointed head of a clan, raised memorials in honour of the martyrs/brave souls or granted titles, robe of honour, cash awards or medals etc., recognition of bravery has always been a very prestigious affair. The conclusion of British Rule in India saw the end of the old institution of British honours and awards. Independent India saw the introduction of awards such as Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Shaurya Chakra etc.
The Ashok Chakra series of awards are open to civilians also. Recommendations received in respect of civilians from the State Governments/Union territory Administra-tions and Ministries/Departments of the Central Government are processed by the Ministry of Defence for the consideration of the Central Honours and Awards Committee chaired by the Defence Minister. These awards are biannual and are given on the Republic Day and Independence Day.
This is awarded for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy. This award may be granted to civilians or to military personnel and may be awarded posthumously.