On 6th June 2023, Alby D’Cruz, the first recipient of the Ashoka Chakra from Kerala, passed away at the age of 87. Alby was honored with India’s highest peacetime military decoration by the first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He passed away at his residence in Cheriyathura, the capital of Kerala, due to age-related ailments. The Indian Army Wing paid tribute to the departed warrior by offering a ceremonial salute before his funeral.
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Alby D’Cruz was honored with the Ashoka Chakra, India’s highest peacetime military decoration, for his exceptional bravery during the civil strife with Naga rebels in the 1960s. He served in the Indian Army as a Lance naik in the paramilitary force, Assam Rifles, where his battalion was assigned the task of countering the Naga rebels. During his service, Alby actively participated in battles against the Naga insurgents.
In a ceremony held on April 30, 1962, in New Delhi, President Dr. Rajendra Prasad presented the Ashoka Chakra (Class III) to Lance Naik Alby. The then-Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, also extended his congratulations on this occasion. Alby’s courage and valor in confronting the Naga rebels were recognized and honored by the nation through this prestigious award.
About Ashoka Chakra (Class III)
Since January 1967, Ashoka Chakra (Class III) award has been renamed as the “Shaurya Chakra.”
- Shaurya Chakra is a gallantry award presented by the Indian government to recognize acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy.
- It is the third-highest peacetime decoration in India after the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra.
- The Shaurya Chakra is awarded to both civilians as well as military personnel.
- It was established on January 4, 1952, and is awarded for acts of bravery, courageous action, and self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy.
History of the Gallantry Awards
- After India gained independence, the government instituted three gallantry awards, namely the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra, and the Vir Chakra on 26th January 1950, effective from 15th August 1947.
- Later, on 4th January 1952, the government instituted three more gallantry awards named the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II, and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III, effective from 15th August 1947, which were later renamed the Ashoka Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, and the Shaurya Chakra, respectively, in January 1967.
- These awards are arranged in order of precedence, starting from the Param Vir Chakra, followed by the Ashoka Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra, and the Shaurya Chakra.
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Which Gallantry award is the highest in Indian Army?
The PVC can be awarded to officers and enlisted personnel from all branches of the Indian military. It can also be awarded posthumously.
Since the establishment of the PVC, there have been a total of 21 recipients.