Bravery award winners: these 22 children are India's role models

New Delhi: At 9.30 pm one July night in 2011, Tom and Jerry saved the life of a four-year-old in Manipur.

No, they weren't the brave rescuers, but thanks to them 7.5 years old Koroungamba Kumar of Manipur knew exactly what to do when a short circuit caused a fire in the bedroom that he and his younger sister were sleeping in.

Even while his parents were away, Kumar had the presence of mind to use a blanket to douse the fire that set part of his parents' bedroom alight. He himself sustained burns on his hair, face, feet and thighs — but his sister was unscathed.On being asked by his mother later about how he knew what to do, he said, "I saw it on Tom and Jerry. Tom used a blanket to douse a fire in the cartoon".

"I used to often scold him for watching too much TV and cartoons earlier, but after this incident I don't stop him. If he didn't learn that from the cartoon, one or both of my children would be dead today," Spohia Kumar, his mother told Firstpost. 

 Bravery award winners: these 22 children are Indias role models

Koroungamba Kumar (9), saved his 4-year-old sister by using a blanket to douse a fire. Arlene Chang/Firstpost

Kumar, now nine, is among the 22 children who will be receiving the President's National Bravery Award on the occassion of Republic Day on 26 January.

Akanksha Gaute (16), is another such brave student receiving the award. Last year, Gaute single handedly fought offur persons following her father's bike while they were on their way back home one evening.

A resident of Raipur in Chhatisgarh and Karate black belt holder, Gaute, fought and held off the men till the local police arrived. While three of the attackers made away, Gaute held onto one and handed his over to the cops. Within a few days, with leads from that attacker, the remaining three were also nabbed.

"Knowing karate made me feel very confident and I'm glad I could save my father that evening," she told Firstpost.

Cousins Satyendra Lokhna (16) and Vishwendra Lokhna (17) from Nandgaon village in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura, two others receiving the award, put their own lives in jeopardy to save the lives of others.

Over a year ago, when they were students at the HGM Public School in Hodal, Haryana, they dived into a drain which was about 40 feet deep to save the occupants of a Bolero that had fallen into it. They had no idea about how many people were in the car or even if they were living or dead, but, Viswendra said there was no question of not even trying to help.

"When we were walking back home after school one day, we saw a huge crowd of about 300 people gathered near a deep drain. On asking around we were told that a car had fallen in. We immediately jumped into it and pulled out four persons from the car," Viswendra said.

Satyendra and Viswendra Lokhna saved the lives of three persons fallen in a 40 feet drain. Arlene Chang/Firstpost

"Our parents and teachers have always taught us to help others whenever we can and we didn't want to be like the others who were just standing there and staring," said Satyendra.

Of the four persons the cousins rescued, three survived and one died. But, they say, the three lives saved is worth risking their own lives.

"We felt sad that the driver of that car could not be saved, but we tried our best. Just the feeling of knowing that we didn't just walk away or stare at the situation without lifting a finger is one that's unexplicable. It makes us want to strive to do more good and be better each day," Viswendra told Firstpost.

While the recent Delhi gangrape case showcased the apathy of citizens who passed by without stopping to help the 23-year-old victim and her friend as they lay on the road bruised and bleeding and as the police sparred over whether or not the area was under their jurisdiction, stories of bravery like that of the Lokhnas are an inspiration to be drawn upon.

And, their reason for being proactive in society and in helping others is simple.

"We must learn to treat everyone like family. Today someone else is in trouble, tomorrow we may be in their position. And we will not like it one bit. If we all look away from each others problems and think of it as someone else's, why must we expect other to help us when we are in their position?" said Satyendra.

After all, life is no cartoon on celluloid. We have to all live through reality and live as a human family.

Updated Date: Jan 21, 2013 10:48:17 IST