The Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Awards, formerly known as “red and white bravery awards,” is an initiative taken by Godfrey Phillips India Ltd to honor the people who have made India proud by their deeds of bravery, courage, and valor. It is given to those who set an example for others by their brave deeds. Celebrities like Anurag kashyap, Vivek Oberoi, Remo Dsouza, Preity Zinta, Shabana Azmi have been associated with these awards. Instituted in 1990, with two main categories, namely, "Physical Bravery" and "Acts of social courage," it is given to Indian nationals, above 21 years of age. Each classification consists of three main prizes namely the gold, silver and bronze medals with a cash price of 20000, 15000, and 10000 respectively.
In 1997, another category, named "Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Service" was introduced. Another category was added later in 2003 called "Mind of Steel Award" and was first given to the actress Preity Zinta, who went on to become the brand ambassador of the awards later in 2006. The Physical bravery category is for people who have saved others life or property by keeping their lives at stake. The”Act of Courage” category is for all those who have fought against social evils such as dowry, female feticide, Sati, child marriage, etc. People who have performed despite physical, mental, emotional or financial limitations are awarded the”Mind of Steel” award. The lifetime achievement awards are for those who have spent their life in service of the nation.
There is also an Amodini award for all the brave women who have fought against all odd and risen to a good position and become independent. The judges are a panel of renowned personalities such as Civil Servants, Police officers, media personnel, retired Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court and Social Workers. Selection of people for the awards is an elaborate task. It involves checking of the declarations made by the people, the place where the event occurred and witnesses. This is done so that only the deserving receive the awards.
Since these awards have been taken up as a PR campaign for a tobacco company (Godfrey Phillips), it has received loads of criticism and protests. Many recipients like actor Vivek Oberoiand activist Harman Siddhu have returned these awards after realizing that the award is a surrogate activity of the tobacco industry. Inspite of all the negativity, these awards have encouraged a lot of people to do brave deeds and awarded several others who have performed various acts of gallantry. India needs more initiatives of this sort.
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