It was a night of bravehearts — the heroes in uniform who guard the borders night and day and lay down their lives for the country, but are seldom recognised by the society.
The regal Durbar Hall at the Taj Palace Hotel played host to such extraordinary heroes on Tuesday (February 26) when Zee News conferred “Ananya Samman” on India’s security personnel.
The stories of these heroes are remarkable for the exceptional bravery they have shown in the face of overwhelming odds.
Zee News has been presenting Ananya Samman since 2008 to honour the bravest of the brave from across the forces.
This year, 14 such bravehearts from the Army, Navy, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force were honoured.
Brigadier (retd) Kuldip Singh Chandpuri was conferred with the Lifetime Contribution Award for his role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The Brigadier and his company of 120 soldiers were instrumental in defending the Longewala post in Rajasthan in the war. Expressing his gratitude for the award presented to him by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Brig Chandpuri said he’d like the cash prize of Rs 2 lakh to be donated to his regiment.
Major Anup Joseph Manjali, who was honoured for his raw courage and exemplary leadership in taking on terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, also donated his prize money to the Army Welfare Association.
Five more Army soldiers were also felicitated. These included three martyrs: Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, Havildar Jaipal Singh Adhikari and Naik Krishna Kumar.
The event was attended by senior politicians including RJD president Lalu Prasad, BJP leader LK Advani, JD(U) president and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav and Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Salman Khurshid, Kapil Sibal, V Narayanasamy and Rajeev Shukla.
Speaking on the occasion, Advani said he was glad that media organisations were picking up causes that go unnoticed and commended Zee News’ initiative as one of the finest efforts in highlighting admirable contributions made towards the cause of India.
Union minister of information technology and communications Kapil Sibal asserted that India can’t move forward without the forces protecting its borders and the nation must never forget the supreme sacrifices made by those who put the country before the self.