On the 65th Republic Day of the World’s largest democracy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conferred the National Bravery Awards to 25 children, of which 9 are girls. Among these awardees is the eight-and-a half year old Mahika Gupta of Delhi.
Mahika was chosen for the coveted Bharat Award for saving the life of her 4-year old brother Dhairya, during the Uttarakhand floods last year. On 16th June 2013, Mahika was in Kedarnath valley with her family and relatives where she had gone to offer prayers at the Kedarnath Temple. At around 7 P.M., when she was alone in the hotel room with her younger brother, floodwaters slammed into the building. Lights went out and the room was filled with water and debris. Mahika saw her younger brother being swept away in the floodwaters. Acting fast, she pulled her brother out and stayed in the room clinging to a window rod before they finally managed to get out. She was in a state of shock for weeks after that. The braveheart, when asked how she did it, says, “I didn’t know from where I got the strength, I just knew I had to save my brother and put all my energy to hold him close to me.” The family of 16 people had gone for a pilgrimage but, unfortunately, only 10 of them returned back home.
This story is a tragic one and yet inspiring, at the same time. If an 8-and-half year old can do such a brave thing, so can the rest of us. All it takes is a will.