Mahindra honours extraordinary individuals who, against heavy odds, script extraordinary tales of valour. Probably one of its kind, the Group recognises individuals for their supreme act of courage. At the risk of their own lives, these Bravehearts have saved people's lives and are the pride of the company.
The Mahindra Veerta Award was instituted in 2009, when a young Mahindra trainee engineer in Mumbai, Mohan Redkar, jumped into the sea to save four people from drowning. He lost his life, but he managed to save the lives of all four people. Chairman Anand Mahindra announced the Mahindra Veerta Award after this incident, and every year an employee who demonstrates exceptional bravery is honoured with the award. Let's look at the recipients of the award and their stories, over the years.
Here are their inspiring stories
At a rappelling camp, a young girl's hair got entangled in the rappelling rope. Without wearing safety equipment, Jayant helped her get down 250 feet to safety. About 50 feet from the ground, the rope got stuck and he was forced to climb down unassisted for the rest of the distance. That was when he fell, suffering hairline fractures on both legs. For this daring act, Jayant became the first awardee of the Mahindra Veerta award.
When a band of dacoits attacked the Madurai-Kurla Express on 26th September 2009, most passengers panicked. US Tawde rallied the passengers to block the dacoits' path, locked all doors and windows and got the women and children to hide in the upper berths, thus saving their lives.
2011: No recognition was given out this year, in this category.
Cyclone Thane hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 29th December 2011, badly affecting the Mahindra beach resort. This heroic team moved the guests to upper floors, carried out rescue and evacuation efforts, attended to medical emergencies, and cleared the roads. They waded through deep water, worked with basic tools and risked electrocution from fallen wires and snake bites, but they ensured that the guests remained safe.
When a gas pipe caught fire in his neighbour's house, Navnath put his hands in the flames to disconnect the LPG cylinder and move it away from the fire. With the presence of mind, he doused the flames with a wet towel, thus saving the lives of the neighbour and her son and preventing a devastating explosion.
Digambar saw a fire raging in a hut where a gas cylinder had exploded. As more cylinders exploded, he helped the locals douse the fire with water, called the Fire Brigade and put his life at risk to evacuate women and children from other huts. His efforts saved many lives in a fire that ended up gutting 32 homes.
During a Tech Mahindra beach outing, Rehan Shaik and Balasundhar Vemba noticed that one boy had been swept away by a wave and his friend who had jumped in to help was also in danger. The sea was rough and Rehan and Balasundhar fought the strong current and huge waves, to reach the drowning boy and his friend. Although the boy had lost consciousness, they kept him afloat and brought him to safety.
When flash floods hit Chennai, Muthu Kumar left his own flooded home to check on the stranded guests at two Mahindra guest houses. Risking his life in the rising waters, he reached Srinagar Colony Guest House, where overnight, the water rose 10-12 feet to the first-floor level. He used his contacts to arrange for a boat evacuation, and later, even made alternate arrangements for the accommodation and safe departure of the rescued employees.
Raj lives in Kishtwar in Jammu. On a cold night of 26th January, on Republic Day, Raj was called by his neighbour Arvind to help a woman and her two daughters. They had kept the heater on in an airtight room and fallen unconscious because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Raj and Arvind broke open a window to rescue the women. They carried all three women on their backs and shoulders for 2.5 km, wading through three feet of snow, to reach the nearest hospital where they could get proper medical care.
Rewa's roads and nullahs were flooded because of incessant rain. When Ravendra was out on a customer visit, he saw three small boys had fallen off their school van into the nullah. They were being swept away by the force of the water. A large crowd was milling around, but Ravendra jumped into the water to pull all three boys to safety.
Jayesh saved many lives when he successfully prevented an explosion at a petrol pump. With a paralysed senior citizen on board, a car had caught fire close to a petrol pump. Jayesh and his team started dousing the fire, guided the pump staff to close the main valve and extricated the senior citizen person safely. Jayesh then braved the flames to puncture the car's fuel tank so that the fuel would drain onto the ground instead of catching fire. Had the petrol ignited inside the fuel tank, the fuel tank would have exploded, causing much more damage.
When Avinash, a trained firefighter, saw a fire on the 11th floor of the adjoining building, he climbed up carrying fire extinguishers, started dousing the flames and helped rescue 11 people. Later, fighting the fire at the fire department's side, he was thrown by a cylinder explosion. He continued to help the firefighters, even climbing up and down 11 floors several times to serve them drinking water, even though his feet had been cut by shards of broken glass.
Major Bhosle rescued a mother and her three small children (including a baby) from drowning. The family had jumped into a canal at Ghorpadi in a suicide attempt. The water level in the canal was high, and the flow of water was forceful. Major Bhosle first brought the children out and then went in again to rescue their mother. The woman almost dragged him under, but the Major managed to carry her back to land safely.
Binu pilots a motorboat at the Ashtamudi resort. On a particularly heavy rainy day he heard about 200 aged and differently-abled people stranded on Munroe Island, an island close to the resort, with no help in sight. He took permission to take the boat on a rescue mission. Working from dawn till night, he and a colleague made several trips to rescue the people in groups of 12-15. Binu personally carried senior citizens on his shoulders as they could not have managed the high water. The bedridden were transported in chairs and the disabled were carried in their wheelchairs.
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