Param Vishisht Seva Medal
Param Vishisht Seva Medal is a non gallantry award, which is presented to distinguished officers of the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, Territorial Army and any Auxiliary Armed Forces under the Constitution of India for distinctive service during peace time. Those involved in nursing services and medical assistance are also eligible for this medal, for exceptional services rendered to the country during a time of difficulty.
This award was instituted on January 26, 1960, along with other Vishisht Medals such as the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal. The objective of the three Vishisht Medals is to honor distinguished personnel of the Armed Forces for their exceptional service to the nation, rendered over a lifetime.
The medal does not include any monetary benefit. It is a prestigious award and the awardees are celebrated far and wide. The services rendered by them to the nation have no financial motive or self-interest.
The Param Vishisht Seva Medal is circular in shape and fitted into a horizontal bar. It is suspended with a red ribbon and consists of a 2mm blue strip running through the middle.
The earliest recipients of this medal were Harjinder Singh, Kanwar Jaswant Singh and Eric W Pinto of the Indian Air Force. They received the honor for their meritorious lifetime service in 1963. As of 2016, a total of 236 Param Vishisht Seva Medals have been given.
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
The Ati Vishisht Seva Medal is a non gallantry award awarded to officers of the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy for distinguished services of the highest order to the nation.
Members of the Territorial Army, Auxiliary Forces or Reserved Forces, or for that matter, of any Armed Forces constituted by the Indian Government are eligible for this award. Members of the nursing services and Medical Corps are eligible as well.
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal is next to the Param Vishisht Seva Medal in the order of precedence. It is higher than the Vishisht Seva Medal. It is an equivalent of the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, which is granted to defense personnel for exceptional service during wartime.
The award was instituted on 26 January 1960. It was then called as Vishisht Medal Class II. Thereafter, the government heeded to the suggestions given by eminent citizens that it wasn’t right to have a “class system” when it came to gallantry and non gallantry awards given to the soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces.
For that reason the Vishisht Medal Class II was renamed and reinstituted as Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 27 January 1967. The award is given to services rendered in the non-operational context only.
Squadron Leader Chandan Singh was the first recipient of this award in 1961, followed by Wing Commander Raizada Harbans Chawdhry, Wing Commander Suranjan Das and Flight Lieutenant Kuppuswamy Lakshmi Narayanan on January 26, 1962. A total of 556 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals have been given so far, as of October 2016.
Vishisht Seva Medal
Vishisht Seva Medal is a top non gallantry award given to soldiers and officers of the Indian Armed Forces for exceptional service rendered in the non-operational context during peacetime. All soldiers and officers of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, members of the Territorial Army, Auxiliary or Reserved Forces, as well as members of the nursing service and Medical Corp are eligible for this medal.
The Vishisht Seva Medal is one of the Vishisht Medals. It is outranked in the order of precedence by Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Ati Vishisht Seva Medal. It was first instituted on 26 January 1960 as Vishisht Seva Medal Class III.
It was felt by the government that it wasn’t fair to separate gallantry and non gallantry awards given to the Armed Forces in terms of class. So this was done away with and the award was reconstituted as Vishisht Seva Medal on 27th January, 1967.
The Vishisht Seva Medal is an equivalent of the Yudh Seva Medal, which is given to the officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces for exceptional service during wartime.
The award consists of a 35mm circular medal that has a five point star embossed in the center. It carries the State Emblem with the inscription in English and Hindi, “Vishisht Seva Medal.”
A number of Army, Air Force and Navy personnel have been conferred this medal over the years, with the bulk of them getting it following the 1971 War with Pakistan. The first person to be given this award was Squadron Leader Appasaheb Bhagwant Patil of the Indian Air Force. He got it for his meritorious service in 1961.