The art of appreciating the brave and gallant is not new. They form one of the most important constituents of a nation's stability. History defines gallantry as commanded respect and appreciation. The concept of emancipation of the brave is recognized in our Epics too. Sacrifice of life on the battlefield was considered glorious. Recognition of bravery has always been a very prestigious affair. Independent India saw the introduction of awards such as Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Shaurya Chakra etc.
The Ashok Chakra series of awards are open to civilians also. Recommendations received in respect of civilians from the State Governments/Union territory Administra-tions and Ministries/Departments of the Central Government are processed by the Ministry of Defence for the consideration of the Central Honours and Awards Committee chaired by the Defence Minister. These awards are biannual and are given on the Republic Day and Independence Day.
This is awarded for gallantry other than in the face of the enemy. This award may be granted to civilians or to military personnel and may be awarded posthumously.
Source: India Book - A Reference Annual