Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh felicitated ‘Super-100’ winners of Project Veer Gatha 3.0, in the presence of Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, in New Delhi on January 25, 2024. A cash prize of Rs 10,000, a medal and a certificate were given to each of the 100 winners. It was a memorable moment when, for the first time in his tenure as the Raksha Mantri, Shri Rajnath Singh handed over the podium to one of the winners Sushri Barnali Sahu, a student of Class 11, DAV Public School, Cuttack, Odisha to address the gathering on his behalf, a gesture that struck a chord with the students assembled for the event.
Through the voice of Ms Sahu, Raksha Mantri stated that the country’s youth will play a key role in realising Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of transforming India into ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047. “Youth is the most important asset to shape the future of the country. They will shoulder the responsibility of a developed nation,” she said.
Voicing his views through Ms Barnali, Shri Rajnath Singh said,: “Project Veer Gatha was an endeavour to introduce the bravehearts of the nation to the youth and take the tales of valour by these young minds. The project was launched with the combined efforts of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Education to strengthen the values of ‘Nation First’”.
He referred to the recent addition of a chapter on National War Memorial and the braveheroes who gave their supreme sacrifices in the NCERT curriculum of Class VII. “Our mission is to raise awareness among children about the bravery of our soldiers. We want them to imbibe valour and courage,” He said and added ‘What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand’, describing it as an accurate way of learning.
Shri Rajnath Singh said: “There was a time when as a nation we had limited resources and we were not able to pay proper attention to our youth. This scenario has now changed. Today, the youth, who wish to fly high, have an open sky of aspirations. It is our duty to encourage these nation builders”.
Before handing over to the podium, the Raksha Mantri, while interacting with students, shared insights on ‘spiritual strength’. He described physical, mental/intellectual and spiritual strength as the three facets crucial to achieve victory or any desired result in life. Only a spiritual person attains bliss, he said, adding only people with large hearts can be spiritually oriented.
Speaking on the occasion, Education Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan termed ‘Veer Gatha’ as unique programme which inspire the young generation about the sacrifices made by the bravehearts.
The event also witnessed Param Vir Chakra awardee Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Yogendra Singh Yadav (Retd) narrating his real-life story of the Kargil war where he overcame all odds and played a crucial role in India’s historic victory. He urged the children to draw inspiration from the valiant soldiers who defend their nation by making supreme sacrifices.
Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Defence Secretary Shri Giridhar Aramane and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence & Ministry of Education were present on the occasion.
Building on the recommendations of the Raksha Mantri, Veer Gatha 3.0 underwent a notable expansion of recognising 100 winners at National Level as against 25 winners in the first two editions. An enhanced feature of recognising winners at multiple levels – National, State, and District, was introduced. This strategic expansion ensures a more comprehensive celebration of bravery, spanning various fields and fostering a deeper appreciation for the diverse acts of valour across the nation.
This third edition was held between July 13 to September 30, 2023, wherein a record 1.36 crore students from 2.42 lakh schools pan-India shared their inspirational stories in terms of essays, poems, drawings and multimedia presentations. After series of evaluations under various rubrics for assessment at State and District level, nearly 3,900 entries were submitted for national level evaluation. The national level evaluation committee appointed by the Ministry of Education selected the top 100 entries. Twenty-five (25) winners from each category – Class 3rd to 5th, Class 6th to 8th, Class 9th to 10th, and Class 11th to 12th were selected.
The remarkable achievement of the Veer Gatha 3.0 is exemplified by the impressive strength of 65 girl students among the ‘Super-100’. Odisha led the pack with eight girl students, closely followed by Bihar with seven, while Jammu and Kashmir and the north-eastern region of Manipur had two and five noteworthy girl student winners respectively. Notably, the winning entries reflect linguistic diversity, featuring Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Assamese, Tamil, and Marathi, in addition to Hindi and English, underscoring the richness of India’s cultural and linguistic tapestry.