India's unsung hero: Mittal Patadiya, courage personified

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''One man with a courage is a majority''
- Thomas Jefferson, former US President (1743-1826)

Mittal Patadiya's act of bravery shows she was born to prove these words. Outnumbered by men twice her size and age, Mittal was injured when thieves stabbed her. Despite bleeding profusely, she displayed an exemplary act of valour and foiled their attempt to rob her family in Gujarat. This effort from Mittal fetched her the prestigious national bravery award in 2012.

Mittal Patadiya

Mittal is a foster daughter of Tehlani family based out of Subhash Chowk area of Thakkarnagar in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In fact, she is the youngest of three daughters of Mahendra Patadiya, a painter by profession. He does painting jobs at temples to look after his family. Tehlani's, a well to do family in the neighborhood took responsibility for upbringing the youngest one to reduce the burden on Mahendra Patadiya.

Tehlani family was busy in decorating the house on the day of 'Dhanteras' on November 3, 2010. Then, an auto driver Ajitsinh Rehwat, a familiar face to the family, rang the doorbell and asked for a glass of water. Kavita Tehlani opened the door and was soon attacked by two thieves along with Ajitsinh.

Two of them caught hold of Kavita and the another fellow rushed towards Mittal. To silence Kavita, thieves sat on her and asked for the valuables. Seeing her foster mother under attack, Mittal screamed for help. She pulled a robber by hair and tried to put him on the floor. Meanwhile, he attacked Mittal by knife on her neck. Undeterred by the injury and simultaneously bleeding profusely, Mittal rushed towards the door and unlocked it. Soon neighbors entered the house and caught the culprits.

Thereafter, Mittal was admitted to a hospital where doctors gave her 351 stitches to close the wound. She would have lost her life to the stabbing. But she risked her life to save her mother.

Finally, the display of exemplary courage in the face of the adversity won the then 13-year-old- Mittal Patadiya National Bravery award. She received the prestigious Geeta Chopda award from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Republic Day in 2012.

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