NeW DELHI: Around 60 years ago, Harish Chandra Mehra was a national hero who saved the life of the then prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru from a fire at the historical Ram Lila grounds. After the incident on October 2, 1957, became the first recipient of a Bravery Award.
But after six decades, he is now a forgotten man and lives in the shadows of his glorious past in Chandni Chowk area of the old city.
“It was October 2, 1957, and I was a 14-year-old, doing duty as a scout in the same shamiana where Pandit Nehru and other VIPs were sitting. Suddenly, a fire broke out due to a spark from fireworks. Sensing that it could lead to a major disaster, I within a fraction of a second entered the burning shamiana and started climbing the 20-foot-high electrical pole,” the 74-year-old said.
“On reaching the top, without thinking of my own safety, I whipped out my scout knife and started cutting the ropes of the shamiana. Suddenly, my hands touched a wire and I fell to the ground unconscious, burning my hands severely. I was admitted to the JP hospital for treatment,” he recalled.
During the award ceremony, it was also mentioned that the 74-year-old helped the police in rescuing two children who got separated from their family in Chandni Chowk area during Mahatama Gandhi’s birth anniversary celebrations....