Vandana Yadav, 13 (left in the picture), wants to be a police officer -- to protect the dignity of women and make their lives safer.
She should know -- she has fought the monster, and won.
On February 2 last year, barely 3 km away from Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Vandana had gone to the fields with her younger brother. Three goons tried to molest her. She slapped one of them; one of them whipped out a knife.
"I told my brother to go to the village and get help as I fought them," says Vandana, without batting an eyelid. She was stabbed 17 times before the men fled. She was in hospital for 15 days. It did not dent her steely resolve.
"I was determined to get justice," says Vandana, winner of this year's Geeta Chopra Award for her act of bravery.
"Despite threats I identified them after their arrest. One of them is out on bail while the other two are behind bars," she adds. Her father, a milkman, stood by her.
The nation will now salute her as she and other recipients of the children's bravery awards ride atop elephants during the Republic Day parade in the capital on Friday, January 26.
The 21 children -- three more of the awardees lost their lives trying to save other people -- have already met President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
Text: Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Design: Reuben N V
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