Women Talk

Remembering Neerja Bhanot, India’s Brave Daughter who saved many lives!

How did Neerja Bhanot’s inspirational story give life lessons of humanity to the world?

How can someone be so brave at the young age of 23 year? Yes, we are talking about that wonderful personality whose spirit is higher than the Himalayas and the height of the character is such that even humanity should worry. We are going to tell you the inspirational journey of Neerja Bhanot.

How she was a successful model and a victim of domestic violence?

Neerja Bhanot was born in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana. His parents Rama Bhanot and Harish Bhanot were Mumbai-based journalists. Neerja, who got married in 1985, had to leave her husband and return to Mumbai after just two months due to dowry pressure.

What happened on the day of 5th September 1986?

On September 5, 1986, the flight was hijacked by four terrorists of the Palestinian terrorist organization Abu Nidal, which had the support of Libya. The flight was to go via Karachi in Pakistan to Frankfurt, Germany, and then to New York. The flight took off from Mumbai and had 360 passengers. When the plane was in Karachi, the terrorists had entered the plane in the dress of a security person. The terrorists had everything from grenades to assault rifles to pistols and plastic explosive belts. As soon as the terrorists came inside the aircraft, the terrorists started firing and took the aircraft in their possession. The main objective of the terrorists was to put pressure on Pakistan by killing American citizens. So they asked Neerja to submit the passports of all the passengers. Neerja cleverly hid the passports of American citizens and handed over the rest to the terrorists.

Read more:-Why should child malnutrition be treated as the biggest threat in India?

How did she manage to save everyone?

After 17 hours the terrorists fired again and fitted the explosives. Neerja helped the passengers to get out by opening the emergency door of the plane. She could have gone first if she wanted, but she didn’t. She saved many children from being targeted by terrorists. In this incident, 20 people were killed, including Neerja. After this Neerja was given the title of Heroine of Hijack. Sonam Kapoor starrer film Neerja was made on her life. Michael Thexton, a traveler who escaped from this hijacking incident, wrote a book. Along with this, India also awarded her the highest military honor Ashoka Chakra. Apart from this, in the year 2004, a postage stamp on her was also issued by the government. Neerja was the first woman to receive this award at the youngest age.

Neerja Bhanot was honoured after her death

Pakistan also honoured Neerja with the Tamga-e-Insaniyat Award, which is given for exceptional service to humanity. At the same time, Neerja was given the Justice for Crime Award by the Attorney’s Office of Columbia, USA along with the US Government Taxes Special Courage Award and the Heroism Award from the Flight Safety Foundation. Not many people know that Neerja had also completed an anti-hijacking course. Which came in handy during this hijacking episode.

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.
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