Neerja Bhanot, a young and dynamic Air Hostess who died at the age of 23 years while saving the lives of 360 people stranded with her on a hijacked plane is an inspiration for everyone in the modern age. Neerja Bhanot was a successful model before she joined Pan Am as an air hostess.
Who Was Neerja Bhanot?
Born on 7th September 1963 at Chandigarh, Punjab (India), Neerja Bhanot always wanted to be a model. Later on her family moved to Mumbai and her stint in Punjab was very short given her father was Journalist based in Mumbai. Neerja Bhanot was married at an early stage in the year 1985. It was a arranged marriage, but her marriage didn’t workout and she had to return to her parent’s house. The pressure for dowry from the bridegroom’s side was increasing adamantly and this led to the spoiled relationship.
Post break up Neerja decided to join Pan Am (Pan American World Airways) as an air hostess. She was only 22 when went on to die on one of the worst hijacks in the human history.
Brave Neerja, How She Saved 360 Lives :
Four heavily armed terrorists entered at the Pan Am Flight 73 and hijacked it when it was parked on the Airport in Karachi, Pakistan. Neerja was scheduled on that flight as the Senior Flight Pursuer and she was very adamant about saving the lives of passengers on the flight.
The four armed terrorists were the part of extremist group known with the name of Abu Nidal Organization. The terrorists aimed to kill all the Americans on the plane. The crew member of the plane included of three American pilots but they escaped as soon as the plane was hijacked, leaving Neerja Bhanot as the most senior officer on the plane.
Terrorists advised Neerja to collect the passports of all the passengers on the flight and help them identify Americans. Neerja was adamant about saving every single life on the plane. She was well aware that there were 41 Americans on the plane; she hid the passports of these people beneath the seat, under the dustbins and bags in order to avoid identification.
Neerja Bhanot was brave enough to find opportunity and open door of the flight and let as many people escape as she can. She would have jumped first and saved she from the bad fate but she decided to stay back and help everyone on the flight.
She had to take an array of bullets when trying to shield three kids from the bullets of terrorists. Varied International News Agencies called Neerja Bhanot the Queen of Flights. Her sacrifice has inspired many a people to do good for others.
One of the three kids she saved serves today as the pilot and states Neerja Bhanot as his inspiration.
After Hijack :
Neerja Bhanot is the youngest recipient of India’s highest bravery Gallantry award Ashok Chakra. Following years, Indian Post released stamps on her name in 2004. Her parents and Pan Am together built a trust that gives two awards each year.
We are feeling so blessed to hear “The Real Voice of Neerja Bhanot” in this video shared by FoxStarHindi :
One of the awards is presented to flight crew members from around the world for showing extra effort when the duty calls and the other award honors Indian women doing something really brave and extraordinary. Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust is the name of the trust.
“Neerja” is now a motion picture produced by Fox Star Studios featuring Actress Sonam Kapoor as “Neerja Bhanot”.
A tribute to Neerja Bhanot “Neerja” a biopic movie, releasing on Feb 19, 2016.