Neerja Bhanot was an Indian Model and SeniorFlight Purser. She is popularly known as the young Indian woman who lost her life trying to save others. She is also known for appearing in many delicious commercials such as those for Binaca fluoride toothpaste and Royal Diamond.
His posthumous awards include: Asoka Chakra 1987 (India), Tamgha-e-Pakistan (Pakistan), Flight Safety Foundation Heroicity Award 1987 (USA), Justice for Crimes Award 2005, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia (USA), Special Courage Award 2006, United States Department of Justice (USA), Civil Aviation Award 2011 (India), Bharat Gaurav Award 2016 (UK ), etc
Bio of Neerja Bhanot
Neerja Bhanot was born on September 7, 1963 in Chandigarh, Punjab, India. She was the only daughter of her parents, Harish Bhanot, a Mumbai-based former Hindustan Times journalist and Rama Bhanot. Her father died on January 1, 2008 (aged 86), while her mother Rama died in December 2015.
She was raised next to her two older siblings, Akhil Bhanot and Aneesh Bhanot; they have an Indian nationality. In her childhood, she studied at Sacred Heart High School, located in Chandigarh, her birthplace. Upon the family’s move to Bombay, she attended Bombay Scottish School. Neerja also attended and graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai.
At the age of 18, while studying in Mumbai, she was spotted by a photographer who featured her in ‘Bombay’ magazine in a column titled ‘The Girl Next Door’. In four years, she became a top model, encompassing various brands such as Benzeer Sarees and Vinod Stainless Steel Works.
Neerja had been married for only two months, obtaining a separation on the basis of abuse and starvation. It was in March 1985 that she accepted an arranged marriage with Naresh Mishra and moved to the Gulf to build a house there. She did, however, experience the cloudiest two months of her life. A marriage without an already agreed upon agreement had become the basis of his mistreatment and torture.
In a place where she knew no one, she was forced to stay without food or money until she borrowed money from her husband to telephone her father. Back in Bombay for a modeling contract, she received a very humiliating letter from her husband and that straw broke the camel’s back.
Her family supported her decision and they broke up just two months after the wedding. Almost by coincidence, Pan Am, an airline, decided that year to use an all-Indian cabin crew and she applied as a flight attendant. With a height of 5 feet 9 inches and a killer smile, she was chosen. She continued her training and surprisingly returned as a Senior Flight Purser.
Death of the Indian model
Ladoo, as her parents affectionately called her, was an easy-going person and she loved her job passionately. So much so that she agreed to replace her sick colleague and former roommate, Rukhsana Eisa, on September 5, 1985.
The 365-passenger flight with 13 crew members was heading to the United States from Mumbai. It was hijacked by four prominent members of the Abu Nidal Organization who needed it to rescue Palestinian prisoners in Cyprus. Neerja immediately used a code to alert the three members of the cockpit to the situation. However, they fled the aircraft through the upper cockpit hatch, leaving Neerja to take command as the longest serving crew member on board.
Neerja Bhanot puts on all her training pieces and helped passengers stay calm. The hijackers shot an American passenger and when they demanded the passports of other passengers in order to identify and kill others, she joined her colleagues in hiding all other American passports.
On the 17th hour of the hostage crisis, when the hijackers opened fire and threw explosives at random, she then had the courage to open one of the plane’s doors and help the others. to escape before her. Terrorists who noticed her actions lured her and pulled her into the air as she used her body to protect three children. The situation was stopped by the Pakistan Rangers and SSG Division, but Neerja, 2 Americans and 18 other passengers lost their lives and about 150 others were injured.
Posthumously, she became the youngest recipient of the Ashok Chakra Award, India’s highest honor for peacetime courage. A stamp was also commemorated in his honor by the Indian Postal Service in 2004. In February 2016, Aneesh Bhanot, his brother, published a book titled ‘The Neerja I Knew’. A film starring Sonam Kapoor was also made in his honor.