There are some Indians, who have been forgotten, despite their huge contributions towards this country. One such name is Neerja Bhanot.
The Story of Neerja Bhanot
On 5th September 1986, the Pan Am Flight 73 from Mumbai to New York was highjacked at its stopover in Karachi. Four heavily armed men, dressed as airport security guards entered the plane while firing shots from automatic weapons. Realizing what had happened, Neerja, the most senior flight attendant on board, alerted the cockpit crew, who then escaped through the cockpit hatch.
She then took the charge of all the passengers. The terrorists then asked her to collect all the passengers’ passports. Realizing that their motive was to kill Americans, Neerja hid their passports and discarded some in rubbish chute.
The passengers were held hostage for 17 hours after which the terrorists opened fire. Neerja, having the option to flee, instead chose to stay. The terrorists opened fire. Neerja died shielding three children from the gunfire and helping 360 people onboard escape.
In the recognition of her bravery, Neerja remains the only person who has been awarded bravery medals from India, Pakistan and the US. Her act of bravery will forever remain etched in people’s minds. All of 22 years old, her act of bravery cannot be forgotten.
Her parents, Rama and Harish Bhanot set up the Neerja Bhanot Bravery Awards in 1990 through the award and insurance money. They give away a cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000 along with a citation and a trophy.
Actress Sonam Kapoor will be a part of this year’s Neerja Bhanot Awards, being held today.
Neerja: The movie
Her forthcoming movie, Neerja, showcases the bravery of Neerja. Directed by Ram Madhvani and produced by Atul Kasbekar, it will hit the theaters on 19th February. The trailer of Neerja has been highly appreciated by people and people are definitely looking forward to the movie release.