Most bravest and youngest peacetime India awardee for her posthumous bravery, Ashok Chakra, a true brave heart – Neerja Bhanot was born on September 7, 1963. The brave Indian flight attendant gave her life while saving the lives of three children aboard Pan Am Flight 73. During a layover in Karachi. , Pakistan, at Jinnah International Airport, terrorists hijacked Pan Am 73, and just two days before her birthday on September 5, 1963, 22-year-old Neerja Bhanot was shot dead by terrorists while trying to save children from bullets.
Check out these lesser known facts about the late Neerja Bhanot on her 59th birthday-
Even now, her story continues to inspire many people, and one of the three children she saved is now a pilot and dedicates his life to Banute. In 2016, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja starrer ‘Neerja’ was released as a tribute to Bhanot who also focuses on her relationships with her family along with the courage she showed in saving the lives of more than 300 passengers on board with the pilots.
1. Neerja started her modeling career in Bombay (currently Mumbai) and gained success over time.
2. In 1985, Bhanot applied to Pan American World Airways as a flight attendant and went to Miami to get the required training.
3. Panut Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked at Jinnah International Airport as it helped the pilots on board escape on the ground, hiding the passports of the passengers to save them from revealing their identities.
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4. Just two days before her 23rd birthday, Bhanot was framed on September 5, 1963, while saving three children from being shot.
5. Neerja had the option to escape but bravely stood up for the passengers and her fellow cabin crew.
6. In 1987, Bhanot was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra becoming the youngest and first woman to receive this award.
7. In 2004, the Postal Service of India issued a stamp commemorating her bravery.
8. To celebrate her exemplary bravery, a plaza in Mumbai is named after her “Nerja Bhanot Chowk” opened by Sonam Kapoor Ahuja.