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From the Pan Am Citation::
In memory of Neerja. Her time with us was all too short. Her fond memory will fly with us forever - Pan Am Neerja joined the Pan Am family on Jan. 16, 1986. Her employment with Pan Am was a great source of joy for her and her beloved family. Her special leadership qualities were quickly recognized and she was elevated to the position of 'Purser' on April, 1986. Neerja was the Senior Purser aboard Pan Am Clipper 73, which was hijacked by armed terrorists at Karachi airport. Her gallant actions were nothing less than heroic as she, along with nearly 400 other passengers and crew members, was held at gunpoint, constantly under the threat of death, for over 16 hours. Setting aside all concern for her personal safety and well-being, Neerja identified herself to the terrorists as the crew member in charge of Clipper 73. Her decision to take responsibility for the situation at hand was in the highest traditions of excellence and service to her fellow man. Neerja stood as a symbol of leadership. Her fellow flight attendants looked to her for strength, which they found in Neerja's calm and professional manner, which helped to heighten the spirits and hopes of everyone. She provided assistance to passengers at every juncture, giving special attention to small children and elderly passengers, who found comfort where otherwise, there was none. In the final hour, she gave her own life, while shielding three small children from gunfire. Neerja was called upon under the most difficult conditions, at the most difficult time, to step forward in a position of leadership. And her heroic actions were responsible for saving of hundreds of lives. She is deeply mourned and sadly missed and will always be remembered in thoughts and prayers by members of her large Pan Am family. Her actions will live on as a testament to the highest ideals. We were honoured to call Neerja sister and one of our own.
Source - http://neerjabhanot.org/pac.htm
What a beautiful response by Pan Am. Made me tear up. May Neerja’s life be an inspiration to us all.
Reading this gave me goosebumps. Holy shit what a great person... I feel sad for her and I never met her
That's not an actual link.
She should be 55 this year, but PAN AM Flight Attendant Neerja Bhanot of Chandigarh, India died at 23 being a hero. She is credited with saving the lives of 360 passengers onboard PAN AM 73. When radical Islamic terrorists hijacked her A/C in Karachi, Pakistan she informed the pilots (who used their escape hatch to runaway) and kept both the passengers/remaining crew calm. When the terrorists demanded to know who the Americans were on the flight so they could execute them she gathered all the passports and hid the ones belonging to Americans under seat cushions. The terrorists confused and unable to determine the national origins of the passengers didn't execute anyone. When Pakistani police raided the plane she was able to nearly singlehandedly evacuate all the passengers as the firefight ensued. She being one of the last people on board did a last check and found three children still hiding. As she led the children to safety the surviving terrorists spotted the children and opened fire on them. Neerja jumped in the way of the bullets and was mortally wounded. She was able to evac the children to safety before dying from her wounds.
Neerja was awarded the Ashok Chakra Award by India, the highest peacetime gallantry award possible. She was the youngest and first civilian to ever be awarded this honor.
Awards she has received posthumously, most deservedly for a true hero:
I love that she continues to be recognized. What a legacy.
And that its a multinational gathering of recognition. India, Pakistan, US, UK. Good shit.
If there's one thing India and Pakistan can agree on, it's that this woman was a hero.
"Lets get the gang back together" - Britain
"We'd rather you didn't" - Rest of the world
That'd be one heck of an alliance though. By far the most powerful economic, military, and political bloc on Earth for decades to come between just the US and India, and then on top of that you have Britain with its specialization (finance capital of the world, highly regarded intelligence services, world renowned universities) and Pakistan not being an enemy of India taking the pressure off of both countries and unlocking new growth potential just from reducing tensions.
"Ehhhehh nooooo.....ehhh......ehhhhnooooo." -India and Pakistan
We'll pass - Every country from the subcontinent
And she should. I hope we, collectively as human beings, never forget her or her selfless acts. Truely remarkable.
There we go, an appropriate amount for the heroism she showed, and I’m happy to know the US acknowledged her too
an appropriate amount for the heroism she showed
I can't agree. Those awards don't mean anything. They mean something to us, but nothing to her. She wouldn't know she got them, dying when she did. She was a person with tons of dreams and ideas and hopes and plans like anyone else. And she died terrified, doing the best she could of a terrible situation that was cruelly unfair to her. What post-humous award could be appropriate for that kind of sacrifice?
I promise I'm not trying to twist your words, and I'm sure you didn't mean it like that, but reading people's comments here, these conversations sound like these awards are some kind of silver lining to a tragic story when they're anything but. These awards are for us to feel better about what happened to her. Nothing could repay her for what she did and what she lost.
Agreed - this awards are just for society to feel better about the tragedy. She was a normal human with dreams and aspirations like the rest of us but got that taken away. But she’s still a hero with or without those awards. Rest In Peace Neerja
I think the awards are in keeping alive the memory of her person, and the heroic deeds she undertook selflessly. Her acts of love are worth remembering, for we should also one day be as selfless in small ways to help others in this world. That might not have been her deepest thought as she acted and did things that she did that day, but the lives of those she saved, and the lives they give upon their children and the deeds they do that touch the lives of others, will always have Neerja's legacy to them. Her human spirit is why we honour her memory with the awards that light up her name in the sky.
I am willing to bet that there is noone else in modern history who has the highest civilian award awarded to them from 2 countries. Let alone from 2 countries that have been at war with each other for decades
To be recognized by both India and Pakistan certainly says something.
Holy hell. And she was only 23.
I didn't think I was going to cry until now.
Ya somebody needs to make this movie, absolute heroism and pure selfless
There is a movie! I don't remember the title, but I remember I cried a lot.
Edit: it's called Neerja
It’s on Netflix, really good.
Not in US? Search didn't come back with that title
It is not currently, but I did watch it n US Netflix about a year back. Very good movie. Lead actress was great.
Was it in the same vein as Fruitvale Station? Like a documovie type film?
Oh jeez, I remember that movie. It was well done...which means I also cried way too much during it.
I recommended this movie to my father and he called me up afterwards and yelled at me for making him cry.
Wasn’t very popular. I guess you gotta be Ted Bundy out there murdering people’s children for anybody to give a shit about you. Then they’ll make documentaries and movies starring zac effron for you! But for people like this? Reddit will mention them from time to time and that’s about it. It’s so fucked up. People should be talking about this woman to the degree they salivate over serial killers but that’s just not how the world works I guess.
Bruh how you forget that title.
Some people are just so badass this is all you can say about them. “Holy fuck” sums up this woman perfectly. I’m gonna go watch the movie about her later tomorrow.
Right? What a bad ass woman
How did the terrorists get away? They are still at large?
How did the terrorists get away?
Islamist terrorists getting away in Pakistan. What a shocker. That's the country that hid Osama bib Ladin and is financing and equipping the Taliban. I think that the phrase they use is "useful terrorists".
I think they jumped Pakistani prison. Some were also released using plea deals by other terrorists.
Just to add onto this, Neerja's background makes her actions even more heroic.
Neerja was a model. She began modeling at 18 and, when her career flourished, was married at 22. It was both traditional and untraditional: the marriage was arranged, but no dowry was offered. Then, within a few months of marrying, her husband became abusive. He beat her, starved her, and denied her access to money. Her family was shocked and horrified. Neerja escaped that marriage because she had been previously contracted for a modelling job that got her away from him. While she was gone, her husband sent her a letter describing what he would do to her and how he would treat her, and telling her she'd have to accept it if she returned because she's worthless - just a poor daughter not even deserving of a dowry, and a mere graduate. So she didn't return. Instead, she took a job as a flight attendant to prove herself.
It's...incredible. She was a model who married without a dowry, who was physically abused by her husband for that lack of dowry, who was told over and over that she was no one, that she was worthless. She became a flight attendant on a whim. And somehow, she had the courage to defy armed terrorists, to repeatedly plot against them to protect her passengers, and even to physically shield those children when faced with gunfire.
She deserves every award given to her.
Edit: typo. I thought I proofread but there was still a typo.
I did not know about this. I think they glossed over all this abuse in the movie(or I lost the track while watching in Hindi).
Its there in the beginning I believe
What a hard life and yet she grew up to be the best.
I was expecting sensationalism, but she legit saved the fuck out of people.
Her tombstone: She saved the fuck out of people
She saved 350+ people and then died saving another 3. Holy shit
what an amazing human being.
I was on this flight. I am an American citizen and was at the time. I was only a child. My mother, my sister, and my grandmother were all on this flight. We all survived.
If this is true, and the memories aren’t too traumatic for you, you should consider doing an AMA (and provide proof if you have any way to document it).
Seriously? Do you remember it well?
Wow. Do you remember her at all?
Did your life turn out okay?
!remindme 24 hours
Could you provide additional details please? Genuinely interested
She’s such a hero
She's totally badass and my new heroine! I teared up just reading this.
She was also awarded the ‘Tamgha-e-Pakistan’ - the fourth highest civilian award in Pakistan for showing incredible human kindness.
So both India and Pakistan gave her their own country's awards? That's refreshing. A hero.
What the hell do you have to do to earn the third highest?
Pakistan and India do not get along very well. I assume giving an Indian the highest honor in Pakistan would cause some Political issues
Not be Indian
Jump on a grenade? I mean, there's not much else you could do in terms of heroics other than what she did.
I assume it was mired in politics, as awards sometimes are.
It blows me away that a story as monumental as this will never get the attention it deserves and instead we are forced fed pawn stars and kardashoans
Wow this woman gave her life to make sure others would live, nothing can be said that could do any justice about how great a woman she is.
Wow what an incredible story.
Man I was listening to such an upbeat music browsing memes and now this post made me cry :'(
She's amazing, but this report is a little misleading. It makes it sound like no passengers died. 22 people did. At least 14 were passengers
Ashok Chakra Award, she should have been awarded the Neerja Bhanot award.
Anyone else think it’s weird that the pilots just conveniently snuck out through the special “escape hatch” while everyone else was left to die? Or am I missing something there??
Unfortunately that’s the wisest option. If they remain they could be captured and forced to fly the plane into something, killing all passengers and many other innocents. If no one is left to fly the plane it can’t move and the damage is more limited.
Makes sense. Damning, but rational.
Fucking hell. That's a goddamn story.
A movie called Neerja was made to honor her and her sacrifice.
Wow. I pulled up her Wiki, it is slightly different, but the story is the same. She saved so many lives at 22. I'm 35 and I doubt I'd be able to do more than protect myself and my son.
They saw Neerja relentlessly trying to help the passengers out and that is when they caught her by her ponytail and shot her point blank." She was shot while shielding 3 American children from a hail of gunfire from the terrorists. Out of a total of 44 American passengers, two were killed during the hijacking
Don't regret not having to give your life in an extraordinary situation. I don't think Nerrja wanted to be killed as a stewardess. She just stepped up in a bad situation. If this has never happened she wouldn't be thinking back on her life as not having accomplished anything. Make the best of what you have now.
Be a good dad. Bit by bit we can make life better for all of us. Hopefully we won't need big sacrifices in the future.
Edit: Thank you kind stranger
As parents, the least we can do it to tell these tales of honour and valour to our kids, and hope they imbibe these values. We also need to think, without prejudice and objectively, why is that one particular religious group has been committing these acts of terror for past 50-60 years. Some of my close friends belong to this religious group and are wonderful human beings. I have discussed this often with them, and they point this to the rise of Wahabi/Salafist interpretation being propagated in the erstwhile liberal societies like Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Turkey, Maldives etc. I, for one, believe that humanity as a whole is inherently good. With a little bit of global political will, and empowering the liberal voices in the Islamic community will make the world a better place and will change the narrative to bring to the front various beautiful aspects of Islam, which have been hijacked by the Wahabi/Salafist thought. Let peace be on the world. Let us all move into a world that befits our human potential.
The sad part is that unfortunately, there was no justice for her killers. All the hijackers were captured by the Pakistanis.
That's fucked up. They deserve a life sentence.
But its Pakistan, Stuff like this makes them local hero and they are almost given highest powers and full protection in the country.
Not really. The Pakistani government harbors terrorists. The locals hate them as much as anybody.
Of course we are talking about the authorities. Citizens know no better.
Terrorists and Pakistan 🇵🇰 name a more iconic duo.
Honestly, I don't know about Indian law, so I don't know if capital punishment is a thing there, but it seems more than justified here
India has death punishment but only for rarest of the rarest cases. In this century only 3 people have been executed. One of them for carrying out an attack on Indian parliament and the other for 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Most of the time death punishment is given by lower courts but changed to life by the SC or if SC upholds the death punishment then President sits on the mercy petition forever resulting in an actual life sentence.
Was the Mumbai attacks where like three houses of worship and parliament or something were taken over with hostages? One of them was a Jewish temple I think. I'm sure I'm mixing up a bunch of different events, my bad.
yeap, Mumbai railway station, Two five star hotels, One jewish house, one cafe and a hospital were attacked
Indian law does justify it. But if you notice they were not tried in India, they were tried in Pakistan.
Just read the US captured, extradited, and sentenced one of them to 106 years. Another was supposedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan. Other three are being hunted down. 5M offered for info leading to arrest.
Atleast the fbi caught the first one that was released. It’s unfortunate the rest didn’t lose their heads as well. So sad to see this happen, a valiant life lost so that pathetic criminals like them could survive. Should’ve been shot on site no questions asked.
I hope that the children remember her
One did. A 7 year old on the flight became a pilot. Said she was his inspiration to do so and says he never forgets what she did for him.
Source? That sounds awesome
Man its horrible that people like this don't get remembered
Her whole story is fucking epic. She took control of the situation and saved 300 lives
She is still getting remembered- there’s a post above listing her awards and the most recent was in the last 8 years. She seems to be honored somewhat regularly. :)
We'll remember her. She is not forgotten.
Let’s be real, keeping track of all the good deed doers out there would be impossible. The message should be that we all strive to be like those who were great.
We remember the villains much better unfortunately
There's a 2016 movie named Neerja based on her. Recommend watching it!
There are people in human history whos names should have the distinct honor of being remembered always, hers is such a name.
can’t believe i’ve never heard about her - what an amazing human being. her courage will not be forgotten.
Ikr? This is the first time I’m hearing about Neerja. So sad she left us all too soon. Wonder what her life would’ve been like had she lived on. Her leadership skills and character were plain to see so I’d like to imagine she would’ve accomplished a great deal.
I hate people. I mean, why? Why do we feel the need to take other peoples lives to justify our own cause. I don’t get it. I never will. What a brave women. R.I.P
A true hero
She was a bad ass. Quick thinking under pressure and courage. I'd like to think I would act like that but I don't think I could.
I don’t have the words. I guess thank you. I wish I could do better.
Not surprising... They were harbouring Osama after all
And the doctor who helped is still in prison
Terrible that we made no attempts to help the doctor who was the reason we caught Osama. His family had been trying to petition the US for help but how fast we abandoned an ally in need.
Dawood Ibrahim is still living somewhere in Pakistan. He was responsible for mumbai blast which killed hundreds of people.
There's a movie called Neerja, based on her story. It was so inspiring & heartbreaking, I cried a lot.
She needs her own statue.
What a beautiful woman. RIP.
Ugh. I know someone who was on this flight. Such a tragedy
Yo why not make this like a weekly or bi_weekly thing where theres a stickied post of heroes like this. A fuckin memorial or something to these magnificent people.
What an amazing person she was. Such courage. She deserves even greater recognition.
Her mom died shortly before she could see the movie “Neerja” which makes it way sadder. What a beautiful person
I found a Nightline news program from 1986 that has a lot of interviews from people that survived and some of them mention a stewardess that threw out American passports - I think this was directly after the incident so they didn't really know her name yet.
WARNING: this video shows dead bodies.
She was an amazing woman.
I also recall the US Govt did a shitty thing to Neerja's family, there was a class action lawsuit against PamAm by the passengers on the flight and they won. The US courts allowed all US Citizens on this flight to get compensated by the settlement.
Neither the US Courts (nor the US Embassy in India) offered any sort of compensation to Neeraj's family. She was a hero, saved hundreds of American lives but her memory was dishonored this way. I can guarantee you if she was a citizen of a white country she would have been treated differently by the court and US govt. Before you think I am grousing about "white privilege" I am not, as an Indian we could care less - yes discrimination exists - however we have an equal seat at the table these days due to our hard work in any country we go to.
Oh... and Pakistan allowed the terrorist to go free...
That is so petty. I feel like her family should live fat and happy for the rest of their lives and for generations to come. A member of their family sacrificed years of happiness for others; least our government could do is pay it back.
To be honest - and this won’t be popular among many redditors because they are weirdly attached to Obama - the US has established a pattern of not helping/repaying people who aid Americans. The most prominent recent example that comes to mind is the fact that the Obama administration never did anything of note to help the doctor who helped US forces find Bin Laden when he was arrested by Pakistan. Considering this was somewhat simultaneous to him releasing 5 terrorists in exchange for Bergdahl - who was no hero - this is in my opinion horse shit. If Trump’s cabinet isn’t pushing for his release, then they’re guilty of massive misplaced priorities as well. The idea that the US couldn’t pressure Pakistan into releasing the good man to US custody is not believable.
Beautiful woman with a beautiful soul
She is fucking beautiful its so sad.
America didn't gave a fuck about this incident. Watch the movie Neerja if anyone is interested.
There are times in the world where the bravery of an ordinary person is astonishing.
Just out of curiosity why do pictures like this always either never mention the persons name or mention it at the very end ?
It would be better to start it with ''An indian flight attendant named Neerja Bhanot hid...
Because people have short attention spans. They want the juicy info first, or they stop reading.
Her smile wad stunning oml. What a beautiful soul, inside and out.
This. This is a superhero.
There's a Bollywood movie "Neerja" that's based on her story. I watched it and it was good.
What an absolute badass.
What an amazing and beautiful person (inside and out.) I pray that i can become half the person she was.
I never knew her before this but god bless her soul
Just to make everyone even more sad, this event occurred on her birthday.
Amazing human. wish i could understand why the parents left the 3 children on board to be rescued last, unless that part is a little far-fetched
They were travelling without their parents. Unaccompanied minors. Source: movie.
Now I'm sad the world lost such an amazing person in such a shitty way
I say this completely unironically, this gives me hope for humanity.
For how shitty the world is and how shitty most people can be, there are truly kind and selfless people out there and I wish they're happy themselves.
People can truly be great.
Damn! That was intense. She was 23.
A real hero.